Ah, the Mad Decent Block Party, or henceforth: MDBP. That old bastion of Philadelphian debauchery at it’s finest…or worst. Once a free event held on 12th and Spring Garden in front of the eponymous Mad Decent Mausoleum that has since grown to overtake the likes of the Piazza at Schmidt’s [peep the cover of Diplo’s ‘Express Yourself’ record], the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, and now returning to roost, once again, at the Festival Pier, it’s perennial home.
With lineups that initially mirrored the random (and often culture clashing) sounds of the label in its infancy (Afghani Punk Bands and Baltimore Club remixes of Nu-Metal), the MDBP roster has been scaled back from its two-day extravaganza of last year to a one day event held last Friday, July 7th, right there on the river, including recurring Philly favorites Nadastrom and Dirty South Joe, young bloods Swizzymack and Matt OX, and the heavyweight assaults of 4B, Flosstradamus, and the mad daddy himself, DIPLO[docus].
Though named after a dinosaur, the big dipper has his finger firmly on the pulse of today’s youth (hence the inclusion of fidget-spinner-adjacent Matt OX on the lineup) and to that effect, we decided to take 3 of our youngest writers to the MDBitsr it’s ten year anniversary. Having experienced every single MDBP ourselves (including one in NY just for the hell of it; ours are better) it was time to bring fresh eyes (and ears) into the equation, so to complete this review I enlisted the talents of two interns, Mike and Luis, and my right-hand man and rising club music purveyor, Musho! The rest of our review will take on a ’roundtable discussion’ style of everyone’s observations, with color commentary included by yours truly (in bold). Please enjoy our random, Gonzo reiterations from a day clouded by tall, cold cans of Heineken and assuredly some form of irreversible ultra-violet damage between us; all in the name of music journalism! Enjoy!
Mike: Walking up to the Festival Pier the sun was shining and the sky was blue. Fellow Mad Decent attendees cut through hectic Columbus Blvd traffic to make their entry. The long line fills with excitement and cheer as everyone chatters about the set they can’t wait to see most. After getting past check-in and entering the pier the block party seems to turn into a beach party.
Luis: As I’ve never been an attendee of the MDBP myself, I was a little thrown off to discover this was next to a pier. Aside from that, I arrived pretty early and the crowd felt so right, just chillin and groovin to some Jersey beats from Dirty South Joe.
Unfortunately, we missed the initial performer of the day, SNKM
Mike: With sand all around, cold beer being served, and big tents for shade, the only thing that was missing was water, which we got later in the form of rain. In front of the stage is a huge rubber dance floor where all of the hard partying took place.
When we arrived, D$ Joe had already whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Dirty South Joe has been a long time staple of the Mad Decent Block Party, so walking in to his performance set the perfect tone for our block party vibes.
Luis: Nadastrom came after him and simmered us very well into Swizzymack’s set.
Nadastrom was actually part of the very first block party held on Spring Garden St 10 years ago!
Luis: From this point on everything just keeps getting more lit (except for fidget spinner kid, sorry little dude).
Truc: As it was time for local-hero, Swizzymack, to take the stage, the lad brought out his grandmother, put headphones on her, and allowed her to open up his set with Future’s hit, “Mask Off”.
Mike: SwizzyMack’s set, is an amazing experience with his combination of contemporary hip hop, pop music, and dubstep. The crowd enjoyed top charting songs such as, Migos’ ‘Bad & Boujee’ being mixed into high energy dance music.
Luis: Swizzymack’s flow could’ve been slightly better, but the beats were definitely felt, and danced to, throughout the dance floor.
Mike: As the hits rolled, the crowd charged up, and a mosh pit opened up in front of the stage. Farther back from the stage, a dance circle opened up and kids were back flipping in the crowd.
Truc: Soon after, Swizzy dropped Xxxtentacion’s ‘Look at me’ and instigated a mosh pit, causing the crowd to go WILD.
Mike: Meanwhile in the background, videos played of our childhood’s lone ranger, Samurai Jack, in rare form showing off his sword skills.
I think we can all agree that bringing your Grand-Mom on stage is the bossest move of all time. Kudos to you Swizzymack for a killer set!
Mike: 4B, who was amazing, was a great act that was totally disrespected by a daring thunder storm. Although some stood out in the rain and raged on without concern for mother nature, others took refuge under tents until the storm passed. Even through the rain, heavy fans and heavy partiers couldn’t be stopped by a little water. Luckily the storm silenced its cry before 4B’s set ended and the Block Party as a collective was able to jam out to some amazing spins.
Luis: 4B’s set was the right fit to be played right before Flosstradamus’ fire, son! 4B definitely knows how to get a crowd hyped up! I could not keep myself from jumping and fist pumping from his point on.
Mike: Flosstradamus was the perfect set to follow the discouraging rain storm that hit the Mad Decent Block party. The audience, who were anticipating his set, turned up as the rain eased up and the opportunity to party hard presented itself again.
Truc: Later in the evening Flosstradamus brought DJ Sliink out on stage, and played their collab tracks ‘Crowd Control’ & ‘Test Me’ as a tribute to their ‘Nomads EP’ that was released on Fool’s Gold in 2013. As I go through my Instagram feed, Sliink captions a video of the action and dropped hints towards a Nomads 2.0 release.
Luis: There were a few mosh pits forming here and there throughout the whole night, but when Flosstradamus played ‘Moshpit’ that’s when the shit hit the proverbial fan. I’m sure people walked out of that pit with some minor bruises, myself included, but it was so worth it!
Mike: Flosstradamus brought the crowd back to the dance floor and raised the energy levels with his DJ style. At this point in the night, the drinks took effect and the vibes were outstanding. Girls grinding on guys, girls kissing girls …the night was surely taking a turn for the best.
Luis: It was hype AF during his whole set, which is an incredible feat to accomplish. Something Diplo did as well, but not as intense. Don’t get me wrong, we were all dancing and grooving during the whole Diplo set (it was definitely lit) but I guess I’m a little skewed, as I’m a headbanger, but to each his own.
Mike: Matt OX’s set for various reasons was a rough set to stand through. He came on after the rain and although the party was still going, most people were ready to see Diplo. Matt began his set and out of the three or four songs performed only one song seemed familiar to the crowd. During his set people chanted, “Diplo” and others talked amongst themselves about their disgust for the set. Matt OX gave it all he had on the stage but in the end Mad Decent attendees weren’t interested in his performance.
Luis: It was a great vibe throughout the whole night. I think the fidget spinner kid killed some of the hype for Diplo unfortunately, but Diplo surely did not disappoint, it was the perfect epilog to an amazing day of partying.
Mike: Diplo had an awesome set, the energy in the crowd was unmatched by any other set of the day. His set began and smoke blew from the stage, lights flashed from behind the DJ booth and the name Diplo appeared on the screen. The crowd went wild and everyone from all areas of the pier moved to the dance floor space. As the set went on and Diplo played some crowd favorites, the audience started raging on the dance floor. Off the dance floor, groups of people band together and started to rain dance and shuffled in the wet sand. As more smoke blew from the stage, Diplo gave a shout out to the Mad Decent Block Party for their ten-year run.
Mike: Overall the Mad Decent Block Party was a rad event and definitely an experience like no other. The sets were on point from start to finish and the atmosphere was fun and safe. The crowd was outrageous throughout the short rain storm that could have easily killed the spirits of lesser party goers. This was surely a five out of five stars event for anyone living in the tri-state area to attend.
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[Photos by C2H2 Photo]
[Article by Aaron Ruxbin and friends]
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