How can I possibly start out this review by any other word but “awesome?” The arrival of Dash Berlin at the new Stereo Live Dallas was an epic event to say the least. I was captivated by Dash Berlin a year ago and this was an amazing way to capture the full circle of his music craftsmanship.
I arrived at Dallas on Friday evening, checked into my Airbnb, and got ready for a memorable night. I had previously been talking to Dash on social media, telling him how I was super excited about the event. He was so sweet. I couldn’t have asked for a better fan experience.
I arrived at Stereo Live Dallas around 9:30 pm. Albert Fix was the opening DJ. He played a great selection of opening trance tracks. Very uplifting and a great way to start the night. He was then followed by his partner from Fix And Castle, Shawn Castle.
They played a wonderful opening set of upbeat tracks that had the crowd moving and enjoying the open dance floor below the stage. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the open area for the crowd to dance on. Apart from the crowd area the VIP area was superb, setting itself apart from any venue I have seen to date. It’s exclusive and you truly feel VIP when upstairs.
Dash arrived to the DJ booth around 12:30. He played till 2 am and I can honestly say I have never been more in love with one DJ set than I was with this one. He threw a huge party. Each track was selected according to crowd involvement. The more the crowd enjoyed themselves the harder he played.
Some favorites from the set were Are You With Me and his remix of Adele’s Hello. The night was just about the most sastisfing DJ experience I have had this year. I even sent a video and a selfie to Dash and he said thank you. I will never forget my night at Stereo Live Dallas.
Texas has several individuals with web shows dedicated to trance and we have another to announce! If you missed out on the first Outworld Radio with Beneath the Arctic Ice, we have it here for you! One look at the tracklist is all it should take to convince you to hit play, like, and share this great first episode.
1. Outsiders V.S. Symbolic – Life On Earth 2. 1200 Mic’s – Lsd (X-Noise & Space Cat Remix) 3. Invisible Reality & Atacama – Skywards 4. Sonic Entity – DreamCatcher 5. Berg & Orpheus – Stranger To Yourself (Major 7 Remix) 6. X-noise & Space Cat – New Drug 7. Pop Art – Disco Maddness 8. Ace Ventura – Going Back (Vini Vici Remix) 9. Simon Patterson – Smack (Waio Remix) 10. Mad Tribe – Tuned in Perfectly 11. Astrix- Disco Valley (Bliss Remix) 12. Undercover – Imaginary Friends 13. Psilocybe Project – Illusions of Love
Outworld Radio will air on the Phoenix Trance Family radio on the second and fourth Sunday of every month, then be available afterwards on Youtube and Soundcloud.
Beneath The Arctic Ice is a producer and dj currently residing in El Paso, Texas who specializes in tech trance and psytrance. He counts his influences as Jordan Suckley, Indecent Noise, Freedom Fighters, Gaia, Armin van Buuren, Astrix, Goa Gil, and many more. He now has a radio show that will bring you the most energizing cuts from the world of trance. Follow Beneath the Arctic Ice on Soundcloud and Facebook, and stay tuned for more from this up and coming artist.
MaRLo has had a great August, selling out shows on his Altitude tour stops in Australia. Jano and MaRLo took to Facebook to announce on their respective Facebook profiles that the show in Sydney had sold out. This followed another sold out show in Melbourne at Festival Hall! To say that the Altitude was well received is an understatement. Much love to MaRLo and company as he shares his incredible journey with us all.
The Altitude Tour started on August 5th in Perth at the Villa Nightclub. This tour has been a long time in the making and it is clear by the response that the crowds clamor for the forward thinking, positive atmosphere that MaRLo and his team provides to event goers. Below are videos shot by two guys who attended the Melbourne show. The first is by Youtube user ItsMarcc, who filmed the beginning of MaRLo’s set and the second is a video shot by Sean Bradford.
August also saw MaRLo’s new single with Chloe, You And Me, climb to #1 on the Beatport charts shortly after release on August 1st. If the name Chloe rings a bell, you may remember her voice from when she teamed up with MaRLo to make Free. You can score a free download of the radio edit here.
