Vegas Can’t Capture Mad Decent’s Energy

*written by A’Damaged Pro for Electronica Life
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Diplo and Friends have recently been blazing their unique brand of mayhem across the country for the Mad Decent Block Party event series. Why would their stop in Vegas be any different? After all, it’s Vegas. Take one look around the Encore Beach Club, located in the Wynn hotel and casino complex. Get over the fact that the tiny bottle of water in your hand cost $11, and you’ll realize you’re in a special brand of paradise, only this paradise comes with a soundtrack from Grandtheft, Paper Diamond, Paul Devro, ETC! ETC!, Dillon Francis, Diplo, and Flosstradamus.

With any magical kingdom, before you can step into the spledor you must pass through the gates. The gates in question here were unfortunately manned by a crew of very misinformed and unprofessional people. I can hear the music and I can almost smell the chlorine but I must first submit to an extremely slow TSA-style check before entering. I never really knew kandi was such a big problem. Considering I didn’t see anybody with any kandi or see any contraband get confiscated, I often wondered what the hold-up was. I’m all for safety, but I came to jam and time is precious. The beat is calling me, Mr. Rubber Gloves. That’s chapstick. That’s hand sanitizer. That’s an unopened pack of gum because I was forward thinking. Thank you. I’m officially inside.

Hedonism and Vegas go hand in hand. I’d have to think really hard about when I’ve seen more tribal tattoos and cosmetic surgery in one location. Let’s not let this get out of hand and sound like I’m unimpressed with my surroundings. The pool area is amazing. I  really like the “mist showers” they have over some of the aqua-adjacent booths. I get the vibe of Spring Break in Babylon, except instead of Natty Light and cheap vodka it’s $25 JagerBombs and $12 Heinekens. On the periphery of this flesh bazaar is a double-row of expansive cabanas, each populated by crews that would look at home on either a yacht in the Mediterranean or the Jersey Shore.” Everybody on the elevated balconies is moving in slow motion. It’s almost like they’re trying not to look like they’re perpetually posing for a camera that’s not there.

There’s not really a stage. An elevated platform, with the venue logo front and center, was slid into the opening of a banquet room that faces the pool. I keep reminding myself that, despite the obscured view of our respective curators, people seem to enjoying themselves overall. I’m still torn, considering I came for the musical experience, and that seems to be the component of this event that’s receiving the least attention. The designated “dance floor” in front of the DJs appears to be the place that people congregate to get their fifteen-second clip for Instagram and then get back in the pool. This place doesn’t have the feeling of a festival or an EDM event in general. Something is missing and I think it’s the interaction element. I don’t know if the desert heat and the looming unmoving sun in the sky, combined with copious amount of alcohol, have made the crowd complacent. As soon as the thought enters my mind, there is a “ratchet uprising.” Diplo’s grooves stirred up a frenzy and the front of the “stage” almost gets ripped off from some good old-fashioned twerk action.

Mad Decent came with the right attitude. They brought the talent. They brought the energy. They brought people that can make the plaster on arena walls start to crumble. I just think people were more concerned with “being there” than being in the experience. There was no musical communion. Save for the few moments when the DJs peeked out of their cubbyhole, people were totally left to their own devices. The venue made their presence unavailable. I respect each one of these artists and I feel that the layout handicapped the potential of their performances. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s just Vegas. One thing that evens the playing field, in my mind, is that this was just one stop on a killer tour. There are still several locations to receive the audio hot fire over the course of the coming weeks, culminating in Mad Decent’s first foray into the nautical festival arena, the Mad Decent Boat Party. These cats don’t mess around and you should definitely make it a point to catch one of these shows.

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Connect with Mad Decent: Website
Connect with Encore Beach Club: Website
All of the stock images are from the in-house photographers at Encore Beach