Prowling the Airwaves and the Underground for the best in EDM

Posts tagged “scene

Dreams are wishes the soul makes: This is mine.

RageMap

I’ve only ever told a few people about my goals, my dreams, and where exactly I want to go in this life. Most commonly, this has been because I didn’t rightfully know what I wanted to do. Sure, I had ‘big ideas’ and I’ve had plenty of ideas for inventions and events here and there…but never a real sense of purpose or a ‘yellow brick road’ leading to an awe-inspiring goal.

I have many idols. There are women like Lady Casa, a shining light of the concept of PLUR and starter of ‘oPLURation: Dance For Dooby‘. There are women like Cindy Gallop, an unabashed brazen media badass that dared to challenge how we discuss sex and porn…by saying ‘cum on my face’ point-blank to a stunned audience at TED and starting Make Love Not Porn. There are many people whose steadfast commitment and dedication to their brand, their ideals, and their final goal I have greatly admired.

I never started my twitter with the intention of amassing followers (though later on, I tried to challenge myself to set and meet goals of how many I had), and had never really viewed my account or ‘voice’ as a springboard for chasing a dream…but as I’ve just passed my ‘anniversary’ of joining twitter as an anon..I want to share a dream that I want to come true.

I have always had a passion for trying to take what I know and utilize it to help others succeed: I’ve photoshopped countless posters, re-touched I don’t know how many headshots, helped explain the basics of effective social media, and really done my best to go above and beyond for as many people as I can.

However my dream is to take all that I’ve learned and pour it into one concerted effort: My dream is to start my very own marketing agency.

I want to take local talent that might not be the best at social media, self-marketing, or even have the budget for expensive creative shops and put them in a position to succeed. I want to put on a showcase event taking female DJ’s that kick ass and celebrate their talents for one night separate from their male counterparts. I want to help DJ’s (both male, female, and gender neutral) understand the money behind social promotions and exactly what they can do (paid and unpaid) to put the right foot forward and succeed.

I haven’t set any of this in motion of course, and many of these ideas are still in the planning stages. But just as I embark on my new dream, remember to chase your own!


Kandi Kids vs. Club Scene: What Real Ravers Are

Something that has been irritating me for a considerable amount of time is the concept that all EDM events are ‘raves’, that all that listen to EDM as ‘ravers’, and that ‘PLUR’ can be mindlessly spewed and even defecated on with alterations like ‘PLURNT’ and ‘PLUR Bitch!’

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I’m sorry, but Kandi kids aren’t necessarily the club crowd and the club crowd isn’t necessarily the ‘kandi-kid’ crowd that is celebrated on instagram. EDMsnob wrote a fantastic piece explaining the rich history of those wearing kandi, so I don’t feel the need to go into depth (especially since I’m a much newer face in that arena). But I will say is this:

Of the many people I’ve come across that tweet things tagged with ‘#PLUR’ and initiate projects that claim to be  ‘PLUR’ and hock product with the false pretense that they are truly ‘ravers’, I have found that a startling few are who they claim to be. Very seldom do you meet someone whose Twitter handle or association precedes them, and find a genuine representation of what ‘ravers’ truly are.

After spending a night unwinding with some of the very first people to ever recognize me as ‘Ragehound’, I took a minute to look back on all the hard work I’ve put into taking the time to connect with anyone who has every reached out to me. Some have been incredible: they have accepted me with open arms, made me feel like a family member, and given me a sense of acceptance that no one ever could previously in my life. Some have taken time out of their day to come and meet with me, to teach me how to use a perler board, how to make a cuff, even gotten me a water and helped me to the front row my first time seeing a certain DJ. Some have held my hand and sung along to my favorite lyrics and cried with me when ‘that moment’ of a festival when it ends and the ‘comedown’ effect sets in full force. Some have stayed with me when I’ve stupidly tested my limits with drugs and alcohol and gotten too out of control and made sure I got home safe.

These kandi-clad people have been more of a family to me than my own at times, and that is why I get livid when their lifestyle is equated to a joke.

