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Dirty Beats, Bubble Butts, and Birthday Cakes
Review of Mad Decent Block Party at Merriweather Post Pavilion on 8/2

For the first time ever, Mad Decent Block Party invaded Merriweather Post Pavilion in the suburbs of Columbia, Maryland on August 2nd. Hundreds of cars were parked in a grass field surrounding the venue, which was the ideal location for attendees to blast music and tailgate. We saw all sorts of attire while we sat in our car sipping from red solo cups: fluffies, knee socks, and bra tops that were way too small. There was a pretty even assortment of ravers, hipsters, and what you could call the wannabe “flower children” of our generation. What’s unique about Merriweather is that it contains a gigantic lawn that accommodates the people who chose to bring blankets and lie out on the field. Not only that, but as at any other show in the DMV area, we saw ample Maryland pride that was manifested in multiple people waving the Maryland state flag.

The party got started later in the evening when Flosstradamus entered the stage. Although Dillon Francis didn’t make an appearance in DC, he was definitely there in spirit. When Floss dropped “Masta Blasta,” dudes around us took their shirts off and flung them around. The crowd moved in slow motion to the beat, raising their hands in the air and pointing at the stage while blinding strobes shone in our faces. Other tracks the Chicago duo dropped were RL Grime’s remix of “Satisfaction,” DJ Snake’s “Bird Machine” (feat. Alesia), and their own remix of Major Lazer’s “Original Don.” This was the kind of music most fans were waiting for all day—the dirty synths which you can actually rave to.  

MDBP got better with each set. Zeds Dead killed it with tracks like Dillon Francis’ “Bootleg Fireworks (The Rebirth)” and two of their most famous remixes, “Eyes on Fire” (Blue Foundation) and “Lies” (Marina & The Diamonds). And of course we heard “White Satin,” which played in sync with the green, blue, orange, and purple spotlights on the stage. Both Flosstradamus and Zeds Dead put on amazing productions that set the bar high, and prepared the crowd for the ultimate performance from the one and only, Major Lazer.

It took about ten minutes for the stage to be set up for Major Lazer’s grand appearance. The MDBP backdrop was replaced with a gigantic, yellow banner containing Major Lazer’s cartooned face. Meanwhile, Diplo stood on the top of the DJ booth (designed like a stereo) as he always does, and waved a flag in the air, broadcasting the Major Lazer logo. Large, inflatable ‘M’ and ‘L’ letters were on stage in yellow and green, respectively; a blowup Major Lazer figurine was also placed to the side. The stage production was pretty standard, but the performance itself was what made Mad Decent an unforgettable party that evening.

As in the past, Diplo squeezed himself into an inflatable ball and rolled around the crowd like a hamster. Returning to the turntables, they dropped tracks such as “Jah No Partial” (feat. Flux Pavilion), Knife Party’s “LRAD,” and A-Trak’s remix of “Heads Will Roll.” Telling the ladies to take off their shirts and to show their “t*tties, literally every girl in the pavilion took her shirt off and, when told to do so, threw their shirts as high as they could into the air. And of course, a number of girls were pulled to the stage who either twerked, danced awkwardly, or took selfies with the entire crowd behind them. It’s probably a given that “Bubble Butt” was playing in the background. Diplo is infamous for dragging half-naked girls on stage to dance while he DJ’s, and we expected nothing less of him that evening.

The routine was similar to that of EDC Vegas, but a few aspects made the Block Party in DC stand out. First, it was Mad Decent booker, Andrew McInnes’ birthday. And on birthdays, there is always cake. Standing at the foot of the stage, a dancer presented Andrew with a cake, took a few steps back, and, as expected, threw it in his face. Naturally, he took the cake and proceeded to throw it into the crowd. As Borgore says, “B*tches love cake.”

Turning away for a split second, we returned our attention to the stage to find a kid who, not only was lying on the stage face down, but his hands were also tied. Two gogo dancers straddled him. They danced both around and on top of him. The crowd loved every second of it, because yes— it was hot. We don’t even want to contemplate how much the dude was loving his life during those few minutes of heaven on earth.

By far, the most mesmerizing part of the night was in the last few minutes when plastic bags filled with some sort of powder were distributed among the crowd. We were collectively confused. On the count of three, fans were told to rip open the bags and throw them into the air. All of a sudden, vibrant oranges, yellows, and other colors exploded into the air. We all smiled, realizing that what we were given was colored powder, essentially what is used during Holi, a Hindu religious festival. Andy C’s remix of “Get Free” (feat. Amber Coffman) saturated the venue as a mosaic of colors blended above our heads.