Marc's Public Blog - Clubbing and Trance


All | Aquariums | Arduino | Btrfs | Cars | Cats | Clubbing | Dining | Diving | Electronics | Exercising | Flying | Hiking | Linux | Linuxha | Museums | Public | Rc | Sciencemuseums | Snow | Solar | Trips

Ok, so I like electronic dance music, more specifically Trance. Unfortunately, the US, it's let's just say... a bit behind in that department. If you ever hear such music on the radio, or even in the street, let me know (for instance, in Australia, I heard great Trance in even a waterslide park of all places, and in Europe you can easily get EDM/Trance on broadcast radio).
Since 2004 (it's not 2016), the good news is that Trance has grown quite a following in the US, and places like the SF Bay Area, and while Trance has been declared dead a few times in the last 10 years, it's still going strong here, and we're lucky to have at least one or two big Trance parties per year, so yeah!
With San Francisco and San Jose nearby, I've had some opportunities to see some great EDM/Trance DJs. Back in the early 2000's, they sadly played club music in the US that was nowhere close to the hits they had composed and were known for, but over the years, as Trance started becoming more popular, those DJs finally started playing their good tunes in the US too, and maybe from 2004 on, it's only been getting better.

Over time, I've seen many of my favorite DJs across the world, whether it was locally, in New York City, Canada, Australia, and of course Ibiza, and at Halloween 2004, I finally attended some great local parties that proved that you could get the good stuff locally too (even if all the artists came from other countries :-).

Over the years, I also got the chance to meet a few of my favourite DJs, including Armin more than once:



You can find all the pictures here

Table of Content for clubbing:

More pages: February 2018 November 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 December 2016 November 2016 September 2016 August 2016 June 2016 May 2016 January 2016 September 2015 August 2015 June 2015 September 2014 August 2014 May 2014 September 2013 May 2012 May 2011 December 2009 November 2009 April 2009 March 2009 October 2008 June 2008 October 2007 September 2007 July 2007 May 2007 April 2007 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 June 2006 May 2006 January 2006 December 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 June 2005 May 2005 February 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 June 2004 August 2003 July 2003 February 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 July 2001 June 2000




2018/02/08 Andrew Rayel at 1015 Folsom
π 2018-02-08 00:00 in Clubbing

the calm before the storm
the calm before the storm



Andrew took a lot of pictures with fans
Andrew took a lot of pictures with fans






Then came Andrew for his set in the main room:









Martin Cisco in the front room also did a very nice set, I quite enjoyed it too:



Quick video summary:

See more images for Andrew Rayel at 1015 Folsom
2017/11/24 Dreamstate Socal
π 2017-11-24 00:00 in Clubbing
I elected to miss Dreamstate Socal last year to spend time with family, but I figured I'd give it a try this year.
I was totally not going to be driving to or from LA during thanksgiving. Flying southwest to a nearby Ontario airport was actually a decent option, but I elected to fly my own butt there and fly directly to San Bernandino's now defunct military airport, which therefore has a very nice long runway as well as a great FBO (folks in charge of transient traffic, parking and refueling).

From San Bernandino's airport, it was a short lyft ride to the crappy hotel I ended up at but was walking distance to the venue (I figured it would be better to avoid driving and parking issues even if in the end it wouldn't have been too much a problem).

I got a VIP ticket, so getting in wasn't too bad. I did get a puzzled security person when he saw all my electronics to run my shirt and pants, but in the end, he let me in nonetheless. The main issue was the poor information on where around the (big) block, the entrance was located. The first night, a lot of people (myself included) walked around for 15mn around in search of the entrance.

my shirt and pants worked fine those 2 days
my shirt and pants worked fine those 2 days

Once in, they did a good job with the stages, albeit they were a bit small compared to the number of tickets sold. Even with a VIP ticket, I just couldn't get in an enclosed stage with limited capacity on the 2nd day.
The Lineup was solid...



