There’s been an awful lot jumping at Zilker Park the past couple of weeks. If there was oil under there, Major Lazer would have struck Texas tea Saturday night at Austin City Limits Music Festival.
At ACL, Calvin Harris and Zedd bring the hook-soaked euphoria and Skrillex brings the screeching insolence, but DJ Diplo and hypeman Walshy Fire brought sexy dancehall ruckus to the RetailMeNot stage. Sharply suited with a well-stocked screen of Magic Eyes swirling behind them in blazing light, Major Lazer presided over a jostling pack of mud-caked festgoers with ground that literally moved underneath them. Every jump ended in a sticky sink, and every slide went a little further than usual. If you’re going to get dirty, all the better if your party is filthy.
And no one would accuse Major Lazer of good, clean fun. Scantily clad backup dancers gyrated and made effective use of smoke guns. Eric Wareheim’s surreal, jiggly “Bubble Butt” video, projected in vivid Technicolor just across the street from where they put up the Zilker Christmas tree each year, took the audience down a rabbit hole of reggae grooves and mood-heightening sirens. Diplo crowdsurfed — inside a giant plastic bubble, Wayne Coyne style. Walshy Fire stopped the music a couple times to encourage the masses for revelry well done and to instruct them in their next form of locomotion (more than once, a directive to remove clothing). A giant-felted-helmeted Major Lazer mascot broke it don on stage. The disembodied voice of Sean Paul echoed over the speakers.
The EDM project that spawned “Pon de Floor” broke down inhibitions, yes. But behind the turntable, Diplo was doing arithmetic. Afro-Caribbean textures plus the most efficient club beats divided by Reel 2 Real’s “I Like To Move It”: Plenty of muddy bodies will tell you that equals dopamine.