A weekend of dancing to indie electro, house, techno & more under the warm sun and into perfectly comfortable nights? Count me and all my friends in, as FNGRS CRSSD and Goldenvoice premiered CRSSD Fest with a stacked, international lineup on three stages. Hosted at the new Waterfront Park in San Diego, the venue is located right across the street from the harbor with a view of the downtown San Diego skyline, lined up with palm trees, and even a huge water fountain to cool off in – in short, a great spot.
As the weekend was filled with so many great artists I often found myself bouncing from one stage to another checking out the vibe and the music. Though I love techno (City Steps stage), I kept on being drawn to the Ocean View Live stage (Indie Electro) and The Palms stage (House/Electronic) – for me they best represented the summer-like, outside vibes I’ve been craving for.
Hailing from Australia (as many of my favorite acts were from as well) – Thomas Jack was one of my highlights for day one. Pioneering the current popular genre of tropical house, his set of warm, tropical, sunny summer vibes to jungle tech house got the crowd grooving into a prime dusk to sunset time slot. (Artists of the genre have come through lately – Kygo, Matoma – but I feel hearing this genre is best served outside, under the sun rather than inside at night at a club.)
Moving towards the live stage, I checked out the renowned Pete Tong, who of course was killing it, and then on to claim a spot at Ocean View to catch a trio of acts I’ve been looking forward to – Classixx, Hot Natured and of course, Empire of the Sun. Before catching the headliner, I went back to see San Francisco-based Giraffage, who was getting down with some chill R&B influenced dream trap and electro pop while spinning nostalgic remixes.
Empire of the Sun is an act that I’ve always wanted to see (especially since I first heard about them when I was studying abroad in Australia) and somehow have eluded me until now. They truly matched my expectations. Paired with an impressive visualizer, on-stage dancers/performers and a live band, Empire of the Sun swept up the audience with memorable sing-alongs like “Alive,” “Walking On A Dream,” “Standing On The Shore,” and “DNA” – while even jamming out a personal favorite, funked up electro jam “Swordfish Hotkiss Night.”
The second day of CRSSD Fest got me going with one of the stars in the latest generation of the “Jersey Club” genre. Hailing from Norway and donning a turtle hoodie, Trippy Turtle threw down a dynamic & bouncy set melding his brand of R&B/hip-hop influenced remixes and originals before booking it over to the Ocean Live stage to perform as Lido. Bixel Boys did a back-to-back set with Viceroy, churning out a surprisingly funky house set while bumping out Viceroy’s summer vibes remix of R. Kelly’s “Ignition.” Then I caught Danny Daze throwing down a wicked techno set, before settling down for another Australian favorite, Flight Facilities. Perfect vibes were abundant throughout the audience, as they performed into the sunset. There was something magical about hearing the chilled “Clair De Lune” under the warm evening sky. After an inspiring set by Odesza, I booked it over to the City Steps stage to stomp to some deliciously dark techno grooves courtesy of Maceo Plex with a lit up backdrop of San Diego’s downtown skyline.
I closed out the day and weekend with Dutch artist Bakermat, whose blend of tech, melodic and deep house sparked what remaining energy I had left to finish strong and shuffle around, especially to saxy closer “One Day.”
Overall, I thought the festival was a great success (it also ended up being sold out). I’ve wanted to see/hear a lot these acts and it being hosted in an accommodating, beautiful, and convenient spot made it that much better. Of course, there were a few logistical mishaps that could be better addressed next year (space stages slightly better because of sound-bleed, another bathroom area, shorter bar/food lines, ensure water station fill-ups had water) but overall I think things were pretty efficient and well planned out so I’m definitely looking forward to next year!
Artists on this festival’s lineup are featured throughout Mood’s Core offerings like Trendspot, Perimeter and Frequency.
– Submitted by Jesse Nathason, Music Design