What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with killer performances, good vibes, and awesome swag? Pandora, the leader in internet radio, held their 2nd Annual Discovery Den Holiday Party this past Saturday at The Grand Ballroom in New York City, featuringThe Neighbourhood, Kiesza, and Rudimental. The success of last year’s festivities, which boasted a lineup of Pretty Lights, Chromeo, and Tegan and Sara, was apparent in the massive line of fans waiting in the cold and rain, fearing they wouldn’t make the capacity cut.
Inside, the transformed Grand Ballroom was decked with a ceiling of lights, while the walls were lined with promotional setups, and the floor filled with fans. Photos by Ulta Beauty, blue beanies from Pillsbury stitched with the iconic doughboy, glow sticks provided byExpress clothing store, and a chance to tweet your way to the VIP balcony with T-Mobilewere all available to the crowd. Other sponsors included Qdoba and their smothered burritos, Ballantine Pale Ale, and TBS. The stars of the TV network’s new show Ground Floor, Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect) and John C. McGinley(Scrubs), were the first on stage to announce the first act.
Almost an hour after doors opened, the London-town boys of Rudimental hit the stage fired up, ready to get the crowd hyped for the rest of the night. Without fail, the ballroom floor turned into a unified sea of glow sticks and bopping heads. Rudimental seemed to be having their own party on stage, feeding off the energy of the crowd just a few feet below. They started their set off with “Spoons,” “Baby,” and “Right Here.” The super successful collaborations on “Not Giving In,” “Feel The Love,” and “Free” were still played despite the absence of artists like John Newman, Alex Clare, and Emile Sande. Fellow English singerAnne-Marie instead pleasantly replaced the silence of their sound. The space was filled her undeniable voice, the brass solos, and the sounds of Rudimental. The British invasion at The Manhattan Center was definitely a warm welcome to the party.
The crowd was then given enough time (45 minutes to be exact) for a refill on their plastic cup of liquid courage, wait on another line longer than the one to get in to let go of that liquid courage, and reclaim their spots on the floor for the next act. Although some fans may have been disappointed to hear that Kiesza had replaced Charlie XCX, who was set to perform originally, anyone in their right mind could agree that she killed it. The Canadian singer/dancer/entertainer extraordinaire put on a spectacular show that was as much fun to hear, as it was to watch.With two incredibly talented dancers by her side during the entirety of her performance (a la Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video), Kiesza kept up the entire time, killing each move and each note. Rocking a Moschino bomber jacket, leather sweatpants, and gold chains, Kiesza was giving the crowd as much love as she was getting back. “I love this city,” she said, “New York City always has the best crowds!” Starting off her set with “No Enemiesz” and “Vietnam,” the audience was left in awe after her chilling performance of “Sound of a Woman.” She quickly changed gears to “make it a little more sexy in here” with “So Deep,” leaving the crowd in a state of bumping and grinding as bubbles were shot onto them from little toy guns that received a big reaction. After performing “Over Myself” and “Giant in my Heart,” Kiesza had some fun with the crowd with “Take U There.” Giving the audience a backstory of how the song was made in a hotel room in Ibiza with Skrillex and Diplo, after eating sushi and talking about Godzilla for hours, she then gave everyone a quick dance lesson. “When the beat drops, I want the floor to drop!” and that’s exactly what happened. By this time, if you didn’t want to be up there dancing with Kiesza, you wanted to be her as she turned her back to the crowd, trust fell on her fans, and crowd surfed. “That was the first time I’ve done that, so I’ll never forget it!” And with that, the entire Manhattan Center building was now a part of the “Kiesza Klique”. Kiesza ended with a bang with her smash hit “Hideaway.”
With another longer-than-it-should-be interlude between acts, headliners The Neighbourhood came out in style to “Return of the Mack.” Keeping consistent to their image, the stage turned into a complete contrast to Rudimental and Kiesza with a black and white theme throughout their entire performance (ie. lights, wardrobe, and backdrop). Despite the recent release of their mixtape, which included 18 new songs, the Cali boys decided to only play two of them (“Jealousy” and “Lurk”) amidst a set of their older tunes including “Female Robbery,” “Everybody’s Watching Me,” “W.D.Y.W.F.M?,” “A Little Death,” “Wires”, and “Let It Go.” With hauntingly fitting black and white videos playing in the backdrop, including a screaming Veruca Salt, The Neighbourhood succeeded in creating a dark, broody ambience that hypnotized the audience. Pulling out the popular “Sweater Weather” as their second-to-last song, and ending the night with “Afraid,” the lights came up on the blackened ballroom as the band left the stage.
The four-hour event had come to a close as the crowd quickly dissipated and the ballroom emptied. Dimmed glow sticks and tired faces fighting to get to coat check quickly replaced the screaming fans and party goers that were so lively just minutes before. After the success of Pandora’s 2nd Discovery Den Holiday Party, this event is sure to become a season tradition for music lovers!