After Chloe’s sweeping vocals come in on You and Me, you can’t help but clap to the beat. You and Me begins with a punchy bassline but quickly ascends into something otherworldly. The drop after Chloe sweetly sings, “It can be you and me” brings you into the beautiful core of the track. Well done again, MaRLo. You can purchase the extended mix of You and Me on Beatport here.
When the first whispers of Christopher Lawrence coming to Texas started circulating, there were a lot of blanks to fill in. When would he play? Where would he play? How much would it be? Christopher Lawrence hinted that it would be sometime in July and not long afterwards it was announced that Green Hat Productions would be bringing Christopher Lawrence to Red Light in Dallas for FREE with RSVP as long as you arrived before 11!
I hurried up and got my free tickets, but was then faced with a dilemma. The Simon Patterson OTC show had been rescheduled to the weekend following Christopher Lawrence’s performance, leaving me to have to choose between Christopher Lawrence and a six hour, open to close set from Simon Patterson. I hated to have to choose, but living in Houston it costs at least $100 to book lodging and then there is the cost of gas, food, etc. I made the decision to go to Christopher Lawrence and bring a friend along with me to record some footage for a piece I have in the works.
My trip to Dallas couldn’t have been more perfect. I left on time, had a new friend to keep me company, stopped at Buc’ees, and got to my Airbnb with enough time to go out to eat and relax. What would later transpire would literally put me through the fire, but I am happy to say I emerged all the better for the experience. The first sign something was about to go wrong came when I rolled up into the complex of the Airbnb apartment I had selected. It was a place I had booked before and had no problems with it, save a lack of toiletries. This time around the gate code didn’t work. I double checked my instructions and entered the code a few more times before the gate finally opened for me. I’m not sure if it actually worked or if someone took pity on me. All I knew was that I made it inside and could luxuriate once inside our apartment, or so I thought. When my friend and I walked through the door into the apartment, we were met with humidity and extreme heat. It felt like the AC wasn’t even turned on, but I heard the air blowing from the vents so I checked the thermostat. It was 99 degrees in the apartment!!
I remained optimistic, hoping that it was just hot because the people before us left the sliding door to the patio open, but an hour later when the thermostat did not budge from 99 I knew I was in for a steamy night. Getting a shower proved illogical as much of the steam from the shower stayed with me, so I had to opt for a much cooler shower. To say it was hot was an understatement. It felt better outside. Once the sun set, it cooled down to an uncomfortable 98 degrees. Needless to say, I was pissed but I wasn’t going to let that ruin my night. Normally I drag my feet a little before leaving, but that weekend I was happy to get out and about!!
One positive about the Airbnb apartment was that it was close to where we needed to be. It was easy enough finding the club. I wish I could say the same about finding parking. The club was off of a bustling street with lots of foot traffic. I ended up parking a few blocks away and made my way to the club along with other fun seeking hopefuls. I was happy to walk inside and be free of the humidity, if only for a few hours. The entryway to the club had seating on the right hand side, black booths that I hoped weren’t reserved (Thankfully they ended up being open to anyone). To the right was a staircase that led up to the rooftop, a quaint well lit patio. I didn’t go up there until later, as I wanted to hear Elliot Poston before I started exploring the place. The room that contained the night’s talent was, in a word, dark. There was a bar at the rear of this small room and a few tables and high seated stools to the left as you entered the room. When I got there, there was already a sizable crowd. I said hello to people I knew, gave hugs, received hugs, and settled in for the night. Elliot Poston was selected as the opener for Christopher Lawrence and he didn’t disappoint.
He led the night with a set of intense techno and then masterfully handed off the decks to Christopher Lawrence. The energy in the room was electric. It had been several years since I last saw Christopher Lawrence and ironically it was also in a small, dark place. Lol. I didn’t let the lack of lights deter me from enjoying myself as I don’t go to shows for production. The sound was okay. I’ve heard better, but being that the room we were in was small, it did the job. Christopher Lawrence destroyed us all.
If I had to describe the set, I would say it was a good blend of psytrance and the harder, edgier tech trance. It was nice to go to a set and not hear a lot of vocal tracks. Don’t get me wrong. I love vocal trance, but I also like the hypnotic web of sound that can be weaved in absence of vocals. Christopher Lawrence appeared to enjoy himself immensely up on stage. That smile lit up an otherwise dark room. By the end of the night, I was exhausted but I kept pushing until the very end. I would have loved to have heard him for one more hour, but the event ended around the time it was scheduled.
