Oh, frat boys. We loathe them as much as we lust/love them, and one typically can't help but feel a weird compelling feeling to figure out what makes them such damn confident partiers. Major Lazer closed Day 1 of Austin City Limits Festival 2016 and Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire were the cool guys on the ACL campus as they commanded the crowd with their mix of party music and fraternity-esque energy.
The first (and most important) part was the music. Like any good party, there was a mix of straight-up Top 40 tunes (Rihanna, Drake, The Chainsmokers), the host's favorite songs (they of course played their Major Lazer hits "Lean On" and "Cold Water" to a huge response), more obscure bangers (ML dancehall singles "Watch Out for This (Bumaye)" and "Light It Up"), plus classic jock jams ("Kernkraft 400" and "Boom Boom Boom Let Me Hear You Say Wayo!"). The crowd jumped around and sang along to nearly everything as the guys took turns at the DJ booth and hyping up the crowd.
But what made this performance stand out as more collegiate than others was the activities in which the Major Lazer dudes got the crowd to partake. There were multiple times the guys had the audience entranced in call-and-response chants, making them scream at even the most simple statements (many requests to "Make some noise!"). They even did their best to get slightly political, but with a party-boy spin, telling the crowd early on in the set: "This is what I think America is about! It's not about building a wall, it's about everybody and every nationality coming together for a good time!"
Perhaps the most representative moment came as the guys commanded everyone in the crowd to take their shirts off and, on the count of three, whip their tops in the air. While we only witnessed half a dozen people actually participate, it's totally the type of request only the most confident of guys can pull off.
As the set went on, Diplo jumped into a human-sized hamster ball and rolled over the crowd, there were loads of fireworks, pyro and sparklers igniting all over the stage. And like any good party there were multiple outfit changes as the crew arrived in preppy, all-white ensembles but eventually changed into Texas college jerseys.
But what truly made the headlining set a frat party to remember? After Diplo told the crowd multiple times how Austin is "the coolest city in the USA" and the guys said they thought Austin had the biggest Major Lazer fans, the act brought out the University of Texas at Austin's bull mascot, Hook 'Em, to make a cameo on stage and dance alongside their dancers. It was definitely the type of "How the eff they pull that off?" moment you'd come to expect from only the craziest frat brother, but in the end, you accept it and keep partying alongside them.
Stay tuned to Fuse's on-the-ground coverage from ACL 2016 right here.