Second Sky 2021: The crowd favorites (Jai Wolf, Madeon)

photo of Madeon at the Second Sky Festival
Vanessa Lim/Senior Staff

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As Second Sky made its way into the evening, the heavy-hitters of the festival commanded the attention of nearly everybody present at the Oakland Arena grounds.

Rising electronic music producer and DJ Jai Wolf took the now-massive crowd on an EDM-centric journey, serving up big synth-pop hooks with stadium-friendly beat drops galore. Wolf’s set largely consisted of his popular remixes, including the likes of ODESZA’s “Say My Name,” Keshi’s “Blue” and Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” blended along with originals such as “Moon Rider” and others off his 2019 debut The Cure to Loneliness. During his remix of Petit Biscuit’s “Drivin Thru the Night,” the DJ began pumping up the audience until every festival-goer was jumping in unison, seemingly at the mercy of his MIDI controller. 

To close out his set, Wolf brought out guest vocalist Mr. Gabriel for live performances of “Starlight” and “Lose My Mind.” The latter went through a series of false starts yet functioned as a serviceable send-off, though the mishaps prevented Wolf from capping things off with his breakout hit “Indian Summer” (which he was able to perform in all its glory on the second day) due to time constraints. 

Next to assume the stage was Madeon, whose Good Faith Forever live show boasted some of the most impressive visual production of the night. Dressed like Michael Jackson, decked out in silver gloves and shimmery pants, the French prodigy and longtime friend of Porter Robinson stood between two stands for his equipment — a silhouette in the center of the incredible light show. From hard-hitting dance number “Mania” to uplifting anthem “Be Fine,” the visuals accompanying Madeon’s set morphed from being bright and futuristic to evoking gothic atmospheres. His two opening tracks, the big crowd-pleasers “All My Friends” and “Pay No Mind,” were the most well-received, shifting the festival vibe into a full-on electro-pop dance party.

“A year ago, I never thought I’d play again,” the DJ admitted at sundown near the end of his set. After a particularly touching performance of “Miracle,” Madeon went for the home run by treating fans to a solo rendition of “Shelter,” and it was plain to see that he was genuinely moved by the proceedings. “I’ve missed this so much.”

Vincent Tran is the arts & entertainment editor. Contact him at [email protected].