As I trekked up the hill to the Hollywood Bowl with thousands beside me, I came to realize there would be no shuffling, no PLURing, and no BROing out that night (thank God). That night was going to be about the music; raw, uncensored, and unplugged. Legions gathered at the Hollywood Bowl to experience Above & Beyond completely acoustic. Jono, Tony & Paavo stripped their laptops, Ableton and pyrotechnics for live vocals, violins, and what felt like a full orchestra. In return, fans traded in their tank tops and candy adorned wrists for button ups and delicate pearls, to experience A&B in their purest form.
In a dance culture that heavily promotes “unity”, it’s ironic how the “unity” is largely promoted solely within our scene.
The Santa Monica Mountains and glimmering Hollywood sign served as our backdrop as the soothing summer sun slowly set on the Bowl and its anxiously awaiting fans. The murmurs and hums of the crowd hushed as the ensemble made their way onto the stage. Before I could gather my thoughts, the surreal moments began to flood my body as Above & Beyond commenced with what sounded like “Hello”. It was not the A&B I was accustomed to, so I couldn’t be for certain. This unsure feeling occurred multiple times throughout the night as A&B’s repertoire felt alien. I fervently listened to these obscure yet familiar tales as I rediscovered Above & Beyond, as if I were listening to them for the first time.
Living up to their epithet, Above & Beyond transcended over the electronic walls of EDM giving subtle nods toward their trance rooted genesis. By the end of the night, the trio had the Bowl engulfed in a state of “the feels”. These feelings were manifested and magnified by the lack of progressive and repetitive beats often demonized by EDM criticizers. In a dance culture that heavily promotes “unity”, it’s ironic how the “unity” is largely promoted solely within our scene. As Above & Beyond continues taking their acoustic set around the globe, it is undeniable that the peace, love, unity and respect that EDM heavily supports is breaking the electronic ceiling and spilling into musical genres outside of pop and hip-hop. Experience Above & Beyond Acoustic as they extend the PLUR invitation and evolve new meaning to “We are All We Need“.