Beach Blanket Bingo Festival Feat. Dillon Francis, Adrian Lux, Paris Blohm, etc. East Beach, Galveston Island August 23rd, 2014
While it probably happens more frequently in different parts of the world, an EDM bash at the beach is not a regular occurrence in our neck of the woods. This is a bummer, because the meeting of dance music and sand makes of a lot of sense, especially when you consider that plenty of folks wear beachwear to dance shows as it is.
Of course, in order to have a beach show one has to get to the beach, and maybe therein is the issue. Driving to Galveston isn't exactly difficult, but the stretch of 45 from Houston until the Buc-ee's in Texas City can be maddening if you're the type who hates traffic, as most of us are.
Still, it's all worth it once you feel the wind in your hair and the bass in your ears. On a warm night, Beach Blanket Bingo proved to be one of the highlights of the soon (we hope) to be ending summer.
Sound Remedy: Because of the time it took get through security, I did not get to experience the whole of Sound Remedy's set, but what I did catch was enjoyable enough. One plus in his favor was he was pretty good at interacting with the crowd. I don't believe that ever DJ needs to toss cakes or crowd surf, but it doesn't hurt to get out from behind the decks and get a little closer to the fans from time to time.
Paris Blohm: This was the pleasant surprise of the night. Paris played a super-uptempo set that never slowed down once it got started, which is exactly the sort of thing an opening DJ should do. Yeah, taking the crowd on a journey is all fine and dandy, but save that for the names higher on the poster. Blohm has a great ear for picking songs, his transitions are nice and he set the stage nicely for the rest of the evening, putting the headliners in a position where they were going to have to step their game up to put on a memorable performance.
Adrian Lux: Lux has been doing the EDM thing for a few years now, and it's clear that he knows what he's doing. OK, so maybe a transition or two was a little underwhelming, but at least he never crashed and burned. On the whole, this was a perfectly fine set, but it felt like part of the crowd was holding out just a bit while waiting for the main event. That's not a knock on Lux; sometimes you can be playing some really great stuff and not have the crowd fully in to it. It happens.
Dillon Francis: Let's get it out of the way early: yes, it was weird that Dillon Francis was headlining an EDM show so close to appearing at Something Wicked. Sure, Bassnectar is the big draw on SW Saturday, but Francis still has his name up at the top of the flyer.
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That said, it's one of those things that's ultimately forgivable because probably no other DJ is better suited to be playing tunes on the beach. The guy knows how to throw a party without being super-obnoxious at the same time, and his music has the right amount of bass and breeze when there's sand beneath your feet. I still think that Moombahcore is an unnecessary bit of genre jargon, but his mix of moombahton, dubstep and trap was the right combination to get the crowd going wild.
Plus, how do you not enjoy a guy who uses dancing fruit and Jean-Claude Van Damme in his stage graphics?
Every show comes with its share of intangibles. Maybe you end up with someone super-tall standing in front of you. Maybe the parking situation is weird. Maybe you make a new friend. It's these intangibles that can turn a show from something that was good or bad to something that you hope happens again. You never really know what's going to happen when you get out of your car and begin the walk to the venue.
Or the walk back to your car. Some nights you find yourself on the beach, each step taking you closer to you closer to car alarms that don't beep to the beat and away from the treble, until all that is left is the bass and the sea breeze.
The Crowd: Barefoot and beach-ready, although I was glad to see that I wasn't the only weirdo who decided to wear sneakers in spite of the fact that they were going to end up full of sand.
Overheard In the Crowd: There was a girl laying on the ground, her friends on their knees beside her, a cop shining a light down on them. Whatever happened, it was bad and she was in real bad shape. She couldn't stop freaking out, at one point ending up face down in the sand while everyone waited on EMTs to show up. When they rolled her over, she had a mouth full of sand. Clearly something had gone very wrong in her night.
The EMTs got her to the medical tent, and eventually on to a stretcher and off to the hospital, all the while people tried to ignore what was going on as they passed by because no one wants to kill their vibe.
Except your humble blog writer, who found himself caught up watching the drama unfold. Well, your humble blog writer and dude-bro standing next to him, who turned to me after they got her on a back board and asked: "Did you get any video of that?"
"No," I said.
"That sucks...that's the coolest thing I've seen so far."
Random Notebook Dump: How could something called Beach Blanket Bingo not be selling Beach Blanket Bingo beach blankets?
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