On the Run

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This week is a collaborative effort with Manny and Cristian!

It’s important to explore different mediums of music and performance. Even if such performers are a different genre than usual, inspiration can still be drawn. Singer Beyonce and rapper/husband Jay-z took a tour together recently, which redefined what it means to throw a breathtaking concert. The opening of the show was nothing short of what can be expected of the two performers, starting with a video backdrop that showed them as a couple of criminals who are running away from the law and both of them very much in love. The video ends and the crowd goes insane when the giant screen in front of them splits in half and they come out. The opening song of the show is “03’ Bonnie and Clyde” the first song they recorded together more than 10 years ago and it is one of the highlights of the show, setting the tone of what there is to come.

 

Leila Cobo from billboard.com agrees that the songs seem to bleed into another, creating a seamless connection of music that works out perfectly for the duo, uniting their unique sound in a way that does not seem forced or overworked, the music just flows for itself. Joshua Alston from avclub.com mentions that the couple’s music seemed to work so well because they had been put in a stage together that allowed them to complement each other and bring out their own musical styles in a very enjoyable way.

After “03’ Bonnie and Clyde” the hits keep coming, “Upgrade U,” “Crazy in Love” and “Tom Ford” took the audience to a whole different energy level, getting them prepared for the next two and a half hours of non stoping mind blowing performances.

One of the most exciting moments of the concert was “Partition,” with a pole dancing routine, very small leotards, cheetah print projected onto Beyonce and her dancers, only to culminate with a chair dancing routine that defined gravity and set the venue on fire.

Jay-Z was never behind on surprising the audience either, with “Clique,” “N***as in Paris” and “Big Pimpin” he reminded the audience that he is one of the most successful rappers in music history and that he could deliver a great performance with just a mic and his words.

 

By the end of the show, The Carters had been seen dancing, singing and portraying their lives as two fugitives, running away from everyone and everything and taking whatever they wanted along the road, but instead of finishing the show with a song that could keep carrying that feeling, they decided to show their real side.

 

Beyonce and Jay-Z moved to the middle stage to sing “Young Forever/Halo” and to show videos of them when they first started dating, when they got married and when Blue Ivy was born. It was no longer about the music and the costumes, it was about love, intimacy and letting the fans into their lives, their real lives.

Performers of such magnitude  have to have the best possible aesthetics to set the mood of the show.  Electronic music festivals have started amping up their values of production, but none have had the sense of fantastical showmanship as the On the run tour. Coordinating lighting schemes to match the dance choreography of a concert of this scale is essential. Event Designer Leroy Bennett who has an impressive resume of famous clients was called in to plan the lighting and stage setup. Pyrotechnics were also thrown in the mix for dramatic flair at choice moments throughout the 2 and a half hour concert. Intimate pictures of the personal life of the two performers were dispersed within the background, which gave fans a better sense of involvement. So were adorable videos of their baby, Blue Ivy. Personally this is a great approach at making them seem more accessible, and I think electronic music artists could take a page from their book and add a little personal heart into shows.

Beyonce’s outfits on this tour are nothing short of spectacular. Clothing Designer Versace made most of the sparkling and skintight bodysuits she sports throughout the show.  One outfit, sporting a 16. 4 foot long American flag trailing  train, took over 500 hours to hand craft. Beyonce changes costumes in accordance to the themes of the particular song she’s singing. She looks great for having recently had a baby, but the often skimpy outfits caused controversy. So did rumors of divorce prior to the concert, which only increased ticket sales when the tour was announced. No publicity is bad publicity, as they say. It certainly sold out when it came to Dallas!

Once in a while, huge megastars come to the DFW metroplex to put on a great show. The On The Run Tour featured Beyonce and Jay-Z as a collaboration concert that literally went worldwide. There are very few co-headlining tours that ever happen with such big stars like Beyonce and Jay Z, so the fact that they came to this area is an incredible feat for Dallas. Their final concert was in Paris, France and was televised on HBO. They stopped in Arlington, TX at the AT&T Stadium with two large screens and sold out all seats up to 80,000 screaming fans.

