Dutch DJ Hardwell took London by storm this weekend. The 25-year-old made moves in 2012, jumping to number six in the Top 100 DJ rankings. His ambitious Canadian tour has him performing in 12 cities over 13 days, and on Sunday night, PremierLife, the University Students’ Council, Fourword Thinking, the Wave and the Spoke brought him to the University Community Centre’s Mustang Lounge to prove his status as one of the world’s best.
The Lounge hasn’t seen a big name since last year, when DJ Wolfgang Gartner managed to overheat the room and set off the fire alarms. This time, attendees soldiered through terrible weather and a massive line, but once inside, it was hard to believe you were still on campus.
The venue is open and spacious. The stage is large, featuring a fantastic display and London’s best light show. Washrooms are nearby and couches are available near the back. The set-up was impressive but suffered from an overfilled coat check and a frustrating shortage of water for sale.
Opener Dannic had the crowd going hard. The heat was already getting uncomfortable, and a lack of ventilation meant it was only going to get worse.
The performance itself was stellar all around. Dannic played happy house tunes that got people pumped up. Hardwell came on to a roaring applause and dropped heavy house that set the crowd off. His set was polished—it went hard and heavy but incorporated enough chill tunes at the right times. The rave essential “Atom” got everyone raging and just before the energy started to dip, a surprising mix of Linkin Park’s “Numb” calmed the crowd down. The night went on like this, with amazing tunes and unbearable Amazonian heat.
Suddenly the lights came up, making the entire audience groan. But Hardwell was just teasing, marking the beginning of the end. It was a smart move—as soon as the lights went back down the crowd appreciated every song like it was his last.
His actual ending was marked by a mass exodus of fans who wanted to beat the coat check rush. Unfortunately for those eager beavers, Hardwell came back with a riveting encore that concluded the night properly.
It’s hard to find fault here—this show will go down as one of London’s best. Take note music professionals, this is how a performance is done.