A couple weekends ago I hit up the first Spring Awakening Music Festival in Chicago. It was a standard, douchey electronic festival with a lot of bros, women who were in their thirties dressing like 17 year olds, and and far too much neon in all the wrong places.
Ladies, remember how you look and what your body type can handle before you dress yourself. My roommate and I remarked on how, at music festivals, girls treat it like Halloween: you can dress as scandalously as you like, and you can get away with it. Trust me though, you should really reevaluate.
Rant over and out.
I dunno if you guys heard about the hellish heat that hit Chicago that weekend but it was an inferno of humidity and sweat. The sister, who accompanied me that day, and I decided to forego seeing Bart B More and wait until the A-Trak set to arrive at the festival. Despite Spring Awakening having a bunch of well-known DJs and producers performing, it was still a relatively empty event. Even 150 feet away from the main stage during A-Trakky Trak’s set, I still had room to tribal dance with myself.
This was the second time my sister and I have seen A-Trak perform and he absolutely killed it. His had to be one of my favorite sets at SAMF based on his varied set (dance, hip hop, quirky electronic stuff), energy, mad scratching after his final song, and epic posing on the amps.
After his set, the sister and I ran over to see Dillon Francis perform (no pictures, it was awkward lighting) and the cutest thing happened – after A-Trak finished on the main stage, he high tailed it to “Da Equinox Stage” (<– seriously SAMF? Weak) and hung out with Dilly. He hung back side stage where my sister and I just stared at him, seeing as that A-Trak was now 30 feet away from us. Crazy. Made awkward eye contact and continued Bernie-ing around the field.
It was also the second time catching Dillon Francis, when, the first time, he made a guest appearance at the Skrillex/Dada Life show back in November. That was a high energy performance if I’ve ever seen one. Haven’t felt that lively since I saw The Hives back in high school.
Grabbed sushi after Dillon Francis finished since we had no desire to see Skrillex (well, not again at least) and the sister had to prep for her flight to San Fran in the morning. Solid first day, overall.
I was mad pumped for Sunday, mainly because I could finally see Felix Cartal live, which I’d been waiting to do for just under two years. This time, my best friend came with me since the sister decided to ditch me to go across the country (she actually left to go bike from San Fran to Indiana – pretty baller), and after a filling brunch at Sunda we made our way over.
Felix Cartal was the first set of the day, and he started and ended his set strongly. The middle was pretty boring, for a live setting. As a fluid set it made perfect sense, but when I’m at show I want surprises. Throw curveballs, take risks, because that’s the whole point of live performances – the messiness of it all.
The best part of the FC was his hair. Have you seen his hair? It should be illegal. I got a shot of him trying to act cool by playing with his stupid hair.
He finished up, we sat off to the side during Datsik’s set, then headed back to the Equinox stage for Diplo.
I’ve now seen a Major Lazer performance (which Diplo did – does anyone know if Switch ever does ML sets?) and a solo one by Diplo and can say, without a doubt, that if given the opportunity to see either show, go for the Diplo one. He had all the parts that FC’s set was missing and more.
It was a mix of weird Diplo finds with ML tracks, old school Snoop, and playing out many tracks I’d never heard of. Frequent dance festival goers will know just how exciting it is when you can’t recognize a song a DJ plays.
The best friend and I got mad sweaty at his set since everyone had turned into the best kind of raging monsters while I went into straight animal dancing. Madness.
Spring Awakening scheduled Sunday like complete turds. They decided that it would be a good idea to put Laidback Luke, Wolfgang Gartner, and Moby on at the same time. Seriously, guys? Luckily, I’d seen Laidback Luke a couple of months back down in Urbana, so we high tailed it to the main stage to catch Moby’s set which was so nostalgic. His style is classic DJ. The guy actually plays out his tracks. We got into our dance grooves and I nerded out over his older stuff.
It’s a mild pet peeve of mine that most DJs think they need to be ADHD with the way they play sets. Only getting 30 second snippets (if that) of songs doesn’t let me feel out how I want to dance. Nowadays it’s all about the drops and less about the melodic buildup. Thanks brostep.
We saw half of his set then ran over to some other crappily named stage to catch the second half of Wolfgang Gartner’s performance. It was a wave of sweaty air and drugged out dancers everywhere, but he also put on a great show. My inner nerd may or may not have freaked out a ton when I saw all the Japanese on his shirt.
This was the last guy the best friend and I were going to catch so we gave it our all in dancing, and befriended the security guy who let us into the VIP section just for being friendly. We had no desire to actually be in there but he seemed to like our old school moves: definitely busted out the sprinkler and shopping cart numerous times.
Gartner finished his set out strong, then the best friend and I parted ways and headed back to our respective apartments for the night. I could hear Afrojack’s set from the high rise I was in a good fifteen blocks away. Intense.
Gotta say it was a pretty fantastic weekend for SAMF. I’m assuming that next year’s will be more packed, but that’s the advantage for having an under advertised music festival for the first one. Wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s nice having that intimate of crowd interaction between most of the performers and the audience since it’s an uncommon occurrence at these big festivals.
Next one on my list is Pitchfork. Bring it.