“This is a song about depression, which fucking sucks!” screams Allison Wonderland as she sings “U Don’t Know”, exorcizing whatever demons dwelled in the crowd as we rush the stage, clinging for whatever connection we could get with her. For those who believe that EDM shows are just pressing play on iTunes, there’s Wonderland in an oversized OVER 9000! shirt-dress, mixing The Prodigy with snippets of The Spice Girls. Before long, Wonderland is belting out lyrics and head-banging until she crashes down, chugging a Dasani. “I have the flu, so I really needed that.” You think she’s referring to water but no, she’s describing Mad Decent Block Party.
Welcome to Mad Decent Block Party 2016, a predominantly EDM but generally dope medley of artists raging together for two days in Coney Island’s MCU Park.
Unfortunately, Tory Lanez dropped Wonderland’s momentum. One would assume that Lanez was experiencing technical problems, as just when things started to get going, Lanez would stop the song with no transition. Lanez jumped into the crowd which is cool until you realize it’s now impossible to track Lanez when he wasn’t lifted up. It was as if Lanez doubled down on his audience interaction to compensate for the stage component.
Dillon Francis opened with the best opening song one could ever open with, the Pokemon theme song. Francis took advantage of our love of memes and the nineties, throwing down “Forgot About Dre”, Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction”, Guy Fieri bacon-spiders, lessons on “I.G.A.F.O.S.”, and a move that no other DJ is crazy enough to try — “The Macarena”.
Now, the dope thing about seeing Diplo is that you don’t just get Diplo-produced tracks like “Revolution”, Major Lazer’s “Lean On”, and Jack Ü’s “Where Are Ü Now?”, but also veritable concert anthems, like Armin van Buuren’s “Ping Pong”, Celine Dion’s “I Will Always Love You” and The Star Wars Imperial March. Diplo lowers your guard with intimate tracks like The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down” and Sigma’s “Nobody to Love”, only to remind you that this is Diplo when he drops the sickest of basses that instinctually make you twerk, even while pressed up against a security barrier. Seriously, the girl behind me mounted the metal and twerked it for the glory of Diplo.
On Sunday, I made it just in time to dance-fight my way to the front for Kesha and The Creepies. Since I purchased tickets to Mad Decent specifically for Kesha, I was disappointed to discover her set would only last thirty minutes. Fortunately, this is more than enough time for Kesha to rock your face off. She roared in with “We R Who We R”, made out with and then ripped the heart out of her guitarist during “Cannibal”, wielded a guitar for “Your Love is My Drug”, and wrapped it all up with “Tik Tok”. At one point everyone was wearing dinosaur masks, which I would’ve recorded, but security kept hosing us down like the mangy animals we were as Kesha brought out the animal within.
Boi-1da kept the groove going, and I was perplexed as to why he would follow Kesha’s comeback. Then Drake walked onstage. With an impromptu set culminating in “Energy”, Drake showed us how to rap right as we chanted about our excessive amount of enemies.
Even if you’re not a fan of Zedd’s Dead, you would’ve thrown up the Z inevitably, as they assembled a proverbial Dubstep Avengers of the most danceable things ever — Europe’s “The Final Countdown”, The Prodigy’s “Breathe”, Eiffel 65’s “Blue”, Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone”, Zombie Nation’s “Kernkraft 400”, even “Tainted Love” — reanimated and set to flashes of Akira.
DJ Snake ensured that we would go all out for the finale, hitting us with military-grade ass-shakers like “Get Low” and Kill The Noise’s “Lose Ya Love”, but also saying a bittersweet goodbye with “You Know You Like It” and probably the best song off of Encore/the best use of Justin Beiber, “Let Me Love You”.
Ultimately, Mad Decent Block Party was one of the best events I’ve attended, because there was something for everyone, from the variety of the artists to the individual sets, satisfying that one need you didn’t even know you needed.