The apartment’s thermostat read 88 by the time we got home. I had to end up sleeping above the covers and pretty much stripping down to nothing so I wouldn’t die of heat exhaustion, but we survived the night and left for Houston early the next morning. I did end up getting a refund for having to sit in what amounted to an oven over the weekend, but I wouldn’t change how the weekend went. Sure, I was hot but I probably sweated off five pounds and danced off a few more once I got to the club. I call that winning.
I thought I was able to resist buying tickets for this year. I was so sure that my desire to adult would override the inner raver. I had made up my mind that I wasn’t going. I had good reasons too.
1) It was during a more expensive time to fly 2) I would be away from my girls for almost three days again 3) Lodging was going to be expensive 4) I might be subject to my female biology then
But as the artist announcements rolled in, I found my resolve breaking down. Once the artists on the fourth and final stage, the Timeless stage, were announced I decided I HAD to go, or at least try.
The butterflies began the night before tickets for Dreamstate SoCal went on sale. I was both nervous and excited about the prospect of celebrating the second anniversary of Dreamstate in SoCal. My bad case of the butterflies were then replaced with tingles as the clock ticked ever so closer to the time when tickets would go on sale. If all else failed and things didn’t work out, I could easily sell my ticket I figured. So I booked a hotel on standby in the event a better housing deal didn’t come along and waited for the clock to strike 2:00 pm CST.
I refreshed my screen a minute before 2:00pm and waited for the screen to load only to see VIP available that was over $200!! You can imagine my frustration. I had to keep refreshing to get tickets. The last time I dealt with Frontgate Tickets the website was buggy and that was several years ago. Nothing had changed between then and now.
After first seeing that VIP tickets were available, I refreshed only to see that tier 1 tickets were not available, with no other option. I kept refreshing, wondering if it was a glitch, but nope. Tier 1 was sold out. I tried going for Tier 2 tickets once they appeared but got the same message that tickets were unavailable. I refreshed a few more times to see tickets available for Tier 3 so I hurried to purchase a tier 3 ticket lest those sell out fast. A lot of others ended up having the same experience, with some saying that there must have only been a really small number of tickets at the top two tiers to generate interest. I don’t’ know. All I know is that I got a ticket and I plan to go!! Check out the full lineup below.
So who are the artists I am most excited to see? Well, you can definitely count in all the different psytrance artists like Berg, Captain Hook, Liquid Soul, and Coming Soon!!! I have not seen them ever and am rather pleased at the love psytrance is being shown. I am also excited to see Paul Van Dyk back up on the Dreamstate stage after his worrying fall earlier this year, Niko Zografos who I missed hearing at Future Sound of Egypt earlier this month due to the time change, Menno De Jong (I’ve been waiting to see him from the time I first heard of him in my trance infancy), Neptune Project, the legend M.I.K.E. PUSH, Ucast, Andy Moor & Lange Present Stadium 4, and Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella. One gets light headed thinking about being in the midst of what is sure to be one of the most epic nights in all of trance history. The Thrillseekers set is going to be a special one for sure!! I might not have gotten the lower priced tier I wanted, but others will not be able to go so I consider myself lucky to have a chance to go to what will be the biggest trance event in the history of the United States to my recollection.
I am going to be more costumed this time around, but also dress for comfort and warmth. Last year the temperature dropped to the low 30s outside. It was so freaking cold! There were heat lamps outside for us all to gather under, but that didn’t do much for me seeing as I was in shorts. My little cotton hoodie did nothing to shield me from the cold, biting wind. I am more than willing to freeze to death for trance but if I don’t have to I won’t this time around. I will also be bringing a fanny pack. Last year I was worried the entire time about stuff falling out of my pockets and was annoyed by the shoulder purse I toted around. I like being able to move around and not feel weighed down, so screw having anything other than a fanny pack to store my party supplies (by supplies, I mean cell phone, id, debit card for any curious minds). I’m also excited about the possibility of having makeup done for the event. I am just full of ideas, but I have months to prepare to go back home. I can’t wait to see all of my trancefamily from around the States and from around the world. Peace and trance be with you all and happy Trance Thursday!
