Saturday: Something Wicked Festival at Sam Houston Race Park
Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, Nocturnal Festival- from coast to coast and many points in between these big name EDM festivals have become a big deal. Taking EDM out of the club and under the stars seems weird until you see the dancing masses having the time of their life.
Saturday was Houston's turn to get in on the action. Disco Donnie Presents and Nightculture partnered up to give the city the Something Wicked Festival, an eight-hour dance extravaganza in the field next to the Sam Houston Race Park.
Having been bitten by the EDM bug over the last year, Rocks Off found this development exciting but curious. Would the crowds come out? Would the lineup be worthwhile? Would this be something special or just Identity Fest: Fall Edition?
We grabbed our notebooks and hoodies to check out things first hand and see just how wicked things would be.
For the diehards who arrived early to dance all day, Shadow Field, the festival's more dance-centric mainstage, was the place to be. While a small crowd of dedicated fans gathered over at the dubstep-centric Bass Massacre stage most of the crowd was checking out early performances by Deorro and Michael Myers.
After getting a good look at the festival grounds we settled in to check out Spain's Danny Avila. At 17 and with few tracks to his name, it's hard to tell where he'll end up as a producer, but as a festival DJ he's better than a lot of pros twice his age. His set hit all the right spots for his early time slot, getting the crowd moving with a collection of recognizable EDM hits and a few out-of-genre classics, including House of Pain's "Jump Around."
Le Castle Vania spins wickedly aggressive music that is a real joy to hear in a big festival setting. In spirit it's equal parts disco and punk rock, a sound that you worry might be exhausting in a club setting but makes for a great hour at a fest. His set was a lot like what he spun back at Identity Fest, including his take on the Smashing Pumpkins' "Zero," with a few new tracks in the mix. A new rager titled "Raise the Dead" was perfect for the pre-Halloween weekend.
By the time Tritonal had taken the stage the sun had set and so did the feel of the festival. Their music is high-energy and when you add in the big LED displays, the zombie nurses dancing onstage, and a crowd that was super-excited about everything, suddenly the show felt special. No one would confuse it for Tomorrowland, but for a first-time fest it was pretty impressive.