Marc's Public Blog - Clubbing and Trance


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Ok, so I like electronic dance music, more specifically Trance. When I started in the 1990's, the US was a bit behind in that department.
Still, 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.
Popsicle Halloween 2004 was really the beginning of great music parties in the San Francisco Area, and thankfully things have gotten even better since then

As a matter of fact, after another 10 years (2015 and beyond) 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.
Trance Family SF is definitely strong in the area, we've been getting more big trance parties every year, including many top DJs that come visit us what feels like every other week now (as of 2018-2019), and through those events, I made many friends in Trance Family SF. Thanks to you all.

Over those years, I got the chance to meet a few of my favourite DJs, including Armin more than once, and my last hobby has been to work on lights for my shirt and pants (version 3) and (version 4)



You can find all the pictures here

Table of Content for clubbing:

More pages: February 2024 January 2024 December 2023 November 2023 October 2023 August 2023 July 2023 June 2023 May 2023 April 2023 March 2023 February 2023 January 2023 December 2022 November 2022 October 2022 September 2022 August 2022 July 2022 June 2022 May 2022 April 2022 March 2022 February 2022 January 2022 December 2021 November 2021 October 2021 September 2021 August 2021 July 2021 June 2021 May 2021 April 2021 March 2021 November 2020 September 2020 July 2020 February 2020 December 2019 November 2019 October 2019 August 2019 July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 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





If you enjoy random festival pictures, you can subscribe to my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ledtranceguy/
And if you are curious about my outfit, you can read more about it on my led peacock engineer medium post


2024/02/15 San Jose Civic - Gareth Emery - LSR/City, Back for 2 More Days
π 2024-02-15 01:01 in Clubbing
It had been about 1.5 years since Gareth did LSR/City at San Jose Civic, and it was great to see him again. As I always say "More Lasers Please" :)

Of course, it's difficult not to compare this show compared to the show he did 18 months ago, and I'll be honest, it was pretty similar. I was disappointed that the show was only 1.5h instead of the 2H I expected and thinking that it ended at midnight, but it was over at 23:30 sharp. Then I went to check my records from the last show and found out it was also 1h30 only and the only show that was 2H was the original Laserface at Bill Graham in 2018 which remains the best one ever that has never been topped.
Laser-wise, from my imperfect memory, the to SJ LSR/City shows were pretty simliar. The music changed of course, and I liked both, even if I loved "Bring out the lasers" dubstep mix that was in last time. Still, it had all the classics and a variety of genres, it felt like a good selection. Gareth did play some keyboards live, and Annabel got more stage with more singing that she did beautifully.

The big plus this time around was that Annabel was properly lit on stage and it was much easier to see her perform which was a great bonus:

thanks to my real camera, was able to get a few shots from the very back
thanks to my real camera, was able to get a few shots from the very back



However, the big plus from this time around at least for us in San Jose, was that Gareth did the show twice, and that was great news because it allowed us to see the show from the rear on the first night, and front row center the 2nd night, and that was definitely a very different experience (both worth doing):

Day 1

Thanks to Ulrich and Insomniac for helping the make the show happen:



like all insomniac shows now, thank you for the free water
like all insomniac shows now, thank you for the free water





Two of our local DJs played from 20:00 to 22:00:

Yeah Shane!
Yeah Shane!



And Garath did 22:00 to 23:30:




one addition was the storyboard, nice
one addition was the storyboard, nice










Most of the show from the rear:

Day 2

Back for more, this time, front pit...








different vantage point for sure, worth seeing too
different vantage point for sure, worth seeing too



Gareth was playing live
Gareth was playing live









Gareth seemed to have a good time :)
Gareth seemed to have a good time :)




end of night #2
end of night #2


Some of the show from the front

Thoughts/Suggestions

  • lighting on stage was much much better, so great to see Annabel properly this time around
  • Laser show seemed pretty similar than last time, very enjoyable but not to the level of the original laserface in 2018
  • 1.5h felt short, consider going back to 2H?
  • people with VIP tickets had seats that were supposed to be reserved, but really they were not, anyone could go there making the extra price debatable
  • Thank you Gareth, Annabel, and all the tech guys who do the laser magic, for the great show!

