The opening act in an electronic show characteristically takes the backseat to the headliner. The light show is restricted because the headliner’s set is hidden behind a curtain, and the fans are vaguely interested, but only because they are about to see the DJ they came to see momentarily. The music even seems subdued.
This was not the case for Paper Diamond at the Fillmore.
Opening for the heavy dubstep DJ, Excision, Paper Diamond’s smooth variety of EDM—similar to that of the head of his record label, Pretty Lights—seemed like a strange fit. In mere seconds, however, any doubts were dispelled.
Paper Diamond, otherwise known as Alex B., dazzled the Detroit crowd with his variety. He displayed his unique flavor of smooth, almost jazzy electronic music dropping his new song, “ID.” The live twist on his genre added a deeper bass that meshed perfectly with the mood of the venue. As Excision is known to bring his crowds to the brink of insanity, Alex B. showed that he, too, had the ability to test the boundaries, dropping some of the heaviest dubstep of the night. Straying away from dubstep, Paper Diamond also played to the recent buzz around trap music, dropping Diplo’s remix of Calvin Harris’ “Sweet Nothing” and a trap remix of Hardwell’s “Spaceman.”
The set was unbelievable, unlike most openers. His stage, in the shape of a “W,” displayed an elaborate visualizer that had fans mesmerized. His light show was on point, with a sophisticated contrast between dark, ambient lighting, and radiant strobe lights of all colors. The whole performance came together with a professionalism unseen in most opening acts. One fan, clearly under the impression that this had to have been the main event, shouted to his friend, “Excision is awesome!.”
Alex B’s expressive stage presence worked in perfect harmony with the lights, the bass, and the buzz of the fans. As the lights faded to black in a build up to a drop, his head dropped with them. As a strobe light flickered blue and yellow with the drop of the bass, he raised his arms and jumped with the rest of the crowd. The crowd could feel his enthusiasm— and that is the best aspect of any live DJ performance. As he left the stage, leaving the bumping crowd with an un-remixed “Get Low” by Lil’ Jon and the East Side Boys, Paper Diamond proved one thing: he is the real deal, and one of the true up-and-comers in the EDM scene.