August 3, 2014


Why Duke Dumont Was Lollapalooza's Best Kept Secret

Michael Tullberg/Getty Images
Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Britain's Duke Dumont is at a curious place in his career. The 31-year-old has two No. 1s in his native UK, but no full-length album and little mainstream recognition stateside (despite his recent GRAMMY nomination). Yet if Dumont's Lollapalooza 2014 set was any indication, the British DJ will soon be famous for his feel-good, groovin' live show, which proved to be the festival's best kept secret.

Dumont played Lolla's Perry's stage at an early-but-not-too-early 3:15 p.m., drawing a mid-sized crowd. His new single "Won't Look Back" kicked off the set, displaying Dumont's signature '90s-house sound, which recalls the days of C+C Music Factory. 

The set continued with similarly nostalgic tracks, all boasting the vintage, Chicago house sound with thick basslines and repetitive, soulful melodies that lodge easily in the brain and encourage sing-alongs. At times, ominous, grating synths made their way into the mix, but those were fleeting moments and Duke quickly changed back to the peppy sound. 

During his GRAMMY-nominated "Need U (100%)," the Brit let the music drop out... but the crowd took the lead and shouted the lyrics to him! The response was good. Not Calvin Harris good, but a successful experiment if Dumont was checking to see how he well he was resonating with this American audience.

Dumont also had another crowd-pleasing moment when he played "I Got U" and had the whole audience clapping along. But with its tropical marimbas and Whitney Houston sample, would you have expected the song to get any other response? 

As the '90s-esque dance music drifted through the south side of Grant Park, the crowd grew throughout the set. But the audience never became particularly massive (unlike Iggy Azalea's overcrowded performance at the same stage on Day 1). So when Duke Dumont's feel-good dance party drew to a close, a hoard of happy teens and adults walked away smiling, ready to brag about the the amazing experience they had just had—but that had been missed by the rest of the fest. 

Check out all of Fuse's on-the-ground coverage from Lollapalooza 2014 right here.