Events/Performances, Fun

Dreamscape Festival 2017


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


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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  • 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

TJR and Knife Party at Echostage

The masses getting sucked into TJR’s EDM vortex.

My exact Facebook comment to my friend’s check-in at Echostage, “TJR!  Holy mother of…” I later found out TJR saw that and it put me over the moon.

Last night was one of the best EDM shows I’ve ever been to, and I’m still smiling from it.  Never has Echostage put a better opening act, that could absolutely SMASH any hopes of Knife Party being able to top it.

Quite often, I comment to people about how I’m so over DJs mixing other people’s music. HOWEVER, there was something so infectious about TJR’s mixes, combined with his use of graphics, his energy, the lights/lasers/smoke, and the crowd’s response, that all of us were on a euphoric high for close to two hours (and we wished he could have kept going).  There wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t dancing, cheering, jumping up and down, and grinning from ear-to-ear.

Then came Knife Party…


Last year, I heard their laser show was ridiculous, couple that with great hit after hit that they turn out, and I had to see this for myself.  It wasn’t a bad show but it didn’t wow me either (see TJR for more on why I think I might have had way lofty expectations).

The first issue was the time it took to recalibrate the soundboard and set up.  I’ve never seen a pause in between performances like that at a club.  It was definitely too much down time.  The second came down to it being a completely different style of music, so it was hard to shift into that mode of hardcore EDM.  As for their light show, they mostly did away with lasers, in favor of strobe lights, which if you’re sensitive to that, don’t go.  Even for me it was a lot.

They did, however, play some of my favorite hits, which you can watch below.

All-in-all, if these two acts come to your hometown, definitely grab tickets.  It’s completely worth it!  The rest of the videos can be found here.

And oh yeah, shout out to TJR for favoriting my tweet 😉

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Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

Partying With the Masses at Anjunabeats @ Echostage


I will be the first to admit, I hate being in a crowded place with no viable way to escape.  It’s why I’ve always had a fear of festivals, and other venues, that require acceptance of no personal space.  It’s also the number one reason why I always opted for a table at  large venues.

But, this past weekend, as a last minute “sure, why not?” my other half and I went with some friends to Anjunabeats, General Admission at Echostage, and HAD. A. BLAST!!! There was something so infectious about being in a crowd, filled with happy (albeit, probably medicinally) people that were all there to have a good time and dance.  I also considered it a “warm up” to Dreamscape Festival in June 🙂

Check out some of my videos below:

While it was totally fun, and certainly a different experience, I’m looking forward to my table, overlooking Knife Party, this weekend!

Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

DJ MLEM and Darude and Soundcheck

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!


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.


DJ MLEM Opens for ZEDD at Echostage!



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.


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.

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.


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.




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


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.


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!

Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

Diplo Comes to D.C.


On Saturday,  June 18th, Diplo came to Washington, D.C. for one night only, playing for an insanely packed house of eager fans, at Echostage.

If you have ever been to a Diplo show, you know that no two of his shows are the same.  Oftentimes, there are surprise guests, backup dancers, pyrotechnics, and other fun club-going experiences that add just a little bit more to the overall show experience (aside from the standard club amenities, such as LED boards, laser lights, dry ice machines, confetti guns, and arena-grade sound systems).  Unfortunately, out of all the shows he’s played this year (add him on Snapchat to follow along), D.C.’s was a bit of a disappointment.  While his music was still as incredible as it’s always been (I am a HUGE fan), and he still jumped onto the DJ booth to get the crowd going (see the video below); his set was less than 1 1/2 hours long, and it didn’t offer up anything iconic that Diplo has been doing in other places, that sets him apart in the DJ world (cue Aoki’s cake throwing).

Of course, your experience at an EDM show is always what you make of it (cue the crazy outfits… or lack there of, “mood enhancers”, General Admission tickets vs. tables, etc.). We were fortunate enough to have stage access to get the pics and videos below that show just how amazing our night still was.  Here’s to hoping that next time around, Diplo is able to stay longer and bring an even crazier party with him!

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To see all the videos of his performance, click here.

Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

An Afternoon With Steve Aoki


There are very few things in D.C. that excite me more than going to a good concert, to see my favorite artists perform.  Music has always been one of my favorite “hobbies”, in that I love the stimulation that comes with it – the emotional and physical journey that not only evokes certain feelings, but also keeps me moving.

I’ve had some incredible experiences, from seeing Justin Timberlake float right over me on that insane moving stage; to being in the DJ booth, dancing in front of throngs of people; to being up-close-and-personal on the stage.  No matter which way I’ve been able to experience the music, it’s always a rush.  Of course, it’s not just about the venue, as it’s also about the artist’s energy and level of interaction with their fans that matter.  As hand-in-hand as that may seem, it’s actually difficult to experience all three, unless you’re in a more intimate venue (or having paid a lot of money to get it). On Memorial Day, I experienced all three at one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, and I’m still raving about it.

First, if you have never been to Soundcheck and love EDM, you NEED to go.  That venue is one of my favorites – it’s close by and all tickets are priced the same (unless you get a table).  It also only holds 300 people, so it’s a very intimate venue and because it’s General Admission, you have a VERY GOOD chance of being as close to the DJ as you can get.  Second, it brings in some of the world’s biggest names, including Steve Aoki.  That’s right… Steve Aoki played for all 300 of us yesterday, complete with cake.

Yes, I was this close to him!

Although my location during the two-hour show varied (I was right in front of him when he started and I moved way back when the cake throwing started), the experience I had was completely unparalleled.  Not only did he play new songs no one in the world had heard yet, he climbed on the booth, high-fived people, took selfies with people’s phones, danced, and got people so hyped that almost anyone would consider it a blessing to be covered in white frosting by the end of the show.

Me and my partner-in-crime, having a blast (even though I’m not smiling – ha!).

I recorded 12 different videos, all of which can be found here.  I’ve included just a couple of them below, including the cake throwing!


Events/Performances, Fun, Travel, United States

Hardwell Kicks Off The New Year at Echostage!

Although a “few” weeks late, I didn’t want to fail to post what was absolutely an epic time at Echostage (and an incredible way to kick off the new year), dancing all night to Hardwell.  It was my second time being able to watch another of my favorite EDM DJs, perform from one of the best views in the house – the stage table.

Echostage is a unique EDM venue, which has exploded in popularity, not just because of it’s heart-pounding sound system, visually mesmerizing LED boards, or trippy laser light shows; but also because of the continuous parade of top-name DJs from around the world.  In fact, you often hear people “joke” about how they are going to start signing paychecks over to Echostage, because there isn’t one show you ever want to miss.  It’s become so popular that Slate News recently named it “the best place for EDM music”.  Need proof?  Check out my videos and slideshow below.


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