[phlipcam video] Identity Fest @ the Comcast Center

Not going to lie, I was expecting IDENTITY FESTIVAL to be a wankfest of the utmost proportion. And for all intents and purposes, it was, with neon and brostep ruing the day. But considering the worst that could've happened when you unleash a cavalcade of geeked-up 20-somethings onto an amphitheater housing three stages of aggressive electronic music and a clearly overwhelmed security staff? At least my mother wasn't calling me on Sunday to ask if the festival I spent my Saturday at was the one on the news at Great Woods where all the kids overdosed on Twisted Teas and rave pills.

Actually, it was quite the contrary. A shit show by and by, but I didn't see any remarkably outlandish behavior and the real story here is the music, which exceeded my expectations tenfold. And maybe it was due to crafty schedule planning on my part to avoid the riff raff, or maybe I did in fact transform into a bro for the nine hours I was on the Comcast Center grounds, but I really can't big up the festival organizers any more.

Of all the times I've been to that venue, I never envisioned that I would be seeing techno cracking out of that impeccable sound system, but lo and behold, there I was standing under the pavilion at 2:30 in the afternoon, watching MODESELEKTOR serve up their electro-tinged stylings, pausing only to shower the hysterically receptive audience in champagne and Heineken.

And for every justly crunk set of music, there was a woefully under-attended set, notably HOLY GHOST!'s and HERCULES AND LOVE AFFAIRS's afternoon outings. But even being able to draw the 50-ish people to their set has to be considered a victory. I had to pull myself away from a fascinating cheap beer/people watching session in the parking lot in order to make it in for Holy Ghost!, and I don't regret it in the least.

Both acts opted for live sets (as opposed to DJ sets) that were probably just as appropriate and as attended in the daylight hours as they would've been in a club somewhere in the city. THE CRYSTAL METHOD, not so much. The duo have seemingly abandoned their late ‘90s "Trip Like I Do" steez in lieu of a more hard-nosed dub onslaught. Not surprising considering that's seemingly where the money is nowadays, but their set was neither all that appropriate for mid-afternoon, nor remarkable.

As the sun started to dip, shit definitely took a turn for the weird. UK producer STEVE LAWLER delivered two sets steeped in tribal techno and house, probably my favorite act of the fest based solely on my hater-ass personal preference. The surprising set of the day would have to be STEVE AOKI, who I've always viewed as a bit of an ass thanks to his general bastardization of the once-proud genre of electro. I mean, dude doesn't even DJ -- he presses play and treats the stage like a jungle gym. But his ability to incite frenzy through a solid song selection and willingness to put his body in harms way actually fit the overall vibe of the fest perfectly.

Ventured over to RUSKO just to capture that video above, so enjoy. Stopped by DJ SHADOW's set, featuring a Death Star-like orb from which he spun inside of, but after a jaw dropping display of scratching, he launched into unfamiliar song-oriented material and immediately sucked the energy out of the crowd. Searching for a last minute reclamation of hype to take me off into the night, I made my way back to the main stage for the end of KASKADE's A/V assault. It might have just been a days worth of $9.75 Budweisers, but I mightily enjoyed what I saw from him and his rather over-blown brand of house, which served as a rather appropriate encapsulation of the day's madness.

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