The AT&T Stadium is home to the Dallas Cowboys, so there is always something happening. For example, the Arizona Cardinals are playing against the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday. Tickets can be bought here and you can also look at the events calendar for another game or concert you may be interested in attending.

Livenation and Ticketmaster promote thousands of other concerts all over the country including the On the Run Tour and other very rare collaborations. Another collaboration that Jay Z has taken part in was with Justin Timberlake in the Legends of the Summer Tour last year. Currently, Justin Timberlake is on The 20/20 Experience World Tour and he is coming to Dallas on December 3rd at the American Airlines Center. This tour is over 2 hours long with over 30 songs including Suit and Tie, Holy Grail, What Goes Around… Comes Around, SexyBack, and Mirrors, to name a few. It is rumored that he even sneaks in N*Sync songs that brought him fame to begin with. It is definitely going to be an epic concert and a great way to spend your night. Click here to purchase tickets!

Let’s remove the idea that concerts have to be a certain way and continue pushing boundaries! Every music artist is not lets say, as famous as Beyonce and Jay-z, but adding amazing costumes, visuals, and personal flair to any event is going to make it much more memorable than otherwise. Regardless of controversy raging about their personal lives and wardrobe choices, they managed to create an unforgettable moment with all who got to share the experience. And that stands true for whatever genre of music you are catering too.

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The Cult of the DJ

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Why is proverbial “DJ worship” a bad thing? Well, this comprehensive article tells you why! Hopefully it will help others think critically as to why they really believe the DJ’s they love are truly the best.

Ghost Mixing

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Have you ever been to a show and wondered why the person behind the decks is mixing so badly? How, you wonder, could that person who produced such a beautiful song, can’t even beat match that song into another song they also created? It’s more confusing than wondering why that lukewarm beer you are holding cost eleven dollars.

The simple explanation for this is because most producers aren’t dj’s. There certainly are people that started with disk jockeying and turned later into producers, but its not common. Big time trance music producer Mat Zo made waves yesterday when he admitted to using ghost mixers, (which are basically DJ’s who make mixers for famous producers), to make most of the recorded mixes he puts on the internet. Of course, this would not be possible live or in an in person show. But producers and busy people, between making music, traveling to festivals, and making radio appearances, ghost mixing seems to be a tantalizing option for many. Mat Zo quoted via tweet admitting, “sorry to burst your bubble, but all of your favorite DJ’s radio shows are ghost mixed.” The internet soon exploded with many ‘fans’ complaining about how djing is ‘not that hard’ and therefore ghost mixing is a terrible travesty.

But does this really matter? A lot of fan’s seem to think this is on par with Mat Zo equating all producer’s to be lazy money grubbers. Honestly, I feel like producers should be able to use ghost mixers whenever they choose. Their craft is producing, not disk jockeying. Personally, I do feel producers should learn to mix together their music well enough while on tour in order to create a seamless mix on stage for the live audience to enjoy. But to make very busy musicians sit at home and spent three hours mixing and mastering for a podcast, that’s when I feel this subject migrates into acceptable territory. Let’s encourage the focus of electronic music producers to make more and better electronic music.  I think Mat Zo is brave for stepping out and admitting it as opposed to pretending. More honestly with fans is only going to encourage breaking down such taboos like ghost mixing, and erase hurt feelings about what to expect when a online mix is put out.

Now, about those ridiculous beer prices, I have no explanation.

 

 

Banning that Kandi

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There’s a trend in the electronic music scene since probably its dawn of creation of wearing and sharing colorful bracelets made of cheap string and pony beads. This is a practice among people at any respective rave kind of show, whether they be small warehouse outfits of multimillion dollar festivals. Called, ‘Kandi’, they are supposed to represent the sharing and friendly rave environment those events want to foster. But over the summer this practice is becoming less and less accepted at events.