I view those who hock PLUR as a marketing tool as a joke. I also look at those who have begged and pleaded me to tweet their crap, promote their shitty venues, and support their jaded causes which wind up just being another marketing tool as jokers as well. Nonetheless I tweeted, I facebooked, I supported and championed them because that’s the person I am. I suppose what irked me in some cases, was when it came time when I needed that same favor, some magically found it ‘not feasible’ or suddenly ‘just didn’t have the time’.

What I largely discovered, was that these were the people who didn’t arrive at festivals with kandi they’d spent hours and hours making especially for people they knew and loved. These were not the people who sometimes went as far as to coordinate with their friends to match costumes, made sure everyone was hydrated, or took the time to explain subtleties of the music to newcomers who had seen a trailer for a festival on Youtube and yearned to experience an EDM festival for themselves. Instead, these were the people who wrote condescending articles in response to kandi kids, who scoffed and laughed at articles like my own explaining the connection between PLUR and charity, and who would leave comments like this on pictures of girls dressed for raves:

 

And these people are largely the ‘club’ crowd: the crowd that goes to ‘fine establishments’ to enjoy bottle service, listen to a carefully curated selection of ‘techno’ that they feel is far superior to the ‘drop heavy’ sets one hears at festivals (which I can respect), and views the ‘raver’ crowd as a mass of drug-addicted youngsters too jaded to understand what real music is. These are the people who will belittle you for the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, and wave their smug sense of entitlement about like a magic wand. They will tell you the ‘kandi kids’ are awful, tell you how they yearn for when no one knew about Tiesto or Hardwell, and when EDC wasn’t a neon parade of girls in underwear. They probably won’t let you get to the front of the stage, or offer you water. They may instead sneer at you with your parched mouth, thinking you ‘popped a molly and you are sweating’, and as a result think of you as some colorful insect pestering them.

So when individuals such as this tweet about ‘PLUR’ and wave their smug sense of self-importance at others while trying to call themselves ‘ravers’, I get frustrated. These were the individuals  pouring beers from the VIP balcony onto shuffling ravers below at Pacha during Tyler Sherritt’s set (oh don’t worry, I saw you bunch of fools and I’ll return the favor). These were the assholes who elbowed a girl in the face next to me at Zedd when she tried to edge in front of a taller person to see.

These people aren’t ‘ravers’. They don’t preach ‘PLUR’, and probably can’t tell you where it originated. Don’t call them ravers; it’s an insult to those of us who are.

Thank you,

~The Hound


Interview With Ignorant Noise

HOLY CRAP ITS BEEN A WHILE.

So I contribute to ElectronicaOasis and White Raver Rafting as an editorial voice, so be sure to keep an eye out! Go me!

Anywho, here is an interview I had with Ignorant Noise that I did for Soundgrail (sadly, they do not exist anymore). Because Dwight is a dear friend of mine, I am reposting it here 🙂

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An up-and-coming electro-hop / dubstep producer, Ignorant Noise is one of Chicago’s most colorful characters.  Hard to miss at a show with his ‘Noise’ hat and spiked leather jacket, his appearance is as unique and individualized as his sound. With his newest EP release ‘Pump The Noise’ making its way up to #40 in dubstep on the Beatport charts, we took some time to sit down and chat with Dwight Poole about his inspiration, and how his career began.

Full interview after the jump

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The Unicorn Project: Rewarding True PLUR

Sorry for the big fat lag in posts (OOPS!) anyways the last project I wanted to start does appear to have some kinks that I need to work out (video conferencing is rather tricky). However, I’m not letting that stop me, and I have one project I want to launch specifically for Electric Zoo participants!

I’m calling it ‘The Unicorn Project“, and here’s why I’m launching it: ‘PLUR‘ as a buzzword has been largely skewed since its inception. I’ve mentioned plenty of times where its true origins come from (but if you need a refresher, click here), and its inception came at a crucial moment when there needed to be a shift in the scene. With drugs references damning the scene and god only knows how many inaccurate protrayals of the scene as a whole, I felt I should at least try to offset it as best as I can. Icons who are already ‘battling’ these negative stereotypes like Lady Casa (changing form Molly Casa, to cleanse herself of the possible drug connotation) have made an impact, but I feel there needs to be a more tangible impact on a experiential level.

