Mad Decent’s all-ages format alters EDM party vibe

Photo Courtesy of iWally Photography

Atlanta is slowly started to become a popular destination for electronic music events, at least since Identity and Counterpoint Music Fest hit the city in 2012. This past Summer, Mad Decent, a growing electronic music label, held one of its many block parties here in Atlanta.

EDM business mogul and all-star producer Thomas Pentz, better known to the world as Diplo, created these ‘Mad Decent Block Parties’ as a tribute to block parties in the label’s hometown, Philly. The idea is that people of all ages can come together as a community and party to some of the most current music around, and all at a decent price.

The second of twenty stops was in Atlanta on July 22nd, and featured: Action Bronson, Curtis Williams, Dillon Francis, DJ Snake, Flosstradamus, Flume, Riff Raff, What So Not and Zeds Dead. Since this event was all ages though, and most EDM events are restricted to those of the legal drinking age, the vibe of the event was completely different.

Consequently, this review will not review the artists of the performances but the types of people who attended. So, here are the five different types of people who went to Atlanta’s Mad Decent Block Party.

Perhaps it was the location (The Masquerade) or perhaps it was simply the music, but hipsters attended in mass. Debuting what they just bought off the sale rack at Urban Outfitters, the girls flaunted their flower crowns while the guys rocked vintage snapbacks and club masters as if Coachella came to Atlanta.

They more than likely only bought tickets to see Flume, the Aussie sensation making waves on his North American tour. Afterwards they rested in the shade and waited it out for Zeds Dead, which didn’t last long as the sold-out block party transformed into a full on mosh pit after 7pm. It felt like they were for the image, and not the music, which brought the fun down a bit.

Since Mad Decent isn’t really known as a ‘rave’ label, kandi kids weren’t out in the same numbers as hipsters, but they did lighten the mood with their colorful beads and childlike attitudes. Despite Mad Decent Block Party landing on the hottest day of the summer, Kandi Kids rolled in with their arms covered in “kandi” or those colorful beaded bracelets, cuffs, masks, legwarmers, bras, etc.

Falling under the principles of: Peace Love Unity and Respect (PLUR), Mad Decent Block Party was just a cheap place to reconvene and trade kandi. With the happy go-lucky attitude, they did liven the mood and help newbies feel comfortable. An unfortunate side note: Mad Decent’s show in Boston resulted in several deaths, and the brand attributed it to several attendess hiding drugs in their cuffs and bracelets, so they’ve since banned this rave gear.

Pseudo-ravers attended though, without the bead costumes. A step down from the Kandi Kids; spotted in neon, big “Impact” lettered shirts that read “RAVE CITY” or “LET’S GET WEIRD”, the ravers flocked to the Masquerade in the name of Taco Bell king, Dillon Francis. Endowed with amazing fist-bumps and resilient livers, these people know how to have fun.

However, the DJ could’ve just pressed play and they wouldn’t have known the difference. EDM purists on the other hand would not have been so happy if the DJ just stood there dancing behind the decks.

EDM purists are those who’ve been following dance music for a substantially longer time than the rest of the attendees and were either welcoming and wanted to teach, or were a bit snoody. They’ve been following MDBP from the beginning and are more there to see Diplo’s work in action.

Critiquing every set and every transition, EDM purists don’t have to prove themselves through apparel; they know they stand on a higher ground that nobody else cares about.

If you wanted to inquire about who was coming on next, why the sound wasn’t loud enough, or why it was called “Mad Decent”, you asked the only average looking human beings there.

Finally you had the kids. Yes this all ages event brought out the weirdest people around, from ages 14 and up and it created a vibe unlike any other. For those who were older this was a bit startling and arguably a side sight.

Those who had little faith in the generations behind us, lost even more. During the transition from DJ Snake into Riff Raff, a little part of MDBP turned into your parents’ worst nightmare. Closely resembling the inner workings of Miley Cyrus’ right brain, this phase of the block party separated the crowd from people you swear you’ve never seen before from pretty much everyone else. From metallic body suits, combat boots, and chokers to marijuana patterned knee-high socks.

All in all, Mad Decent’s Atlanta block party was a good show (with emphasis on the show.) If you managed to stay close enough to the speakers but far enough from the firehouse security guards blasted everywhere, you might’ve actually enjoyed yourself—sober or not. The artists were solid and the music was great, however the variety of ages and types of people made for a potluck experience.