It’s been said that in this era of Trump, Brexit et al, that politics is beyond satire. In the realm of Electronic Dance Music (or should that be Event Driven Marketing?), aka EDM, it’s probably fair to say that we are now, similarly, beyond parody.
While it only lasted five minutes, a ‘set’ helmed by KFC mascot Colonel Sanders was one of the most talked-about and shared performances of last weekend’s Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and with good reason – for many, it marked the moment where corporate saturation of EDM reached its zenith.
“Five minutes of trashy, out-of-time beats plod around the Miami stage before Nora En Pure arrives, confused and bewildered as to what’s unfolding and rightfully so,” as Mixmag put it in their review of the Colonel’s, ahem, ‘performance’. “Onlookers watch on in disbelief. Every video we’ve seen shows the crowd stood still, trying to process what’s happening before them.”
It didn’t take long for dance music’s great and good to ‘call out’ Ultra Music Festival on Twitter, including fellow EDM artist and event headliner Marshmello, who, lest we forget, performs with a giant plastic marshmallow on his head.
But while few would argue with Mr. Mello’s description of said set as ‘lame’, it’s part and parcel of the EDM juggernaut, which has been a paddling pool for corporate interests for more than a decade.
As UK house producer Alex Metric noted on Twitter, Ultra’s decision to book the KFC mascot ‘feels like some horrendous logical conclusion to the direction that part of dance music has been heading’, before offering the tantalising image of ‘Ronald McDonald at Berghain’… although as we all know, the erstwhile clown would never make it past the bouncers.
Last year, EDM watchers were discussing whether Bosnian DJ Salvatore Ganacci, was trolling Tomorrowland as he theatrically pranced around the stage during his set.
This year, it’s Colonel Sanders, and the corporate might of KFC, that are doing the trolling, with, no doubt, plenty of time afterwards for Steve Aoki to ‘cake’ the audience for dessert.
Maybe we should cut the Colonel some slack… at least he had the courtesy to get off the stage after five minutes.