Summer in Boston is often associated with things like trips to the Cape, Red Sox games, lobster, and now…. dance music?! That’s right, add it to the list – thanks to the folks at Quincy’s Ocean Club in collaboration with Mass EDMC and NV Concepts. This outdoor venue, located in Marina Bay, is something like Miami meets the Jersey Shore. A capacity of 1,600+, Palm Trees, fake sand, pools (for decoration), and of course, cabanas, make this venue truly unique in Boston. But what REALLY makes it a unique destination is that it has become the premier venue in which to witness and party with some of the biggest DJs in the world. After a huge 2011, the venue and its promoters have big things in store for 2012 and nothing says that quite like opening weekend, which hosted Skrillex on Friday May 25th and Nicky Romero on Sunday May 27th.
Click through to read more about the festivities and for a preview of things to come!
Friday May 25: Skrillex
Excitement for this show began weeks before tickets even went on sale for it. Last Summer’s success at the Ocean Club combined with Mass EDMC and NV Concepts’ immense contribution to bringing dance music to America’s Northeast paved the way for party-goers to keep their eyes peeled for opening weekend announcements. In case you aren’t aware, Mass EDMC & NV Concepts put together the Winter White Tour, among other major shows in the area, so they had managed to build a HUGE following (over 11,000 Likes on Facebook and growing) during the days leading up to the Summer. Sure enough, when Skrillex was announced as the opening night’s entertainment, people went crazy. Maybe it’s because Skrillex is one of the most in-demand DJs out there right now, picking up multiple Grammys and charting on the Forbes list. Or maybe it’s because Boston has a weird fascination with Dubstep. Whatever the case, pre-show tickets sold out in a matter of days and the stage was set for a crazy opening night.
I made sure to show up to Ocean Club on the early side, about an hour before Skrillex’s set time of 11pm to catch resident DJ Bamboora. As I waited in line to get inside, my excitement increased as I could hear the bass coming from the venue. As I looked at the people around me, I noticed a mix of clothing choices: some girls in dresses, others in neon, while the guys stuck mostly to t-shirts or button downs. There had been a lot of fuss online in reaction to the dress code, but this was just Boston Dubstep kids overreacting and nothing seemed to be an issue. Lots of friends were in attendance for this one and as I got inside I began rocking to Bamboora’s beats (killing it as always) and scoping out the scene. I noticed a younger crowd (as young as 21+ can get), with lots of smiles on faces and people having a great time.
After lots of wandering around, dancing, drinking and taking pictures, I heard the familiar voice of Damian Marley coming out of the speakers over a Reggae/Dubstep hybrid beat. I was in the middle of the venue at this point, my back to the stage and in the middle of four speakers facing inward towards the circular bar. Because of Ocean Club’s poor sound system and no real MC announcing Skrillex on stage (or maybe I couldn’t hear), I had no idea he was coming on. I think I actually asked my friend if Skrillex was on at that particular point. Well, he was, and he was playing his new track “Make it Bun Dem“. The crowd was bumpin to the music and I quickly made my way to the front to snap some pictures and dance with my fellow concert-goers. You could tell most people came for the music and not for the “scene”, which OC Club is known for.
Skrillex played all his big tunes, such as “Bangarang”, “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”, and “Weekends” and also threw a surprise at us in Kill Frenzy’s funky “Booty Clap” which is one of my recent favorite songs and he has been rumored to be dropping all over the country. It’s interesting that Skrillex has managed to change from using Ableton (DJ and production software) with a control pad to straight CDJs and still kill it. These two methods are very different as far as DJing live, but it seems like he’s got the hang! The show ended promptly at 1:00am, but I thoroughly had a good time at my fourth Skrillex show. Everyone seemed pleased, except for those who had to pay $100 at the door (one of my few complaints about OC Club). I walked out of there pleased and knowing I had another exciting night ahead of me in two days….
*Update: It has been rumored that Skrillex has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I performed a search online and it’s being talked about in forums but I couldn’t find an official news source. I’ll try and post updates as they become available. Let me know if you have any information.*
Sunday May 27: Nicky Romero
The first official OC Sunday of 2012 brought a much different scene to Ocean Club on Sunday May 27th. Arriving around the same time, there was relatively more chaos in the parking lots, with an extensive line to get inside. I immediately noticed the crowd was more of a dress to impress group of people, seemingly there more for a club night than a concert a la Skrillex two nights ago. I also noticed the crowd was significantly more international, speaking in foreign languages or with accents. This didn’t affect me in any way, but it’s interesting to get a feel for what type of group shows up for a particular show.
Again I had the pleasure of seeing Bamboora do his thing, dropping bomb after bomb of Big Room House, House, and Electro-House including a Tommy Trash remix which he always manages to throw in to my delight. It looks like Bamboora’s transition from using Serato to just CDJs has been an easy one, as his beat matching and general mixing abilities are as smooth as ever. It was really cool standing behind the elevated stage and looking down to the crowd, to see just how awesome the DJ’s perspective is and to see the size of the club.
Around 11pm I learned Nicky had not yet arrived and that my friend was still stuck in line trying to get in. The police had showed up a couple times to the parking lot as some fights had broken out. And tickets at the door were once again $100 a piece – pretty ridiculous.
Finally Nicky Romero came on around 11:15 and got things started with his new track “Nictim” that he produced in collaboration with Avicii (real name Tim Berg, thus “Nictim”). As we heard him do in his BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, he played the vocals of Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” during the break of “Nictim” and it works perfectly. Romero kept his audience hyped with flawless mixes of heavy hitters and crowd favorites, occasionally getting on the mic to receive clapping and cheers. Songs like his remix of Green Velvet’s “Flash”, his new tune with David Guetta “Metropolis” combined with the vocals from Swedish House Mafia’s “Save the World”, and he even dropped in Knife Party’s new Reggae-infused Dubstep song “Bonfire”.
Overall I had a really fun time at Nicky Romero and probably enjoyed myself more than I did at Skrillex, although both were great experiences. My real complaint continues to be the sound system, or lack there of but I fear no changes will be made as a result of neighbors complaining. It was funny witnessing the nuances that made each show a bit different than the other, with the crowds being the primary reason. I am truly excited for the rest of the summer and the shows that are coming our way, especially next week’s Fedde Le Grand & Zedd show – two artists I haven’t seen live, but who undoubtedly kill it every time with their tracks and their mixing. Keep your eyes on the Boston Shows page. Also make sure to keep an eye on the Ocean Club, Mass EDMC, and NV Concepts Facebook pages for updates!