Dallas was treated to an incredible day of music this past weekend as Mad Decent Block Party made its stop in the sweltering Texas city. From industry leader Skrillex to rising star JAUZ the event had a stacked lineup that was quite a treat for the southern music fans. I was there to experience all of it and was totally blown away by the incredible festival Mad Decent brought to TX.
Unfortunately, due to technical problems Long Jawns, the 1/2 of the producer DJ duo Gent & Jawns, was only able to play a small portion of his opening set. With temperatures reaching into the near 100’s in Texas it was no shocker to the crowd when the laptop of the well known moombathon artist crashed several times during the set. Regardless of the setbacks, experienced Jawns moved forward with his set and for the time that he was able to perform, he dropped a number of massive unreleased tracks along with crowd favorites like their remix of Rhianna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money”. I have a new found respect for Long Jawns as he focused on overcoming the difficulties and moving forward with his set, whereas many other artists would have freaked out or simply given up.
Second to take the stage was Party Favor (PF), a festival trap pioneer who really brought energy to the show! Now it must be noted, not only did the laptops, CDJs, and other technical equipment struggle with the heat, but so did the Texas crowd. Had I not been in the spacious VIP area for most of the show I am honestly not sure if I would have enjoyed the event as much as I did. The temperature in Dallas that day peaked at just over 100 degrees, but deep in the crowd it was well over that. So seeing Party Favor take the decks during the hottest part of the day and receive the tremendous reaction of the crowd he did is truly a testament to his performance. Dropping hard hitting tracks from fellow trap artists like Carnage and RL Grime PF got the crowd jumping and moving through his entire performance. Party Favor’s set truly marked the beginning of the Mad Decent Block Party experience for the crowd.
Jauz is an artist fast on the rise to the top of the electronic world. Having already worked with major players in the music scene like Tchami, Dillon Francis, Datsik, and most recently Skrillex, this young music machine is going to be a headlining star soon. Leaving no genre untouched Jauz has made incredible tracks in dubstep, future house, electro and more with no stopping in sight.
Following his heart to heart with the crowd at California’s festival HARD Summer, Jauz took the crowd at Mad Decent on a journey as he occasionally interrupted his set to explain to the crowd how just months ago he was in there shoes and to never give up on your dream. Not only was Jauz the most personal of all the acts that night, creating a bond with the crowd while dropping a straight fire set, but also one of the most well received by the crowd as fans grooved to his fast paced, bass heavy beats.
Next to hit the sun soaked stage was recent rap star ILoveMakonnen. Known mainly for catchy rap song featuring Drake, “Tuesday” took this young artists into the limelight of the hip-hop world. Makonnen, while being one of the highlight names at the event, only had a little over 30 minutes to entertain the crowd, and he surely made the most of it. Between the rap songs that had the whole crowd chanting along Makonnen’s DJ dropped some pretty aggressive bass tracks that helped this non-EDM artist fit in better with the almost completely electronic lineup. I was pleasantly surprised by the set that was put on by Makonnen and would most likely see him again if the opportunity presented itself.
The night really started to get rowdy when crowd favorite and all-star DJ TJR hit the Mad Decent Stage. Known for his bouncy big room style, the American legend was the first of the headliners to take the stage. From the start of his performance the crowd never missed a beat, jumping and dancing to every beat the incredible artists dropped, the audience really started to show their energy as the sun set over Dallas and the tracks really started to hit hard. Now the main difference noticed between the past artists and TJR was the guys from PK Sound, the no nonsense audio engineers responsible for setups like Excisions 150K watts of bass, really cranked the system up. As I tried to focus my camera on the sweaty DJ I could clearly see the tip of my nose moving as the waves of bass crashed over myself and the crowd.
I am a huge fan of the systems PK Sound brings to their audience, but never have I been so happy I brought a pair of noise canceling ear protection to the show. The set TJR brought to Mad Decent really marked the beginning of the big acts of the night and you could tell by the energy of the crowd, they were ready.
Bro Safari was by far the most wild set of the night and both Dallas and I loved it. Standing in the press pit with some of the industries biggest photographers I was not the only one slightly boucing to the music while looking through the view finder of my camera.
With MC Sharpness by his side the two took Dallas over and totally destroyed it. With bass blasting and Bro Safari sweating behind the decks it was a miracle the highway above the event survived as “Scumbag” was dropped and everyone, from the VIP to security, absolutely lost it. By far my personal favorite set of the night, this sundown set was so unreasonably rowdy that there was no escape from the energy that came during the performance.
The second to last artist on Mad Decent’s lineup got a massive reaction from the scantily clad girls in attendance as the self-proclaimed “Daddy of Dance Music” Borgore took the Texas stage. Having found incredible success at the start of the EDM boom, Borgore is one of the top names in the electronic world, not only being a world renowned producer/DJ, but also owning Buygore, one of the top record labels in the industry. Bringing a little bit of his dirty dubstep from his early days, Borgore mixed some old and new with a heavy festival trap set, that while being loud and heavy, was not met with the best response from the crowd. The crowd, however, did not hold back when hit song “Decisions” was dropped to close out the night. Overall the set, while being loud and filled with energy, seemed to not translate well to the crowd. I personally enjoyed the set, yet compared to those of earlier in the day, this performance did not deserve a headlining spot.
Skrillex, where do we even start. Police sirens being to wail and slowly the sound of GTA’s “Red Lips” begins to play and the crowd realizes it’s about to hear the elusive Skrillex remix of this already massive song. Under a minute in and Skrillex has taken the crowd by storm and is dropping some of the hardest hitting beats to be produced by this electronic maestro.
Blending a mix of classic Skrillex tracks, new JackÜ, and massive OWSLA hits (Skrillex’s record label), the audience was taken on a journey through some of the heaviest tracks to ever come out of the electronic scene. Plus as a bonus we got to hear Jauz’s and Skrillex’s recently released track “Squad Out!” towards the end of the set as Jauz took a spot side stage to dance with the crowd to this massive track. Viewing the thousands of attendees rage to this electronic megastar, under a highway, in the middle of Dallas, in 100 degree heat, as confetti cannons sprayed the crowd, is something that no one there will forget in a hurry. There was no messing around as Skrillex played one of the most incredible performances that I have ever heard from him, and I’ve seen him 6 times, as he broke from his usual set list and played a ton of unreleased tracks plus some massive remixes from his good friends. This incredible performance by the legend reinforced to the crowd, and myself, why Skrillex is on his way to becoming a legend not only in electronic music, but in the entirety of the music world. I can’t wait to see him again as he never disappoints and highly recommend anyone who hasn’t witnessed a Skrillex experience to make that a top priority.
It is without a doubt in my mind that I sincerely can say this Mad Decent Block Party stop was not only a highlight show for the Dallas community, but the entire electronic scene as a whole. With such incredible performances coming from rising players in the music industry like Jauz, Gent & Jawns, and more the opportunity to see these soon to be headliners was awesome. Plus with the change of pace brought by the hip-hop and rap of ILoveMakonnen was a nice break in the otherwise bass heavy festival. Lastly, the stacked headlining of TJR, Borgore, and Skrillex meant Dallas got to witness multiple huge names and the diverse sounds they bring to their sets. Regardless of the Texas heat the music and overall experience of the entire event allowed Mad Decent Block Party Dallas to be one of the best events I have ever attended. Thank you to the entire teams from Mad Decent, PK Sound, and any other group that had a hand in putting together this fantastic day of music, and hope to be at another Block Party soon.