Article: Sabrina Spellman July 23, 2014
It’s a typical day in mid July in Boston’s Seaport district, days like this are often defined by a steady flow of commuters heading to work in 90-something degree weather, iced coffee in hand. However not all days in the Seaport are alike and in a few weeks the district will experience the maddest day it has had to date. On Sunday August 10th the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion will be taken over by North America’s most talked about, touring block party. But it isn’t your average neighborhood summer bash. Here you won’t find your Uncle Bobby shooting bottle rockets or cooking hot dogs on the grill. This is the eccentric and absolutely wild Mad Decent Block Party.
Going into its seventh year, the tour schedule boasts 22 cities consisting of 16 US states and 3 Canadian provinces (full tour list). The MDBP began in 2008 outside of a building dubbed ‘The Mausoleum’ on Spring Garden & 12th St in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mausoleum was a building owned by Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known as Diplo and founder of Mad Decent record label, and it served as the label’s headquarters. Diplo and Jasper Goggins, manager of Mad Decent records, threw block parties for free for the community in 2008-2009 outside the Mausoleum. The idea was to spend a summer day relaxing outside playing music and dancing with friends.
However it soon became apparent that the party had outgrown the block and would need to relocate to a larger venue with improved sound and more security. 2010 saw the addition of the first New York and Chicago block parties and in 2011 Los Angeles was added to the tour. In summer of 2012 the tour had expanded to Toronto, but in 2013 MDBP traveled to a whopping 13 cities throughout the US & Canada. Fast forward to summer 2014; festival season is in full swing but over the past few years it never truly feels like summer until the MDBP tour has begun.
Summer is just beginning to heat up and this year MDBP boasts their most massive lineup to date with the inaugural 2014 party beginning this Saturday July 26th in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The tour features the diverse sounds of Outkast, Big Gigantic, What So Knot, Dillon Francis, Liz, RiFF RAFF, Trippy Turtle, and 55 more artists throughout the 22 stops (full artist list). Each city includes 6-10 assorted artists that have been meticulously balanced, and of course Boston has a wicked line up for its first ever MDBP.
If you have ever attended Mad Decent Block Party, then you know to expect a mashup of genres including hip-hop, jazz, pop, rap, and electronic music. You’re sure to hear everything; reggaeton, house, moombahton, trap, dubstep, electro, future bass, and live jazz. Not only is this eclectic array of sounds signature of the MDBP but it is a mark of the Mad Decent label as well. The beauty of Mad Decent doesn’t lie within in a genre or subgenre, but rather with the liveliness and passion the artists have for their work.
The block party is known for its high energy, anything goes style, whether it be an impromptu dodge ball game or Diplo ‘crowd surfing’ by rolling in a human sized clear hamster ball over the crowd. There are few places you can find a dancing taco doing the Harlem shake onstage, or Skrillex playing a set with Diplo as their collaboration, Jack U. Blue Hills Bank Pavilion is an outdoor, tented, venue on the Seaport’s waterfront and on August 10th it will play host to the MDBP Boston stop. The lineup for Boston includes Chance the Rapper, Children of the Night, Diplo, DJ Snake, Flosstradamus, GTA, Lunice, Walshy Fire and Wave Racer.
(Photo Four80 Music)
Parisian producer DJ Snake is a man that certainly needs no introduction; you have heard ‘Turn Down For What’ enough times to think of at least one hundred responses to the rhetorical question, and you’ve gotten low to ‘Get Low’ at least twice this summer. But neither of these can top Snake’s explosion onto the scene with his first release on Mad Decent, ‘Bird Machine’. He was recently a part of Skrillex’s Mothership Tour and just this week ‘TD4W’went TRIPLE platinum in the US. A veteran of the MDBP, Lunice will perform at the Boston stop of the tour. The young producer’s remixes gained attention from Mad Decent in 2009 and he went on to release his ‘Helicopter’ remix on the label the following year. Since then, Lunice has worked with Warner Bros Records, BBC Radio 1 and Azealia Banks, to name a few.