the VIP area had a nice light tree
the VIP area had a nice light tree


I think I fit right at home, there :)
I think I fit right at home, there :)




they tried to sell me a new pair, but I was already equipped :)
they tried to sell me a new pair, but I was already equipped :)

DJ Tech equipment:






Pictures with people:







thankfully I wasn't the only person lit up, I found some 'colleagues' :)
thankfully I wasn't the only person lit up, I found some 'colleagues' :)






Day #1 DJs:









ATB
ATB







Hi Armin! :)
Hi Armin! :)

hard to get pictures where you can actually see them :)
hard to get pictures where you can actually see them :)



PvD was there to finish the night
PvD was there to finish the night

almost rare to see him smile like this :)
almost rare to see him smile like this :)


Day #1 Video highlights:

After a good first night, I walked back to my crappy hotel (really motel quality) for some well deserved sleep and rest. I then came back the next day around 18:00 for round two:

Ruben de Ronde, one of Armin's buddies
Ruben de Ronde, one of Armin's buddies











Armin came back the 2nd night to play on his own|
Armin came back the 2nd night to play on his own|



Day #2 Video highlights:

And just like that, it was over. A great two days, and it was nice to be able to fly home and avoid the horrible sunday after thanksgiving traffic.

See more images for Dreamstate Socal
2017/08/26 Trance Family SF at Great Northern
π 2017-08-26 00:00 in Clubbing
After the loss of Ruby Skye, it was great to have another venue along with Verso (and 1015). It's conveniently located close to the freeway and plenty of street parking.
The venue was also very laid back, which was duly appreciated.

The main room is not huge, but of reasonable size. The top floor room is much smaller though. I'm also afraid that many people may not have noticed the stairs to it, in the back.
The decors have potential, they put work into them, but I think they'll have to put more work into driving them during the performances (lights and lasers were present, but didn't feel used too much). The good news is that, it'll be easily fixed :)

The lineup was solid:

  • Taj
  • Orkidea
  • Ferry Tayle
  • Jordan Suckley
  • Airwave
  • Gene Xander
  • Alastair james
  • Jonn Connor
  • Christopher Terrance
  • Oscow
  • Martin Cisco
  • I was only able to stay awake long enough to stay until 03:00, and here are some pictures below:







    Orkidea
    Orkidea



    Ferry Tayle
    Ferry Tayle


    Jordan Suckley
    Jordan Suckley




    Airwave
    Airwave










    40mn summary of most of the night (22:00 to 03:00):

    2017/08/11 Seeing Andrew Rayel at Ministry of Sound, London
    π 2017-08-11 00:00 in Clubbing, Greatbritain2017
    While randomly looking at Google Maps on my phone for an upcoming trip to London, I got a reminder to go check out Ministry of Sound, a legendary club for anyone who's been listening to essential mix back to the early 2000's when many trance mixes were played, and some came from that club.

    The small problem, was that going to a club all night between a 12h+ day of sightseeing and 4 more such days right after that, was not the best timing ever, but at the same time, it was not an opportunity I wanted to miss. So, after leaving the V&A Museum when it closed at 22:00, I went straight to Ministry of Sound which was opening at 22:30, and only got back to bed around 03:00 or so. I was not in good shape the next day, but so be it :)

    Ministry of Sound is an interesting club, it's not huge, but has 4 different rooms, with the main room being totally packed when Andrew was playing. Sadly, as a state of affairs in London, and the radical inclusion, they end up having to search everyone everywhere to pretty severe extremes. They had TSA style gates with full searches, making getting in a lot less fun...
    Anyway, once in, I had a good time, and glad I went despite what it cost me in lost sleep :)















    Here's a video summary with good trance bits:

    2017/07/14 Trance Family SF 7th Anniversary at 1015
    π 2017-07-14 00:00 in Clubbing
    It was 17 years since the first time I went clubbing in SF, at 1015 no less. Honestly, most of my experiences at 1015 back then were not great: stupid lines, super crowded inside because the venue's main room was too small, and sadly some of my favourite DJs were playing kind of boring sets compared to the great music they made back then.

