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Live Review: Galantis’ Secret Show at Great Northern (9/12/17)

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Even at expansive music festivals, a great DJ set can turn the most removed crowds into the most intimate dance parties. The effect is compounded when a world-class electronic act, like Galantis, spin at a small club.

The Swedish duo, consisting of Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw, made a secret appearance at Great Northern on Tuesday night to the surprise of fans and EDM diehards.

With their turntables in front of an impressive bass-drum-and-cymbal setup and psychedelic visuals, Galantis put on an hour-long set that included remixes of Bennie Benassi, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Travis Scott, and Whitney Houston — as well as their hits “Peanut Butter Jelly” and “Runaway (U&I),” plus a new song, “Girls on Boys.”

To up the energy, Karlsson frequently jumped onto his turntable rig to amp up the crowd before an explosion of smoke and confetti at crucial drops. Eklöw and Karlsson would also occasionally turn around and bang out a beat on four massive bass drums and scattered cymbals. For a smaller club set, the stage production was pretty incredible.

The crowd, decked out in cutout masks of the Galantis fox-owl hybrid logo (called a Seafox) given out by the venue, responded to the molar-shaking bass by singing back to the more popular songs, and with nonstop dancing.

The Great Northern was spruced up a bit from its normal Art Deco style. Small branches clung to the tops of the venue’s pillars to create a forest vibe that paired well with all the Seafox masks and the intricate lighting setup.

In typical DJ fashion, the duo spoke little, due to the consistent stream of music coming from their speakers, but they thanked the crowd for coming to their “first private show” — and genuinely seemed to appreciate the energy the San Francisco dance party gave back.

In a message sent out to Postmates subscribers just hours before doors opened, Galantis was revealed to be the headliners in a night that was originally billed as a “Tango Argentino Dance Lesson & Party.”

One attendee from Sacramento named Selby made the two-hour drive at the last minute to meet up with her friend, Terin. The two, with flushed faces after the show, couldn’t have been happier to see one of their favorite acts in such an intimate venue.

“I tried to see them at Coachella, but couldn’t get into the Sahara Tent and had to watch from the side,” Terin said. “This was amazing, though. These pop-ups are the best events in the city.”

Other fans enjoyed the intimate space as well. Nick, a fan in the crowd, commented on the “great sound,” and “sick vibe” that felt a bit more special than a massive music festival.

The spontaneous set can be seen as a bit of a warm-up before the duo sets out to play bigger dates around the United States in October and November, hitting Voodoo Festival in New Orleans as well as two nights at EDC Orlando.

Galantis’s new album The Aviary is set for release Friday, September 15 on Big beat records.

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Peter Snarr

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