    2024/01/30 6 Days at Unkonscious Festival around Pattaya and Bangkok
    π 2024-01-30 01:01 in Clubbing, Festivals
    I had heard about Unkonscious several times, but a festival across the world in the middle of my snowboarding season, wasn't super appealing for timing reasons. That said, FOMO kicked in and I was able to align a snowboarding trip in Hokkaido, Japan just before, making the "quick 7h plane hop" to Bangkok more appealing :) and jetlag less of a bitch :)

    One big plus of Unkonscious is that they make your trip worth it, as while the main festival is really just 2x 12H days (or 2x 16H with the indoor after party on day 3 and 4), there 2 days with pre-parties and 2 days with after parties in Bangkok. That's a great idea and it made for a pretty intense 6 days, not for the faint of the heart :)

    Travel, Where to Stay and Weather

    As to where to stay, the first 4 days are not super close but close enough that I elected to stay at the main festival hotel for the first 4 days, and then downtown bangkok for the last 2 days, which worked out well enough. You can easily get rides with grab or bolt and they were plenty cheap by western standards. For that matter, Thailand is reasonably cheap for westerners, making the festival affordable overall.
    Also, for those who haven't gone to Thailand, people are super nice and welcoming, although many have limited english, so having google translate on your phone is a must (and it works well). Also knowing how to use google maps to voice out a location and show it written in Thai (as you should not expect Thai drivers to know how to read Thai locations in roman characters).

    Carrying my LED outfit and all the batteries through Japan along with my snowboards was extra work, but worth it. As expected every venue during Unkonscious was cool with it, no one gave me a hard time and honestly all the venues were happy to have extra party spirit:


    If you ask, yes, it was hot as balls, and it was warm and uncomfortable to wear, haha. I wore more comfortable clothing during the day that LEDs would'nt do much good anyway (it got dark enough around 18:00, so that was 6 hours with more reasonable weather and temps):


    We also got lucky that we didn't have rain, which is always a possibility.

    So, 6 days, let's go for it:

    Day 1: Pre-Pre-Party @ Tappia Floating Cafe

    The first day's venue was very interesting. Floating café was pretty cool. They had a fast boat that did rounds back and forth from the pier and took you to the floating café which was definitely a unique venue. Party started at 16:00 and went until midnight (or maybe a bit past):






    after a little while, the sun set and it got dark:



    The bar had plenty of alcohol, food was more limited and it took long enough that it felt like it came from a restaurant on land and was brought in via the next speed boat:


    one Thai specialty is the 1.2L bucked of alcohol, saves time :) (and reasonably priced)
    one Thai specialty is the 1.2L bucked of alcohol, saves time :) (and reasonably priced)

    switched to my night outfit
    switched to my night outfit

    great to see Richard Durand again
    great to see Richard Durand again




    Video summary of the day:

    Day 2: Pre-Party @ DAM Pattaya Beach Club

    Day 2 was a different pre-party at a different beach club. Nice beach location and 2 DJs playing, one on the beach and one indoors:





    light clothing to deal with the weather :)
    light clothing to deal with the weather :)



    The food options were good, but unfortunately required some fake paper money you had to buy in one place, then exchange it for a voucher, which finally got you food:



    same thing with drinks although they were reasonably priced
    same thing with drinks although they were reasonably priced

    buckers were popular
    buckers were popular

    that's what the fake money looked like, and it could not be exchanged back or used from one venue to the next.
    that's what the fake money looked like, and it could not be exchanged back or used from one venue to the next.

    Before long, it was darker and cooler, so I was able to change and light up a bit:


    brought a few lights :)
    brought a few lights :)

    even got a chance to take that picture Ferry Tayle and I missed a few times :)
    even got a chance to take that picture Ferry Tayle and I missed a few times :)

    haha :)
    haha :)




    Indoors was fairly decent for a beach club:


    and we got an XXXL set from John 00 Flemming
    and we got an XXXL set from John 00 Flemming




    Video Summary of Day #2:

    Day 3 & 4: Main Festival Day 1 & 2: Alexa Beach Club


    Finally this was the main festival. The mainstage was honestly pretty simple, it wasn't huge, definitely smaller than lumi mainstage and almost on par with stages 2 or 3 at lumi, but honestly it was big enough for the location and crowd. The entire event was not huge and that what made it nice, cosy and homely, I did like that.


