On September 13th we traveled to San Francisco’s Pier 70 to checkout the annual Summersalt music festival. Taking place at an abandon pier, the industrial setting on top of the cool beach weather was definitely something out of the ordinary. The festival was set up with merch booths, VIP, art installations, and food trucks, like any other music festival. The only difference was that this was not a massive music festival like we're used to. This felt more like a local gathering celebrating unique underground music from the city. Being my first time visiting the Bay Area, I would say that this festival was a great way to experience the nature of the people and their music scene.
We started the day off with a set on the side stage with local DJs Panic City and Miles Medina. I was recommended to catch their set by another blogger and was immediately impressed by the variety of styles they dropped. Similar to GTA, these guys were going across the board playing big room, Melbourne, trap, electro, dubstep, and everything in between. They kept the transitions quick and smooth with a ton of CDJ scratching.
With only two stages in the festival with a small distance between them, the idea of a conflict was non-existent for festival goers. The dance floors were not overcrowded making the process of leaving and returning to a stage extremely easy. This is something that is long gone from festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival and HARD Summer.
Next on my list was Amp Live's performance on the main stage. I had never heard of Amp before meeting him backstage where I found out that he was part of the underground hip hop duo Zion I. He performed some banging hip hop and trap music on his MPC alongside a cello player who improvised along with the set. It was strange at first but soon the entire crowd was completely captivated at how much energy these two were bringing.
After his set I jumped back and fourth between Dials, Grandtheft, and Ana Sia. Local DJ Dials brought some funky house music to the table. The highlight of his set I'd say was when he dropped Richard Cheese's cover of Kanye West's Stronger. Ana Sia took us a little deeper with some banging tribal house beats and a ton of jersey club. Everything she mixed had a hypnotic feel but with a playful futuristic vibe that fit well with the outdoor setting. Grandtheft played on the mainstage and I was able to catch the majority of his set. For that time it felt like we were at the Mad Decent Block Party because of all the Diploesque trap he was spinning. He stuck to trap for the majority of his set and was able to premier new music from himself as well as from Mad Decent.
Next we were able to visit Keys N Krates as the sun began to set on the festival. I have always been a fan of Keys but no one ever told me that they actually perform live. I knew sh*t was about to go down when I saw them setting up the drum set. The performance consisted of the trio playing drums, keyboards, and samples/turntables. What we got was an extremely unique approach to trap music. Every song was mixed like a DJ set but performed with the energy only live music can bring. They played all of their great originals as well as reinterpreted classics such as TNGHT's Gooo.
After a whomping carne asada burrito, I trotted back to the mainstage to checkout the hype of the night, Oakland rapper G-Eazy. I would have guessed around a third to half the people came to the festival for his set. I met several people who only recognized his name from the lineup. When I finally got the chance to see him I knew that the crowd would go wild, and they did. After glitter was blasted into the audience everyone could not help but go crazy for their hometown hero. His banging beats and smooth sleek style made for an entertaining hip hop set. He even brought out Kyle for some tracks. I enjoyed it so much that I almost forgot about Salva's set, another photographer reminded me that he had just begun.
Salva was one of the first trap DJs I heard and since I've gotten into the genre he has yet to fail with making unique bangers. His approach to music is creating something recognizable and danceable in an avant surrealist way. His live performance did not fall far from this tree. He gave us some juicy trap bangers that stayed true to his glitchy mind bending style. The majority of his set was a mix of trap and jersey club with the occasion hip hop track and big room house drop. There was some awesome variety in his set and I was extremely impressed to see him doing it all from CDJs. His set was one of the most surprising and impressive of the entire night. The moments where he dropped both unreleased jersey remixes of Show Me Love and Mercy had to top it all.
At some point of my ventures I remember walking from the restroom and hearing the Gaslamp Killer out on the side stage. Although I've seen him dozens of times he was dropping HudMo's Chimes and I couldn't help but jump right into it. As a native to Los Angeles I've gotten to catch Willie plenty of times at Low End Theory but regardless he did not fail to impress me once again. The crowd completely loved his wild attitude and odd song selections. He brought it home with some killer bass music during this 2-hour set.
Unfortunately I couldn't catch it all because I knew I needed a good spot to catch the duo that I came here for. Big Gigantic opened the night with the first track off their latest album, Clvdbvrst. Right off the bat they had the audience going ham. Its always great seeing these guys live because of their unique setup. They are able to get everying raging while performing beautiful melodies and high intensity rhythms throughout their set. If you aren't familiar with Big G, they consist of Dominic Lalli on an MPC and saxophone, and Jeremy Salken on drums. Apart from performing their originals they also gave us some classics such as Knife Party's Bonfire and RL Grime/What So Not's Tell Me. The high light of their set was when they covered Oliver Helden's Gecko. I heard Dominic begin to rip out that recognizable melody and it took a cool second to realize what track they were about to drop. Oliver's funky style fit perfect with their jazzy electronic performance. If anyone was there to headline this show they made it clear that it was them. I don't think anyone could have asked for a better way to end the night.
With every new artist there was something interesting and different building the excitement throughout the day. From the local artists to the talent from far beyond, everyone threw down a great show. Unlike your typical rave, this audience openly embraced the experimental nature of these performances and continued to dance all night. When the listener is happy to be there and the performer is happy to play there, we're left with nothing but positive energy and a festival that I look forward to coming back for.
Photos by BOW Photography