The day after IDentity feels a little like either like coming off an insane acid trip or awaking from a distant dream depending on your preference for glitter rain and brain blowing beats. In the world of EDM, weird is the new normal with plans to stop at nothing to leave you obliterated yet utterly alive, ears ringing, body tingling, ID fest no exception. Showcasing the mood music of the moment, raucously vibrant and alive, San Diego brought along the biggest crowd to tear up the traveling dance party.
The perfect sendoff to summer, Cricket Amphitheater felt like the day before Christmas, antsy, impatient, and a little unsure of what insanity could potentially be unwrapped. Once past security (surprisingly a breeze and no ID CHECK for you underage ravers) the afternoon began with a quick trip through the set up of three stages scuttling between the Skullcandy stage, the heartbeat of the fest, to the smaller but lively Dim Mak stage across the parking lot. The stroll between the stages was short and simple offering either the perfect break for people/glow-in-the-dark creature watching or a pit stop at the otherwise easy to miss Advent stage, the smallest of the three.
The first in its size and kind, the lineup for Identity promised an array of dazzling emerging and established DJ’s and a slightly out of place and otherwise unmentionable appearance by jam band Disco Biscuits. Regardless, SD proved the perfect scene to partake in some serious EDM mayhem.
Arrived just in time to catch a quick bit of Le Castle Vania. Setting up the afternoon with a set that meant business, dark and charged, (and at times a little outdated) the sound brought to mind European electronic vibes. Captivating a growing crowd in the pit section (the less glamorous name for the Press/VIP section) post-Vania found us back at the Dim Mak stage for personal favorite, Hercules & Love Affair.
Hercules definitely held it down and played hard ala house party style, the energy between the crowd and band radiated pure chemistry, a community binding the few hipsters scattered in a sea of tutu-clad teens and everyone in between.
Melding retro funk with shyesty disco downbeats half dancer half vocalist beings, Kim Ann Foxman, Shaun Wright, and Aerea Negrot killed the crowd with (live!) vocals that reached deep.
Sniped some free caffeine courtesy of the Rockstar Tasting Tent and got back to the beats with a quick set from Brooklynites Holy Ghost! who played both from their recent album and some of their classic crowd pleasers as well.
Decision time came about as Berlin-based duo Booka Shade and dubstepper Datsik set it off at the same time. Watched Datsik draw in the crowd (no surprise SD…) as he threw down hip-hop throwbacks such as Dead Prez and Ice Cube. Clearly familiar with his work, even his time trips to the 90’s couldn’t keep the crowd from keeping up with his electrifying set. However, we hustled over to Booka to catch the remainder of the face-melting combo of live drumming and high-energy synths.Afrojack came next after a short guest spot by Steve Aoki who kept the crowd entertained while the aforementioned was held up in traffic. Always a crowd pleaser, Aoki delivered as usual, offering the chance to catch a few of his newer tracks before his set later at the Dim Mak stage. Finally, Afrojack arrived coolly sipping Grey Goose while keeping the crowd crazy with club hits such as “Give Me Everything” that completely encapsulated the chaos of the day.
Admittedly a personal favorite, Pretty Lights positively murdered as piano chords struck and reverberated; the elaborate and intricately fitting light display illuminating the grassy area where we watched from above the pit. Gravitating us back down to join the packed party of the pit, Pretty Lights fused hip-hop, electronica, dubstep, and soul, enlivening everyone up in time to get fully hyped for Kaskade!
The crowd for Kaskade was made for manipulation, primed to let loose for one last time under the altaresque booth set-up for the ever ethereal production Kaskade notoriously brings. Surrounded by column-like structures set up on stage as if in tribute to man, myth and legend Ryan Raddon, Raddon reigned once again with his unifying house hits. Combined with simplistic yet stunning visuals (think Phantom of the Opera meets Jem and the Holograms and throw in some glitter rain for the hell of it) Kaskade felt like the New Year’s Eve one always dreams. Smoke machines, confetti, and clusterfuck chaos, yes please.
The worst moment of IDentity was that, like all good things it came to an end. Lonely glow sticks and Rockstar cans shuffled off as the crowd cleared from the pits to the parking lot. No longer on escape to another world, a collective of stupefied senses make their way into their cars and into the night under the electrifying glow of a good fucking time. Can’t wait for part two at Abstract this coming weekend!
Photos by Spencer Handly for TheMixster.com © 2011