Before I left for Los Angeles, I had a few things get the trip off to a questionable start. A few days before the event, I received an email that the start time of the event was moved from 9:00 pm to 7:00 pm. My eye caught a time change on Facebook, but thought that maybe it was a mistake someone was making while trying to update something else about the event. Unfortunately, it was not. This was a concern of mine because I had a late flight that was taking off a little after 4:00, putting me in town around 5:30 in the evening. This would have been fine if the doors opened at 9:00 pm but considering that the venue was a little under an hour away, I figured I would not have much time to eat, bathe,and relax. In fact, I would basically be in a rush from the minute I stepped off the plane. It wasn’t how I wanted to start my mini vacation. To make matters worse the set times came out and I was pretty turned off by the fact that one set was less than 50 minutes and all sets but one (Aly & Fila’s) was under an hour. You barely have time to build a proper set when you only have two hours but to make it less than an hour? I wasn’t feeling it but I had paid for plane tickets and my Airbnb apartment so there was no turning back at that point. I decided I would make the best of things and enjoy myself as much as possible.
Waiting on my United Flight to LAX
My flight went well enough. Before boarding I sat down near the gate and next to me in an empty seat was a book titled Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. I left it alone at first, thinking someone nearby was reading it or was going to come back to get it. About 30 minutes passed before I decided to go to the bathroom. When I got back, I sat down in my same seat until it was time to prepare to board. No one had come back for the book so I took it with me onto the plane. It ended up getting me through a long flight that was surprisingly not as cramped as my last one on American Airlines. There were free movies to watch and I was positioned on the outside of the aisle so I had enough room to stretch out if I needed to. I did what I could to relax because I knew the minute the plane landed, I would have to do everything possible to get into a Lyft car and to my Airbnb so I could get ready as soon as possible for the show. I managed to find my way down to the rideshare pick up spot, ordered my Lyft, got in, and was off towards downtown Los Angeles.
Not in Kansas anymore
The drive didn’t take too long, being that I had arrived on a Sunday afternoon. We ran into a little traffic but most of the ride was smooth. It was my first time using Lyft and I loved it! I didn’t have to worry about where to turn or what exit to take. I didn’t have to be concerned with filling up for gas or trying to find a parking space, of which there are few in downtown Los Angeles and West Hollywood. The building where my Airbnb apartment was located was fairly small and situated right next to the freeway. The view out the front of the building wasn’t too great, but the view on the other side that my window faced was something else. It was just as described in the listing.
I wasn’t able to enjoy the view for very long because I had to get ready and order a Lyft to the Hollywood Palladium where the Future Sound of Egypt 450 was set to take place. The venue was less than ten minutes away, a prime factor in choosing my Airbnb. People milled around the entrance, this time dressed more conservatively than what I saw at my first Dreamstate. I mean, don’t get me wrong. People were dressed to dance and were certainly dressed for the occasion (I saw a few Anubis heads this night), but there weren’t as many ravers in kandi.
Security was as I expected. I didn’t get an invasive pat down, but I was asked to empty out my pockets. It was the usual procedure. Once in, I had my ticket scanned and entered a lobby that was reminiscent of a movie theater. I had to walk down the hallway some to finally get to the main room. The main room was a little larger than most of the clubs I had been in previously with a stage in the center. Above the main floor was a second level with stairs on either side of the entrance to access. Unfortunately for me, I would not be able to get a bird’s eye view due to upstairs being VIP but I was content to remain on the dancefloor.
I met up with some friends from Texas and proceeded to once again get lost in the love of trancefamily in California. I had arrived too late to see Niko Zografos and Dan Stone’s debut, but I did make it right on time for Ferry Tayle, someone who I have regrettably missed when he has been booked in Texas within the last two years. The sound sounded off for part of Ferry Tayle’s set, but once the music came in louder and more clear I was placed on a rollercoaster of emotions.
