Donned in maize and blue T-shirts that read “Michigan Grandpa” and “Michigan Mom,” Freddy Kennett and Robby Hauldren took the stage at Ann Arbor’s Hill Auditorium for Music Matters’s annual SpringFest. Five months ago, the duo electrified the crowd at Detroit’s Masonic Temple with a phenomenal rundown through their discography, but last night’s performance was different. After trips to both Europe and South America for a tour with Whethan and performances for Lollapalooza’s regional tour respectively, Kennett and Hauldren seemed to have a stronger grasp of how to transform an EDM show from a disk-spinning display of their content into a dynamic and engaging experience.
With new music to work with, like their beat tape Honey, Kennett and Hauldren layered tracks left and right. Their famed release, “It’s Strange,” normally reserved for the show’s encore, was thrown in mid-set with the heavy beat of “Drip Drip” in the background. They also paid their respects to electronic music pioneers, Justice, with a remix of the group’s hit track “D.A.N.C.E.” Still, they didn’t shy away from unadulterated crowd-pleasing hits, ending the evening with their most recent blow-up track, “Last To Leave.” All in all, the performance was engaging and unpredictable, aspects that can be hard to come by at EDM shows, where songs are often played in isolation with no regard for live arrangement.
The show’s opening acts, Miller Guth and Lost Kings, also put on impressive performances, with the typically pop-driven Lost Kings toying with head-banging bass drops. These acts, plus a more artistically mature Louis The Child, made this year’s SpringFest an absolute success.