The weekend of June 1st was a glorious time for the city of Philadelphia. Having had the pleasure of attending the 6th annual Roots Picnic at the legendary Festival Pier, my friends and I experienced a collection of all genres of music in the course of one day. And by all genres, I really do mean all; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Trinidad James,The Robert Glasper Experiment, A-Trak, Solange, Grimes, and The Roots, among others, graced a crowd of thousands with Hip-Hop, Funk, Electronic (both experimental & dance), and good old-fashioned rock. After a full day of sweating in the 90+ degree heat, we made our way over to my favorite venue in Philly, SoundGarden Hall, to catch the official afterparty featuring A-Trak and Destructo.
After collecting my press pass and signing in with the staff, I made my way into the dimly lit dancefloor, illuminating an eerie yet sensual vibe that beautifully accentuated the groovy tribal/tech beats being laid down by our good friend Elvis Suarez. As the room started to fill, I could hear the bass grow to chest-thumping levels as Suarez began to pick up the intensity of his set, dropping tracks by Swizzymack, David Jones, and more. Riser after riser and drop after drop ensued, and the hundreds started to truly pack the place. After an incredibly energetic set by Love City DJs, Destructo took the stage, dropping a collective of crowd favorites and some of his own explosive originals. Two of my favorites during this set were Destructo’s own “Higher” and the ever-catchy track “Lemonade” by Boys Noize & Erol Alkan. After catching some awesome shots of the stage and the crowd, we took a lap to check out the subculture of the show. I have to admit, this was my favorite part of the night.
It can be said that the true beauty of the EDM movement is the importance of the crowd. Unlike any hip-hop or rock concert, shows in the electronic scene truly bring out the awesomeness of individuality. We actually stopped taking pictures for a hot second to check out the line of ten (that’s right, TEN) glovers, in a row, putting on a show for a small crowd of mind-boggled fans. Moving to stage right, we caught a kid swinging around two glowsticks like he was born to fight with nunchucks. After snapping photos of/with these anonymous artists, we actually got to speaking with a few of them. It was really fun to learn the small stories about each of them, and how we had all come together to enjoy another amazing night. Good people meeting good people, what else do you need?
Enter A-Trak. Enter the mix master, the king of scratch. As any DJ can tell you, live-scratching is no joke. It is a difficult talent to master, and in the EDM genre it’s so much more complicated, due to the large amount of beats and rhythms going on. This guy handled it with complete ease. It was truly inspiring to listen to him switch around tracks like a kid with ADD, yet keeping the transitions completely fluid. Bouncing around between songs like “Robodance” by Polymorphic, “We Are Now Connected” by Mord Fustang, his own “Disco Nap” (one of my personal favorites), and perhaps the highlight of my night, “Vago” by Nari & Milani & Maurizio Gubellini, A-Trak brought on an explosive set that literally had not one single dull moment. Safe to say that between his set (my first time hearing him live) and the fabulous & beautiful people I met that night, Philadelphia is quickly becoming one of the premiere cities of electronic culture in the USA. Big ups to Soundgarden Hall for this one. Rave on, PLURfam!
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