Photo Credit: Julian Bajsel for CRSSD Fest

A little rain couldn’t slow us down this past weekend in San Diego for the five-year anniversary of CRSSD Festival. As California has had a rough and wet Winter so far (unless you ski or snowboard, then it’s been paradise) it wasn’t surprising that the weather forecast was calling for rain all weekend. But rain or shine there’s a reason we keep coming back to this festival year after year and that’s because of the amazing talent it reels in and the people in the crowd who make it special.

As many festivals evolve or change over the years, CRSSD has stayed relatively consistent. Three stages across the beautiful waterfront park, each one consisting mostly of House, Techno, and Live/Electronic/Bass Music respectively . A 21+ two-day festival in the heart of downtown San Diego makes it relatively painless from a logistics type-of-crowd-it-attracts perspective.

This year definitely felt packed at times, especially on Saturday, and if you wanted to enhance your sound quality experience more often than not you had to be positioned directly in front of a speaker stack along with everyone else. Sunday did feel a little louder but that was accompanied by more security and stages with inconsistent amounts of people at it. Draining the pools helped for acts like Odesza which felt like everyone in the park was there to see, but it also took away from the ambiance and foreshadowed CRSSD’s impending end.

Musically, all the artists killed it. That’s no surprise and really what I’ve come to expect from a festival that features its best-selling item, a bomber jacket, with the words “House x Techno” printed on the back. There was a good blend of House, there was a nice mix of Techno, and to surprise myself it was even refreshing hearing some bass music over the weekend. My one complaint was a relatively small amount of Tech-House compared to years past – that’s really the stuff that gets me going.

In no particular order, my highlights were:

  • Maetrik Live –> Stephan Bodzin Live
  • Doc Martin –> Catz n’ Dogz
  • Classixx Live
  • Whethan
  • Sonny Fodera
  • The Martinez Brothers
  • Odesza

Overall, for me, Maetrik took the cake for the weekend. Maceo Plex is one of my favorite DJs to see live and he’s a wizard of production – he’s a DJ’s DJ. Seeing his live set as Maetrik was something else. The set took us on a journey and the fact that Maetrik was doing it all live with the many gadgets he had on stage was true artistry.

As expected the Martinez Brothers brought the party for two hours to close out the City Steps stage. Everything from Jungle to Disco and break beat – these guys know how to throw down.

Over at the Palms Stage Catz n’ Dogz brought the rave as they consistently do, bringing their flavor of House and Tech to the forefront. I was also pleasantly surprised with Sonny Fodera’s set as his daytime set a couple years ago was rather boring to me. This time Sonny laid down some nice Tech-House vibes and blended songs together in a way that only the pros do. Lots of acapella overlays over different beats.

Sadly the disappointment of the weekend was Armand Van Helden. For a guy who’s been in the game so long, his mixing was painful to hear at times. And his set seemed like a best-of playlist without much originality. We heard some Armand classics and some Duck Sauce which was to be expected, but also multiple Daft Punk songs which just seems like a cop out.

Finally, I will say that I was reluctant to go over to Odesza to close out the weekend but I was pleasantly surprised by their set. Growing up a drummer it was really fun to see the Odesza drum line live in action. The duo knew how to give the crowd some heavy bangers and ethereal feel-good crowd pleasers.

Overall the festival was another one for the books and I can’t wait to venture down for the next one!