BEING THERE: Mad Decent 2016



Welcome to one of the hottest fucking days of my entire life. Let’s get this out of the way before we go any further: This year’s Mad Decent Block Party was excruciatingly hot. Triple digits. Insane humidity. The last time I can remember sweating that much in one sitting was when I participated in a Sweat Lodge Ceremony, a Native American tradition in which various participants gather into a small hut filled with steam and sweat their dicks off for several hours. Aside from sweating non-stop for what seemed like eternity, here’s how the day went down:

After a good ol’ pregame at my buddy Sam’s place in Chestnut Hill (thanks for the hospitality if you’re reading this), myself and the 20 or so of us all went down to Festival Pier in time to catch the remainder of one of the most anticipated sets of the day, Herobust. Having seen him destroy Camp Bisco in 2015, our expectations were high, but we ended up catching maybe the last five minutes of his set, AKA nothing substantial to review. I hope he kicked ass. Once getting inside and situating myself with my good buddies Adam, Reilly, Matt and Avi, we settled in to catch the debut Philly set from the latest hometown hero, Slushii. At the fresh age of 19, he’s just recently started performing live. Despite some issues with beat matching and overall subpar mixing skills and song selection, I’m sure he’ll get his footing in due time. Up next was Rich the Kid, an Atlanta-based rapper with an impressive portfolio of collaborative partners, and a less than impressive performance. The majority of his 30 minute set consisted of his DJ playing out top ten rap singles and him and his friends jumping around on stage, and maybe three Rich the Kid songs. The crowd was less than enthused.

The brand spankin’ new duo known as Party Khan (Party Favor and Valentino Khan) marked the return of electronic music to the festivities as the sun began to set on the several thousand partiers. Don’t worry though, the homicidal heat and humidity weren’t going anywhere. Party Khan cranked the volume up to the loudest it had gone thus far, dropping a ton of classic material, such as Flosstradamus’ “Original Don” remix and the 1993 anthem, “Macarena,” in addition to newer hits such as Skrillex’s massive “Red Lips” remix. By the time Party Khan finished up, the place was dripping wet. The staffers with the hoses were having an absolute heyday, excessively spraying the crowd with water nonstop. Having to be in the photo pit with those guys with my uber-expensive camera gear was extremely annoying as they had little to no regard for the media and our equipment in their use of those hoses, but luckily I was able to protect my shit. Fast forward to the set that stole the night, Philly homeboy Baauer.

Baauer is a scrawny Jewish white dude who makes some of the freshest beats in the game. He hopped up on stage with an eager grin and began laying down some fire ass shit. Dropping absolutely mammoth tracks such as Gesaffelstein’s “Hellifornia” and his very own “DumDum,” die-hard fans were downright flailing to everything this guy was putting down. Baauer is a household name in Philly, as he is a native and got his start here, spinning at the Medusa Lounge by Rittenhouse Square every month for a good period of time. It was definitely clear that his longtime supporters came out in droves and got their money’s worth.

Diplo, one of the biggest success stories out of Philly in the electronic scene, was the final headlining act. Girls were losing their minds over the mere presence of him as the crowd rushed forth to find all possible spots that were in proximity of the guy. Diplo knows how to work a crowd and flexed his skills effortlessly, dropping Drake, Jbeebs and Future and material from his supergroup Major Lazer. Despite a stoked crowd and stellar sound system, I was pretty underwhelmed with his set. Having heard close to ¾ of his song selection throughout my freshman year partying at Temple University, it was hard to be stoked on hearing it all yet again. Plus by this time I was no longer in the mood, to be blunt; the soul-crushing heat does that to you after eight hours or so. Still, this year’s Mad Decent Block Party was a successful gathering of friends from far and wide to have fun, let loose and celebrate. — DYLAN LONG