What It Really Means

PLUR when demonstrated doesn’t mean winning free stuff, getting discounts, rolling face on drugs, or even dressing up; on a more basic level the truest demonstrations of the concept are when a someone (even a complete stranger) gives you that last sip of water, helps you get to the font of the stage, or even helps you get home safely. It’s not about ‘partying with sluts’ or ‘freeing molly’…its truest manifestation is in the uncommon kindness of like-minded souls you may have never even met before.

Phase 1

The first phase of The Unicorn Project will be small-scale, very simple, and is intended to be a ‘test-run’ to see how people respond. My ‘testing ground’ will be Electric Zoo. What I wanted to do, was to create an undisclosed number of temporary tattoos with the specified design to be given to those (and only those) individuals that demonstrate what I personally feel to be true acts of what PLUR embodies. However, I realize that EZoo ends up confiscating anything they deem ‘promo material’…so that’s kind of out. Instead, what I will offer to do is draw the specific design onto anyone’s shirt/hat/butt/boobs/etc that wants it. I can draw in puff-paint leading up to the event per request for NYC residents (or anyone in the city before the event), and will (hopefully) be able to bring a sharpie or other drawing apparatus in the day of.

 I’m not asking for money, I’m not asking for sponsorship or recognition: I am just asking people to be decent to one another, for which they will get a pretty doodly design. That’s it. It’s not some big crazy contest, it’s just a small token of recognition. Down the road, I’d like to expand this little project to be more in-depth and cohesive, but on a small budget and a big dream, this is what I can do for now.

The Design

TheUnicornProject

I wanted to create something that had significance to me, and unicorns have always been a favorite subject for me to draw; they may not truly exist in our lives but their elegance and grace has captured the hearts and minds of poets, artists, and many others for centuries. The particular unicorn I’ve chosen isn’t a pretty rainbow-and-butterfly design; It’s an undead unicorn, a stark skull with a crooked horn and a tattered mane. This is intentional, as I feel it represents the ways that this concept of PLUR has been misused, defiled, and desecrated. But skulls have always held a special place in my heart: they are beautiful in their own simple way, and serve symbolically as a basis for a fresh start (or fresh slate if you will) on which we can reclaim and refurbish the ideology behind PLUR. I didn’t want to simply write ‘PLUR’ on the design, it would be a disservice to the design on the whole. So instead, I chose a personal mantra that I live by daily, “True compassion never dies”. On my own tank, which bears the unicorn, I do not have these words, as they have already been internalized, but I’d be happy to add them to yours. To those who show compassion, spread peace, nurture love, foster unity, and show respect towards fellow ravers and first-timers alike, this will symbol (doodled as best as humanly possible on whatever you wish) be your small token of my gratitude.


A Word on Those Who “Preach PLUR” and Practice Hate

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I’ve noticed an increase in negativity on Twitter; whether it be in reaction to the cancellation of Moonrise (warranted, what happened was a shock and a disrespect to the artists who were signed up to perform) or the outright vicious attack of others, there seems to be an increase in hypocrisy surrounding those who claim to ‘preach PLUR’ and then so adamantly drop the veil of acceptance to berate and humiliate others. Truthfully, it makes me sad to see that so many have turned against the true ideals they stand for in favor of petty argument and bickering. Not only that, but I’ve even seen a truly disgusting increase in outright muckraking by twitter handles that claim to represent blogs. I know I have been known to criticize producers such as Paris Hilton, Will.i.am, and Pauly D…but there is a fundamental difference in disagreeing with the musical styles they perpetuate and an all-out assault on them personally.

I understand that twitter is a platform built on conversation, and that not all conversations will be positive, but outright bullying of anyone within the EDM scene is fundamentally un-PLUR, and if you are viciously attacking anyone be it a DJ, Anon, or personal handle, you are not preaching PLUR. To be honest, anyone who knows the original origin of the saying that coined the phenomena remembers that the initial mention was in a threatening manner:

“You better start showing some Peace, Love and Unity, or I will break your $%^ing faces”

Initially yelled by at a rave where a fight broke out, this moment of clarity would inspire our neon-laden comrades to later on don the expressive and vibrant decor they wear now, and their mission to spread love and acceptance of everyone in the scene. I’m not saying I’m going to break your fucking face if you continue to berate others while “going through the motions” of PLUR, but I think its time someone informed you that you are perpetuating a blasphemy, a charade, and not truly embracing the Peace, Love, Unity, or Respect idolized by this generation.