    When Ruby Skye opened, I went and never looked back. But TFSF7 was all about a trip in memory lane and nostalgia, and 1015 was a great place considering it had 4 different rooms were different DJs could battle with their best sets (and they were good). Thankully attendance was just within the venue's capacity (on purpose or not), so it was packed but not crazy crowded.

    And the sets were just great. DJ Blur brought back awesome tunes back to back, I could tell he worked on that set before showing up :) and then the other rooms were quite good too, including some hard trance and psytrance which I had never been able to get before. You kind of have to be in the mindset for it, it's not quite melodic trance, but I was in the mindset last night and it was a lot of fun.

    Thank you to all the DJs who came to play, and this guy giving great light shows:





    nice outfit :)
    nice outfit :)







    Awesome psytrance
    Awesome psytrance





    Stay down! :)
    Stay down! :)



    40mn summary of the night (21:00 to 05:00):

    2017/06/16 3 more days at EDC 2017, Las Vegas
    π 2017-06-16 00:00 in Clubbing
    Another year, another EDC. Weather in Vegas was stupid hot (peaks of 115F/46C). I got another chance to try my new Neopixel shirt/pants combo, although getting all the electronics through security in airports, isn't ideal...






    Before the first day started, some locations had small markets where you could buy all the rave gear you could need, for those who didn't come prepared :)


    and you could spend hours making your bracelets. I shouldn't make fun because I spent even more hours on my LED shirt :)
    and you could spend hours making your bracelets. I shouldn't make fun because I spent even more hours on my LED shirt :)

    More rave gear on site if you needed it:


    Getting to the festival grounds has become an increasing problem, moving almost 150,000 people to and from the racetrack in a 3H window, or so, has become a real challenge, despite huge amount of busses (the busses themselves had 3H-ish lines in some places).

    those folks made full use of carpooling :)
    those folks made full use of carpooling :)

    Most people, including me, took shuttles, which took a reasonable enough 1H to get there and back, but they had stupid lines that could take up to 3H. The picture below is the best possible case scenario I saw one day I got lucky. Some people got close to passing out in the heat, and apparently one person died in line on the way back due to a medical issue that was not addressed timely enough :(
    While Insomniac had plenty of busses, the loading was not streamlined enough and included a lot of unnecessary waits, making some lines ridiculously long. One day, I took another line to another hotel just so that I could get back to Vegas and then took a short cab back to my hotel:



    Anyway, once arrived at the racetrack, things were good. Pictures of the grounds:

    it looks less impresive during the day
    it looks less impresive during the day









    sunrise coming
    sunrise coming












    You could even get weddings:


    Many carnival rides, but the lines were long at most of them0




    And the ball pit was a fun place to relax :)




    Pictures of people and signs:

    bad ass tatoo
    bad ass tatoo



    Other people were lit up, like me:


    I remember this guy from last year, awesome costume and makeup
    I remember this guy from last year, awesome costume and makeup

    expensive triple row LED shoes
    expensive triple row LED shoes



    Fun signs:

    damn straight!
    damn straight!



    haha!
    haha!


    This year definitely had a nice collection of art cars from burning man:


    dancetronauts
    dancetronauts

    nicely gave me a tour
    nicely gave me a tour











    Of course, EDC was about lots of great DJs, and lots of great DJs it was:





    Armin
    Armin





    Awesome fireworks:

    Day #2:


    Ruben de Ronde played an awesome set
    Ruben de Ronde played an awesome set







    Tiesto was back, not playing Trance :)
    Tiesto was back, not playing Trance :)



    Another solid set from Above and Beyond
    Another solid set from Above and Beyond





    Awesome fireworks again:

    Day #3 was sadly shorter for me, great lineup, but not enough sleep and I was too tired to enjoy the end:





    PvD
    PvD

    After PvD, I lamed out, went back to the airport and flew back home to get some much needed sleep. I still had a great time despite this.

