The streets of Manhattan might just be some of the liveliest you can find around midnight on a Saturday, and this chilly February night was no different. At the corner of 10th Ave and 27th St in the trendy neighborhood of Chelsea, Marquee distinguishes itself among the city’s abundance of nightclubs as one of the longest-standing, culture-defining clubs in the country. Notorious for hosting celebrities on and off the stage, the iconic name is practically synonymous with “bottle service” and “A-listers”, and has remained a nightlife staple for nearly two decades since it opened its doors in 2003.
Tonight’s guest attracted two identifiable demographics, the first being your regular club-goers and socialite types sporting collared shirts and mini dress/stiletto get ups. Meanwhile, ravers and apparent die-hard fans, self-coined as “walkers”, flaunted their loyalty (and inadvertently stretched the dress code) with Alan Walker branded hoodies, face masks and snapbacks. Both sides of the spectrum converged around the entrance, eagerly awaiting to join the havoc that was wreaking past the velvet rope.
Fresh off the jet from the previous night’s show in Chicago, the Norwegian DJ visited NY in the midst of his international tour, with stops in exotic locales from Thailand to Tokyo; Bali to Buenos Aires. The EDM world might know him best as the hooded 16-year-old that broke into the scene in 2015 after Sony Music Sweden scouted him on Soundcloud, transcending from an FL Studio bedroom-producer to a star seemingly overnight. Tonight, however, Alan Walker showed NYC how far he’s come as an artist, performing recent tracks from his debut album “Different World” and working the crowd with an enthusiasm and intuition that radiated off the stage.
Naturally, the set began with Walker’s slow-burner breakout hit, “Faded”, which has been platinum certified in over 10 countries and remixed by the likes of Tiësto and Dash Berlin. His knack of incorporating real sounds into his electronic soundscapes for a heightened-reality effect, intertwined with fellow Norwegain artist Iselin Solheim’s effervescent vocals, reels the crowd in from the start. Inspired by producers K-391 and Ahrix, as well as film composers Hans Zimmer and Steve Jablonsky, Alan Walker fuses pulsing mid-tempo beats with cinematic melodies and ethereal vocals for his signature progressive-house sound.
His success is continued through chart-topping hits from “Different World”, such as “All Falls Down” with Noah Cyrus and “Darkside” with Au/Ra, the latter track serving as an ode to his affinity for soundtrack music, as it’s featured in the highly-anticipated video game revered for its cinematic quality, Death Stranding. “Faded” singer Iselin Solheim once again graces her feather-weight vocals in the whimsical “Sing Me to Sleep”, while upbeat “Alone” features Swedish singer-songwriter Noonie Baohere.
Persistent throughout his set were island-rooted instruments and beats, particularly with his tropical house tracks “Lily” and “I Don’t Wanna Go”, sprinkled with borrowed hardstyle and dubstep classics “Booyah” by Showtek and “Bangarang” by Skrillex. His collaboration with Steve Aoki, “Are You Lonely”, melded seamlessly with a gritty deep-house bassline subdued by a reggae beat and playful vocals by northern European trio ISÁK. Closing out the set with a bang was a climatic collaboration with one of Walker’s inspirations, K-391, “Play”, and a revamped, even deeper-house version of his classic “Faded”. Check out his tour schedule here, and give “Different World” and “Darkside” a listen below: