Events/Performances, Fun

Dreamscape Festival 2017

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I have never been to a music festival, as typically, larger crowds of people (for more than an evening or afternoon) aren’t my thing.  Friends of mine that have made this a side hobby, say that it makes you appreciate not just what you have in your own life, but those around you as well.  They weren’t wrong.

Naturally, the “stigma” associated with a festival, especially an EDM one, is that it’s drug and alcohol-fueled, which many chalk up to dangerous behaviors, and unsafe environments.  While the first two were present, the last two weren’t seen even once.  Instead, this is what I saw:

  • People dancing everywhere, smiling and laughing
  • These same people celebrating themselves and others, for who they are, not what they looked like
  • These same people bringing their artistic talents to life
  • These same people actually said “excuse me” or “I’m sorry” if they bumped into you (politeness)
  • More security than all rappers combined
  • Enough music in every direction to not feel as though you’re being overcrowded

Sure, there was a lot of people watching, and the majority of the festival-goers were not my brand of style.  However, there wasn’t a moment of feeling unsafe, judged, or otherwise bothered.

As for the Music

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My friends and I were there to support DJ MLEM, which if you are an avid reader of this blog, know who he is.  He played three sets in two days, which allowed us to not only spend time listening to his great mixes, but also allowed us to meet (and hear) some of the most talented EDM artists, such as Chris Lake, Destructo (thanks for letting me dance on the stage – I finally got to check something off my bucket list), Autograf, Keys n’ Krates, Bad Ginger, and many more.

Take a look at some of the videos from their performances below, as well as a slideshow of pics.  At the bottom of the post are some recommendations.

DJ MLEM and Julius Jetson B2B in the VIP Lounge

Chris Lake at City of Dreams, Hosted by Nu Androids

Keys n’ Krates on the Main Stage

Autograf at City of Dreams, Hosted by Nu Androids

Note: For a full set of Dreamscape videos, click here.

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Recommendations:

  • If possible, either book a cabin early or book a room at Days Inn Perryville.  The hotel is a 14-mile drive, but if you have a DD, it’s worth it.  It’s also about $70 a night.
  • The parking passes are $40
  • Get the open bar VIP package, skip the food (Super VIP package).  They never listed cafeteria times, so we always missed the food.  They have a food pavilion instead – you can also bring your own.
  • Take out lots of cash, and do it off site.  By Day 2, one of the ATMs was broken
  • Bring extra toilet paper, or even the travel rolls – you will thank me later
  • If you end up booking a room in Perryville, the Hollywood Casino is one mile away.  The Green Turtle restaurant is 24 hours.  (You could also win some cash like I did!)  Walking distance from that hotel is also Denny’s (breakfast) and a large Exxon Tiger Mart.
  • Bring a battery pack to charge your cell phone – one of the smartest things I did!
  • Definitely attend at least once – while it’s different than most festivals (so I’m told), the music was worth the attendance
Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

DJ MLEM and Darude and Soundcheck

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Pretending like Darude wasn’t insanely awesome (he totally was).

On March 3rd, one of my favorite DJs from my college years (yes, I’m dating myself), came to Soundcheck to euphorically “bring the house down” and it was everything I ever could have hoped for.

Darude became a US icon in 2001 for releasing “Sandstorm”, which was one of very few EDM songs to hit mainstream airwaves in a time when pop music (especially boybands) was at a fervent pitch.  He, along with the likes of Armin Van Buuren, helped to create the “stickiness” of trance almost 20 years ago, which if you can remember back that far, all started to sound the same.

However, Darude, who needed to re-invent himself after massive success off of that one song, found a way to embrace “Sandstorm”, remix it… and then throw in live-recorded crowd-interactive hits that made us all stay until the very end of the night, to see what else he’d perform.

Check out some of my video clips below.  There’s a whole host of them on my YouTube Channel if you want to check out more of his new album.

NOTE: Scroll past the videos to read more.

Sandstorm Remixed:

Live-recorded “We Love DC” Crowd Chant, Mixed Into His Song:

One of Darude’s Newest Hits:

This post would not be complete without also mentioning the opener – DJ MLEM.  You guys have read many of my previous posts about my affinity for this up-and-coming EDM DJ, who has quickly found his own sound, to which is gaining a mass following.  His new mix, “Son of a Mix 004” has received rave reviews, and even got the attention of Darude, who danced in the crowd to DJ MLEM’s closing set.

This isn’t just a testament to MLEM’s work, but also to Darude’s fun-loving spirit, who spoke volumes by supporting an opening/closing act when no other veteran DJ has done the same.

If you have the ability to see Darude and/or MLEM perform, make it a must!

Events/Performances

DJ MLEM’s Newest Mix

If you follow this blog, or have at least read my EDM review posts, you will know that I’m a huge fan of DJ MLEM’s sound.  His consistent, danceable beats and smooth transitions make him one of the most underrated DJs in the country (even ask those he’s opened for).  Today, his newest mix came out and it’s definitely his best yet. You can listen to it in its entirety below.

Events/Performances

DJ MLEM Opens for ZEDD at Echostage!

 

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My friends are rockstars.  Each one of them has incredible life goals and each of them are hell bent on achieving them.

Right before the New Year’s festivities kicked off, and after an insane year of working his way up the DJ chain, opening for acts such as Tommy Trash, Cazzette, Hotel Garuda, Mat Zo, as well as playing a number of local festivals; DJ MLEM was given an opportunity to open for Zedd at his dream place: Echostage.

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Naturally, we all went out to support him, as he played for a few thousand people in a venue that brings in some of the biggest acts in the world.

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Some of MLEM’s many fans, include his gorgeous girlfriend (in blue).

DJ MLEM’s sound has warmed up tens of thousands of party-goers, offering his own blend of sophisticated deep house with highly danceable beats.  His consistent sound of his own mixes has gotten the attention of not just some of the biggest names in D.C. area club and festival ownership, but also more and more loyal EDM fans as well.

Take a listen to a tiny part of his set, here:

But what amazes me more is how responsive the main acts have been to his sets, attempting to match his style in a thoughtful and smooth transition, so that they can continue on with their own performances.   While all have succeeded at it, they fail shortly after taking over.

Most of these big names “borrow” or “parrot” others’ music, in order to create a danceable set for a few hours.  Rarely do they play their own tracks (I’ve heard the Titanic song be remixed by Diplo, Hotel Garuda stopped what they were doing and played R. Kelly’s “Ignition”, and I’ve even heard Zedd play an entire song from another EDM artist) and if they do, they only cover a small part of it .  When listening to an opening set of a DJ who has a passion for this talent, it’s clear that the bigger names have (mostly) lost what the art form is truly about – bringing new sounds into the world.  DJ MLEM has consistently outshone the main acts I’ve seen come after him, which has caused me to leave shortly after they start playing, on more than one occasion.  True EDM fans can understand why this is the case – we want to be immersed into songs the performer has created – I don’t go to a Drake concert to see him perform one of Jay Z’s songs. Instead, I want to experience, in-person, the talent that have brought them to this level.  It’s my hope that DJ MLEM and more artists like him, can bring back DJing as a true art form.

On a more personal note, if you have never heard of DJ MLEM, follow him on Facebook, see where he’s playing next, and definitely be there to listen to his talent in-person.  Oh, and he’s also one of the nicest guys in the world too.

Events/Performances, Fun, United States

DJ MLEM, Loosid, and Hotel Garuda at A.I.

On Friday, November 25th, a group of us went to see DJ MLEM, Loosid, and Hotel Garuda perform at A.I. in DC.

For those who don’t know what A.I. is, think of it as an underground EDM club, with an Ibiza-like feel, which welcomes anyone and everyone who has a love of this genre, to dance AROUND the DJ booth.  The DJs that perform at A.I. are well-known in the EDM world (with quite the following) yet, remain true to their art form by only playing at select festivals and clubs where their fans appreciate true DJing skills.

Going into listening to this lineup, many of us expected fluid sets from each of the DJs, to include deep house and trap, playing some of their biggest hits (like Cloud).  Instead, two out of the three left us somewhat disappointed.

DJMLEM

If you have never heard of him, you soon will.  DJMLEM’s deep house style has taken notice in D.C. for his smooth, yet energetic mixes, keeping the crowd going at the right pace.  When his set transitioned over to Loosid for them to begin, it was so fluid you had no idea where his ended and theirs began.

 

Loosid

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When the transition went from DJ MLEM to Loosid, all seemed great – it kept on the right pace, and people were loving it.  Unfortunately, during their hour-long set, they started to creep all over the style map and not once did they play the hit “Clouds” that so many of us knew.  It was a decent set and still kept me dancing.

Hotel Garuda

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Many know 1/2 of the Hotel Garuda duo for his time at Radford and George Mason University.  It’s at these universities that Manila Killa got his start, DJing many a party.

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When the duo was formed, an immediate fan base was already built in, helping to skyrocket them to fame.  A lot of expectations were placed on them Friday night, as they have some great hits (below is a video clip of one of their better songs). It started out strong but unfortunately, tanked.  The transitions were choppy and at one point, they played Ignition by R. Kelly.  MANY Redford grads were in attendance, which I’m sure had a lot to do with the music selection.  And while many DJs mix others’ music into their own sets, this stuck out like a sore thumb.  A few songs later, and we chose to leave.

If you haven’t listened to any of these DJs’ music, I encourage you to do so.  Each one of these DJs is highly talented and have produced incredible hits.  We’re thankful for the opportunity to have been there, to see them all live, as well as hang out in the Green Room with them!