Monday, May 01, 2006

electro techno disco popsicle 2006


Mike Zelazek ~ San Francisco, CA - 04.01.06 - A warm wind welled off the Pacific carrying with it butterfly children from around the Golden State to the center of the hilly city for a colossal affair known, in short, as Popsicle. This year’s frozen confection was served en masse by Skills, a DJ workshop and local fixture as an authority on all things electronica. Bill Graham Civic Auditorium played host to the three-ring circus whose headliners drew a sold-out crowd of nearly ten-thousand.

The senior-citizen ticket takers did not appear to have their interests piqued by the Kandi Kids wearing hand-crafted Gizmo (the Mogwai) and Sponge Bob backpacks, technophiles totting guillotined mannequin heads, and human cartoons sporting Goofy Gloves. Possibly it was the hurriedness of the front-door scene and unearthly draw of the oculus of light above the main stage with its figurative arms of sound outstretched to embrace the throngs who witnessed it. Jumbo-trons and fifty-foot tall speaker towers flanked the performers and their go-go dancing brigade. On the floor, cold-cathode emblazoned Michelin Men danced alongside Stanford’s finest frosh as Perry O’Neil warmed up the crowd on heavy and playful house remixed and spun almost like NRG.

Rank 1 and Signum’s unspoken decision to spread their own wings and pantomime “flying” every few minutes during the airy parts of their trance sets became a bit cliché beyond three take-offs. However, when their hands did land on the disks before them, the crowd responded accordingly by putting their feet down—hard. And the two set an intimidating pace for the post-midnight action throughout the venue that Blank & Jones did not drop.

The upper levels of the arena provide a resting place or opportunity voyeur if not ready to join the happy horde, and about fifteen-hundred people found comparative release in the side stage auditoria. In the jungle room, Colonel MC’s sweaty, carrot-coloured dreads were plastered to his head after hours on stage, never slowing the spitting of rhymes that flowed almost effortlessly from his lips to the ears of the b-boys and poi-ists in back. Ed Rush preceded Optical in a blistering two hours of syncopation from whence the likes of which many first-time ravers said they had never seen nor imagined they would hear.

The West Wing’s house room’s lasers diced through the patron-generated smoke as Kaskade and Richard (now “Humpty”-less) Vission DJ-ed to please San Fran’s clubbier musical tastes near peak time. Towards Doc Martin’s set, the room unfortunately began to reek as if Old Man Graham himself had been entombed there without an airtight seal. Thus began the evening’s closure, and by the early hours of the morning, human wreckage littered not only that room, but all the peachy-plaster corridors. Those departing exchanged genuine pleasantries with the SFPD, redressed to cover their PLUR tattoos, and headed home having partaken in a successful first massive of the season.

For more information on Skill DJ Workshop, go to skillsdjworkshop.com. For upcoming SF events, go tobayraves.com.

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