Marc's Public Blog - Clubbing and Trance


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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, here are some pictures with Johan Gielen (2004), Paavo and Tony (2014), and Armin at Ruby Sky in 2005, 2007, and 2009:



You can find all the pictures here

Table of Content for clubbing:

More pages: 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




2017/03/11 DJ Blurr, Reorder, John Askew at Ruby Skye
π 2017-03-11 00:00 in Clubbing
While I was barely back from a ski trip and jetlagged in the wrong direction, my friend David (DJ Blur) encouraged me to come, for what was a great evening, starting with his own set. I was indeed tired that evening, but it was still worth the trip, great music.

DJ Blur
DJ Blur






2017/02/25 Thrillseekers at Verso
π 2017-02-25 00:00 in Clubbing
Thrillseekers, I love Thrillseekers. I was thankfully able to move a small trip's dates to be able to attend, and it was well worth it. It was an awesome night with awesome music.









I got 23mn of video, a good sample of the music from that evening:

See more images for Thrillseekers at Verso
2016/12/18 Fantastic Trance Night with Solarstone at Verso
π 2016-12-18 00:00 in Clubbing
I had seen Solarstone once before and he had done a great set at Dreamstate. Then, he did another 5h open to close set at Verso not a long time ago, but I totally missed that one due to poor planning. This time, I made sure to get my tickets early, and ended up going even after finding out my company Xmas party ended up being the same evening (darn), and I did not regret it: Solarstone threw a fantastic set, it was just good stuff up to the end:










And at the end Solarstone was super nice and came out to meet and greet. He loved my shirt and nicely took a picture with me:



I also have to give another big thumbs up to Verso. Not only do they get good DJs, but they have the least about of BS for getting in. Compare with places like Pure Lounge in Sunnyvale, where they first do a weapons search, which is annoying but potentially understandable, however when they do a drug search looking everywhere, even within the pockets of your wallet, this is totally pointless and a great way to turn off your customers.
Moral of the story: Verso: great, Pure Lounge: Bad. Hopefully Pure Lounge gets the hint and losens up. I told them, tell them too, and in the meantime, keep going back to Verso only instead :)

And here is a 30mn summary of the 5H set:

2016/12/01 Aly and Fila at Pure Lounge
π 2016-12-01 00:00 in Clubbing
I had never been to Pure Lounge in Sunnyvale before, a short-ish drive from home, and Aly and Fila (really only Aly, Fila doesn't seem to travel to the US), was a good excuse to go. Pure Lounge sadly has a pretty ridiculous search at the entrance, and seemed to say that you could not even take small point and shoot cameras inside? What on earth is that?

That being said, once inside, it was a good evening, good set from Aly:






See more images for Aly and Fila at Pure Lounge
2016/11/23 Give Thanks, San Jose
π 2016-11-23 00:00 in Clubbing
So, there was a big ass dreamstate event in Los Angeles, but getting there over thanksgiving just wasn't convenient, and became less necessary when I found out that we'd be getting a decent enough Trance event in our backyard, so I went to Give Thanks, and it was indeed a good lineup.
Oakey, Cosmic Gate, ATB, Andrew Rayel (incidently all of them were going to Dreamstate afterwards, so it's good that we got to have them first :):


poor oakey was looking old and tired though, his heart didn't seem into it
poor oakey was looking old and tired though, his heart didn't seem into it












Good night all in all, glad I was able to go.

See more images for Give Thanks, San Jose
2016/11/10 Above and Beyond in Sacramento
π 2016-11-10 00:00 in Clubbing
Since I was at ThunderHill in Willows during the day and Above and Beyond were playing in Sacramento, almost on the way home, but to make the deal more sweet, it was by McClellan Airfield/KMCC, where I was able to fly in fewer than 30mn from Willows, walk to my hotel, drop my stuff, and go to the party, fewre than 10mn on foot from the hotel and the airport's FBO. Super convenient!


