By: Dennis Moon
Let me get something out of the way: this year’s Mad Decent Block Party was not for the faint of heart. The Diplo-led festivities featured 9 artists, overpriced burritos, 100-degree temperatures and thousands upon thousands of Southern California’s zaniest music fans all converging on a converted parking lot. Sound like a lot to take in? It was. This 8-hour electronic music odyssey was an all out assault on the senses. Among the sights and sounds were 10,000 twentysomethings freely flinging water bottles to an A$AP Ferg remix, a cardboard cutout of Oprah’s face, and random girls twerking on a metal railing. Absurdity aside, early in the day, STRFKR supplied what was the only live band set, providing the overheated crowd with an influx of synth driven energy. Later on, Cashmere Cat made a convincing case for set of the day with his inventive, dreamy soundscapes and understated turntable mastery. His performance cleverly sidestepped the too-turnt dance music clichés criminally overused in many others, yet still got genuinely great crowd involvement. He worked gracefully in grooves, not the standard buildups and drops, clearly establishing a unique voice and sampling approach. Though Diplo may have held the marquee 8-9pm slot, I would argue that Flosstradamus and Waka Flocka Flame put on the evening’s true headlining set. Armed with increasingly bombastic hip-hop samples and a take no prisoners mindset, the two proved themselves to be a match made in trap heaven. God, I love Waka Flocka. Diplo pulled from a wide range of pop music, spinning “Heads Will Roll,” “POWER,” and “Dark Horse” in the course of two minutes. Perhaps he spread himself too thin; his sampling methods failed to take me by surprise after the first 10 minutes. Overall, Mad Decent Block Party was more than a concert; it was an exposure to a culture as passionate as it is specific- a culture that celebrates life at its deepest, trappiest, and most outrageous. More power to them.
Photos by: Arlene Ibarra