Archive for new year’s eve

NeXus New Year’s Eve 2011

Posted in Events with tags , , on December 15, 2010 by worldromper

(Click the image)


Sea of Dreams: New Years Eve in San Francisco

Posted in From the Front Lines (Show Reviews) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2010 by worldromper

Sea of Dreams

For New Year’s Eve I headed north to San Francisco for the 10th Annual Sea of Dreams, which in my musical opinion had the best lineup of any NYE party in North America, and possibly the world. I know there are some people seemingly stuck on the rivalry between SF and LA, but I love both cities. Each metropolis has its own unique energy and colorful style, and each underground electronic music community has a distinct flavor. For San Francisco it is the taste of a crunchy rainbow, of a slap-happy trip into psychedelica and I was stoked for a change of pace as well as for the road trip up the 101.

Entrance to Sea of Dreams

Getting in to Sea of Dreams was a breeze; they had amusement park-type lines separated in stacks for the rush of revelers and plenty of gate employees, a welcome relief for anyone who has ever stood in a party line for an hour or more in the cold. I would like to see all promoters of large events enact this entry system. Bravo.

Once inside I quickly sunk into the heady vibe of the party; rave ON. The San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center was huge! Soaring ceilings added a cathedral-like atmosphere to the venue and necks craned upward to try and take in the whole of the sacred space.

That’s why I was there- to worship at the altar of dance. Today we create our own temples of the sacred with our people and our energy, and the divine nature of play was on full display this holiday night, elevated to new heights in the tall venue. Stretching wide was plenty of open space to run around and jump in, to go nomad and wander the playground like a gypsy. The coat check line was way too long for me so I shoved my coat down into a flower pot and forgot about it until 5AM.

The Do LaB Stage- Can you find the DJ?

I was immediately drawn to The Do LaB stage, with a giant bright green and brown tree that snaked its way up the side of the lobby, growing into the ceiling with branches that overhung our bouncing heads and dripped ripe red teardrop-fruit over the dance floor.

Hot Chicks

Like a Keebler Elf making bass biscuits, the DJ was entrenched in the tree trunk. The dance floor, though not the smallest of the venue, was the most intimate, more organic and set down in a notch. It was like a little wooded knoll, with a staircase in back leading up to the Silent Disco, providing a balcony for looky-loos. In the middle of the dance floor was a big box where girls, and some guys, were dancing and strutting around, a talent they have trained to the teeth in San Francisco. Strut Francisco.

Despite the sound which seemed a little too quiet for a Funktion One, The Do LaB stage was my favorite of the night and where I began and ended my evening, journeying out and then returning to my grotto-home under the leaves. Dee was playing when I first arrived, then soon Ana Sia took over and delivered juicy jams until the midnight countdown. Everyone shook off the old year like a disturbing dream and dove into 2010. Hooray for new beginnings!

Cirqularious Aerialists

In the middle of the giant venue were three more stages: the Lunasea Stage, the Hookahdome and a smaller Circus Stage from which aerialists performed their limber daredevil acts above the crowd, of which I caught a bit of Cirqularious. The Lunasea Stage, the larger of the three, continued after midnight with lineup of the Glitch Mob, Ghostland Observatory and EOTO- not bad!

Lunasea Stage, The Glitch Mob

For the Glitch Mob I was right up front and to the right in a throbbing mess of sweaty, screaming bodies and one would-be bag thief who I punked in the act. The Glitch Mob, maybe not as brassy as in the past, played a hard-hitting set with a nice slice of new tracks and some old favorites as well. Near the end of their set, a thick sheet of wind blew out from the stage, throwing onto the dance floor a million pieces of ticker-tape from the midnight balloon drop and other assorted trash along with a fat slap of cool air. We cheered.

