Published on June 18th, 2012 |
by Alessandra Calderin
Event Review: Escape to Starscape, Baltimore’s Garden of Eden
Ladies and gentlemen, after much deliberation I have decided to make this a stage by stage journey in an attempt to organize the chaos that was the Starscape experience. If you can rough it like a brave disco warrior, a dubstep duke or diva, a soldier of sick beats, then you will find a home in the savage sound war recounted below. Note: When I say “we,” I don’t mean my multiple personalities, but, rather, my dear friend Amanda Mayo also known as Anomaly Code who has provided a recap mix for your listening pleasure.
Although Two Fresh were forced to leave the stage early due to sound issues, they played a high energy set while the sun was still high and the festival was just settling into to its transitional sunset period. Their hip hop infused electro left a great vibe in their wake and it was terrible to see them go, but there were many acts to go and the anticipation was mounting.
Listening to The M Machine is like riding a roller coaster inside your head except it’s more like a futuristic space pod winding up and around a vast metallic jungle. Swardy took to the stage solo and performed sans machine, but the ride was still a heavenly high energy thrill. Building up with hard hitting staple’s like “Rattle” to rile up the main stage crowd, he saved the group’s own tracks for later in the set. When the mechanical intro for the climax track “Black” hit the speakers, it echoed and rattled until the industrial drop boomed throughout the crowd. Later, we were graced with their “Cal State Anthem” remix, a song so huge and symphonic it envelops the body and soul in a cocoon of glorious sound. Plus that one sound, the one that’s like a mix between a gulp and someone going “hmm” is the strangest and most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard, and I just want to curl up into a fetus and live inside that single note forever. Swardy took us through the Rose Garden for his finale and exited with the poise of an electro emperor on the rise.By the time Wolfgang Gartner took to the stage, the crowd was massive and not exactly the friendliest of the rave crews. Still, it was a pleasure to dance from afar to his masterpieces like “Illmerica,” “Redline,” “We Own the Night,” and “Animal Rights.” Later in the evening Schpongle‘s tribal beats and amazing visuals mesmerized the still massive crowd with hypnotic lullabies to close out the night. the only thing that took away from the beauty of the moment was the discovery that the main drink area had run out of water and was selling cups of ice for $1. Not cool. On the plus side, unlike some other music festivals, they sold their bottles for $3 rather than $5 and in decent sized sports bottles instead of tiny ones.
Dubnation Beach StageOtherwise known as the Kingdom of Bros, this was a hellish dust laden pit that we braved twice throughout the entirety of Starscape. First for Cookie Monsta which was a saddening few minutes where we realized that this was not the hang out of choice. As we vacated the premises to explore other offerings, a young gentleman complimented my headband or something and I was relieved to have found a nice socially conscious human. He simply responded, “Yeah, Starscape bros are the worst kind of bros.” A to the men.
Still, despite the extra aggressive hybrid of heavy metal and frat boy stoners plus that weird dude who did coke off my keys (I thought he needed to open something. I was very mistaken.), we returned for Dillon Francis. As we dodged our fellow festival goers and found a cove of seemingly chilled out onlookers, Dillon weaved moombaton, trap and dubstep in a bouncy rhythmic delirium that coursed through the crowd like an electronic jolt. It was, in a word, sexy. From his latest collaboration with Doctor P, “Music is Dead,” to a relatively unknown trap remix of “Rattle” by Luminox, he made the trip well worth it. The kicker, his “Tequila” finale.
Yup, sexy is the best way to describe him… I mean, his set.
I only saw parts of Adventure Club and MiMOSA from the side hill, but the lovely view complimented the wondrous symphony of sound. At a few points, festival volunteers would hurl flurries of glow sticks into the crowd and they all fell right into place, into the hands of happy ravers.
Bassdrop Dance TentI love tents. They are the absolutely the best parts of festivals. There’s something so perfectly intimate about getting your sweaty groove on with a conglomeration of frenzied strangers in a covered space filled with neon lights. As the 16 hour hot spot for the Kandi Kids, the general atmosphere of the Dance Tent was by far the friendliest of the festival. Our first venture into the glorious color cove was for Bro Safari. There was still enough space to shake it out, even at the very front, but that just meant everyone was going that much harder. After that first taste of booty poppin’ moombahton a little Tittsworth rounded things out before the next quest.We managed to stop by for a little DJ Dan and promptly returned for Kill the Noise, but the sound went out. This was a low point for me and I cursed the whole damn festival, until we came back an hour later and Kill was blasting “Bangarang” and some of the filthiest headbangers the tent could handle. The PLUR paradise was practically at capacity, but that only made the love fest stronger.
And then the German genius himself, Zedd, donning the most adorable Link T-shirt I have ever seen, took control and dished out one of the most technically perfect sets I have had the sonic pleasure of hearing. With unparalleled variations, he seamlessly switched from his own hits to dub tracks to olds school favorites from the like of Daft Punk, Justice and beyond. He even mashed a little Adele into “Shave It,” showing that even top 40 can be morphed into a dazzling electronic diamond of hilarity. From start to finish, he had the crowd under his command as he navigated through years worth of innovation with seamless transitions. After that amazing display of showmanship, I would happily follow him into any musical terrain he might choose.
Fort StageWhile navigating the dark labyrinth of the park’s southern festival border, there was nothing to light the way save for the various glow items that decorated herds of ravers taking refuge in the only dark and semi-quiet haven. Eventually, we discovered the Fort Stage, which was more like Wonderland than anything I’ve seen in real life. From the concrete walls decorated in graffiti to the glowing webbing hanging overheard, the feral playground made for a magical setting. Moombah masters Sazon Booya were mixing it up at the most intimate setting of the whole festival which was not so much a stage as it was a giant dance floor with a mixing table and massive speakers. With a hoola-hooper in the corner, and a sweaty mass of dancers in the middle and random chillers sitting in the corner, this could very well have been the coolest place I have ever physically inhabited. And of course the duo’s hype man, Mystero, could be spotted bouncing around and climbing up and down the scaffolding like a Rorschach/Spider-man hybrid throughout the performance.
At the end of the night we returned to say goodbye to the sacred place, and caught a bit of Elemental, whose trap heavy set played out the perfect goodbye.
Listen to the EDM Insider Starscape Festival Mix by Anomaly Code!