Alesso made me lose my mind

WHEN Alesso was announced as one of the international headliners of the Ultra Music Festival Philippines, I told myself there was no way I’m missing the Swedish DJ spin live.

And Sebastian Ingrosso’s protege didn’t disappoint, there was definitely no sitting down during his set in the Manila leg of the Ultra Worldwide Tour in Mall of Asia Arena on Sept. 17.

Alesso knew exactly what he was doing—the crowd never dancing long enough to a certain beat, shuffling distinct tracks that transform into one smooth eargasm.

At one point, Alesso’s got your heart pounding to the domination of harsh, quaked beats, then in the next, he has you whistling to the mellow sound of snappy, feel good tempos, definitely knowing when to balance the mundane.

His set had a subtle beginning, there were no surprise bass drops or laser sounds, instead the white noise was taken over by “Under Control,”—a message that he’s got the next hours by the reins.

“Manila, show me what you got right now!” Alesso said before proceeding to play “Anthem,” a call to hype up the crowd to stand up and dance.

The drummed beats of “Payday” was then mashed with “Tear Up the Roof” and had a psychedelic, dreamy twist, coupled with the strobe lights flashing on cue at each word of the song.

“Manila, I want some hands in the air,” he told the crowd, and an arena packed with electronic dance music (EDM) fans obliged, pumping their fists to the music. Alesso blasted dribbling beats and dropped prominent synchs and strobes, before reeling in a pandemonium of turntable spins.

The set hit its climax with “How Deep Is Your Love,” followed by a light festive tune. Alesso’s sound was anything but tamed with the energy saturated during the chorus of “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like a Motherf**ker.”

Alesso also played favorites from his debut album “Forever,” including “Heroes” and “Cool,” creating a moment of surreal bliss as the mix was layered with “Calling (Lose My Mind),” one of Swedish House Mafia’s vintage crowd anthems.

The EDM fans were delighted to hear his 3-year-old remix of “Titanium,” followed by the whole track of “I Wanna Know,” the artist’s latest collaborative release with Nico & Vinz.

Alesso ended the night with “If I Lose Myself,” featuring the powerful vocals of Ryan Tedder and a hypnotic melody requiring the crowd to stomp, clap, and even sing as he turns down the volume at its chorus.

He finally thanks the crowd for the energy, the fan signs, the night. “Are you guys ready for Tiesto?” Alesso asked the crowd.

In that split-second there were only blinding lights and silence—the suspended air revealed the sound of our worked up heartbeats, and in that very moment we knew we weren’t.

Relive the Road to Ultra Philippines night by reading my Inquirer Entertainment article here.

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