After Ferry Tayle came James Dymond, the man picked to be Darren Porter’s replacement after Darren Porter experienced problems obtaining a visa. I knew James Dymond to be a good producer but had never heard him live. He ended up in my top three performances of the night (ReOrder was my favorite followed by Pure NRG). I really wanted to see Darren Porter but James Dymond more than made up for his absence. He was fantastic! Not only was the music selection good but so was the mixing. I wished he would have been able to play longer because 50 minutes just wasn’t enough. Before I could plateau from James Dymond’s set Pure NRG began their set. The energy in that room was insane once those two stepped up to the decks. They didn’t disappoint.
Next up was Arctic Moon. He put me on a rocket and propelled me into trance heaven. Arctic Moon was yet another person I had not seen live, so by this point I was beyond the point of return. All these people I had yet to see were right here in Los Angeles, giving all of themselves to the crowd. At that moment, I wish I had said more to Arctic Moon when I had met him a few hours before, almost needing to be pushed into him by a friend because I was so star struck!!! Next time I hope I babble less and talk more!
One of the co founders of Future Sound of Egypt, Fadi from Aly & Fila, emerged after Arctic Moon to cheers and whistles. His set was impeccable! It was filled with crowd favorites and didn’t give anyone time to take a break. I know you hear a lot of the same tracks from set to set, but they are brought together in this blissful union that it is hard not to feel emotional during an Aly & Fila set. Future Sound of Egypt is one of my favorite labels because the artists signed don’t hold back and produce some of the best trance out there in my opinion.
Last but not least was ReOrder. He was chosen to close the event and I felt he was the perfect choice to do that. It was an honor, an absolute honor to be able to see him live finally. My mind was obliterated by head rush after head rush. I found new life in ReOrder’s set and danced until the very end. The crowd was thinner by the time ReOrder’s set wound down so it gave me lots of opportunity to jump around and cut a rug. I was hoping for an encore, of just one more song but once the last track was spun, the event promptly ended and I was left to my own devices outside of the Hollywood Palladium. I felt like I was in a dream.
This trip began hurried and stressful, but had a strong finish. The crowd inside was very diverse and very nice. Just like last time, I was approached, danced with, and felt like I wasn’t a trance transplant from Texas. As for the venue, I had been told that it was going to be much smaller than the NOS Center. It was, but it was far bigger than the nightclubs I frequent in Houston. The sound could have been better at several points, but the production was top notch I thought. They did a good job with the stage and LED screen considering the size of the place. I expected to have to deal with dirty bathrooms but they remained fairly clean to my surprise. The security staff inside was pretty vigilant about keeping people from blocking the ramps that led down to the dancefloor, but were otherwise friendly. I saw a few bopping their heads and smiling.
Once the event ended I was tortured by the smell of sizzling hot dogs being sold outside. The last thing I ate was a snack on the plane so I was starving. It would be the following morning before I ate. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have the cash on hand to buy something from the hot dog carts. I say fortunately because I was on a very tight budget on this trip and would have spent money I would end up needing every cent of upon my return to Houston. It was organized chaos on the sidewalks as people spilled from the theater and lined up along the sidewalk to hop into their Lyfts and Ubers. It didn’t take long for my Lyft driver to arrive and like that, it was over.
My Lyft driver was curious to know what was going on. I was polite and told her it was a large celebration put on by a trance label, but I really wanted to pour my heart out to her. I wanted to tell her how much it meant to me that all of the artists gave 110%, in spite of the short set times. I wanted to let her know how much more in love with Ferry Tayle I had become, how hearing him upon entering the venue made me melt into a pool of happiness. I wanted to tell her about how I felt like a new person after soaking up all of the positive energy of the people inside. I couldn’t though because she probably would have thought I was on something.
The trance scene in the United States is growing. New names are being added to Dreamstate: Thanksgiving edition in November with each new day. Contrary to the incorrect assumption that all Americans can’t live without their EDM, there are some of us who yearn for more, who are happy to see a community gain more prominence in the wider trance world. I leave you with the below video. If you thought trance was dead, this video will make you think again.