Pathway with Temple

On the next stage over Ozomatli was destroying shit with wild abandon, I moved around a bit but found myself returning to the Glitch Mob stage. All around the venue were lounges and places to chill, stairs to climb and goon out over the dance floor, a Silent Disco up top (which I skipped), shitty $5 pizza (for the empty stomach), $10 mixed drinks (I bought one and promptly dropped it on the dance floor), and hippie-

Mountain over Lunasea Stage

paraphernalia vendors including my good friend Raja from Seattle who I was very excited to bump into- you probably know him as The Hologram Man, and his art booth is always more of a party than a sales floor. Next to a tea house was one of the ornate temples from Symbiosis Gathering, and bejeweled bodies decked out in velvet and satiny materials hung from the ceiling, twisted and sparkling.

Further decorating the venue besides those glorious stacks of speakers were huge, 30′ tall glowing paper lanterns lit with lasers, undersea motifs like fish and sea floor drudge, and soaring above the center was a mountain made of white strips of material and dusted with visual stimuli. The affect was really neat and encompassing (at one point I swear I was looking at a real mountain) and made you forget that you were in some sterile convention hall completely.

The flow of the party was fantastic- I think a lot of promoters overlook this and their shows resemble fruit basket turnovers with no cohesive fluidity to the performers or the tempos. But Sea of Dreams staggered the stages them beautifully, allowing each area to rest a bit like a fallow field between artists and dispersing the crowd to check out other acts.

Galaxea Stage, Bassnectar

After the Glitch Mob, Bassnectar went on at the giant Galaxea Stage in the East Hall, whose dance floor was lorded over by immense taloned rockets poised to drill down into the crowd, changing colors every second with the beats. I headed to the back of the crowd in front of the sound guys for a change of pace from the frontline of the Glitch Mob.

Feathers? Headbands? In San Francisco? Weird

Bassnectar slammed our faces off, as usual. His sets seem to lean a certain direction, depending on whether he is playing outside or inside. His outside sets are more trippy and wandering, and his inside sets are more brutally slamming and, dare I say it- curved to appeal to more mainstream audience members who would probably not trek to a festival, but might buy a ticket to a city show.

I love Bassnectar, for the record. I always enjoy his sets and his is the only music that has ever inspired me to rip my clothes off on the dance floor. However sometimes I think that Bassnectar plays too little Bassnectar, oddly enough. If I wanted to hear “More Human Than Human” I would go back to high school and kill myself. But I did want to hear new tracks from Cozza Frenzy and his Pixies remix which he delivered, and I stood in the back and danced my little heart out. With my clothes on.

Lunasea Stage, EOTO

On the neighboring stage Ghostland Observatory was playing and I was bouncing back and forth a bit, but then EOTO came on. WOW these two guys get my prize for best act of the night. EOTO was doing amazing things with a drum kit and live electronics on a small raised platform in the front of the room and people were freaking out. There is dancing, and then there is freaking out. EOTO was just JAMMIN, playing a super high energy set, and the crowd was also super high so shit was really working out. They were just grinding the sound out, and I was pulled into the performance and could almost not walk away.

Lovers in front of Silent Disco, looking down on The Do Lab Stage

But I did, back over to the East Stage where Random Rab was elegantly dreaming up a new musical story and Andrew Jones was creating his magic electronic art. This one act alone would be enough to call me out for an evening. In the Hookahdome, a smaller and more enclosed stage, more room-like and sweaty and dirty was playing (of course) some juicy dubstep out of Jef Stott.

Making my way back to The Do Lab stage, Lowriderz featuring an-ten-nae and Laura had the crowd popping and Shawna took over the reins from there. We continued to dance until 5AM when we spilled out into the first early-morning air of 2010, taking deep breaths of the next decade, which stretched out before us in unknown paths- which are the best kind, of course.

Thank you beautiful party people freaks!

Thank you Sea of Dreams. Like any large-scale party there was a fair share of pushing in the hot crowds, but the cool open space of the venue calmed things down between stages and provided plenty of room to roam. I heard people comment that they thought the ticket price was well worth the show- a rarity when everyone is so damn broke these days.