    Yeah, so it seems to be a Thailand thing, non refundable fake money you have to buy to be able to then buy things (which was still 2 or 3 more steps depending on what you needed, way too much work IMO). Not a fan...


    note that the fake paper money from the previous day looked different and couldn't be used
    note that the fake paper money from the previous day looked different and couldn't be used

    hopefully contactless credit cards and phones will be allowed for direct pay in the future
    hopefully contactless credit cards and phones will be allowed for direct pay in the future

    Merch store that was reasonably priced:



    The festival was then split in 2 each day: 12:00 to 16:00 was the pool party which was low key and easy to get in and out (security wasn't really there yet). Other bonus is you could order from the bar and restaurant from the full drink and food menu and pay with real money (which became not possible at 16:00 once the real festival started). Once I figured that out the first day with great disappointment of having lovely drinks on the menu being rejected as "not available until after the festival is over", I learned the lesson and got them during the pool party the next day:

    nice to chill by the pool, listen to music and sort festival pictures :)
    nice to chill by the pool, listen to music and sort festival pictures :)


    and a great time to chat with DJs too
    and a great time to chat with DJs too


    nice and chill
    nice and chill

    nice beach too
    nice beach too



    pool party day #2:


    working hard, or hardly working? :) Nice to relax for a change
    working hard, or hardly working? :) Nice to relax for a change


    haha, nice outfits :)
    haha, nice outfits :)


    by day2 I figured out how to get real drinks
    by day2 I figured out how to get real drinks

    as well as very yummy food
    as well as very yummy food

    By 16:00, the main festival started with mainstage and the psytrance stage on the 2nd floor of the building which had AC and that was nice because outside was definitely hot:




    You could pay for VIP lounge areas:


    The views sure were nice:




    awesome sunsets
    awesome sunsets


    The psytrance area was nice:






    And yes, it eventually got dark. It was super nice to just be able to walk by to the room and change:


    Richard Durand did another killer set
    Richard Durand did another killer set


    a few of us brought kandi joy to the party :)
    a few of us brought kandi joy to the party :)


    Craig Connelly was next!
    Craig Connelly was next!


    And closing set by John 00 Flemming
    And closing set by John 00 Flemming



    Day 2 had more DJs and more fun:








    yes, sunset again :)
    yes, sunset again :)


    fans were a lifesaving device, I can't describe how much I was sweating :)
    fans were a lifesaving device, I can't describe how much I was sweating :)




    But the big surprise of day 2 was the fire juggling which was stellar:






    Festival Day 1 Video summary:

    Festival Day 2 Video summary:

    main festival afterparty

    Both nights had an indoor afterparty from 00:00 to 04:00 if you wanted more. It was a nice indoor room:






    main festival fun pictures

    Many pictures were taken :)










    wait, what happened here? :)
    wait, what happened here? :)

    awesome to have met Katie Sirisinha, one of the organizers
    awesome to have met Katie Sirisinha, one of the organizers


    Day 5: Post Party @ Venti Bangkok

    Is 4 days enough? Of course not... After the main festival was over, 2 more days of after parties in Bangkok. After party #1 (day 5) was at Venti Bangkok, a nice club:






    great to run into Somna who had just arrived
    great to run into Somna who had just arrived

    Rinaly did trance that night
    Rinaly did trance that night

    and then Markus Schulz took over
    and then Markus Schulz took over

    Venti Bangkok Video Summary:

    Day 6: Post-Post Party @ Eden Bangkok

    Day 6! Last day! One last club, Eden in Bangkok:

    Damn right, 6 days!
    Damn right, 6 days!