PLUR is being the difference, not the opposition.


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Stop Shaming, Start Being Responsible


Buying Followers in the EDM Scene; Who’s Faking It?

In the age of social media being used as a primary tool of marketing, a measure of true ‘influence’ within a space more now than ever, brands, companies, and celebrities utilize the sheer size of their fan base as a way to assert dominance in the industry and amongst their peers. That being said, it should surprise no one that some of these major success stories are not 100% the ‘social media strategies’ we are told constantly by the media, but in fact ‘fronts’ created by a phenomenon known as ‘buying followers’.

Buying Influence, Tanking Credibility

You may have noticed my constant mention of ‘buying followers’ lately on Twitter and how I think it invalidates the credibility of those who utilize it to get ahead (Not to be confused with ‘promoting tweets’ or ‘promoting handles’). But to take a step back, how does one exactly ‘buy’ followers?  In 2012 Fast Company released an article exposing the practice of ‘buying followers’, and  highlighting tools such as StatusPeople and Klout as measurement systems that help determine influence as a measure of ‘active follower’ interaction; separating the inactive fake ‘bought’ followers from active genuine fans. According to Fast Company, on websites such as buytwitterfollowers.org, as many as 5,000 ‘fake’ followers  on Twitter can be bought for as little as $77, while on sites like usocial.net a massive 4,000 Facebook followers goes for an approximated $617. What does a ‘fake’ follower look like? Blogger Zach Bussey describes these mindless bots as a ‘jumble of letters.

So Who’s ‘Fronting’?

So this got me thinking, how many of my beloved producers, DJs, and EDM anon handles are big fat fakers? If we use the tools mentioned by Fast Company, we might be able to do ‘background checks’ on followers and see exactly whose audience in engaged…and whose in comprised on mindless zombie accounts.

So who cares if you ‘fake it to make it?’…as it turns out, a lot of people do

“Turns out, buying followers is probably the worst kept secret in all of social media — and it has a potential for a nasty and public backlash.” Lauren Hockenson, The Next Web

When it was recently alleged that DJ Bl3nd bought his Facebook fanbase, it set off a backlash of negativity.  In a heated exchange of Twitter, Diplo and DJ Bl3nd traded choice words (and later blows) as to whether Dj Bl3nd’s astoundingly (and suspiciously) high follow count on Facebook  (~3 million) was a loving fanbase….or a purchased front.

So to test the validity of Diplo’s accusations, I ran the most thorough check of his Twitter (I realize it was his Facebook under fire, but I operate primarily on Twitter) on as many recognized validation sites as I could muster. Now, we must take into account that ‘bot’ accounts affect everyone, and that someone with between 1-5% fake followers is probably in the clear (or possibly has been targeted by those obnoxious ‘teamfollowback’ drones) and that being said, I think it’s fair to establish that at least 70% of your followers should be active of ‘good’ followers as according to StatusPeople’s ‘faker’ test (honestly, in school anything less than a 70 is failing, so why not apply it here?). In terms of ‘inactive’ followers, while some listing might appear to be in the red (more than 10%) having up to 30% inactive users is completely normal, and may reflect that some of your followers may be less-active twitter users (made an account, followed you, forgot, barely tweet…it happens). The number to really keep an eye on, and the comparison of ‘fake‘ to ‘good‘.

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What I discovered was that after utilizing suggestions from as many the various credible tech news resources, Diplo may have some validity in his claim…but isn’t exempt from it either.  Both he and DJ Bl3nd are reported to have more than 20% ‘fake’ followers, and less than 60% ‘good’ and active followers. While this seems a bit harsh to jump and assume either of these people are buying up followers, I did come upon some accounts with much more obvious implications. After digging around some more, a put together a small sampling of some handles who appear to buy followers, and some who probably don’t*:

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UpandComers

 

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(I left Diplo in there just for comparison) 

I’d like to say for the record, that I have the utmost respect for all the producers, DJs, and anons listed….and I realize that these results more than likely reflect poor decisions by their PR agencies / management. I still love and respect your music, drive, and passion; truly.