Also performing will be the notorious Chicago based duo, Flosstradamus. Their Total Recall EP dropped on Mad Decent in 2012 but to many it seems like just yesterday. Though their sound has grown and evolved, new Flosstradamus music does not ever disappoint. The following year brought the colossal hit ‘Pillz’ and a collab EP titled Nomads with DJ Sliink. Most recently the pair devoted time to their side project collaboration with Dillon Francis; Dillstradamus. Although the 3 producers often play festivals/shows together, a Dillstradamus sighting is extremely rare. The boys of Floss have not been quiet in 2014, they have already dropped multiple new tracks and they continue to dominate clubs and festivals worldwide with their zealous and outrageous presence. Appearing at 4 MDBP stops, Chance The Rapper is a young artist who has proven repeatedly that he is here to say. At the age of 19 years old, Chance had already produced a mixtape of his own, appeared in Forbes Magazine and rapped on fellow musician Childish Gambino‘s track ‘They Don’t Like Me’. Chance went on to join Gambino’s tour in 2012 and in 2013 he produced his second mixtape, Acid Rap. This mixtape was available for free download as well as his first mixtape and it didn’t take long for the new tracks to go viral, especially ‘Cocoa Butter Kisses’. He has spent the past year touring and making music and shows no signs of slowing down.
It wouldn’t be a Mad Decent Block party without mentioning these two; Walshy Fire and Diplo (also known as 2/3 of Major Lazer). This year’s Boston party names these two on the lineup and although its possible they may be performing separately, it is safe to speculate that the third member of Major Lazer, Jillionaire, is likely to be in attendance for a Major Lazer performance. The king of Mad Decent himself, Diplo, is sure to leave his mark on Boston…again. It goes without saying that when Diplo is onstage, everyone will be on their feet dancing. Well known for producing with Madonna, Usher, MIA, Beyonce and countless others. Whether he is coordinating the worlds biggest twerk wall to ‘Express Yourself’ or one of his DJ friends is joining him on the decks, no act can compare to Diplo’s live sets. Separate from Major Lazer, Walshy Fire has produced his own mix album, Jesse Royal – Royally Speaking. The album dropped earlier this month and is a flawless blend of reggae with the occasional hint of dance. Overall, the album leaves the listener with a euphoric feeling of a beach dance party surrounded by lush palm trees and lightly crashing waves. On the topic, an up and coming artist you cannot miss at the block party is Wave Racer. An Australian native, he is notorious for his melodic structure and chord progressions. Signed to Future Classic, Wave Racer made a huge splash last year with tracks ‘Rock U Tonite’ and ‘Stoopid’. The sound that makes Wave Racer unique isn’t about heavy beats or bass, his sound is reminiscent of vintage arcade games with his own spin and a touch of subtle disco.
Gaining praise from Action Bronson himself, Children Of The Night has invaded the New York City hip-hop scene. The trio is widely known for their unique approach to hip-hop and rap and although the 3 members have their differences, the combination is impeccable. Remy Banks will trip you up with his tongue twisters, Lansky Jones can drop lyrical bombs at the drop of the dime about anything and without falter, and Nasty Nigel can belt out a lyric in two languages. Each member brings their own unique gifts to the table and together they have proven to be unstoppable. If you have ever wondered what would happen when you combine a tech-house and hip hop producer, look no further than the explosive duo GTA. The pair came together after bonding online over similar musical interests, and nowadays can be seen behind the decks at countless festivals spinning a roaring set of trap, electro, hip-hop and a dose of R&B. However, their ‘Death To Genres’ tour this spring made it known that the duo doesn’t care what category the music they play is filed under, as long as they love it and it sounds great. On the Mad Decent side, GTA is responsible for their hit with Diplo ‘Boy Oh Boy’ that absolutely took over the internet and live sets across the globe late last year. Following this release came the infectious ‘Booty Bounce’ and ‘Bola’, tracks that are sure to stick around for some time to come. With a tour under their belt, their latest release ‘Hard House’ with Juyen Sebulba, and countless festival performances 2014 has already been a huge year for GTA.
The Mad Decent Block Party kicks off this weekend in Fort Lauderdale with many of the stops already reaching Sell Out. If you have never attended MDBP in one of Boston’s neighboring cities, don’t miss your chance to catch the tour August 10th at the Blue Hills Bank Pavillion. The event is rain or shine,18+ and ID is required to enter the venue, and doors are at 3pm. For more information and to purchase tickets for MDBP Boston click here and for a general FAQ about the block party click here.