written by Nate Manuel
It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of a community. Being accepted and strengthened by those around you is what we all love about festival culture. Swapping stories, running into familiar faces, making new friends and memories, hatching plans for future shows…this is exactly what happened among the ecstatic crowd that poured from Detroit’s Masonic Temple after a truly memorable sold out performance from Zeds Dead.
Since my last festival experience I had been craving that familiar vibe. The fashion, people showing out their favorite gear, the honestly offered compliments, the immense wail of a crowd singing along to every lyric, the spectacle of the show and the love in the crowd. I felt all that magic immediately upon getting in line when I found a twenty dollar bill folded at my feet and no original owner to claim it (I asked!), and stepped inside the venue to be greeted by friends I didn’t even know were going to the show!
Keys N Krates opened up with an attention grabbing set; their live instrumentation approach allows for heavy improvisation in drum patterns and sample cuts. Turntablist Jr. Flo in particular had a couple of skillful and energetic solo cut sessions, refreshing to see and hear in a drop-heavy EDM dominated scene. The popular “Dum Dee Dum” was transformed into an epic six-minute arc of building tension and switch-ups, and the trio let us peek at a new track entitled “Bury It”—the message of it being to hold your friendships closely and take care of one another.
Weaving an album’s worth of brand new material throughout the banger-filled set, Zeds Dead managed to hit upon an impressive number of genres, and although Hooks was unfortunately too ill to perform, DC held it down proper with the Detroit crowd bringing out extra energy to fill that void. Showing the diversity in their debut album Northern Lights, the set moved from dubstep to house to drum and bass and back again. Wonderful dynamic swings transitioned the grimiest of synthesizers into calming, serene interludes and ear-catching hip hop samples were sprinkled across the landscape—Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/NaeNae)”, Soulja Boy’s “Crank That”, and Kendrick Lamar’s “Backstreet Freestyle” to name a few. Hits like “Collapse”, “Lost You”, and many others drew huge crowd reactions. With all this energy, it was no surprize an exhausted DC went back to the stage after a brief goodbye, playing “You and I” as a final encore.
At the end of the night, I peeled myself away from the glowing mass of fans, holding on the every last perfect moment. With Bassnectar Halloween and Grizmas on the horizon, I knew I would see all of my new family again soon. Waving to fellow festies as if we had already been friends: “I’ll see you there!”