The Best and Worst Things We Saw at Mad Decent Block Party
Another year, another Mad Decent Block Party has come and gone. We had our scribes on site to document the music, the culture, and the people. Here's what they saw.
Best: Dada Life’s Pillow Fight
Halfway through our journey to Dada Land, the Swedish duo shouted the words “pillow fight,” causing the inner child of every festival-goer to squeal with excitement. Dada Life began to hurl pillows into the audience as the build-up to their track “Happy Violence” blasted through the speakers. Fans waited at the ready for Dada Life’s signal to let the the madness ensue. As soon as Dada Life exclaimed, “let’s go!” the beat dropped and the crowd began swinging and whacking pillows at one another, creating an explosion of feathers overhead. I can’t speak for those who may have been hit by a pillow-wielding assailant, but for those of us on the outskirts, it was certainly a spectacle to be seen. Nicole Latino
The Ferris wheel at the Mad Decent Block Party in Phoenix.
Best: Ferris Wheel
Attractions and things to do at a festival that are separate from the performances are always a positive thing. The addition of the Ferris wheel makes the event feel bigger and more like a playland for adults. Amanda Savage
Going crazy during Bauuer's set at the Mad Decent Block Party in Phoenix.
Trap fans and bass heads were in a state of euphoria as Baauer commandeered the decks. The audience swarmed the stage to ogle at the outstanding visuals and jerk their bodies to the fierce beat of his latest track, “Temple.” Later into his set, Baauer played Kendrick Lamar’s “M.A.A.D. City,” sending the crowd into a frenzy as they vigorously chanted, “yawk, yawk, yawk, yawk!” Baauer’s high-energy performance set the tone for the rest of the evening. Nicole Latino
Best: Short Drink Lines
Possibly the three greatest words for a 21-plus to hear at a festival. Given that Mad Decent Block Party is an 18-and-over event, it appeared as though the vast majority of those in attendance were not of legal drinking age. This allowed for shorter lines at the bar, if any at all. We’ll drink to that! Nicole Latino
Best: Throwback Tracks
I have mixed feelings about sampling throwback tracks. Throwing in an old electronic music track into a more modern DJ set can be awesome. RL Grime tossed Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” into his set, which is somewhat of a timeless dance music track. I especially love when a DJ throws in a less-mainstream old-school favorite like “Galvanize” by the Chemical Brothers for the old people in the crowd (like me) who feel a certain superiority over having liked dance music for longer than other people. On the other hand, a lot of DJs are throwing in tracks from other genres like Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” as an nod to millennial nostalgia, which is also fun. Although… Amanda Savage
Worst: Throwback Tracks
Playing throwback after throwback takes away the surprise and excitement factor that a throwback track brings to a set. When Benny Benassi first remixed the Red Hot Chili Peppers, people went absolutely crazy over it, because it was completely unexpected and was executed beautifully in a way that almost made that track the focal point of the set. Everything was built around playing that song, but in the moment, the crowd had no idea. I think one, maybe two throwbacks is really all that you need in a DJ set if it’s executed well. A bunch of throwbacks mashed-up on top of one another over a simple, blaring baseline doesn’t really do anything for me, other than make me think a DJ isn't trying hard enough. I think some of the DJs at Block Party fell victim to this. Amanda Savage
One of the many Relentless Rangers working at the Mad Decent Block Party.
Best: Relentless Rangers
Dancing aggressively in a sea of bodies can get a little sweaty. Thankfully, the Relentless Rangers were there to cool people down with their readily stocked spray bottles that were filled with the world's purest and most unique waters. Well, it may have just been tap water, but it sure as hell felt like a godsend in the midst of a dance-induced heat stroke. Relentless Rangers, you the real MVPs. Nicole Latino
Worst: The Line To Get In
The lines to get into a festival are a necessary evil, and ones that are way too long plague a lot of events. Finding a way to make a line flow so that people aren’t pissed and get into fights and don’t bring in dumb things is tricky; some festivals have cracked the code, but Mad Decent has not. Last year's line took me more than two hours, and this year if you showed up before 9 p.m. on Friday you were looking at about an hour wait. I would say this issue has to do with venue space size and the lack of multiple entrances, but I’ve never organized a music festival. Amanda Savage
The crowd at the Mad Decent Block Party in Phoenix.
Best: Not Having to Watch the Show Through the Screen of the Six-Foot Serial Instagrammer in Front of You
There’s always that one person who interrupts your concert experience because they simply HAVE to capture the artist's every move through the lens of their smartphone. Whether the poor reception played a factor, or people were truly just enjoying themselves, cell phones were rarely present during the performances at Mad Decent Block Party. It was refreshing to see an army of hands flailing about instead of the usual sweep of screens we’ve become accustomed to. Nicole Latino
No butt's about it — there was a lot of booty cleavage at Mad Decent Block Party.
Best: Booty Cleavage
We are in the age of the booty and music festivals have become the unofficial runway for showing off your ass-ets. From hot chicks with perfect rears in booty shorts, to dudes with happy trails in thongs, there’s a time and a place for everything, and if you feel the need to get your freak on, this is the place to do it. Amanda Savage
The Porta-Potties at Mad Decent Block Party.
Worst: Porta-Potty Lines
Unfortunately, this is somewhat of a given at festivals. If you’re looking to ditch the long lines, I’d recommend upgrading to VIP, where you can take care of business in a cleaner potty trailer. –Nicole Latino
Best and Worst: The Song "Scrub The Ground" By Tommie Sunshine and Chocolate Puma
I absolutely love this song; it’s a great party track, and really a great "doing anything" track. If you have to clean, it sucks, but if you turn this song on and clean — might as well pour a glass of wine and use that Swiffer as a prop to help perfect your twerk. This leads to overexposure, however. Almost every DJ I saw played it, and while it’s a great track, it would be cool if the DJs did some more research and introduced the crowd to some new, even more badass tracks from new artists instead of falling back on a “fucking duh” track that debuted almost a year ago. Amanda Savage
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