Sea of Dreams had soul. I am careful about which massives I go to as many are just artfully designed money-making machines that throw up some lasers and sound, invite a couple thousand people and call it good. And it is good. But to be a great party, the promoters must care about the entire experience and the vibe produced by the artists and the crowd; you can feel it when it’s there. Sea of Dreams had it, and I entered into 2010 with some of the freshest new sounds of the impending decade bouncing in my brain. I have a renewed appreciation for life here on the West Coast as well as for my international electronic music community, and have a feeling that I will be making the short journey between LA and San Francisco far more often in the years to come.

New Year’s Eve: Sea of Dreams in San Francisco

Posted in Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2009 by worldromper

Deciding what to do on a big party holiday like New Year’s Eve is always difficult; with 8 million events going on, it can be next to impossible to figure out where to spend your time and money. But when in doubt, do what I do: go where the best music is.

2010 will find me awash in a Sea of Dreams in San Francisco, dancing to an excellent selection of sights and sounds from the underground West Coast arts scene, enjoying circus performers, art installations and:

  • Ozomatli
  • Bassnectar
  • Ghostland Observatory
  • Yard Dogs Road Show
  • Glitch Mob
  • Marty Party
  • Random Rab
  • an-ten-nae
  • Ana Sia
  • EOTO
  • Motion Potion
  • and more…click here for full lineup.

The 10th Annual Sea of Dreams New Year’s Eve-olutionary Extravaganza will be held December 31 from 8PM-4AM at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco; tickets start at $75 and are available here.

DECIBEL PRESENTS: Dirty Dancing New Year’s Eve with Alex Smoke, John Tejada, Dave Pezzner, Michael Manahan & Nordic Soul

Posted in Music News with tags , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by worldromper

DECIBEL returns for a couple of nights so that we might once again dip our toes in the magic music wonderland that is OUR festival and celebrate the New Year community-style. Neumos on Capitol Hill once again plays host for two evenings chocked full of talent from previous Decibel Festivals, once again lighting Seattle in a frenzied blaze of electronic euphoria, and you are invited. 

On New Year’s Eve we will greet the fresh start with laughter and open eyes as we celebrate, dance, and have some nasty, dirty fun together as a community. An evening of Dirty Dancing will showcase the fun and funky side of deep house, tech house and techno, creating a dance floor that is playful and party-ripe. Starting with the street-filthy beats of Decibel Festival Director Nordic Soul and co-producer Michael Manahan, you don’t even have to wipe your shoes before you step onto the dance floor and give yourself away to the beats- you know you want to anyway. Local soon-to-be legend Dave Pezzner then delivers funky grooves, tracks of dance riots that are also highly emotive and sensual. With nary a moment to wipe the sweat dripping from your elbows, it just gets better with an amazing live set from John Tejada and his minimal, musical techno. Alex Smoke completes the lineup perfectly, his deep and dark style a reminder that techno is indeed all about sex. Be ready for some filthy fun as you party with your friends on the dance floor during this amazing night of talented artists at the forefront of the electronic music community; you WILL get down and dirty and dance.



Part II of “Micro dB”: a two evening event happening December 30th and 31st at Neumos, featuring some of Decibel’s favorite techno / tech house bookings from over the past 5 years, including…


Live :: Glasgow: Soma / Vakant Records
http://www. myspace. com/alexsmoke1

Decibel is bringing back a previous performing artist who enjoyed one of the biggest crowd responses ever- Alex Smoke, whose dark and funky techno will be the climax to the two-night New Year’s party. Based in Glasgow, UK, this classically trained musician represents a submerged European minimalism, rich with intelligent rhythms and fibers of emotion. Smoke produces deeply atmospheric experiments of sound, both random and created at the same time, helping to push forward the edge of electronic music. His most recent release from Soma Records, Paradolia, is infused with dark grooves and influenced by everything from grime to electro, even using some of his own vocals to support his beats. Smoke has once again proved that his talent for expertly merging sinister flavors with dance-friendly beats results in great success. His sound is dirty fun, a little bad and a whole lot good- and we all love to dance to the apparent incongruencies which flow together flawlessly, a sensual connection of the body, soul, and techno.