*All results are not 100% conclusive, and are merely meant to shed some insight into which accounts ACTUALLY have active followers.  I cannot speak 100% conclusively if these ‘fake’ followers were bought or not (only if they might have been). 

 It is important to note that these tools are publicly available, free, and gauge the activity and inactivity of your followers. Go check it out for yourselves.

 

Sources:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3000359/buying-twitter-followers-beware-statuspeople-service-exposes-social-medias-black-market

http://thenextweb.com/twitter/2012/12/15/fake-followers-an-easy-game-but-not-worth-the-risk/

http://www.edmsauce.com/2013/04/17/diplo-and-dj-bl3nd-exchange-words-over-social-media-followers/

http://zumic.com/2013/04/18/diplo-instigates-fight-with-dj-bl3nd-at-ims-engage-conference/

http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/how-to-tell-if-someone-has-a-fake-follower-count_b14898

http://agbeat.com/social-media/twit/


Songs That Need A Break This Season

As we march steadily onward into full-blown festival season I feel that now more than ever we need to have a moment of intervention with DJs who will be gracing us with our presence.

From the house DJs to the trance legends, to the trap superstars and beyond (beyond being Major Lazer most likely) it is time to have an honest conversation about a topic near and dear to our hearts: songs that are overplayed and need a break.

 

We get it: that one club banger makes the girls wet, the bros chest-bump, and everyone go utterly batshit (or according to GQ, ‘apeshit’)….but I think its high time we gave some of these tracks a chance to catch their breath. From the classic tracks, to the new powerhouses, clear through to the ‘easy favorites’ (the Don’t Stop Believing of the EDM world) these are beloved songs that are becoming overused and painfully repeated. Remember when we loved Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake? Past tense: Loved.

Here is my list of ‘bangers and mash’ (club bangers, classic, and mashups) that need to go on vacation this season:

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A Word on Attire, and Raver Girls

**Apologies, most people were probably expecting a light-hearted writeup about tracks that need to stop being routinely dropped in sets. I promise I will post it, but this post in my mind took precedence.**

Recently, I had the displeasure of overhearing two males discussing why they attended festivals. To put this into context, I was not at my usual venue of choice. I was on the fence about mentioning this in my Borgata post, and opted against it. But truthfully, I should have made mention of it. Since I did not mention it then, I am now.

Allow me to get very real with you right now. I know this is more realness than you've come to expect. Bare with me.

Allow me to get very real with you right now. I know this is more realness than you’ve come to expect. Bare with me.

As I remember, both suit-clad (perhaps VIP status) men were talking about what women wear when attending festivals. One described enjoying all the ‘ravebooty’ hanging out, and I couldn’t help but smile; I am one of many that proudly shows our ravebooty when in attendance. The other mentioned how skimpy the clothes were, and how ‘fuckable’ most of the girls were. Though I found this understandable, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something intrinsically wrong this view. And then I over heard this:

I had to clamp my jaw as the first elaborated, “I’m hoping to get one drunk enough to fuck the shit out of.”

His comrade let out a laugh, and answered back, “Cheaper than hooker, am I right?”

I understand that recently the media has been infatuated with the topic of ‘rape culture’, and that there have been numerous fiery rants about the way society views the human body, but as a raver (and a scantily clad one) I feel a need to speak up. With strong female figures such as Molly Casa, the iconic fantasy GoGos of EDC, and female ravers everywhere allowing their unique looks to define themselves, I feel its insulting to the entire PLUR society when someone assumes ease of sexuality is reflected by amount of skin showing. I’ve even heard things such as “well you look like a stripper”, “with that outfit she’s asking for it”, and even witnessed an unruly cattiness among female ravers for outfit choices. A girl in pasties should have every right to a safe festival as a girl in a long-sleeved t-shirt; no excuses.

This is a very common clothing choice at raves, and should be viewed as expression, not an invitation.

