The question lingered for nearly the entire set: When would Baauer drop "Harlem Shake," his syrupy instrumental dance track that spawned a viral craze?
Would he do it early to get it out of the way, as Gotye did when he played "Somebody That I Used to Know" this time last year? Would he pull an MGMT, which memorably ignored its anthem "Time to Pretend" in 2008? Baauer's ubiquitous jam had to come -- didn't it?
For 55 intense minutes the New York producer teased the audience, working to deliver proof that he's not a one-hit wonder, but a production force working to bring the hot subgenre of trap rap to the masses. He did it with lots of bass, some choice samples -- Chief Keef, Outkast ("Bombs over Baghdad"), Jay-Z and Lil Wayne, and the crowd lapped up each quote. All the while he tried to keep his baseball cap on, but his heave-ho rhythms propelled his noggin like a metalhead working a riff, and the hat came off. He wiped his head with a towel, covered his face with it and banged some more.
And then the beat stopped, and Baauer vanished. He didn't even say goodbye as the crowd, a little stumped, started mumbling. Then a chant sprouted -- "Harlem Shake! Harlem Shake!" -- as various inflatable creatures started bouncing among the dancers. Two painted pigeon signs were particularly giddy.