This is how you rave, babies

Rave Review

“Enter the Tech” by Rock the Discotek
March 1st

Rating: 3.5 pieces of candy
How-to-catch-James-Woods-ooh-piece-of-candy-family-guy

Negatives:

  • 18+ …still weirds me out no matter how nice the kids are
  • Some DJs were obviously underprepared
  • Too much publicity = too crowded
  • Too crowded = long ass lines
  • Too crowded = vandalism & early shut down, apparently

Positives:

  • Several projectors with visuals
  • Great sound system in both rooms
  • Most DJs were creative
  • Being able to dress up to get in for free
  • 2 rooms = less overwhelming
  • Bathrooms weren’t bad at all, if that matters
  • Casual atmosphere (e.g. friendly security)

Overall, I’d go again as long as they continue to keep the entry cost low.

I think a lot of us have been hoping for the “rave” scene to expand in SD. I’m no veteran raver but I’ve been tracking underground EDM events around town for the past couple of years and I can speak for everyone when I say we were all bummed when Gage’s warehouse basically shut down.

Since then, there hasn’t been much in the way of conveniently located regular underground events (that aren’t hyper-commercialized trash…No thanks “Somewhere Loud”) so driving to Mira Mesa actually sounded like a cinch. Event page said: “dress like Bruce Lee, get in free” which is a dumb and impossible, but Katelyn confidently put me in a cheongsam-inspired top and a tutu and said it would count.

tutu rave fishnets furry legwarmers

I did NOT know it was an 18+ event, so I was a bit stunned to see so many youngins in the line and probably accidentally gave some of my pre-party Ancient Age to a child. And it was a line. The event was over-publicized, and they invited teenagers, so it was no surprise it took at least an hour to get through. Nevertheless, I ran back to the car to grab my whiskey and made fun out of the time.

Our dedication to dressing up was rewarded when an organizer strafed the queue, shot fingers at us with a big smile and, “You are getting in for free and you are getting in for free.” Pretty much at these things if you look the slightest bit fun say to the gatekeepers “I was told I would get in free because of my costume” and gesture emphatically. It’s worth a shot. There were tons of dudes in gray sweatshirts and jeans without even a speck of adornment, not even Mardi Gras beads, which is beyond disappointing. Again, teenagers.

The neat thing about partying with kids is that it makes you feel like you can reach out and indoctrinate them while they’re still young and impressionable. I felt like I needed to “community build” or some sappy shit so I ran off and collected glow sticks to put on a guy’s crutches and broken foot. It really did help people stop tripping all over him. Then I found some girl who could barely cope with reality and tried to entertain her for awhile, until I realized I was probably over-enthusiastic to the point of being scary and dropped her off with her friends.

The gig did get shut down early at 3am. Yes it was fully permitted and the noise wasn’t an issue (sounded good and loud from the inside, yet barely audible from the street), but some asshole tagged and broke windows of the surrounding businesses. I would say that’s what happens when you invite teenagers to raves, but I suspect it was the 30-something guy I saw trying to sneak in, pissed he couldn’t trick his way into the over-packed venue.

It didn’t occur to me that shutting down was what was happening, so when the music stopped I sat in the middle of the floor and shouted, “MASSAGE CIRCLE.” I was going to save this rave. 2 people joined me. “C’mon babies, this is how you rave,” I yelled. Soon we had about 10 people and next thing I knew we were playing some sort of crowdsurfing leapfrog hybrid.

crowd-surfing-leapfrog

Katelyn had seen the cops, so she came in and told me it was time to leave. “Do we have to?” I said. Boy, I would have liked to see that thing go til 6am.

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Dayglow San Diego 2013 (a.k.a. Life in Color)

Dayglow San Diego pissed off about 3,000* people last year who couldn’t get down to the over-packed floor, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when it got re-branded as “Life in Color” this year with noticeably restricted ticket sales.  I didn’t comprehend this at first. I walked in past a dude shouting “is anyone selling tickets,” I didn’t wait in line, and I walked in to what felt like a very empty San Diego Sports Arena Valley View Casino Center. I thought to myself, where is everyone?

I think they did right. Security felt relaxed throughout the night. I didn’t really get patted down; a tired-looking woman whisked her hands on my sides while avoiding eye contact. So much for the sticks of Stride I hid in my crotch (wasn’t sure if they’d be confiscating gum and I really wanted to have it, don’t judge me)…  I heard about 30 people bum-rushed the event fences, so for awhile they checked tickets in and out of the smoking patio.  Later, I helpfully asked a zoned-out yellow-shirter if he’d be checking my ticket. He laughed, said “yah” before ushering me through the door without even a glance. Ok, saucer-eyes, I guess not.

Or, maybe, you know, security didn't spend a lot of time patting me down because I didn't wear very much clothing.

Or, maybe, you know, security didn’t spend a lot of time patting me down because I didn’t wear very much clothing. Picture stolen from Mel Marcelo, who photographs like 90% of the event pictures in this town.

Later I jumped up on my lesbro’s shoulders for a better view of the stage because I felt like being TALL. I made eye-contact with one of the guards. ‘Want me to get down?’ I mouthed. He shrugged and let me stay. Kids sat all over the floor, enjoying light shows and massage trains. At Beyond Wonderland last year they did not allow anything like this. It felt like being in a kindergarten where you’re allowed to eat the crayons. I got down from my perch and said, “I’m looking for people to adopt as my rave children.”

I enjoyed the relative emptiness of the venue. We saw the same faces, had space to burst around the halls, could find friends again we made an hour ago.  A skinny, solo guy shook and jittered next to me. His eyes pointed in different directions. Overcome with empathy, I asked if he needed a hug, and squeezed him like I could make his pupils point forward again.  Later I spotted him looking much happier, and much less cock-eyed.

Another picture by Mel Marcado. I wasn't too sure about my decision to wear braids until a girl ran up to me, touched them, and told me I looked "so cute, like an anime character."

Another picture by Mel Marcelo. I wasn’t too sure about my decision to wear braids until a girl ran up to me, touched them, and told me I looked “so cute, like an anime character.”

I had a major moment of skeptism when they unleashed the confetti. I hadn’t even made it down to the floor yet; I sat in the darkened stands at the far end. A cloud blasted into the paint smothered bodies below us. “Great,” Katelyn said, “Let’s make paper mache. Wow.” She insisted that it was paper, but the pieces fluttered like wings and shimmered like mylar. They floated upward (turns out it was the rising heat) and really did look like live butterflies. I imagined insect antennae and legs sticking to wet skin and grimaced. Yet the whole night all I saw was a single square of tissue paper stuck to Mel Marcelo’s clavicle — the only evidence that the thick sparkling swarm had ever existed.

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Visit this article for photos of a similar confetti cloud effect @ a paint party in Dallas last year – it’s a good read too.

*Ok, rough estimate. I had a difficult time tracking down actual numbers. Google Fu is weak today. I blame hangover. When do I ever not blame stuff on my hangovers?