Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Plexapalooza 2016: Chainsmokers Provide EDM Salvation for the Fortunate Few

Last week, the student population of Boston College descended into a panicked frenzy. Morale was low. Fear of Missing Out was at an all time high, drawing momentum from a fleeting two-minute window in which the Campus Activities Board offered tickets to what promised to be EDM mecca and a raver’s fantasy – The Chainsmokers for Plexapalooza 2016.

In that two-minute window of time, the meager offering of 1,800 tickets were sold out, leaving an estimated 1,000 people with eager wallets and empty hands, judging from the attendance list on the official Facebook event page. According to a post on the same page, “The maximum capacity of the venue is 1,800 people due to fire code and safety laws, and all tickets were sold this morning.” As ticket supplies dried up, blood lust grew as a mentality of desperation settled in – friendships were strained, tickets were burned, and rumors of ticket re-sellers ran rampant as the entirety of a 9,000 strong institution engaged in an epic game of “telephone.”

Photo courtesy of Boston College Campus Activities Board / Facebook

As you might imagine, CAB faced harsh backlash from the frustrated community of students. To quote the wise words of Drake, “Trigger fingers turn to Twitter Fingers” (in this case Yak fingers). According to a source within the club, they received such an influx of complaints and negative responses that they were forced to shut down the comments section of the event page all together. This CAB vs. students friction escalated further under threats to pursue administrative action against all ticket re-sellers. Under this stinging whip of Big Brother, reselling tickets – a typically common practice – became an action akin to slinging dope in shady back alleys.

In comparison with last year's Plexapalooza, Dillon Francis was certainly a big name and an impressive offering on behalf of CAB. However, The Chainsmokers are arguably a name of more widespread reputation and perceived caliber. Hurtling into the public eye with the release of their 2014 festival anthem “#SELFIE,” the American EDM duo breached the charts that spring, claiming a peak position of 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. This presence was further solidified and amplified with the 2015 release of “Roses,” a hit single that claimed the number eight position on the charts and made famous their distinct sound characterized by roots in indie, progressive house, and pop music.

Now, without further adieu, the main event:


Photo courtesy of Snapchat

At the time of doors opening, a frosty 35 degrees was to be expected outside for the walk from Williams Hall on College Road down to the Plex. Naturally, I donned a pair of floral short-shorts and a DJ Khaled “Another One” t-shirt, because, as is to be expected of the institution that is Gavel Culture, we abide by the sage advice to “dress for the job you want, not the job you have

One thing was immediately apparent on arrival: CAB wasn't about to be pushed around by some punk kids crying to mommy about missing out. Event staff, police, and at least four ambulances hovered on standby on the way into the event as tickets were scanned, students’ IDs were checked, and random pat downs were issued. Once inside, even more event staff and BCPD officers stood on standby in the immediate space surrounding the growing crowd. While this might not be the most conducive environment to the reckless, brainless lunacy some may have been anticipating, these officials were mostly passive unless required to do otherwise (in the interest of someone's health, for example). CAB outdid themselves in other ways, though, including the beautifully designed Plexapalooza tanks, glow sticks, and photo services.

At exactly 10:00 p.m., there was a disturbance in the force. The ever-familiar piano riff from the hit single “Roses” began to play, acting as a musical sheepdog to herd the crowd together. Gradually building with a throbbing bass line, the intro climaxed and The Chainsmokers assumed their positions on stage at the head of a sea of flashing lights and ecstatic faces: “BC what the f*ck is up, we’re The Chainsmokers! You sold out this show in less than five minutes, y’all ready to turn the f*ck up or what!?"

For those of you who couldn't make it, I took a (low quality) video of the crowd so you could get a peek inside the exclusive event:


As can be seen, no bars were held early on, and the Plex quickly digressed into a gloriously packed mad house. The energy of the crowd was electric, and The Chainsmokers did not disappoint. They even returned for an encore with some brand new material as well as an offer to meet up at "the bars and sht* later or something."

If I had one qualm with the event, it would have been less about the extensive security precautions and more about the stigma that came to be synonymous with “Plexapalooza” this year. The rules that had once acted as glue to hold the event together in previous years were now the source of havoc. The two ticket per person policy quickly backfired as many abused this power. Ticket supplies drained at double the rate it should have been, resulting in an experience that seemed too exclusive for the magnitude of the act. Across campus, "did you get tickets" became a default conversation starter. With great power (and money) comes great responsibility, and there should have been better predictions made by CAB to ensure equal opportunity to all interested students. That being said, hats off to CAB and everyone else who worked tirelessly to get our sweaty Plex ready to host BC's biggest concert of 2016 so far. Keep up the good work.

Self-proclaimed renaissance man, musician, Nick Offerman fanboy, and aspiring hoverboard owner.