A couple weeks ago in one of my earlier posts I said that I wanted to write about electronic music and culture because it seems like it’s becoming some type of trend lately. Well with Disney’s new installment in Hollywood Pictures Backlot at California Adventure, it kind of affirms my suspicions….in an awesome way.
I’ve always loved Disneyland since I was little, and took my boyfriend there last Easter. He is from Portland, Maine and had never been so I was excited to show him around. But after our trip he said it was a little lackluster for him – things looked old or he thought it would be me interesting than it really was. I kind of agreed that there isn’t very much to do for people over 21, but now I think there is.
Disney’s California Adventure has always been more modern than the original Magic Kingdom (well, because it’s newer), but it still tried to gravitate towards people that are over the age of 15. With the help of the new TRON movie that debuted in theaters December 17, 2010, Disney created a whole other electronic experience in their park. It’s called elecTRONica. Good name, I think, because while it is about the movie TRON, at night it also has DJs spinning techno and dance music, as well as one of the only places in Disneyland that serves alcohol. It has a whole club vibe, which definitely attracts a 21+ crowd.
I asked someone who works in the elecTRONica section how it’s been going so far, and what he thinks of it. Patrick O’Rourke, who works in a few of the elecTRONica stores, describes the scene as a rave without the drugs. Disney-friendly rave. “They kick off this event by giving the back story to the first Tron movie and do a little dance to go with it,” he says. “They also brought over Flynn’s Arcade over from Comic-Con and theyre all old school video games from the 80s that all cost 1 token. I would say that its very popular with people 21 and over cause I think of this as a club atmosphere only its outside. They even serve alcohol.”
He says that overall, the response to the club-vibe area of the park has been positive, although he has noticed a few drunk people walking around. He recalls a time after elecTRONica first opened when he first noticed it. “I was working in Flynn’s Arcade and this family walked up to me and they asked where Soaring Over California is so I told them and they didnt hear me so I told them again and thats when I realized they were drunk,” he says. “At one point while im talking to the parents one of the kids brings me closer to him and says ‘i think theyre drunk.’ After that happened it made me think that some parents probably don’t care about the club atmosphere as long as they get to drink. California Adventure is the only place at disneyland that serves alcohol so anyone 21 and over really take advantage of it.”
Video by: Asianjma123, YouTube
This section of the park opened in October 2010, before the movie was in theaters, but has started to take off and become more popular since the release of the movie. Some of the music I’ve heard the DJs playing are remixes of Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia, and Deadmau5. I’m sure there’s more big names that they’re putting out there every night.
If summer is the time for festivals around the United States, then it appears that spring is the time for electronic music. Between now and the end of April, the Bay Area has an influx of amazing performers, both well known and unknown.
BlowUp had its grand opening at the DNA Lounge this past Friday, February 11 with music by local residents The Tenderlions and guests Midnight Conspiracy blasting the speakers.
The line was down around the block for advance ticket holders, forcing people who didn’t previously buy tickets to wait until 12 AM in the cold on 11th St. to be let in.
As for the rest of February, Nebakaneza (dubstep), who hails from Oakland, will be at Ritual Dubstep at Temple (Ritual is always free and goes until 3 AM!) this thursday February 17. I HIGHLY recommend checking out Nebakaneza’s blog if you are just getting into Bay Area dub or are looking for other dubstep artists/blogs to follow.
Chromeo (electro-funk) will be promoting their new album Business Casual with a sold out show at the Fox on Friday the 18th, and for all those Jersey Shore lovers, DJ Pauly D will be at union square club Ruby Skye on Saturday.
Crystal Castles (electropop) starts off the month of March with a show at the Warfield, and HARDfest kicks off their year with their spring tour of Fake Blood (electro/grindcore) and Destructo (techno) at the Fox in Oakland on March 11, the same day that Designer Drugs (electro/house) dirties up the DNA Lounge at BlowUp. The next day, March 12, Axwell from Swedish House Mafia (dance) will be at Ruby Skye. Also Excision (dub/drum & bass) will be at the Regency Ballroom the same night.
For all the people that want some new, raw, local dubstep, I know of an event put on by Akashic Records SF on March 5. More info to come.
Again at Ruby Skye, Kaskade (dance/house/trace) begins April with a performance on the 2nd, and The Crystal Method (electro/dance) will also be there on April 8th.
Rusko (dubstep), who originally got beef for reportedly producing Britney Spears’ new single Hold It Against Me, kicks off his 2011 tour at the Fox in Oakland on April 14.
Another third of the three-man group Swedish House Mafia appears at Ruby Skye on April 14. This time the appearance will be made by Steve Angello! If you want to learn a little more about Swedish House Mafia, check out this documentary about these guys, called Take One.
The next day, Grammy winner Afrojack (dance) also spins into Ruby Skye.
All of these artists are kind of blowing my mind a little bit. With all of this happening, I have just enough time to turn 21 right in the middle of it, which I am ridiculously excited about. I think the biggest problem I have is choosing which shows to go to!
Electronic music has been around for a while. From underground music scenes in the UK to massive raves all around Europe, techno, house, and other forms seemed to be what people were listening to. But, truthfully, it really wasn’t my thing.
But that was then. I grew up in Napa, where the only things I really learned outside of school were how to drink and where the nice restaurants are. Since moving to San Francisco 3 years ago, my entire lineup of things I like to do has changed. Not surprisingly, one of those involves electronic music.
Three weeks ago, I returned to San Francisco from studying abroad in northern Italy for 5 months. One of the things that I noticed most while being away was how different their music scene is from California’s. Although I constantly heard the same 3 Rihanna songs and the same multiple Lady Gaga songs that played all last year, I was also introduced to other artists that not very many people seemed to listen to while I was in California. I started getting more into these artists and then I was completely enveloped in the European electronic music scene. One of the highlights of my European adventure was traveling to Belgium for I Love Techno. And it was awesome.
When I got home, I got to thinking: Why is it so different in the U.S. than in Europe? One of my first thoughts was dubstep. Dubstep seems to be everywhere, especially in the Bay Area. Festivals like Coachella (which sold out 3 months in advance), BFD, and Outside Lands have all featured areas for electronic music lovers to go and get down, but in recent years those tents have been more and more wobbly with more dubstep and electronic beats blasting from the sound systems. Ultra in Miami is an electro-only 3-day music festival featuring artists from all over the world. Burning Man is a completely different subject altogether, but still incorporates all forms of music from the electronic world, with lots of followers and bloggers excited for this year’s event.
As for the Bay Area, there is always a show or event to go to and ways to find out about them. There are a lot of free or cheap venues, like Ritual and Redline in SoMa, to California Academy of Sciences, which hosts a nightlife event on Thursdays with electronic music. Blogs like Gotta Dance Dirty, The Filth, and DaftWho give people the lowdown on where to go and also what tracks have just been released.
But this blog isn’t just about where to go and how to see cheap shows. It’s also about the local talent that entertains SF. This Friday, the Tenderlions, who are from San Francisco, will be at the DNA Lounge, the new venue to host BlowUp, which has been bringing local (and also non-local) DJs to San Francisco for the past couple years.
So let’s turn the music up, stay out ’til dawn, and see what San Francisco has to offer.