The music industry is rife with sampling and outright thievery without credit. Unfortunately, not everyone is called on it and people continue to bop their heads to music that cannot really be credited to the artist(s) that put it out for consumption. Levente Márton, also known as Sunny Lax, brought attention to a track that sounds oddly familiar on his Facebook account. Apparently Three Drives has ripped off Sunny Lax’s Enceladus. It’s not the first time something like this has happened and it will not be the last, but it’s important to scrutinize when stuff like this occurs because it just speaks to lazy production on behalf of the producer(s).
Let’s compare the two. First up is Enceladus, the track by Sunny Lax.
Here is Chakra by Three Drives. Sounds familiar right?
Three Drives was formerly made up of Erik de Koning and Ton van Empel, but Empel left the group back in 2014. Three Drives was responsible for the trance classic Greece 2000 and Sunset on Ibiza. Three Drives has the ability to make good music, so why the blatant plagiarism? What say you? Do you think Three Drives ripped off Sunny Lax? To support Sunny Lax and stream/purchase this tune, go to https://anjunabeats.lnk.to/Enceladus.
If you frequent Facebook, you might have noticed a significant increase in posts about Pokémon lately. A new game called Pokémon GO was unleashed and a lot of people are joining in. Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game that invites Pokémon masters to go out in the real world with their smart phones and catch fictional creatures. For every post about Pokémon there are five posts complaining about people playing Pokémon GO or memes poking fun at adults enjoying the game. I don’t really care to comment too much on the aspects of the game or how others perceive it but I will say this. People are getting outside and meeting new people. It’s hot as all get out in Houston right now and people are outside braving the heat so kudos to them. One player in particular caught my attention, posting photos of his Pokémon in a Facebook group I frequent called Texas Trance Addictz. Johnny Morales is bridging his love of trance with his love of the game. Check out Johnny Morales’s Pokémons.
Well played Johnny Morales, well played. I am loving this and I hope all of you out there searching do indeed catch ’em all.
Last Thursday night I drove to southwest Houston, not sure what to expect after being told of an underground warehouse party that would be taking place that night. It had been awhile since I had to wait on the address to be delivered to me so I knew where to go. When I pulled up to the spot, I saw flashing lights at the end of a driveway. As I edged up, I saw a lot with warehouses and some people standing around. I drove past to make sure that it wasn’t another party that wasn’t advertised but when I realized that it was indeed the party I was looking for, I turned back around and pulled up into the lot. Before me was a line of small warehouses on both sides of the lot with and a parking lot filled with cars. I wasn’t too confident about taking my chances with parking on the street, so I rolled down my window to ask a guy standing nearby where I might park. The guy told me I could see if a spot was in the back and if it wasn’t, to just park alongside the dumpster. I was driving my Yaris so I decided to try my luck in the back. My decision making was rewarded with a spot. After primping a bit, I got out of my car and made my way to the front of the lot.
A few people mingled around the front with plastic cups in their hands. Some were sitting in chairs placed outside of the opening to the warehouse beside a shop fan. Inside the small warehouse was a screen that some trippy projections were displayed on. Opposite the wall with the projections was art that immediately got my attention: a large skull that glowed under the lights! I wish I had a photo for you, but that photo has magically disappeared from my camera phone. There were enough lights on in the warehouse to see where you were going, but it wasn’t until I got up close to the dj that I recognized who he was. It was Insert Credits, with whom I go way back.
After watching him play some, I walked back outside and ended up talking with a few folks. I got so caught up in talking and enjoying the music that I didn’t take photos and video. The experience was that enjoyable.
The vibe was very relaxed and welcoming. I will definitely be back. It’s rare to go somewhere and feel right at home. Props to whoever rigged up a shop fan so that we could all be cool. Props also need to be given for whoever decided to put out chairs because one thing that’s sorely missing from a lot of events are places to sit down, rest, and just take it all in.
While there I spoke with Patrick Shackleford who helped organize the event. He plans to do shows at this spot every two weeks and wants to offer an alternative to what is already taking place in our local scene. Larry Arnold provided the sound, which was perfect for the event location. To give you an idea of the sights and sounds, here is a little video I took.
Houston has a lot going for it and this is just one more thing to get acquainted with. The next event at this space will be on July 16th and is called Frequenseas. Come one, come all. There will be good music, live art, and tacos. You can find out more information on the event page by clicking here.