After Action Report Performers: Dada Life, Henry Fong, Bixel Boys Location: The Dada Land Compound (Stereo Live) Date: February 20, 2015
Country: Dada Land Population: 2 (Permanent); Millions (Potentially) Chief Imports: Bananas, Champagne Chief Exports: Massive Beats
When I was tasked with the assignment of filing a report on a trip to Dada Land, I knew I was in for a long night. We've all heard the rumors of what goes on once you leave your home country behind and step in to their world of bananas, champagne and happy violence. Cultures that celebrate youth and hedonism are nothing new in the world, but Dada Land takes that celebration to its overly sugared extreme.
One cannot talk about Dada Land without talking about the dual dictators that run it: Dada Life. They travel the world, offering crowds a temporary glimpse in to the world they've created before pushing them back out in to the reality that makes up their day-to-day life. What are we to make of these performances? Is it over-the top-spectacle? Is it propaganda for the Dada Land? Is Dada Life trying to indoctrinate the world's youth to in hopes of making them the youth of Dada Land?
If these shows are for a nefarious purpose, we should all be concerned, because a trip, however temporary, to Dada Land is a fantastic time.
You can offer the masses spectacle all day, and the masses will watch. This is something we all, like it or not, understand. But the spectacle has to be rooted in something with value. It doesn't matter how many giant blow-up bananas you throw out or pillowfights you stage; if there's nothing at the core, people will find out and people will stop showing up.
There are plenty of DJs who trade in spectacle and there are plenty of DJs that embrace the hedonistic side of dance music, but few do it as well as Dada Life.
It's weird that more DJs don't embrace the silly nature of dance music. They may have fun songs, songs of partying, celebrations of being young with subtle (and not-so-subtle) references to drinking and drug use, but they balance those out with love songs or songs about feeling good about yourself or songs that try and unlock the universal feelings we all share.
Dada Life, on the other hand, basically just write songs with giant beats that are incredibly silly. That's not a backhanded compliment, either; their songs are consistently good while being cotton-candy light. These are not songs, typically speaking, that are going to change your life on a deep, meaningful level, but they will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
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More importantly, especially if you are the rulers of a rising nation such as Dada Land, Dada Life know the value of making a concert something that you take an active role in rather than passively experience. Going to shows and hearing music real loud and dancing is fun and worthwhile, yes, but on average you're going to remember the show that you got in to a pillow fight more than the one where you just stood watching a giant screen. Everyone loves happy violence.
Dada Life is so dedicated to being happy that it's against the rules of Dada Land to be grumpy. And if you're not feeling the happy spirit, they provide smile masks so that even those with resting bitch face can look like they've having a good time. Admittedly, mandatory forced happiness is a bit creepy, as are the smile masks, as are dictatorships as a general rule.
Which is why, at this time, I can only recommend visiting Dada Land when you have the chance rather than applying for permanent residency. Yes, a night of massive happiness and silliness is good, even necessary from time to time, but what is life without a spectrum of emotions?
Still, it is important to maintain a healthy diplomatic relationship with Dada Land. After all, we as a society are much better off promoting DJs that push bananas instead of birthday cakes. Potassium, like silliness, is important to a balanced life.
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Personal Bias: A natural grump who occasionally likes to kick out the epic motherfucker.
The Crowd: Far too many people in this community have easy access to banana costumes.
Random Notebook Dump: Never trust a bald man that smiles. That's the last thing you see before your face gets eaten or Steve Austin hits you with the Stone Cold Stunner.
So, How Where the Openers: Henry Fong was a perfectly acceptable opener, the type of guy who can spin for an hour and a half without overstaying his welcome or outshining the headliner. As for the Bixel Boys, they were a damn good time, and if any spots need to be filled in the FPSF lineup, I would not object to spending a June afternoon listening to them.