The last time I was at San Diego’s Belmont Park, Papa Roach debuted with Infest and Meteora (Linkin Park) was on CONSTANT repeat in my parents’ borrowed mini-van. Things were simpler back then. It was the standard for white dudes to rap (except for LFO — that was a dark period in pop music), I was actually pretty happy with the music MTV and SD’s local radio were shoving down my throat (more of the alternative variety though), and I hadn’t yet caught the un-fuckin’-holy obsession of music festival hunting and crate digging through the internet for amazing new music. Not that Youtube/Soundcloud/Spotify existed yet, but music was just so easy to process, being spoon-fed to me like that.
So imagine my swarming feelings of nostalgia as I walked along the boardwalk on this particularly cloudy afternoon in SD. Did the bootleg Discovery Zone-knock off (Pirates Cove) always look so hokey? Was the Big Dipper wooden coaster always so rickety? And when did the Wavehouse get to be such a big deal?
By the way, one of these days, I fully intend to rent out the Pirates Cove and throw an utterly stupid rager consisting of multi-colored plastic slides, ball pits, and an eggregious amount of booze. If you’re reading this article, you’re invited.
Because this particular show was a little while back, our post may seem out of touch, but assuredly, the afternoon is still very much fresh in my mind. Due to the timing though, instead of a formal ‘RECAP OF MADEON @ THE WAVEHOUSE’ per usual, I’d like to instead focus on giving a little love to three different avenues:
- Madeon, the 18-year-old French House whiz who has had an astronomical rise in the last year
- The Wavehouse, a new favorite EDM venue for SoCal
- LED (My Life Everyday), for putting together an ultra-stacked summer schedule (culminating in this weekend’s Tramps Like Us event).
The next time you attend an LED event, be sure to watch out for the eye. IT FOLLOWS YOU.
The day started darkly overcast. Not quite the sunny afternoon at the beach I envisioned, but it was nice to hop into a party venue without the overbearing smell of cigarettes and booze. Instead, the sea breeze brought the right temperature, fireball shots were obscenely cheap (something like $6 — thanks for the introduction to this Knaga!), there was a fleet of regulation beer pong tables, and LA-based house DJ Hot Mouth was on stage, spinning an eccentric electro set that tapped multiple genres in a great way. His set skated the lines between funky disco house and progressive, with bits of electro thrown in. And I’ll be honest, hearing Deadmau5’s “The Reward is Cheese” made me pretty damn happy having never heard that track on a large sound system before.
Vibe of the party was right on point as it’s always a fun time in SD. Considering how far along the city’s EDM scene has come in the last year, it’s been a great venue of choice for any scale of show when things in LA get just a little too serious. With a laid-back crowd, a little less spectacle, and always a healthy chill pill dosage, taking a day off of the weekend to catch a DJ and enjoy some legit California burritos is never a bad thing. And leading the charge for an epic summer have been our captains at LED.
Things kicked off hard earlier this summer at the Wavehouse with Tommy Trash, Zedd + Datsik, and Peace Treaty. Wolfgang followed up Madeon the weekend after this particular show, and Manufactured Superstars played a show on the 26th. Of course, in addition to that, Pleasurekraft, Destructo, and Zomboy + Smash Gordon will be rounding out the rest of August at LED’s stomping grounds, Club Voyeur (still need to get myself out to one of these).
In the way of larger events, they hosted their own stage at last week’s ID Fest with one of my current must-see artists — RL Grime — and the summer pièce de résistance, a followup to their LED @ the San Diego Sports Arena series: “TrampsLikeUs.” Except for this show, they’ve expanded their footprint to two days (Saturday, September 1st, to Sunday, September 2nd) with a fully stacked lineup on each day, all while keeping prices (IMO) pretty damn fair.
- $45 for single day and $70 for 2-day pass. Note this is AFTER a slight price hike.
- VIP tickets actually get you open bar!
Long story short, the good people at LED have been crazy busy, so be sure to check out what they have to offer!
(At the very least, get your ass down there to catch Moby’s DJ set. You won’t be disappointed, I promise you).
