I was interested in seeing Chicago’s dubstep/house trio Krewella mainly for two reasons. First, its popularity has skyrocketed in the mainstream dance music scene in the past year; it’s gone from releasing its first EP last summer, to putting on a much-talked-about performance at this year’s Ultra festival in Miami, to selling out huge venues like Echostage on a regular basis. Second, it combines the weird fetish for huge, audience-alienating DJ stage setups with live vocals and stage antics more fit for a big pop or rock production.
It’s not hard to explain the first point: Krewella’s music is pretty insanely catchy, hard-edged but playful at the same time. The second point is more interesting; its so-called “Volcano stage” setup puts the DJ rigs high up on a platform and uses massive banks of lights and lasers like so many other electronic acts. But sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf spend as much time on the stage level as they do on the DJ platform, jumping around with an enviable amount of energy and interacting directly with front-row fans in ways that most DJs are actually incapable of due to their stage setups. It’s not hard to see why Krewella has earned its reputation as a can’t-miss live act for EDM fans.
Check out 44 photos of Krewella, opener Seven Lions, and fans in the full slideshow.