    What insomniac needs to fix for next year: - no VIP lines at many shuttle stops, so basically VIP didn't get you in and out any quicker in many places :( - streamline the bus loading/unloading to improve throughput - Lines like the Village loading in front of Luxor, were 2-3H in the sun. That's totally not ok.

    What they did great: - the Trance lineup was solid, even if the stage, Quantum Valley, was a lesser one - the searches were not over the top (I didn't have to empty every single last pocket of everything)

    2017/06/02 LED Pants and Shirt Programmed With Arduino on ESP8266
    π 2017-06-02 00:00 in Arduino, Clubbing, Electronics
    So, this all started with some LED shoes I hacked to last 12H instead of 4, and it ended with me learning how to program arduino like microcontrollers to control neopixels (aka WS2811/WS2812/WS2812B) while being able to receive Infrared/IR commands. The latter is actually difficult but you go read that page to learn why

    Since I've met plenty of people who complimented for my neopixel shirt and pants combo, and some who asked questions about them, I thought I'd write some quick page to explain how it all works and how you can do similar things, since it's more fun if I'm not the only one lit up at Dreamstate (which has been less of a problem at burning man).

    Here is a video summary:

    Show me the code!

    Sure, it's here: https://github.com/marcmerlin/Neopixel-IR (but go to the end of this page for more details).

    So, I have 3 versions of the shirt, let's go through them depending on how complex you'd like to go:

    Multi Color LED strip, non controllable



    It used a 12V controllable dimmer: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MHKCTLE which can simply change the brightness of the LEDs, which are of a set color. I bought the LED strip in Akihabara Japan, but I'm guessing something similar can be found elsewhere.

    Tri Color Controllable LED strip



    This version is better in that the LED strip has 3 channels, one for reach of Red, Green, and Blue. I uses a tri color controller like this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01410R4KS or remote controlled: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PBOJNZS
    Those controllers can create any color and flash it at any interval, however:

  • they are a flat trip that doesn't really like being bent
  • all the LEDs are in series, so if the chain fails somewhere, nothing lights up beyond the point of failure (which is why I have extra wires soldered on to make redundant paths and get around breakage
  • I have had some sections of 3 LEDs where one color died
  • All of the controllers I tried have a dimming function, but it fails to work when I use the fade dimming patterns, which means they are full bright, suck battery and blind others. I've therefore had to add a 2nd voltage regulator where I can just dim the voltage sufficiently so that the current is then also capped by each color string and therefore the brightness is controlled (you cannot limit the global current fed to the LED controller because you don't know whether it's all fed into a single color, or shared amongst 3).
  • Of course the last thing is that all the LEDs for a color are in series in a single circuit, so you light up all the reds, or all the blues or greens, or none. You can't turn on one LED individuallly. This is where the next solution comes in.
  • ESP8266/Arduino Controlled Neopixels



    To fix the issue of not being able to have custom multi color LED patterns, where each LED/pixel can be controlled separately, the solution is neopixels (aka WS2811/WS2812/WS2812B). Each LED/pixel is controllable separately, which is done by a computer, in this case the ESP8266 can run my own programs to control all the LEDs.
    The ESP8266 is a 3.3V based microcontroller for low power use (good when battery powered) while the neopixels are 5V powered, but thankfully the neopixels can use 3.3V signalling from the ESP8266 while being 5V powered to light up properly. The one thing to keep in mind is that neopixels use some power even if they are not lit. In my case 200 neopixels, take about 120mA when they are off, and 4.5A when they are all lit in white on full brightness.

    Neopixels are almost infinitely versatile, instead of having them in single line strips like on my shirt and pants, you can also make display matrices out of them:


    I've then written code that receive the IR commands from the remote and execute different code that creates different light patterns, which is explained in more details and available on this page and you can get the code from github.

