After a week-long nightmare with the airlines with multiple flight cancellations and hours of being on hold, we were there. As our flight descended into a cool and wet San Francisco Airport I exhaled a long awaited sigh of release knowing that there was little that could prevent us from splashing headfirst into a cosmically orchestrated orgy of psychedelic sights and roof shattering sounds. (I could go on for days on the extra frills that made the week or so surrounding New Years Eve so rageful and interesting, but such retelling is not prudent at this time, and could serve to detract from the impact of Sea Of Dreams.)
As the hour neared and the final logistical preparations settled themselves out, I found myself again surrounded by my new Humboldt family. As it seems we had an entire floor of the rather classy Whitcomb hotel to ourselves in downtown San Francisco.. “Poor bastards,” I thought of the people sharing the floor with us as one of the more rambunctious members of our crew revealed his subwoofer, which would continue to bounce around, burning bridges from room to room in an ongoing game of cat and mouse with hotel security.
With rage essentials properly stored, so good in fact that I myself was fooled into thinking they were lost the whole evening, we ventured in through the gates into the vibrating Concourse Exhibition Center. The night was already underway with confusion over lost comrades in rage and locations of the stages and booths, much like last year. As we meandered through we first caught a bit of Gaudi’s classic house music on the main stage. My brother Langston Ques and I tried to maintain visual contact the entire night, and as we began feeling comfortable with our surroundings, we proceeded to reach a certain mindstate to carry us through the evening – being cautious to not repeat last years gluttonous affair with that girl named Molly that rendered us babbling and bouncing around indiscriminately. No… this year was to be handled professionally and from what I could tell we were off to a good start. As we wandered, photographing the fantastic venue, with every visible part of the building being altered with artistic flare, time began to warp and melt without the help out our friend Lucy. As we mingled with the multitudes of fellow dreamers my notes of the evening became subject to the very same phenomena that has stricken me last year at the very same event… this time without the fistfuls of MDMA.
Specifics of the night fade in and out, and as my notes continue, the clarity fades into a scribbled mess in which only a few words could be deciphered like “mermaid”, “12:17 – shit just keeps getting bigger!”, an incomplete phone number, “4:40 am Dove” and “Absonotrans…. new to old chemistry?” One scribble that stands out the most is “What is it about this place?”
A mixture of a moderate amount of imbiberies, the constant evolution of new faces and bodies moving chaotically past each other, the vast array of auditory stimuli both directly from the many speakers or indirectly from the acoustically inept facility all combine to make it extremely difficult for this dreamer to make sense of it all. (I say inept because it is a convention center designed to fit a shit ton of people and rarely has music related functions.) However, the memories obtained and rekindled through pictures and stories are enough to make the whole experience seem real and familiar, and all good. This gives me reason to recommend this annual blowout to anyone that would enjoy the shenanigans affiliated with any electronic music festival or circus for adults on acid.
Despite the cobwebs and shadows that linger in the annals of memory concerning the wee hours of 2011 I can report with certainty the following: Beats Antique had an amazing set, Zoe teaming with three fellow hip shaking goddesses that came straight from the Harem in the Sky.. David Satori later appeared on stage with the Lowridaz who delivered some crunky whomps that forced me to lose it in a much needed way on the floor while some of the hottest beauties in the building danced on stage to the best An-ten-ae set I’ve seen. At the Opulent Temple stage MoPo absolutely tore the place down with some funk’d up breaky house riddims to which I expended every bit of energy that I had at the moment. The timeless stylings ofGaudi were made available at two different time slots, much to my delight. His old school multi-genre’d dancehall selekta vibes kept the audience of many ages and backgrounds moving and grooving 2010 away, and I must say that I always have fuck-tons of fun every time this man wiggles his theramin waves and shouts into his bullhorn.
The super-psychedelic circus performers of the Lucent Dossier Experience brought the new year in at 3am EST while who knows what was happening in Shpongleland back in the NY with fellow Lostinsound soldiers. There were sparks flying and I was in an apex state of confusion when I hear “7” on the count down, forgot about the lost drugs and missing friends and embraced all my surroundings as 2010 became another tick mark in existence. Champagne, hugs and kisses with beautiful familiar strangers is the way I brought in this new year, and I would have to say it is a goal to make it happen every year if I can help it.
When the moment arrived to get down to the highly anticipated Berlin duo Modeselektor I was nearly crushed when their set was plagued with technical difficulties that allowed for a seemingly endless 10 mins of silence.. however they rallied back and played a set consisting of mostly Happy Birthday bangers on the Center’s main stage. Last on the main stage was Mimosa, who always gets it on, and I think everyone knew it as the crowd seemed its liveliest. Tucked in a corner above the dance floor I was able to get a great view of the literal sea of dreamers getting down in unison to Mimosa‘s signature sounds and became fully aware of the vastness of this party. Due to our directional ineptitude we missed our chance to get backstage and get better access during Modeselektor‘s set, however we were lucky enough to catch them again the next night without a wink in between for an even more impressive DJ set of some classics and electro bangers previously unheard by me. We were even so lucky to personally meet them at the Whitcomb before we took off for our respective hometowns on a January 2nd and was able to personally thank them for their music and the previous nights grand finale to a week long marathon of dancing, drugging and dreaming.
The closing of the night continues to drift into an aqueous solution of experiences that ebb and flow from place to place, all the while filled with charismatic characters, powerful sounds and beautiful faces. From the Sea of Dreams to the Whitcomb mushroom chocolate fest to the annual shit show called Breakfast of Champions, where we silent disco’d the morning away, the rage continued without a glitch or ounce of negativity. Back to the Whitcomb, with numerous costume changes and a few too many runs to the whippet store, the stream of faded memories carries us on to Modeselektor round 2 on the night of January 1st, 2011. Each of these missions were driven by the pure will to rage without a note of fatigue or skinch of drowsiness. I wish I had time and space to document the entire week-long mission from New York to San Francisco, and on up to the the great redwoods and pounding surf of Humboldt County, but it will have to remain in the mixed up crinkles of this pseudo-journalist’s rage-worn brain.
I would like to personally thank Kelly with Sunset Promotions for granting us access to such a magnificent event, and for lining up interviews with event coordinators… sorry for the delay on the review, you know how it goes. This was by far the most fun weekend of 2010, and I thank you. Much love to Kelsey Winterkorn for sharing her amazing photos with us, much love to all the ragers who came together for NYE, and much love to ALL the people in our great community of dances and dreams. Until next time, this is Dyaphonoyze… keepin it moving.
Biggup Kelsey Winterkorn: