Much to my editor's annoyance, I have a bad tendency of overwriting. [Not true -- ed.] This comes from an obsessive need to take as many notes as possible so that when it comes time to write my concert reviews, I don't run out of things to talk about.
Something Wicked gave me plenty to write about on the music front, which led to less space to talk about the general feeling of the festival. So what did I learn in those cool autumn hours spent at the show? Here are ten of the things that I noted in between the beats.
10. Production Value Kudos to Disco Donnie Presents and Nightculture for putting real money into the production side of things. The main stage sound system sounded better than any I've ever come across at an outdoor show, the LED displays were top-notch and the costumed dancers helped make to the show feel different. Adding the Halloween decorations in between the stages was a nice touch.
9. Back to Nature As opposed to shows like the Warped Tour and Identity Fest that take place in parking lots, SW took place in a slightly wooded area. Things got a bit dusty when the crowds danced, but overall it was a nice environment for a show. Were the fog machines near the trees a bit silly? Sure, but it's a Halloween festival and atmosphere is important.
8. Room to Grow It took roughly three minutes to get from one stage to the next. While being able to move between stages was nice, the sound bleed from the main stage was a bit of an issue if you were at the other stages. There isn't an easy solution to this issue if the fest stays at its current location, unless they just want to turn up the sound at Bass Massacre. This might not be an issue for the bass fiends.
7. The Experiment While the smaller, almost hidden third stage didn't have the lineup firepower of the bigger stages, it did allow some local and regional acts a chance to do their thing. Most spent their sets spinning to a handful of dancers and whomever had showed up to rest their feet by sitting on some hay bales. Among the performers I caught firsthand, I was most impressed with Grrrl Parts and Jasmine Rose.
6. The Food Entry On the plus side, it was nice to go to a fest that provided the option of purchasing fruit cups, smoothies and comically large slices of watermelon. The downside was there wasn't much in the way of food vendors in general. Hopefully, next time Something Wicked can convince a few more food trucks it's worth it to show up.
5. Lack of Logos When was the last time you were at a show largely devoid of corporate sponsorship and thus devoid of corporate logos plastered on anything that didn't move? I don't have a problem with promoters cutting deals to get these things funded, but it was nice to not have beer logos everywhere for a change.
4. Beat Repeat Part 2 After Identity Fest, I wrote a bit about hearing a song multiple times during the day. While Martin Solveig's "The Night Out" might have been the summer jam, the fall firmly belongs to Dada Life's "Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker," which I heard in three different sets. While the song is awesome, I'm torn because I'm not sure it's three-times-in-the-same-day awesome. [Dada Life in fact plays Stereo Live Tuesday at the club's "Vampire Ball" -- ed.]
3. Costumes Definitely Encouraged Can anyone explain to me the connection between EDM and potassium? I tried looking it up on Google to no success, and I ask because I saw more people at the show dressed like bananas than I could count. I also saw a variety of superheroes, various sexy versions of non-sexy things (Mario and Luigi, Pikachu) and multiple Deadmice (or are they referred to as DeadMau5es?). I also spotted Waldo roughly 47 times.
2. Weathering the Weather In addition to the Halloween costumes, there were the people who dressed up in the more traditional EDM garb: fairy wings, tutus, furry boots, things that glow, etc. A lot of these people made the really bold choice to wear very little in spite of the cooler temperatures. Judging by the goose bumps they were rocking, the cold got to at least a few of them.
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10. The Community The reason I like covering EDM shows, aside from the music, is that everyone I meet is a) really nice and b) really happy to be there. True, people can be a bit careless at times, inconsiderate at others, but in general everyone just wants everyone else to have a good time. Maybe other scenes are like that and I've just been covering the wrong shows, but I do love the EDM crowds.