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Mad Decent Block Party (A PopEntertainment.com Concert Review)

Updated: Apr 25

DIplo at Mad Decent Block Party at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA, August 8, 2014. Photo copyright 2014 Vin Manta.

Dillon Francis, Diplo, Dirty South Joe, DJ Snake, Flosstradamus, Gent & Jawns, Mike Taylor, Swizzymack and Vic Mensa – 2014 Mad Decent Block Party – Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing – Philadelphia, PA – August 8, 2014

On Friday, August 8th, the Mad Decent Block Party stopped at its hometown in the city of Brotherly Love for its seventh annual day of music and festivities at the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing. It was nothing but sun and bass drops as thousands of fans flocked from all over the east coast to see some of the top performers in electronic dance music. Headliners included Flosstradamus, Dillon Francis, and the head of Mad Decent himself, Diplo. The block party experienced their biggest turn out in Philadelphia so far, pulling in over ten thousand fans at Festival Pier.

The Mad Decent Block Party originally started in Philadelphia back in 2008, when the owner of the Mad Decent label – DJ and producer Diplo – wanted to have a party for his friends in the city. Back then, you could rent out a street for a day and the city would shut it down, allowing you to throw a party in the neighborhood. The first Mad Decent Block Party was open to anyone, free of charge! The neighborhood gathering brought in about 500 people throughout the whole day.

It wasn’t long before Diplo and his associates at Mad Decent had caught the eye of more and more fans, forcing them to move the location and add more cities to the tour. Just two years later, the block party had grown so big that Diplo and his small team had to move to a proper venue in order to accommodate more people safely. The block party also expanded to play in New York and Chicago in 2010. It used to be free, but in order to pay new artists and make sure everyone could enjoy the show at a safe venue, the block party started to charge for tickets in 2013. In the last year, the demand and hype for the annual event has grown so large that the Mad Decent Block Party is now touring in 22 cities this summer.

The crowd at Mad Decent Block Party at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA, August 8, 2014. Photo copyright 2014 Vin Manta.

The Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing was buzzing when the gates opened at three o’clock last Friday. In a sea of people outfitted in tank tops, and summer festival gear, it was apparent it was going to be a crazy day of heavy bass music. The Mad Decent Block Party prides itself on having a unique sound; different from the rest of the electronic genre you may hear at festivals. The label and its summer block party has proven that EDM is not just that progressive house and techno music you may hear on the radio when you think of EDM, but instead blend a mix of everything from reggae, to hip-hop, to dancehall, to trap, to dubstep, and more.

Unfortunately, due to the crowds and confusion at the box office, we missed the first three sets performed by Mike Taylor, Dirty South Joe, and DJ Snake, but I’m sure they were amazing. From outside, we heard DJ Snake throw down some of his greatest tunes at the moment including “Get Low,” the newest song he made with Dillon Francis, another Mad Decent performer, as well as “Turn Down For What,” featuring Lil Jon.

When we finally got in the venue around five, the duo Gent & Jawns took over the stage. They poured out some of their classic tunes that have swept the world of club music including “Turn Up.” They offered an assortment of records from their newest EP, Faded, which they just released on Mad Decent only two weeks ago! After an hour-long set filled with some heavy trap and bass anthems, the two left the stage to thousands of screaming fans, hungry for another four and a half hours of dance music.

Swizzymack at Mad Decent Block Party at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA, August 8, 2014. Photo copyright 2014 Vin Manta.

It was now 6 P.M. and things were only starting as Penn’s Landing began to fill in. Fans stood shoulder to shoulder, packed in as 19 year old Philadelphia native Swizzymack took the stage. He was picked up by Mad Decent owner Diplo when he was only 16 years old. Now in a short time he has gained a strong following with his hit records “Bass,” “Bouncin,” and Drip.” Swizzymack had the crowd going insane with his unique style of Philly club music, where he pushes his tunes to over 160 beats per minute. After his set, he quickly ran over to the side of the stage and gave his proud mother a hug after she watched her son play to over ten thousand people.

Vic Mensa at Mad Decent Block Party at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA, August 8, 2014. Photo copyright 2014 Vin Manta.

Next up on the set list was Vic Mensa, a last-minute substitute for Chance the Rapper, who was originally scheduled on the tour but couldn’t make it. Vic Mensa stunned the entire crowd with his energy as he ran into the masses singing his latest “Down On My Luck.” It was a nice change of pace to have a rap artist rather than a DJ perform for a little bit, which is the kind of changeup the Mad Decent Block Party is known for. Vic Mensa came right up to the crowd, giving high fives, and at one point, briefly dove into the crowd to pump them up. His hype men came out on stage, dancing and throwing beach balls at the fans as his DJ spun some of the most classic hip hop tracks that everyone could sing along to.

Flosstradamus at Mad Decent Block Party at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA, August 8, 2014. Photo copyright 2014 Vin Manta.

After Vic Mensa closed, the “Hoodie Boys” chants started from somewhere in the middle of what was about to be a crazy mosh pit induced by two Chicago based DJ’s J2K, and Autobot, known now as the heavy hitting trap all stars Flosstradamus. Flosstradamus has some of the most hardcore fans in EDM right now as they encompass hip hop music turned into an electronic dance fusion genre. The Chicago duo hit the stage with custom made flags, showing off their popular warning sign logo. Their fans, the Hoodie Boys and Hoodie Girls, rang out all across Penn’s Landing as Flosstradamus began an hour long set of the heaviest tracks in bass music throwing in some of their newest singles “Mosh Pit,” “Drop Top,” and of course one of the most popular trap tunes ever, their remix of “Original Don,” by Major Lazer.

Dillon Francis at Mad Decent Block Party at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA, August 8, 2014. Photo copyright 2014 Vin Manta.

Up next, was Dillon Francis, one of the hottest acts in dance music right now, and one of the pioneers of the genre of dance music called “Moombahton.” Dillon Francis is gaining popularity quickly as we approach the release date of his first studio album “Money Sucks, Friends Rule,” in which he collaborates with artists from all different genres such as Martin Garrix, an EDM producer, and Brendon Urie from Panic! At the Disco. Dillon Francis dropped the first single from his album months ago called “Get Low,” with DJ Snake and it has gained enormous success.

With only one man left to perform, the crowd knew it was time for Mad Decent’s main man Diplo to throw down one last 60 minute set, and he did not disappoint. From the time he came on stage, fans knew it would be an electrifying hour. He started off with a few unreleased tracks from his duo project “Jack U,” in which he performs with famous dubstep producer Skrillex. The next hour was filled with hits from “Express Yourself,” to the most famous Major Lazer tunes. Diplo even threw in a surprise as Walshyfire, one of the men from Major Lazer, came out to hype up the fans.

This year’s Mad Decent Block Party is certainly going to be a memorable one, as the acts were some of the greatest they’ve ever had. The night closed out as more than ten thousand fans left Penn’s Landing covered in water and sweat. We can’t wait to see what Diplo and his friends at Mad Decent have in store next summer for the Block Party.

Ethan Serling

Copyright ©2014 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 13, 2014. 

Photos by Vin Manta © 2014

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