Backbeat: Swedish House Mafia Turns Madison Square Garden Into World's Biggest Nightclub
Backbeat: Swedish House Mafia Turns Madison Square Garden Into World's Biggest Nightclub

Swedish House Mafia
Andy Rutherford, Mark Gillespie, and Dean Wilson (L-R) of Three Six Zero. (Photo: Franklin Williams)

Swedish House Mafia swept into New York's Madison Square Garden on Friday, December 16 with a new title, single, and management company at its back.

The title? "First DJ act to ever headline MSG" -- never mind selling it out in 9 minutes. The single? "Antidote," the three-member group's most aggressive in its brief history, created in collaboration with Knife Party, a side project of members from rave band Pendulum. The management company? Three Six Zero, a UK-based Roc Nation subsidiary that also minds deadmau5, Rihanna collaborator Calvin Harris, and Nero -- a similarly epic live act on the fast track to an MSG gig of its own.

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Backstage, members of the Three Six Zero crew -- Andy Rutherford, Mark Gillespie, and Dean Wilson -- tried to create order amidst the chaos. Admirers and followers from all over the world were angling to get 'round the three guys -- Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Axwell -- they affectionately call The Swedes: Beat-loving celebs like British action star Jason Statham and Jay-Z friend/associate Tata, party partners from Ibiza, and other electronic music artists and collaborators, like Junior Sanchez, Erick Morillo, and opening DJ Stuart Price.

"Did you know that a swede is also a root vegetable?" joked Price. (Wikipedia check: It is, indeed, another name for a rutabaga.)

Swedish House Mafia
Justin Kleinfeld of Rephlektor PR. (Photo: Franklin Williams)

According to Rutherford, within its first three and a half weeks on the job, Three Six Zero had already brought on seven new full-time staff members dedicated to the band, including L.A.-based hire Jessica Risling-Scholl, formerly Director of Marketing & Publicity at Ultra Records (who made the trip to MSG during her first 48 hours on the job).

When the Swedes finally did take the stage -- or in this case, the elevated, LED-colored DJ booth -- the packed house let loose with pumping fists and twirling glowsticks, temporarily turning the World's Greatest Arena into the world's biggest nightclub. Fuse TV streamed the entire affair live, with real-time comments flowing in from all over the world.

With such an ecstatic reception, it stands to reason that while SHM was the first DJ act to headline the Garden, it won't be the last.