In early August, a huge event thrown by well known DJ Diplo called Mad Decent Block Party had a handful of drug related casualties. Two kids under the age of 22 died, and over twenty people were sent to the hospital. Events that are designed to promote fun loving environments were turning into crime scenes. Diplo, obviously shaken about this turn of events, decided to take a stand and ban any sort of notorious “rave’ paraphernalia, such as kandi and plush backpacks from his future shows. People have given him a lot of criticism for this choice, and say that he is taking the fun out of events and needlessly stereotyping.

Personally, I have to agree with him. Diplo makes a good decision to make the music festivals about what they should (ie: the music) and less a glitter pony show. People are actually dying at these parties, which is no doubt the worst thing that can happen to a person, so I think its warranted. At every purposefully 21 and up event, I have noticed a significantly more responsible crowd. I feel this will help to weed the nonsense out of shows for younger people. Take out all the frivolous nonsense that people want to associate with electronic music and leave the people who want to attend simply for the music.

Tomorrow World Recap

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In today’s society, you would have to hide under a very large rock to not know that EDM festivals right now are hotter and far more easily marketable than sliced bread. Tomorrow Land, its European counterpart held in Belgium shot to well known popularity in the last five years. The fantastical stages and world class DJ lineup made us Americans feeling all kinds of jealousy, so of course we had to create one here. Held in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, for only its second year, it still manages to feel fresh regardless of the bloated festival market in the States these days. I personally commend the staff and team of this show for making it one of the only festivals to be 21+, which creates a more mature atmosphere. This years line-up boasted heavy hitters such as Tiesto, Kaskade, Bassnecter and Skrillex, as well as dozens of other local and internationally known DJ’s and producers.

Read about some of the after reports of this show here:

http://nique.net/entertainment/2014/10/03/tomorrowworld-brings-fans-together-via-music/

and here:

http://thump.vice.com/words/tomorrowworld-2014-recap-heard-it-before-see-it-again-anyway

DJ Equipment Contest

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Have no money to buy the awesome setup you need because electronics are buku expensive? Here is a chance to win the gear of your dreams via a contest by music tune provider Beatport, with Pioneer DJ donating prizes for the winners. Since Pioneer makes pretty much the best mixers and CDJ’s, you really have nothing to lose and a whole lot of amazing to gain!

http://news.beatport.com/win-ultimate-pioneer-dj-set-up-weknowthefeeling-fan-contest/

Blog Roll!

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Here are some awesome DJ blogs I am following:

DjTechTools– This is a very informative blog and forum hybrid. I particularly recommend this one because of the extensive reviews on DJ gear. Also, it offerers software tutorials as well as advanced and beginners techniques and tips for the average DJ product user. A favorite and necessary article, “What to do when you spill booze on your equipment,” lets us know we are in for some interesting satirical reading.

SmashTheClub– A great resource for trying to find out when the latest events are going on. It also offers lots of new videos of live djing, events, and new music. Something that sets it apart from the rest is the fact that it often posts interviews with producers and extensive lists of new music, sorted by genre so new tracks are easy to find.

blog.justgo.com– This is a pretty diverse blog about the music scene. What I really enjoy about this one is how its less focused on music itself and more about how to market yourself as a DJ. It has very helpful tips and tricks on how to market yourself to the masses, and how to gain followers on social media. It doesn’t focus on just dj sites like soundcloud, but how to find followers on Instagram and Facebook as well.

Spin Academy- This is the blog of an online DJ and producing school. It’s chock full of interesting articles about DJ culture and the industry. Also, it has a lot of helpful information about what to expect your first DJ gig, how to find music for sets, and how to put together tracklists. All around its a good resource.

Noise Porn– Noise porn, in addition to having a catchy name, has literally everything interesting in terms of electronic music culture. It has the latest electronic music releases, interviews with talent, and even a dance fashion section. What I particularly like about this one is the reviews of music festivals, which are a very hot market for EDM right now.