Attending CRSSD Festival has become a no-brainer routine for us here at MMIBTY. Where many music festivals try to have something for everyone, the folks behind CRSSD have spent the past three years (and five editions) building something that features the best in House and Techno from an underground perspective.
The weather this past weekend was the worst of any of the three years I’ve attended, including periodic rain showers on Sunday, but that surely didn’t slow anyone down nor prevent thousands of smiling faces from dancing their pants off. There were no real surprises this year, as we were treated to varying forms of House at the Palms Stage – with its lush greenery that makes it seem like the DJs are spinning live from a rainforest, hard-hitting Techno at the City Steps stage, and all other genres of dance music – including lots of live instrumentation – at the Ocean View stage. Speaking of “live” sets, this year more than any other seemed to feature artists performing their sets on equipment beyond two decks and a mixer, which is a refreshing change of pace. Personally I don’t care how the sets are being formed, but I’d love to see the addition of video screens that show what the artists are doing on the stage, especially if there truly are live sets happening.
Musically speaking it’s hard for me to single out any one artist for best set of the weekend because everyone brought their A-game. Moon Boots, one of our favorite artists in the dance music world, had the prime golden hour set on Saturday. He brought the feels with his soulful and funky version of House over at the Palms stage and was a fantastic appetizer for what would be a grimy Techno set by the legendary Damian Lazarus over on the City Steps stage. Damian’s set was full of heaters and was straight to the point compared to his marathon Day Zero set back in January. After Damian came Recondite for a live set of Techno that was very much full of banger after banger sans lyrics and full of fat synths. I’m not quite sure what Recondite was doing up there, hence my ask for video screens, but whatever it was it was good. After Recondite we spent time bopping between the Palms for Justin Martin (always a fantastic set complete with his unreleased Björk remix), back to City Steps for Âme, and closed it out with 2manydjs on the Palms. If I had to pick a winner for Saturday it would have to be 2manydjs – they brought out so many funky jams from Disco to House and even played a rendition of “Blue Monday” that had the crowd going wild.
On Sunday, with an earlier curfew, we had to make haste to catch some of our favorite DJs who were playing on the earlier side. I woke up to disappointing news that Latmun would not be able to play and I was excited to see him as I’m considering him one of the break-out producers of the past year. Luckily Chris Lake was available and took over an early 1pm slot. For Sunday the Palms became “The Birdhouse”, named after Claude Vonstroke‘s label and a curated stage that looked great on paper. Sets by Sonny Fodera, who I FINALLY got to see live, and Cut Snake were not as great as I was expecting. We went over to City Steps to see Heidi, who I was relatively unfamiliar with but who was laying down a dope set while combatting covers over her equipment due to the rain. She took the rain in stride and had a smile on her face the whole time.
Things really picked up on Sunday when Skream took the stage. It’s always curious predicting what kind of set he’ll be due to lay down as he played some hard Techno last year at City Steps. But to our pleasant surprise Skream was all Disco for his set and we were dancing hard with the crowd around us. Once Horse Meat Disco took the stage we noticed the crowd around us thinning out and we quickly realized that was because Seth Troxler and Eats Everything were up on the City Steps for a massive two hour B2B set. These two legends absolutely killed it and in talking to attendees after the festival, the consensus seems to be that they stole the weekend.
We closed out Sunday with the Dirtybird boss himself, Mr. Claude Vonstroke. He layed down one of the best sets I’ve ever seen from him – and that’s a lot of sets – that was full of fat bass lines and booty shaking music. A brief hiatus found us at Flume and we were quite bored by what we heard so we went back to Claude. From my count he only played one of his own songs, the fantastic “Barrump”
Not only was the festival itself amazing, but the sheer amount of after parties to attend was phenomenal as well. Struggling to decide on which show to go to is always a good problem to have. After an unofficial warehouse party on Saturday, we hit Spin on Sunday for Jackmaster B2B Eats Everything and Dusky. This was my first time at Spin and it’s a club I’d love to go back to, complete with two floors of dark grimy clubbing and a rooftop for chillin’ out. The Dusky set we saw was amazing, and vastly different from the most recent time I saw them in SF. They had me in a blazing Techno trance.
Other random thoughts
- Merch – the merch was on point this year! My favorite were the jackets that said “House x Techno” on the back. If any of the CRSSD folks are reading this I’d love it if you could send us one!
- Volume – my only real complaint about CRSSD continues to be the volume, or lack thereof. It wasn’t as bad this year as it was last year, but I still found myself standing in front of speaker stacks to get the full effect of the music. Really wish they could do something more about this.
- Vendors – drinks were pricey. $9 for Bud Lights… $12 for craft beers? Come on
- Live Streams – let’s get some more of these! Too many good sets not to be seen or heard again. Would love to have more of these sets released on YouTube or any other outlet.
Well folks another chapter of CRSSD Fest is in the books and it was truly a magical time. Thanks to the folks at Infamous PR and all the people behind the festival for putting on such an amazing experience. We will see you again next time!