I’m not usually anxious about attending shows alone, but for Madeon’s Good Faith Live tour, I was especially bummed all my friends had left the city for Thanksgiving.  Going solo, I rolled into the show in an awkward heap – hair sopping wet, back glued to the wall as I charged my phone on 15%, a Stella in hand while I made uncomfortable eye contact with dudes in G Jones and Porter Robinson merch.  I texted my editor a dumb question I knew I didn’t need to ask, just for the sake of looking at a screen.  It should be fine, he kindly typed back. Just have fun!  I chuckled aloud to no one, secretly thankful when Instupendo graced the stage right on time. 

Instupendo, dressed as a soft boi dream with flowing blonde hair, was the vision of mellow I needed at that moment.  Noticeably shy (which made me relax – bless him), he moved comfortably into his setup, suddenly brightened by a small screen of misty shapes and colours and textures.  As the background morphed into red stars and silhouettes (and at one point, a pair of very serene skiers), Instupendo sunk deeply into his music and let his signature twinkly sounds do the rest.  Everything he did was with care, like the way he touched the keys or playfully wrapped himself in the microphone cord, the audience giggling at his sweetness.  His speaking voice was deeper than I expected, but it dripped with kindness – he gave a polite thank you to the audience after every single song he performed. Instupendo had been brought in as the calm before the storm, the gentle voice to cool the crowd before the intensity of Madeon’s set.  It worked – I felt infinitely better.  

Shortly after, the tiny screen we’d been watching grew twenty times in size: GOOD FAITH flashed across the stage, and the roar from the crowd erupted like a stadium instead of a venue of 1300.  Everything melted into a technicolor dream, and in the middle of it all stood Madeon as our fearless conductor, his fist held up high in the air.  I can’t describe to you in words how vibrant the colours were or how powerful those visuals felt.  Rainbows and iridescent figures illuminated glass DJ tables, strobe lights jolted our vision, inverted landscapes led us into sweeping bass drops with our hands waving and thrashing about.  I watched a 6’2” dude in a muscle tee shamelessly belt out every word to ‘Heavy with Hoping’; another girl barely tall enough to see clutched her chest as ‘Be Fine’ soaked us in flecks of clouds and golden light. Two completely different people, the same exact facial expression: awestruck.  

Here’s the thing: Madeon’s ‘Good Faith’ may be about him and the vivid highs and lows of his past three years, but it isn’t for him.  It exists as a sense of relief, an electrifying journey where he’s willingly plastered his heart into the music and his brain across a giant screen. Seeing it unfold live is such a sacred experience because the album’s main vehicle is compassion, unrelentless in how the spectacle overwhelms you physically while the lyrics and flashing text speak universal truths.  As Pink once said: “Kindness is an act of rebellion,” and this show is a safe space filled with carefree dancing, declarations of tenderness, and colourful chaos.

When I left Brooklyn Steel, I took a video of my face as I walked out – I was grinning ear to ear, still high on the rush of such a powerful show.  I came in feeling awkward, but I left like a star – Madeon had drenched the audience in the kind of overpowering love and light you only see in your dreams.  You could feel his sense of empathy through his stage presence, something I’ve yet to experience in a DJ set.  His fans know it too – they crave that kindness, and they take care of one another because of it.

Stream: Columbia Records
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