The one lowlight was that it opened at 21:00 while 2 of Above and Beyond (you pretty much only get 2 out of the 3, pseudo-randomly, it's like they draw straws :) showed up around 23:15. It was a long time to wait considering that the music before that was not trance :( Either way, once they finally showed up, it was sweet:









The next morning, I went back to the nearby airport and flew home:

argh, no, not my plane. would have been nice tough :)
argh, no, not my plane. would have been nice tough :)

See more images for Above and Beyond in Sacramento
2016/11/04 FSOE 500 at Verso With Trance Family
π 2016-11-04 00:00 in Clubbing
Thanks to my friend David, I've been more up to date with the Trance events going on, and as a result I've been missing a lot fewer of them, which is great news. I did go to FSOE 400 last year in San Jose, and it was actually a good event with a good DJ selection.
FSOE 500 was much more low key with fewer DJs in a much smaller venue, but I actually ended up enjoying that event so much more. It was pretty much non stop quality trance for 5 hours, something sadly too rare nowadays:


DJ Blurr
DJ Blurr







ran into a few friends that evening
ran into a few friends that evening

Great night at Verso.

2016/09/10 DJ Blurr, Nifra and Markus Schulz at Ruby Skye, featuring Adina Butar Singing Live
π 2016-09-10 00:00 in Clubbing
Thanks to DJ Blurr, I found out about this evening at Ruby Skye that I was totally not aware of. It was great to have 3 different DJs at the decks, and have Adina sing live with Markus at the decks.
Markus did keep playing past 02:00 all the way to 04:00 although by the time I left (03:00-ish) he had switched to harder stuff that was pretty far from Trance, so being tired anyway, I bailed a bit early. Still, it was a great night though.









Adina Butar
Adina Butar









A short portion of the set:

2016/08/12 Gabriel and Dresden and Jason Ross at Ruby Skye
π 2016-08-12 00:00 in Clubbing
DJ Blurr told me about this event, part of the Anjunabeats tour, it wasn't the best time for me to go, but I figured I'd go give it a shot, and try my new electric shirt I was working on for burning man, as well as my upgraded LED shoes.

While it didn't have a concentration of my favourite tunes as high as when Above and Beyond would come, it was still a good evening. A few pictures below:








the shirt did ok :)
the shirt did ok :)

2016/06/17 Another 3 awesome days at EDC 2016, Las Vegas
π 2016-06-17 00:00 in Clubbing
So yeah, I got a late start with EDC, didn't know about it until last year when I first went, but after finding out what I had been missing out on, I went to fix the errors of my ways :)

while it's only an 80mn flight from San Jose, CA (and an expensive one at this, $450 due to the other 400,000 people also going for that time), it's a bit tough to have virtually a 8-10H jetlag for just 3 days (EDC going from 18:00 to 05:30 and you ideally sleeping from 08:00 to 14-16:00). Without prescription drugs (or otherwise) and caffeine to help with sleep and awakeness, it must be hard :) But before you ask, daytime weather in Vegas was unbearably hot (45C / 112F), so doing this during the day would not work.

Also, people ask me what camera I use. First, that is a correct question :) Cell phones are very poor night cameras due to the insufficient room they have for a good size sensor. I actually carry 2 handheld cameras that I keep on my belt:

  • Sony HX60V: this one has a small sensor which is not ideal for night pictures, but it comes with a 30X optical zoom and half usable 85 semi digital zoom. This is a must for taking pictures of the DJ booth when I'm so far that I can't even see the DJ with my naked eyes.
  • Sony RX100M3: this one only has a 3X optical zoom, but it has a very good 1" sensor for capturing night shots and true color fireworks shots
  • Before you ask, you cannot get a camera that has a big zoom and great night shots without having a huge camera, and usually carrying 2 lenses. By then it's easier to just use 2 smaller cameras :)
    At times, I'd also be filming with the RX100 with one hand (I have about 3.5H of video from this EDC) and taking zoomed shots of the DJ booth with the other hand.