However what needs to be sorely addressed is a fundamental difference between expression and sexual conquest; If a girl at a rave is clad in fluffies, a tutu, and pasties, she is not inherently ‘asking for the D’, she is not exuding her body as a toy to be played with….fuck she might not even give a crap about you or any men in attendance; most girls do (shocking, I know) go for the music and the non-sexual kinship. And this speaks to a greater need to re-educate both sexes on this problem; teach men the true meaning behind PLUR (the ‘R’ is not for ‘roofie’ or ‘rape’) and teach women that ‘unity’ and ‘respect’ are needed more now than ever. Raver girls are not toys, and what we should be preaching is to teach men not to rape, not to assume a woman’s body is a rite of conquest. Furthermore, what we should preach is the very core principles that define our unified community:

Peace: Everyone clad in anything has the right to a peaceful coexistence at raves

Love: Love is a thing that is won, earned, and consented to fairly. Not taken.

Unity: We must unify to ensure the safety of fellow ravers; if you see a boy or girl (man, woman, or gender non-specific person) in trouble, get help.

Respect: Above all, respect all that are around you; you are all human beings and thereby you are all created equal in each others eyes. Respect feelings, respect boundaries, respect bodies and our right to conceal and reveal them.

We are expressive, and you know what, maybe we do want the D…but that’s for us to decide, not you.

So as we approach festival season, I would like to ask that everyone respect one another; treat even the barest ravers with respect, and remember that we are here for the music just like you.


#Musicislife: Dash Berlin AC Recap

This weekend I was lucky enough to score a ticket to see Dash Berlin (again! DYING!) in Atlantic City’s Borgata Mixx nightclub. One thing I didn’t count on, was how I would react to the venue first and foremost.

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Being more of a festival/rave girl, I’m not really a fan of the upscale frou-frou clubs where girls are expected to wear skimpy dresses and towering heels (in my sort-of ok floral dress and “blah-screw-you-Im-dancing” flats, I stood out). However despite hype I’ve heard about Borgata (as compared to its younger flashier neighbor Revel), Mixx nightclub was weirdly unimpressive in comparison: the VIP ‘tables’ on the floor were in odd locations, and little more than velvet rope to distinguish them from the main floor,…and had a few dispersed GoGos that didn’t look like they wanted to be there.

However once I got past the venue (and that took a while), I was able to appreciate what I was really there for: the music. The opening DJ, Carlos Melange, put forth a pretty solid set (although decidedly a bit odd to lead off for a Trance DJ) and had a great stage presence. Despite the fact the set came off as a bit odd for Dash Berlin (mind you, I was spoiled by Tyler Sherrit at the last show), it was decidedly much better than I was expecting:

What I expected:

  • At least one gratuitous drop of Levels
  • Abusive dropping of Cannonball
  • Abusive dropping of random club bangers your average Banker or suit-laden yuppie would know

What I got:

  • Solid mixing
  • Only one drop of Cannonball that I caught (and well after Dash Berlin’s set for the ‘regular club crowd’)
  • Only a select few bangers AFTER Dash Berlin had finished

Dash-2

Once Dash Berlin opened with a euphoric ‘Disarm Yourself’ it was like the best musical honeymoon I’ve had so far. Despite the fact I don’t recall him playing Apollo (and granted I may have missed it) he brought together an impressive mix of old favorites and new addictions. As with any of his shows, he was like a kid on Christmas through the entire set: he jumped off of tables, handed out signed records, threw bracelets, and smiled for the entire set. Even though I have no clue if he even made eye contact with me, the entire set felt like it was being played just for the front row who’d thrown elbows to be there, and encompassed everything from a well-mixed “I Don’t Care” , to the classic “Silence in Your Heart”, to a well introduced “Sandstorm” (seriously who doesn’t like Sandstorm?).

Dash-Best

Only sweetening the night, I met up with RedLine Entertainment (and his gorgeous girlfriend) and even met a nice girl that let me take a picture of the record that was handed to her by Dash himself. Overall, the front row crowd was a solid group of weekend warriors that appeared to have braved Borgata solely for Dash Berlin, and varied immensely from the other patrons I saw leaving behind us: I recall a girl remarking that “the jumping guy was ok”. But then, despite all my preachings of PLUR, I can’t really take the word of a skinny girl who spent all night taking selfies with her bottle service bucket. Was it worth the trip down to AC to see Dash? Absolutely. Would I go to Mixx for any other DJ? Not likely.