Concert Reviews

Concert Reviews

This page features student reports of concerts in and around the Los Angeles area. The objectives of the assignment include: 1) to encourage students to experience live music in the LA community; 2) and to write in a documentarian style to encapsulate experiences of live music performances while applying critical concepts that are discussed in the course.

The following contribution showcases student work from CSP 27 Race & Gender in Popular Music, Fall 2011, under the guidance of postdoctoral lecturer Wendy Hsu.

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Escape From Wonderland: an electronic music festival

For Halloween this year, I attended a Halloween themed electronic music festival called Escape From Wonderland. The event was located at the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino, California. There was a lot of hype surrounding this event so I was extremely excited to go as well as report my time there considering my mixtape project’s subject is on electronic dance music. Upon arrival at the event, the environment was filled with interesting accessories such as artificial fog, people dressed in funny and scary outfits, and the loud projection of music coming from the stages asphyxiated across the event.

The first artist to see on my list was ATB. ATB is a trance style artist and is renowned for the music it has been producing since the beginning. The environment for ATB was wonderful, the people were chill and the light coordination along with the music added a lot of sensory appeal to the performance. Upon moving from ATB to Benny Benassi, I noticed something different about this event: there were many more people here than usual. Getting from stage to stage was ridiculous because of the heavy flow of human traffic covering the walkways. I am glad that there are more people who have found interest in this music scene, but I am not looking forward to packed houses at every event I go to from now on.

Upon arrival at Benny Benassi, I wasn’t sure what to expect from him. I knew that he was a “pioneer” in creating the image this music genre has today but I did not hear much of him. Nonetheless, this guy rocked my world with his unbelievable drops and ability to control the crowd. Benny Benassi plays more house music and in relation to this genre as compared to trance, it is a lot more energetic. The beat will build up to a tipping point and once it drops, the energy throughout the crowd is well known and depending on how good a DJ can produce energy from their audience shows how good of a DJ the performer actually is.

After hearing an amazing set from Benny Benassi, I waited for Steve Angello to come on right after. Steve Angello is a member of the house music trio Swedish House Mafia and was the headliner for the night at this festival. You may be thinking what does some guy playing a set off a computer have to do with performing as a group or as an individual. To answer the question, the style of music in which he plays as compared to when he is in Swedish House Mafia is a lot different sounding. Steve Angello has his own style when he performs by himself and at the event he performed extremely well. Steve Angello couldn’t have stopped the crowd from dancing to his music even if he tried. The energy flowing out of this stage was incredible and it was definitely an experience to be there. I tend to get chills when I listen to music I’ve heard live at raves while putting myself there in my head and Steve Angello definitely added a lot of vivid memory to my memory collection of hearing great music at these festivals making the money spent for the festival last a lot longer than it said on the event info page!

As far as fellow listeners of EDM go, they’re all very respectful, happy people. Standing around in a setting put forth by events like these is different (mainly because of the drugs) because everyone acts like they are best friends with each other. There are no violent altercations of any sort for the most part and everyone is extremely respectful of each other’s space and wants to have a good time. Looking around at any rave, it would be impossible to find anyone having a bad time because there is nothing more fun than being in front of a DJ playing the best dance music a person can hear, coordinated light shows coming from the stage, and thousands of people who are on the same page as you are. The Halloween music festival was an extremely fun atmosphere and I would recommend for anyone to attend a rave for themselves and see the awesomeness and beauty behind the rave scene.

– Danny Wolfe, class of 2015