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Mamby, on the Beach, in Chicago

Finally got to see Kaytranada and Mayer Hawthorne

Kaytranada ditched out on me and the rest of the crowd in two different locations. Once opening for Disclosure at The Greek in Berkeley and the other this past year at Symbiosis. Finally, I got to see him live at Mamby, the festival’s second year on Lake Michigan in Chicago.

My expectations weren’t too high for Kay. My favorite producers DJing live haven’t been anything phenomenal at festivals in the past and going in with high expectations is a recipe for disaster (see Mayer Hawthorne). However, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well he kept the crowd bouncing.

Bass is what gets people moving. I’ve seen plenty of it, but Kaytranada live was the most stark example. When the bass wasn’t bumping the people weren’t bouncing. Get that signature kick in there and Kaytranda has the crowd in a jig. Guess this is why house music and its many iterations are what we love to dance to most. Except Bill Withers, of course (soul music) […]

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Live 105’s BFD 2016

How bad music got me a good woman

First off, these festivals with acronyms for names leave little to the imagination, which doesn’t make it easy to remember. I got BFD mixed up with TBD with the promoter and I feel like a dipshit. As I should. Always good to start off with a little humility.

BFD, or as I recently found out its full name, Big Fucking Day, leaves a lot more to the imagination and is Live 105’s annual summer festival at the Shoreline in Mountain View. The show had three stages this year: the main stage, one for local bands and a tent for the electronic acts. Of course I was there for The Offspring, not really, I was there to see TOKi. And Joywave.

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SXSW 2016 · · Save the Austin Music Hall

And never let Bud Light back without a few other good beers on tap

The amount of music going on in a few small areas around Austin, supported by all the music tech that’s trying to help it flourish, makes SXSW the place where my two loves come together. Quite literally this year with my job and this blog. Both helped me find places to go and people to do it with, but SXSW could’ve helped a lot more.

The SXSW Go app could have better helped with both finding and keeping track of events throughout the night and day, as well as finding the people to spend it with – it’s where the future of live music is going. I did find a handful of good performances and the same amount of not so good, but mostly because of the people in Austin and their recommendations. Some seriously nice people.

Here are a few stories I had with them.

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Del tha Funky Homosapien’s Performance at Pier 23

after the International Canabis Business Conference in SF

I’ve never seen Del live before his performance after the ICBConference last Saturday. I went to Hiero Day last year where I got to meet my favorite right now, Anderson .Paak, but couldn’t catch Del in time.

After seeing Tommy Chong close out the conference, he was a good closer, Del performed a few hours later at Pier 23 Cafe. Actually, like every other damn rap performance, we had to wait for him until the wee hours of the night, but not as ridiculous as the Ghostface-Raekwon show. While waiting for Del to come on, I saw a familiar face waiting around too. […]

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The Music Festival Experience Starts Online

We all just wanna have good conversations with each other

Super City 50 was a one night EDM event held the night before Super Bowl 50 at the Oakland coliseum. My photographer bailed last minute, but luckily I had a few friends going. I’ve gone to festivals alone before and it’s one of the easiest ways to find new friends, but organizers could do a lot better job to encourage it.

People will find the easiest way to connect with each other and drugs help out a lot. I saw all sorts of people on all kinds of things and it’s sad to see how much the law contributes in creating an unsafe environment. Laws change slowly, but the festival experience is about to change rapidly. And that change starts online.

We’re all connected 24/7 and using that to start conversations online will help people meet up more easily offline, at festivals. The closest thing I can find to what I’m talking about is Red Bull Sound Select, which is based around a community for curators. The best way to get people connecting around music online, in my opinion.

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Treasure Island 2015

The two performers I wanted to see sucked, otherwise awesome!

I went to Treasure Island Music Festival this year to see two performers. I’ve been a fan of Viceroy’s productions since 2012 and was amazed by deadmau5’s live “4D projection” in London around the same time. Unfortunately my expectations were high, which usually doesn’t lead to good things.

