I Love This City Festival – SF (REVIEW)

Felix Cartal

When I saw the line up for the inaugural “I Love This City” Music Festival I was actually pretty excited. Not only were there EDM favorites like Steve Aoki and Duck Sauce, but it included some up-and-comers like Madeon and Cookie Monsta. The one thing that stood out the most was that this Festival was a 2 day event produced by mega concert promotion company Live Nation who was no doubt banking on the fact that EDM is growing in popularity.

I arrived for my first day at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mt. View, Ca. filled with optimism and excitement. It was barely a year since I had been there for Identity Fest. However, unlike Identity Fest, this event did not seem to have the same organizational structure. There were two parking lot stages where one was pointed to the other. What you ended up getting was competing sounds. Sure that would be fun if you’re looking to make some live mashups, but not such a good thing when you have dub-step mixed with electro-dance. It made my ears confused and more importantly seemed to detract concert-goers from heading over there as that stage stayed virtually unvisited both days.

Moving through this cornucopia of weird, I headed over to see the press area. To my utter shock and dismay the “press” area was in an open deck area near a local radio station who was blaring their speakers toward the press area. Thankfully the considerate staff at Live Nation asked the radio station to point their speakers away from the press area. This helped a great deal and my interview went off with very little background noise. I mean, seriously it was dead quiet. Why else would you put a press area where several media outlets would be conducting audio and video interviews in this area if you didn’t expect it to be completely quiet? Are you getting the sarcasm yet? I’m laying it on pretty thick. Although, disclaimer, I really do enjoy the folks over at Live Nation. They have always been good to theFIVE10. I just think this was not very well planned out. They improved things on the 2nd day but rules kept changing throughout the 2 days. If they decide to do this next year I’m sure they will have all the kinks ironed out.

Let’s talk about the crowd for a moment because the deserve a paragraph in my review. Only at Wondercon have I seen a more eclectic gathering of troubled and poorly dressed youth. If you were to gather all the clothing from this Festival and attempt to donate it to the homeless of San Francisco you will still fail to be able to keep them warm on those cold San Francisco nights. The second day brought on the “pasties” which would have been incredible had it not been for the various shapes and sizes that decided to wear these nipple covering accessories. I’m happy that there are Women out there that were very comfortable with their bodies. An outdoor electro music festival where the weather is struggling to reach 70 degrees may not be the best choice to debut them. The effort was appreciated however. The highlight of the 2 day event was seeing more cookie monster shirts and outfits than a Halloween outing. Sesame Street would have been proud.

Both days were exciting but the first day had to be the better of the 2. It was likely due to the interview I conducted with legendary dance duo the Crystal Method. Both Ken and Scott were super nice guys and even allowed me the chance to watch them from the stage which was a thrill. I had long been a fan and to see them do their thing for the second time in 9 months was a treat.

The Crystal Method

One of the big highlights of the weekend was Madeon. This 17 year old kid from France wow’d the crowd with his flawless transitions and incredible showmanship. It’s pretty easy for someone to hop on stage and play songs in sequence, matching beats and keys, and occasionally turning a few knobs. Madeon does so much more but still makes it seem effortless. You will likely hear much more from this DJ prodigy.

Another impressive Artist was Araabmuzic.The Rhode Island native uses an MPC sampler throughout his entire set. He flawlessly switches between each song through this incredible device as if he was playing a well composed piece of art on the piano. The music is filled with hip-hop influence but it is mainly dub-step. It had the crowd going wild and was a blast to watch. Look out for this kid. I expect to see much more from him in the future.

Duck Sauce

Other than the main headliners and a few side acts the festival was just another excuse to gather people with similar interests in music. The festival was wrought with problems such as patrons trying to get into the main amphitheater only to find themselves standing in a long line. This lead to frustration, but for the most part, the crowd seemed to behave themselves given the restrictive guidelines they were met with throughout the festival grounds. Overall I would call this a success for Live Nation. Let’s just hope they hang out at the next Identity Fest to see how it’s really done.