The anticipation was palpable at the Opera Nightclub in Midtown Atlanta last Friday night as the crowd awaited Alison Wonderland. It was her first show ever in ATL, and her 12th stop on her debut tour “Run,” though you’d never guess with the way she ran herself ragged for the raging crowd. Alex Scholler, better known by her stage name Alison Wonderland, is a true performance artist. The petite, shaking girl who took the stage with a sweet and almost soft Australian accent vanished before my eyes the moment her mass of strobe lights blinded the theatre. Before my eyes could process the massive LED stage before me, Alison breaks out with a scream that could rival even the voice of former Crystal Castles member Alice Glass, and leaps onto her soundboard, banging down in steady rhythm. The crowd devoured her as she raced forward into them, deep steady bass assaulting every sense. The old theatre was rocked to its foundation. Atlanta went wild for her.
Wonderland’s excitement on stage matched that of the crowd, if not surpassed it. She leapt around the stage with such endless energy it wiped you out just to keep your eyes on her (and there was no skimping on the strobe lights either). Apparently Wonderland’s live mixing has been doubted in the past, so her set purposefully acts as a tribute to her genuine effort and artistry as a DJ. Using a GoPro to record her hands throughout the show, the images are inverted and played back to the crowd in an absorbing kaleidoscopic display behind her. Draped in her classic Adidas oversized white T and sneakers, chugging at a bottle of Smirnoff between screams, her stage presence is anything but feminine, and that’s exactly how she wants it.
Alex Scholler is an artist, not a “female DJ,” and she uses her identity as an artist to purposefully downplay her natural feminine looks so fans can focus solely on her art, not her appearance. Wonderland’s blaring bass is so heavy it slaps gender stereotyping right across the face. The cacophony of trap tins and earth-shaking drops obliterate any expectations of femininity in her music. Alison has stated that she is extremely competitive in her art, and that she needs to be since DJ’s nowadays are predominantly male.
Alison also has a notorious backbone when it comes to standing up for herself. Recently she dealt with comments on social media posted by some young boys, saying how they wanted to rape and roofie her. She spoke out almost immediately, that no one should be made to be afraid and uncomfortable and that rape is “not ok, even if it’s a joke.” Apparently after receiving an apology directly from the boys, she even had the character to stand up for them against the assault of online hate they were facing after the incident, stating that they had apologized and she did not condone her fans attacking them.
Alison says she is a feminist, but does not want to be defined by that. Before all else, she is an artist, and she is a damned involved one. Never have I seen an artist as in the moment, as lost in the music, as Wonderland was. She gives the crowd not just her art, but her heart and soul as well when she performs. Alison gave us everything you could ever ask for in an EDM show.