    Rinaly was back for techno that night
    Rinaly was back for techno that night







    awesome to have finally met Andy Moor
    awesome to have finally met Andy Moor






    and that was it, finally over, 6 days!
    and that was it, finally over, 6 days!

    Well, not quite over, Srangkun Sirisinha, Unkonscious co-organizer, went to play more tunes across the street, more trance still :)



    And then it was finally over, time to run back to the room, pack, and go to the airport for a long trip back home to San Francisco

    Eden Bangkok video summary:

    Thoughts/Conclusion

  • Thailand doesn't have drinkable tap water, and no water fountains were provided at any of the venues, although none made a big deal if you brought your own water (or you could buy theirs of course, except for het first 4 days where you first had to buy the fake money)
  • Yes, those who know me know I don't like money or wristband credits that often fail and are completely unnecessary anyway. I hope unkonscious considers just accepting contactless credit cards, tap to pay, and phones.
  • As noted above, Alexa Beach Club (main festival) had a great food and drinks menu until 16:00 but those went away when the festival took over: the food and drink options went way down and fake money was required
  • It was a lower budget festival, and so what? People complain other festivals are too expensive, Unkonscious is definitely cheaper and we had heaps of fun with the DJs who came, even if a fair amount of them palyed multiple days (which honeslty I had no problem with). I loved the way it was, no need to change anything.
  • Should you go? Would I go Back?

  • very simply: yes, you should try to go if you can, it's definitely a unique festival and quite enjoyable in its current format. I'll admit that for people in the US, it's a long ass trip, but if you don't like winter, it's a good excuse to go visit Thailand which is a lovely country to visit anyway
  • organizers were super nice, do care, and it shows
  • security was more than reasonable at all venues, it was actually minimal and that was refreshing, it sucks to have to deal with airport or worse than airport security (that's you, lumi) when you're travelled across the world and paid quite a bit to have fun, have a good time, and honestly the risk level doesn't warrant over the top security
  • the festival being smaller in size (not in length) allowed for meeting the DJs more easily, which is always lovely
  • the attendees had a great vibe which of course made sense for a trance festival, but always feels great wherever you are around the world.
  • Thanks to the organizers, DJS and everyone who made the 6 days happen!

    More Photos/Videos

  • Day 2: https://photos.app.goo.gl/aaLEkR75EQW45u3P7
  • Day 3: https://photos.app.goo.gl/xNWSLEDa9ub8K6xTA
  • Day 4: https://photos.app.goo.gl/4ytVboJXa7MmRPgQ8
  • Day 5: https://photos.app.goo.gl/J5wB2dWtn9EsDwZv5
  • Day 6: https://photos.app.goo.gl/J2m8S38SYDAjQs869
  • IG stories if you're on a computer: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18074843200415712
  • IG stories if you're on a phone: https://www.instagram.com/s/aGlnaGxpZ2h0OjE4MDc0ODQzMjAwNDE1NzEy?igsh=MzRlODBiNWFlZA=
  • 2023/12/29 Early NYE Party: Rebooted - Trance Made in Sheffield
    π 2023-12-29 01:01 in Clubbing
    I was in Paris for the holidays, and unfortunately it's a wasteland for Trance. It's even hard to get good EDM there apparently. After asking around, I found out about a nice trance event in Sheffield, which wasn't super close, but Manchester is only a 90mn flight away from Paris and then 1h30 by train to Sheffield, not too bad. That's barely more than what it takes to drive across LA :)

    I was greeted by expected rain, but once indoors, I dried out quickly:


    I only brought part of my LED outfit, but still enough to add a bit of fun to the party :)
    I only brought part of my LED outfit, but still enough to add a bit of fun to the party :)

    I was there bright and early, things started at 15:00, the club was not huge but just big enough for the crowd and a great atmosphere
    I was there bright and early, things started at 15:00, the club was not huge but just big enough for the crowd and a great atmosphere






    Honestly the music was great from the very beginning, but when Scott Bond took the decks and then was joined by Biacan Blezard playing live violin over some of my favorite trance tracks, I literally melted. I cannot describe how good this was and my camera managed to capture a little bit despite the difficulties of recording loud sound:

  • 27:20: Push - Universal Nation
  • 36:30: Can't get no Sleep - Insomniac
  • 46:00: Lost Tribe - Gamemaster
  • [youtube:kISd29nupw0:1024x576:t=t=1639]






    Then Francesca Faye also sang live over a few tracks:



    And Craig Connelly took over for a 3H hour set fully of bliss:








    Lucky Craig had a long line of people for pictures after his set ;)


    The night was not over yet, 1 more hour:


    And then 4H after party at Record Junkee down the road:



    Definitely worth the trip from Paris, awesome night and great to meet the UK Trance fans.