So finally, a bit about what caused us to visit our San Diego friends in the first place, the very young, very talented, very French electropop prince, Madeon. After an extremely fun set by Hot Mouth to get things going, the audio engineer took the stage looking like a young Harry Potter (TBH, Madeon looks NOTHING like Daniel Radcliffe, but for some reason, that is the first reference I always think of when I see this kid).
Anyway, Madeon takes the stage, and the crowd goes absolutely nuts. While things weren’t quite as crowded as I had seen with Dada Life @ the Wavehouse, the immediate staging area was packed from bar to bar with real fans.
- According to the Wavehouse regulars I chatted with, most of the surrounding beach boardwalk also had to be barricaded off to control the foot traffic for an extra few thousand people.
- I could tell the crowd consisted of real fans cause I never once heard the phrase “Do you know who’s playing?” during Madeon’s set.
Go-go dancer on the right, was kind of in love with her :-X.
Free bottles of water for everyone. Wait. What? No $10 per bottle charge? Sold on this place!
So with a little bit of fanfare, his signature black blazer and moptop, and a whole lot of energy from the crowd, the young star of the evening took the stage with a rather compact hardware set-up consisting of a few midi controllers and a laptop. By specific terms, I’d say calling him “DJ Madeon” would be pretty damn wrong.
And with that, Madeon threw down a set with a similar feel to my first experience with him controlling the stage at Ultra Music Fest earlier this year. With a very high-energy style, he kept the running time of each track relatively short and sweet (about 2-3 minutes per track max), and within an hourish span, he’d gone through probably 30 songs. Lots of energy, plenty of jumping around (crazy adolescent metabolism), arms up, crowd pointing, and lots of moppy hair tossing.
“You need to get a picture of this crowd right when he drops this next song,” said the mysterious British-accented man. Good call sir. Good call.
Highlights for me included a VIP re-work of “Pop Culture,” the track that REALLY put him on the map (via Youtube). I’m pretty sure I heard his remix of the Killers’ “Smile Like You Mean It,” Deadmau5’s “Raise Your Weapon,” Martin Solveig’s “The Night Out,” and Yelle’s “Que veux-tu.” And as he swung through his big hits “Pop Culture” and “Icarus” (which, btw, has an absolutely insane crowd-rousing presence), he also had a little time to throw the BPM’s down a bit to debut his August single “Finale.”
No idea what this is supposed to be/explain, but I’m damn glad I took this photo.
And while I stood there listening to him rattle off hit after hit, a couple of things dawned on me:
- Even without really following his music actively, I was able to prattle off a good # of his hits and remixes off the top of my head
- It’s literally only been about a year since his DJ’ing debut in the States (at LED’s OMFG New Year’s Eve 2012), and all the negative nancy qualms I had heard about his “poor DJ’ing skills” didn’t seem to manifest during the times I’d see him
- I tend to enjoy darker, grittier tunes, so I found it pretty odd that I knew as much as I did about Madeon’s music
And with that, what I realized was how truly infectious this kid’s talent is. I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly care for electropop or happy uplifting tunes. I like dirty dubstep drops that makes me want to shit my pants and laugh hysterically at the ridiculousness of it all. I enjoy deeply dark house and techy electro beats that have me feeling like I’m in a dark warehouse, wary that vampires might attack me any moment. And when I do venture to the melodic side, I like my music in slower broken beats or half-times (chillstep), making me want to float away on clouds and snowflakes and shit. TBH, I haven’t been feeling a lot of the electrosynth stuff in general lately.
But I found myself genuinely enjoying Madeon’s set like I was a French tecktonic hipster with flailing arms, tight capris, and ridiculous gold sneakers, and I honestly just didn’t care. Maybe it’s because Madeon’s so young that his music sounds that much more genuine to me, not yet tainted by all the background context that comes from inevitable feelings of entitlement and expectations. He’s just an individual, making music he enjoys to the capacity that his skills and talent will allow him to.
Whatever it is, I hope he keeps on progressing and enjoying it as much as he seems to right now.
Since I’ve attended this particular show, Madeon’s dropped a teaser for his upcoming track, “The City.” Check it out here!