Mad Decent Block Party: Brooklyn Review

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With several sold-out shows throughout the country, Diplo’s annual Mad Decent Block Party finally took over Coney Island’s MCU Park in Brooklyn, New York last Saturday, August 9th. While the weeks leading up to the event were less than promising – with disputes between Mad Decent and Ticketmaster over floor/seated GA tickets and the very highly anticipated Chance the Rapper dropping out last minute – the performances of the Mad Decent crew made for a one-of-a-kind, musically ratchet ride.

From early on in the day and well into the actual concert, a long line of concertgoers wrapped around MCU Park’s stadium, waiting patiently to go through strict security measures. NYPD constantly circled the line with several drug-sniffing dogs, sending hoards of teenagers into a panicked anxiety. We were also forced to remove our shoes and spin in circles as part of this intensive drug check – necessary measures following the death of two Maryland teens at the show’s Baltimore installment. Some other details may have been overlooked, however, as my friends’ and my IDs weren’t even checked at the door.

9940849.87 If anything could justify the questionable fashion at Mad Decent Block Party – pre-teen butt cheeks flailing out of yoga shorts and crop tops that proudly read “BITCH” and “HIIIIGH” – it’s the irresistibly twerkable beats, drops, and melodies that pervaded MCU Park on Saturday afternoon. My only qualm would be the undeniable similarity between some sets. It’s not surprising, as they are all members of this Mad Decent reunion, but I don’t think I could count the times I heard A$AP Ferg’s “Work”, Wiz Khalifa’s “We Dem Boyz”, Rae Sremmurd’s “No Flex Zone”, and some trapped-out variety of Calvin Harris’ “Summer”. Of course, each performer brought an individual flavor to the stage, and the experience overall was an amazing one. From the crowd, we could see and feel the strong friendship between the Mad Decent crew. There were countless moments where they would join one another on stage – for instance, Dillon joined Flosstradamaus to close the show (Dillstradaumaus, anyone?) and Diplo joined Dillon in commanding the crowd to “Get Low”. DJ Snake and Diplo also each brought out guest performers, French Montana and Kiesza, too! French ignited a roar of “HEHHHs” from the crowd as he performed “Pop That” and “Ain’t Worried About Nothin”. Kiesza brought a refreshing 90’s pop vibe to the show, performing her new dance hit “Hideaway”.

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Two DJs that stood out in particular were Dillon Francis and duo Big Gigantic.  While the rest of the artists mainly presented hip-hop infused trap beats, these two acts were uniquely their own.  Dillon’s unique sound – a combination of light EDM beats, drilling noises reminiscent of Skrillex, and a sprinkle of deep house – definitely came through during his set.  He contrasted playful tunes like “I.D.G.A.F.O.S.” with intense drops like Skrillex’s “Bangarang”, all the while entertaining the crowd with his classic spelling of “F.U.C.K.”  He even dropped his latest single, “When We Were Young”, a bouncy summer anthem off his upcoming album, Money Sucks Friends Rule.  As for Big Gigantic, this is a must-see act. Not only do they produce electronic music, but they also include a live saxophone and drummer.  Some personal favorites were a sax-infused version of the track “You & Me” (Flume Remix) and the closing number, Big Gigantic’s own rendition of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us”.

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Although these were probably the two most distinct performers of the night, it’s hard to deny the heavy presence of ringleader Diplo and the closing act, Flosstradamaus.  Diplo joined many of his fellow DJ’s during their sets, and we can’t discredit the distinctive Diplo flavor that he gives to every one of his beats, remixes, and original singles.  Of course, he also dropped many Major Lazer tracks – making tons of Mad Decent fans giggle and celebrate with excitement.  As for Floss, it was hard not to notice the hundreds of “HDY Nation” covered flags, shirts, and shorts all over the venue.  At the bittersweet end of the show, the duo closed by having the crowd of 18,000 throw their lighters in the air during a performance of their latest single, “Rebound”.

 

Photos courtesy of Facebook & The Village Voice

What We ThinkLaura Yoo