    Full Video:

    More pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/mp3nHMz1NBZiJke29

    2023/11/25 Give Thanks Cow Palace
    π 2023-11-25 01:01 in Clubbing
    Last year, give thanks was in Sacramento, which was a long drive and had an issue with neighbours not liking the sound.

    The lineup had less trance this year, but eh at least Haliene was there, and the rest was mostly ok for me and my limited taste in other kinds of EDM, although yes, it had too much techno and hardstyle for my taste. But, it was at Cow Palace, much closer drive, and lasers!



    nice of them to have water, thank you
    nice of them to have water, thank you

    Nice main room, equivalent to the SJ Civic, or SF Bill Graham:


    cool LED helmets
    cool LED helmets

    then Haliene:







    Then more DJs:









    yes!
    yes!







    Video Summary:

    See more images for Give Thanks Cow Palace
    2023/11/24 Dreamstate Socal Afterparty at Public Works
    π 2023-11-24 01:01 in Clubbing, Tfsf
    Great time seeing a bit more of dreamstate a week later with a stellar lineup:
  • Alastair James
  • Rinaly
  • Daxson
  • Ciaran McAuley
  • Paul Denton
  • Plenty of people came and we had a great time:





























    cute overload
    cute overload





    Video summary:

    2023/11/17 A New Dreamstate Socal in Long Beach by Queen Mary
    π 2023-11-17 01:01 in Clubbing, Festivals
    New year, new dreamstate, new venue!

    beautiful
    beautiful

    Ok, so for the first time readers who haven't been to previous dreamstate socals, please go read this Dreamstate Socal 2022 in another tab to compare and contrast. Then what's below will make a lot more sense.

    Giving feedback/your own opinion/thoughts: please answer on:

  • this thread (facebook)
  • this thread on IG
  • So, the new Venue. Why the move from NOS to QM? Better or Not?

    I didn't expect that this topic would be so divisive, so it was very interesting to read everyone's feedback over multiple forums. While I know some people at Insomniac and they've also been super nice to me, for which I am ever thankful, I do not work there or have any inside knowledge on what drove the move, the decision for this year, and the apparent decision to stay there next year that was made before people were able to send their feedback for this year.

    So, I'm left to speculate and guess, like everyone, which I guess makes this a bit more fun :)

    Let's start with the obvious reason:

    "I'm on a boat, I'm on a boat, everyone look at me, I'm on an motherf'ing boat :)", SNL for the win :)

    Haha, so now that we have this out of the way :)

