Over 2500 people can fit inside Manchester’s Academy 1; A big black box full to the brim with people. Guys with shirts off and girls with heels strut around, some more rowdily than others, trying to get the best spot to see over the thousands in front. Norwegian DJ Kygo has been making waves with his tropical dance remixes for a couple of years now, and this is the result. His debut Manchester show is one many dream of and rarely achieve. Kygo’s unique style is instantly recognisable: “Is this Kygo’s remix?” “Yeah!” is a short conversation that’s been had on more than one occasion.
The crowd joins forces to chant the riff of ‘Seven Nation Army’, getting increasingly riled before the room goes black, and the piano kicks in. The show couldn’t have begun with more of a bang, smoke machines and confetti cannons rain upon the eager teens. Incredible visuals tower over the comparatively small man, stood alone on this huge stage with just his piano and equipment for company. Triangular stage lights enclose him, the backdrop switching between alternating angles of the man himself. Real name Kyrre Gørvell-Dahl, Kygo is almost as excited as those looking upon him. “What’s up Manchester how you feeling tonight?” he shouts, getting a roar of elation in return.
The atmosphere inside is like a club, but not exactly like a club. Even through the support acts, it’s 8pm and light outside; dodgy jaws and wide pupils infer some have gone too hard too early. After bangers like ‘Carry Me’ and ‘Miami 82’, Kygo begins his remix to end all remixes. The track that brought him to worldwide attention, his remix of Ed Sheeran’s ‘I See Fire’. A song originally written for the movie adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit, it’s a brilliant but unusual choice. Sweet summery synth sounds are performed live, replacing the original’s acoustic guitar in sections, with Sheeran’s universally known vocal washing out of the speakers. We’re also treated to a remix of Sheeran’s mashup of ‘No Diggity/Thrift Shop’ – a lot of Ed remixes for one set.
Despite being appreciative of the amount Kygo plays live, there is still a repetitive and “samey” vibe with all his tracks. The tropical synth sounds are crisp and clear, remixes of Kyla La Grange and Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ are outstanding, but over an hour of these similar reproduced sounds is slightly too much for any ears. A remix of M83’s ‘Wait’ is a welcome break, a slower and more alternative choice, the crowd still embraces with open hearts and loud screams. The set ultimately ends with ‘Firestone’, featuring vocalist of the last support Anna Of The North, a high Ellie Goulding-esque vocal holds the audience attentive before ending with ‘Stole The Show’, a fitting end. More of a dance hit than the rest of Kygo’s discography, it’s a final hoorah for an odd but ultimately enjoyable set. Just wait, Kygo will be taking over the world before you know it.