Last year, I asked the trancefamily to join me at Something Wicked. This year I am repeating the call to action. One look at the headliners and I bet many of you wrinkled up your noses. Look. Marshmello, Zed’s Dead, and RL Grime are not my first choice for headliners. If left up to me, I would have replaced them with proper house and techno headliners, but that is not my call to make. I’m not coughing up money or signing contracts, so what I “want” is not up to me. There’s this ancient festival practice of simply leaving the area the artists you don’t like are playing at that many all of a sudden forget when lineups drop. Catching up with friends, taking a bathroom break, and hydrating are other things you can do besides subject yourself to what you do not want to listen to at a festival. I’ll be the first one to admit that I have rolled my eyes at the sight of Carnage on a lineup and wanted to skip over an event because it had more bass acts than I could deal with. I almost did the same last year, but gave Something Wicked a chance. I ended up going to the first day of Something Wicked and became a fan of Keys & Krates because I dared to step outside of my comfort zone and try on something new musically that I would have normally passed over outside of a festival setting. I caught Autograf and Goldroom, back to back on a side stage, because I wandered off.
“But…But…THEY BOOKED TIESTO AGAIN!”
Once noon hit yesterday when the full lineup was rolled out, I could have sworn I heard the collective signs of past Texas festival attendees. Tiesto circulates among Texas festivals frequently enough to where you can safely bet that he will be on a Texas festival lineup no matter what month it takes place in. Tiesto has divorced himself from trance music so he’s not a huge draw for trancefamily, even to those who loved the trance version of Tijs Michiel Verwest. Tritonal is another name that makes some in the trancefamily bristle, given their departure from the realm of trance and Chad Cisnero’s choice words about djs playing extended sets. Despite Chad’s attitude about older djs and extended sets, he and Dave Reed have gone on to make some decent music as far as electronic dance music goes. They are two good producers who are doing their own thing. Artists are not caged birds and when they want to migrate, we have to let them. Call it a confession. Call it a secret pleasure. I must admit I do like Wild Kind featuring Varpu.
Acts like Nghtmre, Party Favor, and San Holo may not tickle your fancy, but there was an attempt made to appeal to more than just bass heads this go round. Something Wicked was never designed to please trance music fans, but this year the festival organizers went out of their way to attract us. I implore you, trancefamily, to give Something Wicked a chance. If you are in Houston, this is a festival that is right in our backyard. To Inner Loopers, a drive to Sam Houston Racepark may feel like eternity, but the field adjacent to the Racepark itself that Something Wicked is erected on, is located right off the Sam Houston Tollway. Something Wicked is a festival we can support without having to fly to another state and spend money on hotels or Airbnbs. In case you were wondering, no I am not selling tickets nor do I work for the company. I’m just a gal in Houston who when growing up in the scene never saw anything approaching a festival on the scale of Something Wicked in Htown. I wasn’t able to travel at the time I started going to edm themed events (I was in college and my part time jobs did not come close to covering trips that involved airplanes) so I would live vicariously through others. Until Something Wicked.
Disco Donnie Presents and Nightculture introduced the festival to Houston natives in 2012. It has been continued to be held at the Sam Houston Race Park, much to my surprise. There are apartment homes and houses near the venue. To no one’s surprise, nearby home dwellers complained of noise so it’s a party miracle that this festival has not been shuttered. In its first year, Something Wicked was only one day and had the following acts:
Two years later, the festival would evolve from one day to two days. 2014 marked one of the best years for the trancefamily, with Ferry Corsten, Arnej, Ferry Tayle, Sied Van Riel, Simon Patterson, and Andrew Rayel on the lineup. This was the year I did not go and I regret it still. I occasionally listen to the set by Ferry Tayle from that year.
It is cry worthy, it’s so beautiful. I should have been front and center on that day.
In 2015, Above and Beyond was one of the featured headliners. To members of trancefamily, there was virtually nothing to come out for except for Adam Beyer. There was a Drumcode stage however, but we would never see this lineup for it flooded all over the city that weekend. 2016 would see the return of Anjunabeats, but this time Above and Beyond was missing from the lineup. In their place was Ilan Bluestone, Jason Ross, and Grum. Gareth Emery rounded out the trance family representation, but this was lackluster compared to 2013. For those who do not like the Anjunabeats sound and don’t consider it trance, this lineup was a big disappointment. The first day, the only day I attended, was very trap and mainstage EDM heavy, save Gareth Emery and choice acts such as Autograf, Louis the Child, and Goldroom. This year, the trance was delivered and in greater amounts than I expected.
This year, Above and Beyond returns as a headliner on Saturday, October 28, 2017. Joining Above and Beyond is Comsic Gate, Aly & Fila, Solarstone, Spencer Brown, and Vini Vici. This is one of the larger trance lineups that Something Wicked has had and it is quite impressive. This isn’t a Dreamstate lineup or a Luminosity Beach Festival lineup, but this is a fairly decent lineup for a Houston edm festival. Other noteworthy names that are not trance are Rezz, Claude Von Stroke, Tchami, Jai Wolf, and Elephante. I don’t care about Tiesto, Marshmello, Zed’s Dead, RL Grime, or Hippie Sabotage. I am intrigued however by Graves, Dillon Nathaniel, Buku, and K?d. This year’s Something Wicked Festival includes a lot of different genres and I have confidence that I won’t feel like I am trapped by trap. Contrary to what some may think, there are people that want to hear something other than trap and mainstage EDM. But for those that want that, there will be more than enough for those that like that.
The Bayou City is not just a city for bass music lovers. Its unique cultural configuration is a blend of a multitude of backgrounds. Its history is steeped in diversity and contributions from all walks of life. Why limit this festival with just one or two genres of music? If Houston wants to be taken seriously, it has to offer something that is going to attract more than listeners of trap and big room. Trancefamily, if we want more trance at festivals, we have to be present during our favorite artists’ time slots. If no one shows up, that gives festival organizers less incentive to book trance acts. We have been asking for trance and we got it now. So let’s show up and trance out. You betta trance.