The Mad Decent Block Party has evolved a great deal since its inception right here in Philadelphia. The event started out just as it’s name would imply, as a block party outside of the Mad Decent studio. After the first year, the event outgrew its humble location, and moved to the Piazza in Northern Liberties. Before long, the Block Party also outgrew the Piazza.
The Block Party also outgrew Philadelphia, becoming a touring show all across the U.S. and Canada. For the past two years, the Philadelphia Mad Decent Block Party has taken place at The Great Plaza, which is located on Penn’s Landing, not far from Festival Pier.
This was the first year that the Block Party was a ticketed event (it was previously a free event). However, the fact that fans had to pay to attend the 2013 MDBP did not diminish the attendance numbers. With over 6,500 people packing the Great Plaza for the second straight year, we would not be surprised if Philly has once again outgrown the location for the beloved event.
Philly natives and Mad Decent aficionados DJ Sega, Dirty South Joe, and Swizzymack started things off right for fans in 2013. Even though the show had just started, plenty of people had already made their way into the venue and were enjoying the opening acts of the block party. It seemed that no one was worried about conserving their energy for the later acts as everyone was dancing away in the opening hours.
Up next was the D.C. based group Nadastrom, which consists of Dave Nada & Matt Nordstrom. The group, who are known for their incredible Moombahton tracks, put on an incredible performance that was in stark contrast to the opening acts of the show. It was impossible not to dance during their performance, and by this point in the day, the venue was packed. There were even two female concert-goers who were lucky enough to be brought up on stage and demonstrate their dancing skills, which brought out huge cheers from the crowd. Nadastrom may have won best performance of the day in our mind.
Riff Raff, a man who needs no introduction, put on a brief performance following Nadastrom. Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t help wonder what Riff Raff will do next. If Nadastrom won performance of the day, Riff Raff certainly won outfit of the day, wearing a matching tank top and shorts that were covered in banana print.
Up next was Flosstradamus, the Chicago based DJ group who blow crowds away with their “turnt up” performances. Flosstradamus’s set returned the vibe back to the bass thumping melodies that were heard earlier in the day. While everyone in the crowd was dancing during Nadastrom’s performance, it is safe to say that everyone in the crowd was just going crazy during Flosstradamus’s performance, particularly when they dropped their hit track “Original Don”. The crowd also loved seeing Dillon Francis drape a flag that had Flosstradamus’s logo on it around himself and walk out onto the stage during their performance.
Dillon Francis then hit the stage for one of the most anticipated performances of the block party. Unfortunately, the first 10 minutes of his set was put to waste as the speakers and bass weren’t properly set up. Dillon Francis made the best of this awkward moment as there was no sound guy to be found and just talked into the microphone joking with the crowd. He set up shop at the adjacent DJ booth and not long after was able to resume his set. The crowd, which could have acted in an unpredictable way (this being Philly and all, the city that pelted Santa Claus with snowballs), seemed more than forgiving for the technical difficulties. Dillon Francis had the energy of the crowd back to peak levels within no time and played a steallar set.
The headlining slot for the MDBP was held down by Diplo’s Major Lazer project, who promised to put on an incredible show. Their hour long set was filled with crowd surfing, t-shirt waving, air-cannons, and of course, twurking. Major Lazer did not disappoint. We particularly loved it when Diplo jumped on top of the DJ booth, took of his shirt, and then instructed the rest of the crowd to do so also. After he noticed some hesitation from the audience, he instructed everyone that if the person next to them was still wearing a shirt to “tell them to take it off or go to New York, this is Philly”, in reference to the upcoming Brooklyn Mad Decent Block Party.
Overall, the MDBP was a fantastic time. What started out as an actual block party has grown and grown but has not lost its roots: showcasing great music on a hot summer day. We are sure that next summer the MDBP will grow even more, spreading out to more and more cities and adding more acts to each show. We know one thing is for sure, if you were at the Philly block party, you are either planning your trip to Baltimore or Brooklyn or counting down the days till next summer.
[Photos by Steve Garfinkel Photography]
You can view additional photos below (click thumbnails to enlarge):