The Mad Decent Block Party Through the Eyes of A Cynic and A Student: Reviews and Photos

Categories: Last Night

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Zara Walsh

Editor: We sent two writers to this weekend's Mad Decent Block Party. Vanessa Quilantan was mostly worried about the kids asking her for drugs and pissed about Action Bronson canceling. Carmina Tiscareno is a college student and therefore much more a member of the Block Party's target demographic. She had a better time. Here are their reports, starting with Vanessa's.

There are plenty of reasons why you wouldn't want to go to an EDM festival. There are drugs, devastating temperatures, infinitely long drink lines, glow sticks and, in the case of the Mad Decent Block Party, 6,500 people. Mostly youths. There are youths in underwear and fur boots on drugs. There are youths who ask you frantically at the start of Dillon Francis' set if you have drugs, or know who can give them drugs. They make you worry about them and where they may end up at the end of the night.

But there was one shining reason to go to this weekend's party. There is a singular live music experience so specific to this particular moment in pop culture, so universally likable, that it's worth braving the elements. That experience is Major Lazer.

See also: Taylor "Effin" Cleveland's Official Summer Mix for DC9 at Night

I arrived around quarter to six in hopes to keep my time in the unbearable heat as minimal as possible. Below the Interstate 35 overpass, across the street from Zouk, a teeming cesspool of jailbait ass, bad decisions and day-glo everything radiated with sweat and body glitter. I would spend the next three hours in a state of bitchy resting face, trying to find a redeemable and enjoyable experience in an otherwise really trashy atmosphere.

The first redeemable moment would come at the end of Flosstradamus' set, when he abruptly cut his audio altogether after a buildup that had the crowd tranced out and ready for a heavy dance break to rave out to, and hit play on Lana Del Ray's "Video Games." It was a pretty solid troll move, and it made me giggle in relief that this scene does indeed have a somewhat self-aware sense of humor.

It was a short-lived high note, spoiled when I heard the news that Queens rapper Action Bronson (who was set to perform next) had pulled a last-minute cancellation. I had to wonder if the more rap-slanted portion of the audience felt as baited and switched as I did, or if Bronson's exclusion from the bill would have made a difference in the turnout numbers at all.

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Zara Walsh

I spent some time in the thick of the crowd for most of Baauer and some of Dillon Francis' sets, if for no other reason than for the irresistible people-watching opportunities. I spent a short time talking to a shirtless young man in Beetlejuice-striped hotpants who had the words "Miley Cyrus" painted in neon bubble letters on his back. He seemed relatively sober, and happy to be there.

This is not the kind of audience that can smell fear. The air is far too thick with vodka sweat.

As I sat on the far outskirts of the crowd, chugging water, I waited for Major Lazer to start and the sun to set. I worried about my ability to understand youth culture anymore. At only 24 years of age, have I outgrown the Mad Decent crowd?

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Zara Walsh

Finally, full redemption came with the headlining set. The always theatric Major Lazer came strong, and held the crowd in a state of elation that didn't seem totally drug-induced. Their well-balanced mix of reggae, Jamaican dancehall and mainstream rap bangers kept energy high and was considerably easier for me to dance to than the blippy and trance-y Dillon Francis set. Confetti cannons, crowd participation and Diplo walking over the crowd in a giant plastic bubble brought an element of showmanship usually lost in live EDM. As my hips shook and jerked to Pon De Floor, I was relieved to realize that I'm not yet a total curmudgeon. I can still kind of keep up with the youths, I just have a higher standard for live entertainment, and I'm not apologetic about that. I'm not that easy DJs, you gotta put in some work to wipe this reviewer's bitch face off. And that's exactly what Diplo and company were able to do.

By Vanessa Quilantan. Carmina's report is on the next page.


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10 comments
J_A_
J_A_

Cynic review was much more entertaining. I love this music but hate being surrounded by 15 year olds rolling their balls off, playing with lights.

realedmfan
realedmfan

this girl hardly gets to write about an experience she didn't have! major lazer was the one in the ball.. that guy in the "beetlejuice pants" had MOLLY cyrus written on his back.. drug propaganda. and she came only late at night? the people who ARE on drugs WILL be looking for drugs/taking their drugs at that time. she missed the even more underground djs, missed the DAYTIME experience, where everyone gets to know each other, and starts the vibes of the party... this chick isn't credible at all.

Rania Khoury
Rania Khoury

I wish i understood what Mad Decent is...

Benji Kauth
Benji Kauth

It was a blast and Major Lazer was off the hook. The drink queues were too long but were more tolerable after the sun went down. Would definitely do again!

juanmayeaux
juanmayeaux

I have a young daughter who is in the target age group and I just hope she has the sense to stay away from "STUPIDS".  Going around half dressed and asking strangers for drugs, any drugs, is stupid. Hell I did it all at her age, but I never acted stupid, got arrested or admitted to the ER for drugs. This event is all about the Ecstasy and there is a lot of bathtub chemicals in those pills.

mbcez
mbcez

Psh, im 36 and your vocab and writing style is more mature than mine,  maybe your just a bit old for your age mentally.  I cant say most of todays youth would even know what a lot of  the words you use mean.
The drug scene is nothing new in the dance/concert event scene (70s, 80s etc..).Your intolerance for it would definitely seem to point out you've just outgrown it personally, if you were ever into that type of scene to begin with?  Tho honestly you don't sound like the type of person who went on a college binder, wake n baking, drinking every night, and using the occasional recreational pharmaceuticals.  You sound pretty straight edge, which is cool for you, me personally, I cant even dance without loosening up with at least a six pack first!
Don't get too old too fast, you don't wanna sound like a grandpa at 30!

Ami Sue Healy
Ami Sue Healy

It was amazing. Worth every bit of the money, the heat and the dehydration. I think this weekend was the first time I fell in love with Dallas.

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