    Here is a video that shows all 3 modes, jump to 3:50 for the neopixel bit:

    2017/05/27 2017 Dreamstate in San Francisco
    π 2017-05-27 00:00 in Clubbing
    Last year, Dreamstate was in January, which was a bit cold and rainy when we got out. To be honest, it was much nicer in May, even if it was a bit close to EDC as a result. It was a great lineup, a nice 16 hours of trance with 16 DJs

    This was the perfect excuse to go try my new shirt + pants with neopixels I had worked on (including new light effect code I wrote and battery saving patch to run up to 12H on a single battery). I found a few other people who were lit up, but compared to burning man where you'd get "oh, 200 neopixels, so cute, I have 1000 Watts' worth on my art car, they can be seen 2 miles away", there weren't too many people lit up. I found 5 or 6 of them though:



    After some questions, I wrote a separate page on my lit up shirt and pants.

    Day #1: Video summary:

    Ruben de Ronde
    Ruben de Ronde



    Menno de Jong
    Menno de Jong


    Ben Nicky
    Ben Nicky








    Pure Nrg did a great set playing drums on top of that
    Pure Nrg did a great set playing drums on top of that





    Liquid Soul
    Liquid Soul





    Good to see Paul Oakenfold again, it's been 16 years since I first saw him
    Good to see Paul Oakenfold again, it's been 16 years since I first saw him


    hard to get Oakey smiling nowadays, he doesn't seem that happy the rest of the time
    hard to get Oakey smiling nowadays, he doesn't seem that happy the rest of the time




    Markus Schulz
    Markus Schulz





    Paul Van Dyk
    Paul Van Dyk





    After a bit of rest, it was Day #2: Video summary:

    Binary Finary
    Binary Finary

    Fleming & Lawrence
    Fleming & Lawrence





    Bryan Kearney
    Bryan Kearney



    Vini Vici
    Vini Vici












    Astrix
    Astrix


    John O' Callaghan
    John O' Callaghan




    Ferry Corsten
    Ferry Corsten





    Gareth Emery
    Gareth Emery

    Cool audio gear:

    this is for work
    this is for work

    but you can even play tetris on it
    but you can even play tetris on it



    Some crowd shots:










    Sadly, not enough people with lighting:



    Some people shots:









    See more images for 2017 Dreamstate in San Francisco
    2017/05/26 Jean Michel Jarre @ Berkeley Greek Theatre
    π 2017-05-26 00:00 in Clubbing
    I've been a fan of Jean Michel Jarre since the 1980's when I was a teenager. Along with Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre is one of the founders of Electronic Music. The two of them were popular before anyone else was even around doing any EDM.

    Sadly, I never managed to go see him perform way back then, so it was super cool to see that he did a US tour and that I'd finally be able to see him. Better late than never...

    Here's a video summary:



    JMJ did a tune with Snowden
    JMJ did a tune with Snowden




    JMJ is most well known for his laser musical harp
    JMJ is most well known for his laser musical harp










    Thanks to my friend Arnaud, we got invited to the after party for the crew:





    2017/05/20 Verso Kyau n Albert
    π 2017-05-20 00:00 in Clubbing


    DJ Blurr
    DJ Blurr


    Kyay and_Albert then took over
    Kyay and_Albert then took over



    See more images for Verso Kyau n Albert

    More pages: February 2018 November 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 December 2016 November 2016 September 2016 August 2016 June 2016 May 2016 January 2016 September 2015 August 2015 June 2015 September 2014 August 2014 May 2014 September 2013 May 2012 May 2011 December 2009 November 2009 April 2009 March 2009 October 2008 June 2008 October 2007 September 2007 July 2007 May 2007 April 2007 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 June 2006 May 2006 January 2006 December 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 June 2005 May 2005 February 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 June 2004 August 2003 July 2003 February 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 July 2001 June 2000