Something Wicked at Sam Houston Race Park, 10/26/2013

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Something Wicked Festival Sam Houston Race Park October 26, 2013

Committing yourself to throwing a yearly event means one thing: every year you're going to have to find a way to top yourself. Your beginning may be a small, humble affair, but the next year people will expect more from you, and you'll have to deliver to keep them coming back.

The first Something Wicked Festival was a solid first outing. The lineup was killer across the board, the festival was well laid out, tying it in to Halloween provided some fun atmosphere, and late October proved to be a great time of year to hold an outdoor music festival.

REWIND: Something Wicked at Sam Houston Race Park, 10/27/2012

Saturday, Disco Donnie Presents and Nightculture brought Something Wicked back for round two, drawing thousands of dance music fans in for another day of loud music and costume mayhem. Rocks Off spent damn near eight hours on the scene to catch some tunes and see how the festival is growing.

3:44 p.m. During my short drive through the parking lot I've already spotted six white people dressed like Native Americans. That's still a thing?

4:00 p.m. Going through security means taking your shoes off. Easy enough for me, but probably a pain in the ass for every person who thought it was a good idea to wear tall boots.

4:24 p.m. This year there are three stages: the gigantic main stage, a smaller stage centered around trance acts, and another featuring all the bass acts. After a walk around the festival grounds, the early winner in terms of popularity is the bass stage. Alex Young is dropping some trap beats and the day is off to a good start.

4:52 p.m . Herobust's set gets off to a real strong start, and my face is vibrating.

5:22 p.m. Over at Shadow Field (the giant main stage), things are pretty laid-back. I take a seat to listen to Ryan Hemsworth do his thing, which is mainly playing music that's awesome to listen to while the sun is setting.

5:32 p.m. People not even near a stage stop what they're doing to dance the second they hear Daft Punk's "Around the World." One thing you never see at other festivals: that seamless transition from walking to dancing mid-step that happens when a good song comes on.

6:00 p.m. I've heard a lot of hip-hop today, which is a big change from last year. That's not a complaint. 2 Chainz is particularly popular.

6:09 p.m. To prove my point, Luminox drops "Still Tippin'" in to his set. For the next 10 seconds, every person who walks by me is mouthing the words to the track.

Review continues on the next page.

6:38 p.m. The sun is setting, and it feels like the world is getting louder.

6:57 p.m. Shogun is playing something vaguely meditative, the crowd is raising its arms to the sky, and I'm wondering if there are any trance music yoga classes out there.

8:05 p.m. Now that the sun is gone, it's easier to appreciate just how much bigger the festival feels this year. It's not just a size thing either, although the main stage is gigantic. Each stage has its own identity: Shadow Field is huge and has an impressive display of screens, Mystic Meadows (trance stage) has a neat pyramid design and a ton of lasers, and the Bass Crypt is more closed-in and intimate. Things are bigger, yes, but not throw together. Well done, DDP and Nightculture.

8:10 p.m. Watching Cookie Monsta because Old Man Rocks Off recommended him. There's so much bass coming out of the speakers I wonder if my atoms are going to shake themselves apart.

8:50 p.m.

I'm not sure what this is (above), but I couldn't pull my eyes away.

9:04 p.m. All my notes say are "sexy witches at Crizzly." Apparently that was all you needed to know.

9:45 p.m. Crizzly ends his set in the crowd. Now what you know about them Texas boys?

Review continues on the next page.

10:00 p.m. Every hour or so I walk around the festival grounds to see what's going on and get away from the bass' full-body massage for a few minutes. One thing I've noticed over and over is that the people at the bass stage seem to be having more overt fun than people at the other stages. I have two theories about this:

  • Bass music is easy to dance to. If you can nod your head, move your shoulders slightly, and occasionally raise your arms up then you meet the barrier for entry.
  • Bass music is the most overtly sexual music compared to what's going on at the other stages.

Also, not for nothing, but listening to trance while the sun was out was just weird.

10:43 p.m. I'm not going to tell you that Adventure Club's remix of Yuna's "Lullabies" is the greatest remix of all time, but it's basically a perfect song, so there's that. Also, it was really nice to listen to a set that didn't feel like I was getting punched in the face for an hour. There's nothing wrong with that, but a little bit of variety doesn't hurt either. Dynamics are cool.

10:53 p.m. The line at the ATM is still 20 people deep. I'm not sure what they want to buy, but it must be important.

10:56 p.m. I'm watching the massive crowd that is watching Tiësto, trying to think of something clever to say about just how massively popular he is, when all of a sudden fireworks pop off the top of the Shadow Field.

Tiësto gets fireworks. What more do you need to know?

In Summation: Disco Donnie Presents and Nightculture really stepped things up this year, and the result is a festival that holds its own with any in the state. If this is how things are after a year, I can't wait to see what they have planned for next year.

My face is already vibrating.

Personal Bias: Sign me up for one "I love you but I've chosen trap music" shirt.

The Crowd: I would venture to guess that more than half the crowd was in costume, depending on whether or not you count the raver uniform (tutu, furry boots, etc. etc.) as a costume.

Overheard in the Crowd: "I'm not going to church," said one girl to her friend, explaining why she wished her dress was shorter.

Creepiest Thing Overheard in the Crowd: "Anyone with erectile dysfunction could come to this and problem solved," said one dudebro to another, before lamenting about how he couldn't bring his camera in.

Best Sets of the Day: Herobust, Ryan Hemsworth, Adventure Club

Random Notebook Dump: Your phone has a "notes" app. Just write down a line of two about where you parked your car. Don't be the people in your underwear, lost and confused, wandering up and down the aisles, unable to go home.


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