I was fortunate enough to witness (and survive) some wild ragers last year; merely thinking about them exhausts me. There’s no way I could choose just one winner for the shitshow category; the experiences were too similar and to be honest, many of those experiences are a tad foggy since my judgment was impaired by a combination of dehydration, intoxication and sensory overstimulation.
A few recurring themes are indicative of these shitshows – neon colors, glow-in-the-dark accessories, swimming pool paraphernalia and rabid crowds.
NOCTURNAL FEST – APACHE PASS, TX
Nocturnal Fest gave me my first taste of raver culture, which was terrifying as it was colorful. Organized by appropriately named production company, Insomniac Events, Nocturnal was in a deserted No Man’s Land in Texas about an hour north of Austin. And civilization. Nocturnal was truly set in an enchanted forrest in the most literal sense – the trees were lit up with neon lights and young, scantily clad girls donning tutus and fairy wings were ecstatically frolicking about in furry boots.
Bass-heavy acts like Feed Me and Bassnectar were offset by chill jam band, STS9 and poppier, dancier artists like Avicii and Savoy. I didn’t crawl into bed until after sunrise and I’m pretty sure I slept a solid 18 hours after that night.
Robyn – Call Your Girlfriend (Feed Me Remix)
MAJOR LAZER AT OUTSIDE LANDS – SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Seeing Major Lazer at Outside Lands was akin to the debauched spring break in Cancun I never had – shirtless bros bearing bikini-clad chicks on their shoulders accompanied by the masterful mixes of Diplo and Switch. Lest we forget, Hype Man, Skerrit Bwoy always Keeps It Goin’ Louder by scaling the rafters and whipping his shirt around like a Terrible Towel. If you can’t tell by the photo, the crowd tends to mimic his behavior.
Major Lazer & The Party Squad – Original Don
IDENTITY FEST – HOUSTON, TX
I didn’t know Aoki had so many antics up his sleeve – but he is a total entertainer. I believe he popped three bottles of champagne into the sweat-drenched crowd before jumping in himself and dancing with us.
SKRILLEX – AUSTIN CITY LIMITS AFTERSHOW, LA ZONA ROSA
I’m not sure why Skrillex shows incite the abuse of inflatable swimming pool flotation devices, but this dubstep shitshow felt like a belching earthquake of epic proportions. Sonny Moore is so resilient and electric when he performs and he’s almost always puffing on a cigarette. This guy is wild – in 2011, he played festivals around the globe and even scored a Grammy nomination. He is a cinema, I could watch him forever. Can’t wait to see what he’s up to next.
Skrillex (ft. Sirah) – Bangarang
DIPLO – FUN FUN FUN FEST, AUSTIN, TX
Diplo’s solo set at Fun Fun Fun Fest was in the running for best show of the year – period. He didn’t quite earn that honor, but he has earned the title of Alison’s Favorite DJ. You can tell he’s a seasoned professional – he’s not just an entertainer and a party starter, but also a very talented producer who mixes, composes and uses BlackBerry Torch. Diplo is totally in the zone when he performs – he just exudes this skill and intensity, which blew my comprehension to smithereens. He ended the last night of Fun Fun Fun Fest with a bang and blasted “Song 2” by Blur. I subsequently stumbled home with my legs feeling like lead, my ears ringing and my heart on the brink of bursting.