Pictures and Review by Summer Li
More than 20,000 starving EDM fans arrived at etd.POP last Saturday, thirsting for their fix of aural goodness. Every year at the brink of summer, electronic music promoter Skills puts on one of the largest dance music events in Northern California, gathering people from hundreds of miles away for a special night of outlandish costumes, intoxicating lights, and a world-class DJ lineup. This year, Skills broke the mold with its new vision. Before, DJs had been separated into different rooms based loosely on genres (hardstyle lovers would have enjoyed music over 140 bpm all night), but this year’s POP set up timeslots for all the acts on one single stage. There was great potential in the one-stage idea, but also a great number of drawbacks that made it difficult to see the good.
The major issues of this event were lack of space and difficulty of mobility. Having only one stage forced the sold-out event to congregate in one room that is usually overly packed anyway even with side stages present. Also, maneuvering between the stands and the floor was nearly impossible as the venue managed to close off all the major ramps and openings that led to the floor from the lobby around midnight. Suddenly, going to the bathroom or getting more water became drastic decisions because you may not be able to get back on the floor or meet up with your friends for the rest of the night.
Despite these drawbacks, the music was still exemplary. A smaller number of DJs were booked and played shorter sets, which might have prevented the presence of local and smaller, upcoming DJs, but the great thing was that everyone was able to see all of the DJs together as one mass. The single-room vision surely served to unify the audience and was no better shown than the moment all 20,000 of us suddenly belted, “We’ve come a long long way together, through the hard times and the good,” while Fedde Le Grand dropped Fatboy Slim’s classic, “Praise You.”
POP 2010 was also a novel way for those only familiar with one genre to experience the diversity of EDM as a whole. Perhaps, one moment you were lost in the dreamy, atmospheric trance of Gareth Emery’s set only to be suddenly shattered by the piercing screams of Steve Aoki. The event ended with a phenomenal live performance by Israeli psy-trance legends Infected Mushroom. Being on the floor for Infected Mushroom is always a fun experience as jumping and clapping incessantly become the only acceptable things to do. A powerful and energetic ending to great night. If only they had played one more song, my throat would have hurt less from pleading for that encore.
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