If you wanted to transport into another dimension abundant of heavy dubstep, techno, psytrance, and many other eclectic electronic tunes of today…then you’d arrive at Toxic Summer. Held at The Midway in the heart of San Francisco, this event took place September 21 and 22 with headliners featuring Noisia, Liquid Stranger, Dirt Monkey b2b Subtronics, and the much-loved duo, Boogie T b2b Squnto.
Split into three stages, I was able to explore the venue a little more based on what music taste I was feeling at the current moment. The Toxic Stage held in the main room featured the main headliners and more heavy-set bass effects – there was plenty of room to dance and the sound quality was much up to par compared to some other events I’ve traveled to this year. In the atrium was the void stage, which brought out the deep, psychedelic flowy sounds mixed with other genres of electronic music. A good stage for someone who is into a wide range of music and wants to discover new artists, as it featured many up-and-coming DJs who impressed the audience with their futuristic sounds. The Void Stage definitely was the warmest area with the cramped space, but definitely brought a fun vibe as every person was dancing like no one was watching. The third Black Rock stage was outside and definitely was my personal favorite. The area was decked with canopies and art, along with food areas on the side with plenty of sitting room. At night, it was decked out with beautiful lights and gorgeous visuals from the small, yet powerful setup. This stage featured techno, house, experimental bass, and other subgenres in the EDM department. A great area to take a breather without missing any jams!
On Friday, I first headed over to the Void Stage to catch the Tsuruda b2b Great Dane. The tracks were smooth and funky, featuring elements of experimental twists and lots of deep bass. Great Dane had released a new album just before the event, and played some new tracks which were great to hear live. After, we headed outside to catch some techno music from Darkkmatter. As the night carried on, my group and I switched between all three stages to catch as much exploration of the venue as possible. Some sets that really caught my interest were Blunts ‘n’ Blondes with his mixing talent (and South Park visuals), Subtronics b2b Dirt Monkey with their electric stage presence, and the Swedish producer Liquid Stranger, who ended the night with some melodic wook bass mixed with psychedelic elements, complemented with a laser show.
Saturday was the most packed with artists, starting at 2pm. I got there around 3:30 to catch Shlump’s set at the Black Rock Stage, who is a Santa Cruz local, and brought groovy tunes in the early afternoon. Followed by him was Thriftworks and .Ill Gates, who each have their own unique genre that mark them as trailblazers in the electronic music scene. At the Toxic stage around 8pm was a heavy set from Bommer, who features tons of heavy bass and dub elements that made the crowd go nuts. After him was CharlesTheFirst, a young pioneer in the scene who has quite a fan base here in Santa Cruz. He had a large setup with multiple pads and synthesizers, all blending together smoothly for a heavy, yet flowy set. Zeke Beats eased in following Charles, debuting his new song ‘Humanoid 2.0’ right at the start of the journey to outer space that is his music. Overall, his set was the most compelling with his skill of turntabling and live producing at the same time – the multitask of a lifetime. His sound is unique and draws ears in the electronic world – different and experimental, with dark elements twisted in for extra intensity. The last night closed out with some good ol’ drum ‘n’ bass by Noisia.
Overall, Vital Events did a great job putting on Toxic Summer this year. A well-organized venue with a great crowd in a beautiful venue (it’s a galleria!). My only wish is for more seating room for us ladies in platform boots. Wobbleland is their next event, coming in January!