A few days before the festival I got a promo email from deadmau5’s team giving us pointers on what we should cover with his TI set. The one thing that caught my eye was letting us know that

deadmau5 is not a DJ. He is and should be referred to as an electronic musician or electronic music performer.

Deadmau5 in’t a DJ. Sure, technically. Funny thing is the day before I read an article on some all about the buzz music blog that deadmau5 got rated one of the worst DJ’s of this year (second behind David Guetta). I think most people consider any live performance by an electronic producer as DJing. And his performance was dated. […]

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CRSSD Festival

I can't believe this lineup exists

I only heard about CRSSD fest for the first time last week (actually second, long story) and booking a hotel in San Diego isn’t cheap. Plus flights are ungodly now, so Road Trip! I would’ve given up on this much hassle a long time ago (a week), but look at this lineup.

I’ve gone to a half dozen festivals this year and all of ’em combined don’t add up to what CRSSD has got. Zhu and Bonobo right there makes me there. It’s not really an option after that.

But if you’re not convinced of the lineup yet, check out the playlist we put together. That’s a lot of artists to see in two days. And I usually don’t go to festivals for the music.

I’ll be driving down from San Francisco Friday afternoon, so if anyone needs a ride hit me up!

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Beyond Wonderland 2015

Music was good, visuals were better

The music at most edm festivals mostly miss, but sometimes ya find a hit. Unfortunately that hit wasn’t the music this year at Beyond, but the visuals.

I met with a visual supervisor from the Mad Hatter’s stage and he let me check out what he does at a live set. Let’s just say there’s not much glamour in his performance, but the performance he puts on was breathtaking. Not for the epileptic though. It seems the visualsm from the lights to the costumes and exhibits are evolving quicker than the music at these festivals.

I’m not much for the harder, bass driven music that’s still popular today, if you couldn’t tell yet. So like every year before it I put together a playlist that I’d love to see live (mixed right). The first year I did this was general high bpm dance tracks, but the second year I went specifically for the bass. This year was the best of bass since we started Silence six years ago. It may not be defining what I love now and probably won’t for many years, but it did have its place and may once again. It’s all about soul right now (and has always been).

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A Symbiosis Story

Go for the music, stay for everything else

Symbiosis Gathering and festivals like it are an experience everyone should involve themselves in at least a few times in life, especially for the type that aren’t already going. Symbiosis brought together electronic music and other activities for mind growth & body. I went for the music, but I got more out of everything else.

People are picky in what music they’ll listen to, especially me, but other activities for growth are much more universally appreciated. That is, if you’re open to learning. I got a chance to listen to a few panels while dodging the daily scorching heat and every one of ’em gave me at least a little new perspective.

One particular speaker comes to mind was Shylah’s talk on natural birth. She took all of three minutes to flip me from ‘seems like an option some people should look into’ to ‘your child’s birth is pretty much one of the most important moments in your life (and theirs) and of course we’re getting it wrong, like always.’ She went off on a few other like-minded tangents that felt more rooted in emotion than actual urgency, but her zest towards it all was refreshing.

As much as the panels and music were worth the adventure out to Oakdale where the festival was held, all of the brief interactions were what made it so memorable, most memorably my missed connection [see below].

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Hiero Day 2015

Annual festival in Oakland

Hieroglyphics is a hip hop group out of Northern California. Each year they celebrate new hip hop talent with their own festival in Oakland on Labor Day. I got the chance to cover their show this year and even though there were over a dozen quality performers to see on each stage, I was there for one.

It took me over three hours to get to Hiero Day, public transit wasn’t doing so well. When I got there the temp had to be hitting on 90 and everyone was looking for shade to sit in. But I had to find Anderson .Paak. The main reason I was there.

I caught him right before his performance on the Third Eye stage. I ran up to him like a giddy fool and blathered about my love for his music. When I realized how foolish I was sounding, his manager assured me that they all felt the same way too. We talked a bit longer about other LA emcees, I actually told him the only other one that could compete with him was Doja Cat. He got a kick out of it.

His performance on stage had just as much character as his music, along with the short time I talked to him. The day was a highlight I’ll be holding on to at least until next Labor Day.

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