Live :: Los Angeles: Poker Flat / Palette
http://www. myspace. com/johntejadasounds

John Tejada is one of the most thrilling electronic acts to experience live; this epic minimal master creates art with the dance floor in mind, his sound ranging across many genres and tempos but always hitting the mark. Born to a pair of classically trained musicians, John played his first gig at age 12, was producing in high school, and later turned down his acceptance into art school like any great artist should. This most-productive of producers now resides in LA between world tours and bears the torch of the So Cal techno community, although the diverse artist has produced many genres from drum and bass to house. You can expect this owner of record label Palette Recordings to tear up the floor of Neumos with his musical techno, leaving mouths open and feet sore. A fantastic billing alone, Tejada packs a destructive punch and adds a ripped flavor to the bill of Decibel’s “Dirty Dancing” New Year’s Eve party.


Live :: Seattle: Om/ Freerange Records
http://www. jacoblondon. com

Dave Pezzner is a beloved local superstar as well as an internationally respected producer and composer, and is getting so hot that it is only a matter of moments before he explodes like the bombs he drops. As half of the popular Seattle duo Jacob London, Pezzner was part of the wildly successful Decibel in the Park showcase at this year’s festival and also regularly engulfs dance floors around the city with a signature groovy, funky tech-house feel. Fourteen years of world tours and live performances, fifteen releases on vinyl and at least thirty remixes put Pezzner at the top of his game, with his most recent release on Freerange Records touching on a more sensual and organic house sound. With heart-quickening mixes and deeply emotional music, Pezzner brings his characteristically impassioned and sexy sound once more to hungry listeners and further imbeds his role in the developing Seattle scene and the electronic community around the world.



2 x 4 DJ Set :: Seattle: Starborne / Decibel
http://www. michaelmanahan. com
http://www. myspace. com/nordicsoul..

Michael Manahan is an essential and vital element of the Left Coast electronic music community; he nourishes the underground not only with his deep and phat-funky tribal house sets but also with his immense contributions to the exploration of consciousness and spiritual evolution through art and music. This DJ, performer, producer, and space cowboy is also the co-founder of the Oracle Gatherings, the co-producer of the Decibel Festival, as well as the co-producer of the electronic music stage at Hempfest, the world’s largest reform protest. Also the owner of Starborne Productions, Manahan is an innovator and a leader of the Seattle dance community and tribal culture; a mainstay in the scene whose presence always ups the love whether he is spinning dubby house, hard techno, glitch-ridden breaks, spacey downtempo, or just hanging out being himself.

Nordic Soul has long been enamored with artistic expression, the creation of music, and the technology that fuses it all together, much to the benefit and evolution of the world of electronica and the underground culture that surrounds it. His healthy obsession began at the age of eleven in Detroit with the gift of his first guitar, got a kick in the ass with the purchase of a keyboard and drum machine during his teenage years, and continues to the present as the king of Seattle techno exists as the founder and director of the Decibel Festival. Known to his friends as Sean Horton, this DJ, producer, performer, and programmer brought a distinct and dirty Detroit flavor with him to Seattle in the mid-90’s and the musical zeitgeist of the city has been forever transformed by his presence. Nordic Soul has deeply impacted the electronic community not only through his work for the annual Decibel Festival but also by slaying Seattle dance floors year-round. His emotionally charged sets are infused with live instrumentation and ripe with the mélange of organic and synthesized tones, all riding on top of heavy bass lines. The resulting music is a living, hybrid creature with a rich sense of soul that delights in its own existence. A lover of many musical styles, Nordic Soul’s interest and roots in hip hop, IDM, industrial, and dub contribute to his current musical palette that straight drips techno into the mouths of the waiting audience, thirsty for the unrelenting madness and unabated aural penetration that is electronic music.