Concert Review: Madeon and his Pixel Empire

“Would you like to hear some of the new music I’ve been working on?”

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It’s not his first time touring the States, and it probably won’t be his last, either. Meet Madeon, the stage name for 21-year-old electronic prodigy Hugo Leclerq. Having made a name for himself in the past year following the release of his chart-topping album, Adventure, scoring production credits with Lady Gaga, and performing at enormous festivals like Coachella, Leclerq didn’t wait long before starting off another coveted tour around the United States. After stopping by Seattle for not one, but two performances last year in September, Madeon chose this time to play at Foundation for a small DJ set gig before kicking off his big Pixel Empire Tour down in Portland, Oregon following the MLK weekend.

That didn’t stop me from following him there anyway.

Madeon, of course, wasn’t alone. Joining him on his tour this time was Skylar Spence, the stage name for a certain Ryan DeRobertis. The vaporwave artist, formerly known as Saint Pepsi, has also made a name for himself over the years. It quickly became clear why Skylar Spence was Madeon’s opening act: DeRobertis’ nu-disco synth sounds match well with Leclerq’s own style of house music, since both are very pop-driven. Skylar Spence, it seemed, was to be the appetizer to Madeon’s prepared main course.

But half an hour after DeRobertis had left the stage to applause and cheers, the star of the show was still nowhere to be seen. Just as the impatient whispers of the crowd had begun to grow into a muffled roar, however, three large screens flickered on to display an iconic diamond amid a crowd of cheers.

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To have the crowd wait in suspense for such a dramatic entrance reveals Leclerq’s talent as both musician and entertainer who doesn’t fail to deliver as the artist Madeon. Standing center stage and an outline of the Adventure diamond logo flashing vivid scenery behind him, the set began with “Isometric”, the intro from Adventure that immediately had fans – including myself – jumping up and down in anticipation. The rest of the night was filled with jumping, since Adventure is mainly glitch-hop, pop, and disco-inspired; even slower-paced songs, like “La Lune” or “Innocence”, possess a strong, dance-driven beat. The energy in the room somehow stayed alive and never slowed, due in part to Madeon’s own enthusiasm as he danced to the melody or hopped in time with the manic rhythm of his own tracks.

Props must be given to Madeon not just for his passion, but for his ability to mix such an incredible set. Crowd favorites like “Pay No Mind”, “OK”, and “Nonsense” blended consecutively one after another to the point where their transitions seemed near non-existent. Giving recognition to older tracks like “Pop Culture” and “Shuriken” from his earlier days, the set celebrated Madeon’s growth overall as an artist, and nothing impounded this theme of his Pixel Empire tour more than when he introduced live exclusives like “Albatros” and the newly produced “Together”.

An encore, being inevitable, led to an eclectic, upbeat medley of his set that ended the concert with an electrifying finish. On the drive back to Seattle, Adventure ended up being blasted on repeat, and for good reason. When you stop by the Pacific Northwest again, Hugo, I’ll be waiting.

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Wendy Kang



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