  • (+3) LA people prefer going to Long Beach than San Bernardino traffic-wise. For people flying in, it didn't matter unless you're flying in to LAX internationally in which case the drive from LAX is shorter to LB/QM. I just changed this from +1 to +3 to account for the fact that traffic from LAX to SB did really suck on fridays, even if it did not affect non locals that flew in directly to Ontario or SB (see below)
  • (+2) Some people said they were getting tired of NOS and liked the new location just because it was new. I personally liked stages and decors they did at NOS so much, and those did change yearly, that I honestly didn't mind going back to NOS, it felt like a very happy home despite the ghetto-ish looking area outside, but I'l try and be fair and still give it a +2 in favor of QM as well as credit the insomniac folks for trying something new.
  • ( 0) For people flying in, flying to Ontario or even a few direct flights to San Bernardino were about as good as flying to Long Beach
  • (+1) Overall people said SB was kind of a ghetto and felt unsafe. I feel that was over harsh, it doesn't look great, but I've walked back to hotels at night and never felt unsafe, never heard any gunshots, and honestly it felt safer than South Central LA that surrounds Banc of California. But most people disagreed with me, so LB wins this one
  • (-1): 02:00 curfew at NOS, 01:00 soft curfew at QM (it was really around 01:15 or so). People who pay attention will have noted that things started 1H earlier, and it was still dark enough to be fun for people like me, so we got the same amount of music at the main party, but especially on friday not everyone could get there as early at 15:00 to park, long walk or shuttle and get to the venue at 16:00 when it opened.
  • (-1) Hotels around the venue were not Cheaper in LB, probably more expensive overall. SB is not at nice and and more cheaper hotel options. LB has nicer hotels nearby, but they wre in the $300+/night range, which really adds up for people who aren't full of money.
  • (-1) People said it was far to parking lots/shuttles, SB was not much better. NOS has very closeby nearby premium parking, QM has none because the event took over the entire parking lot.
  • (+1): LB/QM has 2 good hotels that were walking distance in addition to the boat itself. SB/NOS had 3 hotels walking distance too, but they were very poor motels that are pretty ghetto, so LB/QM wins.
  • (-1) Staying on the boat is cool for those who were able to get room, but you couldn't park any closer than 2 miles away and had to take a shuttle to get to/from your car
  • (-1) Some people staying on the boat complained of non stop noise depending on their room location, since indeed the boat had 24 hours of music
  • (+2) for people on the boat, they were right onsite and could get in and out to their room during the event and after parties. I mean this is really a +100, but only for the few who could benefit from it, and iwth the caveats that in return they got noise when trying to sleep, had to park far away, and their luggage was subject to search before they could go to their room (long list of prohibited items, including not allowed to have certain foods or any alcohol in your room, which many cared about).
  • (-3) NOS in SB is just much bigger and has plenty of room for 7 stages or more as has been done during Beyond Wonderland. 4 Stages at QM really didn't fit well, the bridge to get to void was inconvenient and hard for people who can't do stairs easily, and the mandatory walk all the way around from void to dream was close to 15 minutes.
  • (-1): Due to the bridge to void, or the long long way around, LB/QM was less ADA friendly, unless there was some special ADA bypass in and out the event to get the short way across, but I didn't see one (actually I was told there was one, getting in and out of the event somehow, crossing the street in the middle, so I guess that's better than nothing, but the rest of us could not use that).
  • (+1) Having the real water in the background of the venue and the boat, even if it's ultimately an old tired boat, was still a better view than SB/NOS. At the same time I'm only putting +1 because the Insomniac crew can and does turn any venue into a magical place, so NOS really looks spectacular when they were done with it.
  • ( 0): Safety inside the event was similar at both venues. It felt safe in both places, except for the unfortunate phone thefts at both venues. Everyone really should use phone tethers now. I hope insomniac finds way to put traps for those assholes that ruin the nights of people who get pick pocketed.
  • ( 0): Temperature and Rain. Sure NOS was colder last year, but I looked up average temps for november in both venues, and they were mostly equal. I was also convinced that QM was more at risk of rain than SB, but I was wrong, for that time of the year, they are also mostly equal. The rain this year did suck though, especially in sequence that got deep puddles that swallowed my entire LED shoes, shorted them, and got my socks wet :-( It wasn't raining at SB when it was raining hard at QM this year, but apparently that was just luck or lack thereof and the tables could have been turned
  • (-1): Cell phone service: yes, different with different providers, but my own experience and anecdotal experience was that it was worse at QM. I do remember using group chats to sync and find people at NOS without issue several years back. Insomniac did offer wifi at some locations for VIP and Passport, but that coverage was limited.
  • (-2): NOS has at least 2 big indoor rooms (one was vision and another one I only saw used during beyond wonderland for a techno stage) that can be used for after parties. Those rooms are much bigger and better than the smallish rooms on the boat that were also quite hot and uncomfortable in m opinion.
  • (-1): Ghost stories about Queen Mary. It's not an issue for me, but some expressed concern about it, some think it's actually cool, and one person told me they had a not great experience in the boat related to that. That's all I'm going to say on the topic, but I guess I have to mention it for completeness
  • (-2): I'm sorry to have to say this, and I also know not everyone shares that opinion, so feel free to discard this point if you disagree: I really really liked the megastructure feel of dream and sequence at NOS. I don't have clear words to describe it, but that semi enclosed space with the lasers flying on to pf your head, and the sea of lights, pepole, dreamstate balllons and whatnot is such a magical feeling that I really missed this year. It could be brought back to QM in some way, but it won't fit as well as it did at NOS in my opinion, although I'll be delighted to be proven wrong. I'll also add that those exact words were given to me by multiple people, including DJs I asked, without my feeding them that answer.
  • (-1) I also missed the LED guys jumping on trampolines, it's an awesome show each time that we loved having at the end of the Dream megastructure
  • ( 0): Not venue related, but yes there was a lot more techno and hardstyle this year. I'm not going to say I'm a huge fan of either, but if they are weaved in and out of trance that I do like, I can be ok with them. And according to ASOT and Armin, techno is apparently the new trance, right? :)
  • Is it ok to say that I missed this?



