Saturday night I showered in sweat – not entirely my own – and partied with the likes of Diplo and Lil B. And so did everyone else at Audiotistic.
The most hyped names in electronic music (yes, that includes rappers) hit San Bernardino for an all-day, all-out celebration of bass and home brewed dance moves. From 3:00pm-2:00am the NOS event center was a four-stage whirlwind of neon lights, pantomimed sex and the best beats around – not to mention a display of the umbrella genre’s massive momentum.
He’s barely old enough to enter the event, but 19-year-old Porter Robinson packed the main stage just after dark. His infectious set featured a Daft Punk remix, as well as his breakout single “Say My Name.” Porter has only been producing for a bit over a year, but his mash up style of electro and dubstep show that the recent high school graduate is not messing around.
It was their first ever show in California on their first U.S. tour, so it’s easy to see why Dr. P and Flux Pavilion were the most anticipated set of the night. The two U.K. producers work separately yet closely, so the two took the stage together for an hour and a half throwdown. The two have created many of dubstep’s holy grails and they were unleashed in reworked versions of “Basscannon,” “Gold Dust,” and “Tetris” not to mention plenty of other bangers. Waves of ecstatic screams from the crowd met the beginning of each bass line.
By this time my ears were metaphorically bleeding, but the Cool Kids provided a nice break that still involved plenty of low-end vibrations and head bobbing. The Chicago duo recently dropped their first full-length album after years of well-received singles and mixtapes, so expectations for their performance were high. They seemed a little turned off by the energy of the place, despite playing last year, and dragged through the songs that aren’t as well known as their singles like “Black Mags.” Or maybe they were just playing cool.
Diplo is the face of the mainstreaming of electronic music. And there’s a reason for that – he’s the best. He knows being a DJ isn’t enough, you’ve got to be a rock star, commanding the show like a priest in a chapel. Mounting the DJ booth, jumping into the crowd, unleashing a freak show upon the stage to match the one known as the audience, it’s all part of gig for Diplo. And none of that over shadows his music, which blazes through an intelligent and confident mix of bubblegum pop, hard electro and gritty dubstep. An absolute pleasure to see live.
Dubstep was definitely a theme of the night, and Benga brought in master influence. One of the earlier pioneers of the genre, he’s seen it morph from simplistic to out of this world and has been keeping up with no problem. We even heard some tunes from his group Magnetic Man and his collaborations with Katy B.
The Bay Area’s ambassador came in the form of the infamous Lil B. He had one of the smaller crowds of the night, but his fans’ hearts may have been the biggest. Articles of clothing, from guys mostly, flew to the stage. Hats, shirts, glasses – whatever he didn’t immediately put on was piled on the corner of the stage in between chants of “swag” and “woop.” His producer and fellow member of The Pack, Young L, was on stage for a while, including for a couple verses of “Vans.” After the show, B jumped down to floor level and began frantically signing autographs as dozens of over the top groupies mobbed him, most screaming “Thank You Based God!” right up until the point Major Lazer came on.
Diplo and Switch are Major Lazer, but they play the back of the field during the shows. Hype man Skerrit Bwoy and a female companion put on most the performance, gigging, crumping, jumping and humping their way around the stage. Major Lazers’ production style is extremely upbeat with worldly influences, and injected an instant party into the building. They closed the night on one side of festival, competing with Wolfgang Gartner who was stationed in the over crowded main stage. Diplo went from a suit to shirtless halfway through their set.
That’s a reliable symbol of their show, and really the entire night.