    This gave me a good chance to try my LED shoes I had hacked to add extra battery life (12H) along with lit shoe laces, and my portable blinky lights for my shirt:


    It was a good time to try my shoes I had hacked to have 12H battery life :)
    It was a good time to try my shoes I had hacked to have 12H battery life :)

    As for how big EDC is, saying it's big doesn't quite explain it, and neither does the map, but maybe this night shot from a heli, will:

    map of the grounds, might look small on the map, but it's big :)
    map of the grounds, might look small on the map, but it's big :)


    Getting 400,000 people there and back is no small feat. I took uber the first night because I only arrived around 03:30 (having gone to Omnia to see Armin just before that), and even then the traffic was not clear. The shuttles work ok, except for the loading that is super inefficient in both directions. I really hope Insomniac gets to fix that because it adds substantial unnecessary delays. The wristbands were by color with RFID to verify single use and spot fakes:

    many wristbands, spot the fakes :)
    many wristbands, spot the fakes :)

    Before starting on the report of the 3 days, I'll start with a few misc pictures of signs and people:



    I ran into Dito Milian, who usually takes my picture at Thunderhill :)
    I ran into Dito Milian, who usually takes my picture at Thunderhill :)


    system failure!
    system failure!





    my hoola hoop wielding trance loving fan I run into at all events I go to, was here again :)
    my hoola hoop wielding trance loving fan I run into at all events I go to, was here again :)


    The first day, the Trance lineup was light (as in nothing before 03:30, just two hours before end of the evening), and I was interested in seeing Omnia where Armin was playing anyway, so I went to see Armin 1h30 (sadly not his whole set), from 01:00 to 02:30, and took an uber to EDC, getting me at Stage 7 just after 03:30. By then, I was able to see John O'Callaghan, Jordan Suckley, and W&W









    I stayed until 05:30 when John O Callaghan finished after sunset
    I stayed until 05:30 when John O Callaghan finished after sunset

    back to the inefficient shuttle line to get to bed by 08:00
    back to the inefficient shuttle line to get to bed by 08:00

    Quick video summary of Day #1:

    Day #2, I arrived earlier (22:30-ish) to enjoy the sights and different stages before Above and Beyond and Armin at 01:30 and 03:00 (both of whom played an excellent set at Cirtcuit Grounds), to be followed by Dash Berlin from 04:19 to 05:30 at Kinetic Fields. There were lots of carnival rides, even a water ride!














    the ball swimming pool was always fun :)
    the ball swimming pool was always fun :)

    help, I'm drowning! :)
    help, I'm drowning! :)

    EDC also has great fireworks. Check out the 5mn clip of fireworks the 3rd day (they start getting crazy around 02:40):





    Some other random pictures of the grounds:







    And then it was time for Above and Beyond at Circuit Grounds where they played an awesome set again:



    taken with an 85x zoom, sorry that it's a big blocky
    taken with an 85x zoom, sorry that it's a big blocky



    Armin was next, he played somewhat harder trance, starting with repeating his opening track from Omnia: "I am the dominator, there is no other". Very subtle indeed :)







    After Armin, I went back to Kinetic Fields for Dash Berlin for a sunrise set:





    90m of Day #2 highlights I filmed:

    Then it was time to get back to my hotel room and catch some sleep before the 3rd day (yeah for a 12H jetlag by just going to Vegas). I arrived a bit earlier on the 3rd day since Paul Oakenfold started at 22:30. Before that, went to check out the grounds a bit more:






    Bass Pod caught fire, doh!
    Bass Pod caught fire, doh!

    Then was time for Paul, who played an OK set, but I've heard better from him, then came Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Markus Schultz, Gaia (to be fair I preferred GAIA's set last year), Gareth Mery and Aly & Fila. An awesome lineup:


    85X zoom again, sorry
    85X zoom again, sorry



















    I took a detour to see Pendulum at Bass Pod. Not the same genre, but I'm also a fan since their essential mix in 2005.


    And back for a bit of Aly and Fila before I had to duck out early to catch a shuttle back to Vegas to get a cab back to the airport for a 07:25 flight home. Was in bed by 09:30 for some much needed sleep :) (although I was a bit sad to have missed the last 45mn).




    this shot almost looks like burning man :)
    this shot almost looks like burning man :)


    90mn highlights video of day #3 I filmed:

    Needless to say I had an awesome time, more than last year even (likely due to a more complete trance lineup). This is likely the biggest electronic music festival in the world, and it's pretty spectacular!


    More pages: 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