The first that I thought about prior to the Kaskade show was the location of the venue. Why the hell would you have a show out on the Pier? It’s freezing at night, near the water, and outdoors. Why do it here instead of a place like Bill Graham Civic Auditorium?
While navigating my way to the venue was a bit of an adventure, I could see why the venue was chosen for those two sold out shows (I was in attendance for night one). To put it simply: it was different. The acoustics were much better than an indoor setting. Every big electronic dance music show recently, unless it’s a festival, has been in an indoor arena or club. This shook things up. It started to get me thinking more about the actual set.
And what a phenomenal set it was. The last time I saw Kaskade (aka Ryan Raddon) was at Beyond Wonderland in 2014, when he closed out the night on the main stage. While that set will always remain near and dear to my heart, just because of how memorable that weekend was, I have to say that I was impressed by his solo show.
The show was opened by Ravell and CID, who each played hour-long sets prior to the 9:45 headlining slot. Their sets consisted of well-executed house/deep house tracks, mixed in a way that structurally worked. Ravell played as doors opened, so a lot of the music was rather laid back as people began filtering in. CID started to bring the energy up as more bodies filled the ten thousand capacity dance floor, throwing in more house tracks that got people moving.
The clock strikes 10 and the lights go out. Fog billows across the stage. A bright set of purple and blue lights dance across the audiences’ eyes, revealing a table that houses the turntables and mixer. Several pillars adorn the stage, lighting up in sync with the intro track blasting out of the speakers. Raddon walks out onstage, and a feeling of euphoria emanates throughout the crowd.
When it comes to dance music, ravers often talk about people needing to give off “good vibes”. The second Kaskade walked out onstage, I felt nothing but good vibes. I don’t know if it was the song. I don’t know if it was the fans. I just felt good. Over the next hour and a half, fireworks, CO2 cannons, and sparklers adorned the stage; each effect synced perfectly with a corresponding build up and drop.
His set consisted of primarily house tracks, but fans were in for a bit of a treat. Raddon threw in a plethora of deep house anthems. For those unfamiliar with his work, know that Kaskade, every once in awhile, will take the stage and announce that he’s playing a “Redux” set, one that consists solely of those tracks from the deep house genre that was very influential surrounding his solidification as a powerhouse DJ in the scene. While I’m not massive on deep house music, it was fun to watch him play those tracks and take in the fans’ reactions. Raddon came into the Bay Area when there was a rather effervescent deep-house movement, so to hear him go back to those roots for a little while was rather awe-inspiring. It all came full circle.
The show wrapped around 11:30 PM, allowing plenty of time for a select group of fans to make their way over to a popular SF nightclub, Ruby Skye, to see him play a special after-party set.
Not everyone was headed to Ruby Skye at the end of the night, however; most headed home, even though the show ended earlier than a usual dance event. But even though the night ended a little earlier, and as crowd filtered out into the madness that was the traffic on 22nd and Illinois, all of those good vibes were still intact. There wasn’t an unhappy face in the bunch.
For more information and music from Kaskade, visit www.kaskademusic.com. "Automatic" is available now.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.