It’s always unfortunate to be heading to a fest and spot fellow music lovers getting their car ripped apart by authorities, while your sitting bumper to bumper on the exit ramp. I always wonder, what will happen to them? Will they make it? What kind of shit did they have in their car? My curiosity rises as I try not to stare at others’ misfortune…I let out a deep breath and do my best to pass my good vibes on to them. Thankfully, my posse and I made it through safely, and parked in the closest available space- which was over a mile away from Starscape’s entrance. Unless Mom or Dad is dropping you off at the gate, I would suggest wearing a pair of shoes that make sense (you should be doing this anyway if you are trying to let it all hang out)!
EOTO blessed our festival experience early on in the day. These gentlemen are at the top of my “Coolest Old Heads” list- despite their age they are surprisingly hip and aware of current mainstream music. They played 50 Cent and Jeremih’s new song Down on me, brought a little more jam, added some funk, and nailed it. By mid set, EOTO transitioned into Juvi’s Back That Ass Up, an appropriate song for my girl Meghan who was wearing one of those beautiful gypsy skirts; the gold coins on her hips went flying everywhere! They played a short cover of Woo-hah by Busta Rhymes and kept the crowd pumped up with their always all-improvised music. But this was not the only love attributed to Busta during their set: they broke into Make your Body Wet featuring Janet Jackson, bringing me back to the days when I was learning to booty clap at middle school sleepovers. Mamaso was glitchy at first, but after the bass line dropped it instantly took on a hard, low, funky persona. They developed into a crazy bongo bass drop where they started chanting “mamase mamasa mamakusa” (mostly accredited to Michael Jackson’s song Want to be Startin’ Something, but is actually an original song from Cameroonian saxophonist, Manu Dibango, who hit the American music scene in the 70’s with Soul Makossa). Oh and did I mention that they also covered Look at Me Now by Chris Brown? Who could have seen that coming? Also an 80’s throw back- and mini tribute to Debbie Deb- was her dope song called Lookout Weekend. Props to Jason Hann for doing all the vocals live with his voice synthesizer!
Right after EOTO on the Main Stage was Lotus. Finally, the breath of fresh air I had been craving. These guys always provide the crowd with energetic and revitalizing sounds. It’s as if your eardrums were ingesting cucumbers and washing it down with cold water soaked in mint leaves….ahhh, refreshing! There were bubbles and tons of multicolored lights amidst their harmonic sounds and guitar riffs.
We left Lotus a little early to see Datsik at the Beach Stage. Datsik did it right for Starscape: his music was more electric than tin foil in a microwave, or like brushing your teeth with a brillo-pad.
Bassnectar is a crowd favorite, but rightly so. Oh yes, you know he played Pink Elephants, pairing it with his hippity-hoppity pink elephant graphics that multiplied across the screen, exploding into fractals. After that we were sanctified by the sounds of 808, which never seem to get old. Additional props go to his version of d-Queue’s Chicken Dippaz and Time Stretch.
We cut out of Bassnectar a little early so that we could catch some of Skrillex.
There came a point in the beginning of his set where I felt an electronic arm reach out and shake me. A voice followed and said, “Why the fuck are you all the way back here? Get your ass up there girl!” So I used my best “dance through the crowd” strategy to eliminate the distance between the front of the stage and myself. One of the best features of the Beach stage are the giant rocks that line the shore. I hopped from rock to rock, scurrying up the side until, alas, front row. We were so close my face was flapping to the beat like I had my head out the window of a speeding car. Then I was off to Riot Gear at the quaint Fort Stage.
It’s a shame that not too many people graced their set, because they were amazing. The South Florida based DJ duo consists of Andy Pate and Robert Dale. They played a lot of tech house, which was great for building dance floor energy. My boy Alan first introduced me to them at club Space in Miami, and I have been a fan ever since. If you have not heard the hype, enlighten yourself, because they are up and coming and very under-appreciated! Big names at Starscape are always alluring, but sometimes it’s the smaller names that really make the fest. And don’t forget who turned you on to them 😉
After Riot Gear gave me more than enough room to dance and explore the atmosphere, it was back to the Beach Stage to holler at Excision. Always dirty, always dark, Excision lets me enter a space in my spirit that desires musical sins. Mean muggin’, I closed my eyes, bobbed my head, crouched low, and indulged in his evil music. If you have never heard Excision & Downlink’s Blue Steel, you’re missing something on your iPod.
Steve Aoki was one of the wildest sets I was blessed to see at Starscape. He was going hard as a motherfucker, as usual, hopping around stage, stomping and head banging. My girl Kathryn and I forced through the crowd to the front because he was giving out cupcakes and we wanted to say we ate one of Steve’s treats. Out of nowhere he brings out a giant chocolate birthday cake with green and blue icing. He points at the girl next to us and says, “You want this?!” Obviously, the girl screams, “Give it to me!” and without hesitation he smashes it all over her face like a pie on Wild And Crazy Kids. The icing and cake particles splattered all over my friend and I and without hesitation we immediately started licking it off each other while laughing hysterically and hopping up and down. The chocolate covered girl hopped on stage and flung her chocolate covered hair all over us. Then, just when you thought the crowd couldn’t get nuttier, Skrillex popped up on stage with a giant inflatable raft, shared turntables with Steve and hyped up the crowd. Then the two of them tossed the raft on top of the audiences’ raised arms, jumped in and paddled through people with giant yellow ores. “Where the fuck am I?” I thought to myself, “this is bonkers!” Next time they should use a surfboard and hang ten, literally crowd surfing.
After the debaucheries Aoki displayed, my crew and I wanted to take a break from the Dance Tent so we could chill and let some sweat evaporate from our glistening bodies. Paper Diamond hopped on the Beach Stage with his swag on and sexy beard, ready to let it rip. His performance was sophisticated and coy; if I wasn’t such a hot mess I may have tried to roll up my sleeves and go back stage. We will meet someday…
My crew and I began to miss the havoc floating around the Dance Tent, so we wandered back to dance off our last morsels of rage. Charles Feelgood came on shortly after Aoki and lit up the dance tent. Needless to say, I was feeling good about my accomplishments. Going to a one day fest like Starscape, jammed pack with multi-musical masters, can really take it out of you. You need to take care of yourself, pace your roll, and stay on top of your schedules!
As the night began to wrap up, I ran into the sad little puppies that got pulled over on the way in; I smiled, I guess my good vibes penetrated farther than I gave them credit. As I left the venue I walked backwards so I could give one last goodbye to the electronic massacre I had just participated in.
Unfortunately, the dubstep was not the dirtiest part of the fest. Everyone who went this year can attest to all the filth scattered throughout Fort Armistead Park in Baltimore. Towards the end of the night, as the sun was rising I began stepping over mountains of plastic water bottles and passed out patrons. The one thing I would love to change for next year would be the poor waste management and total disrespect of the attendees for the land. Be responsible with your remnants, glitter kids- be grateful for the grounds and leave with a beautiful memory.