    Winner? If you add my made up points, SB/NOS wins by 5 points. Yes, it's a biased and joke comparison, but I guess I was trying to show and pros and cons I found and heard. I understand that not everyone will agree depending on what they value.
    I personally really preferred NOS because it's much larger, I loved the megastructures, the shorter walk between stages, and it has 2 much better indoor rooms that can be used for afterparties. This seems irrelevant to write though since DS has already been confirmed to be in Long Beach next year, and there may very well be other reasons that made NOS unsuitable that we're not aware of. The new venue can work better for next year and be improved, especially if it's taken down to 3 stages for 3 days as I explain in the conclusion at the bottom of this report.

    I also need to be fair and point out that the Insomniac crew knows how to turn any space into something pretty. If it hadn't been for those leftover chargepoint chargers, it was hard to tell that you were in a big parking lot:


    Even the bridge to void which kind of sucked and was only one way, they made it pretty and really cool. Actually I really want to make a point here, many of you know me as my IG tranceledguy, so yes I know about LEDs, I know how those things are programmed since I built in my own from scratch, and I know that some engineer or engineers spent a significant amount of time decking out that bridge and making custom videos and patterns to scroll on it. This is where the insonniac crews really go above and beyond, they really f'ing care and have a bunch of overachievers :)


    For comparison, NOS may not be as pretty by default, but after the insomniac crew was done decking it out, it still looked stellar to me:





    New Grounds: Long Beach by Queen Mary

    Anyway, let's go back to the actual report.

    Main Festival Feedback

    New location, new backgrounds:




    It's pretty:



    While the venue was well decorated from an otherwise boring parking lot, and it was nice to have some pieces of burning man art:



    Burning Man people will recognize this awesome piece of art, great to have it
    Burning Man people will recognize this awesome piece of art, great to have it


    let's note that those vendors were on the void side which felt so far that they didn't feel worth walking back to unless you really wanted to go to void
    let's note that those vendors were on the void side which felt so far that they didn't feel worth walking back to unless you really wanted to go to void

    And yeah, the walk back from void to dream really sucked, including this tunnel that was crowded at times, and where people go their phones stolen :(

    First Time With Passport At Dreamstate!

    This year had passport at Dreamstate for the first time, and it was awesome, with its own DJ sets even. This is a big deal! For those who didn't know, Passport is an invite only club for people who buy a certain amount of tickets to insomniac events.








    VIP was nice too, and had some of the sparse seating people said was missing elsewhere:




    Security


    It was a bit weird due to the venue, you could enter two different ways, towards the main venue, or towards the void. Once you were in, you couldn't take the short away across due to no in and outs. This really felt unfortunate.
    Another point to note is that anyone staying on the boat did not have to go through security to enter the event. It was great for them, but that meant it relied on the boat to enforce festival level security, which was a bit weird (people staying there were rightfully upset they were not allowed to have alcohol or some other festival prohibited items in their rooms). I'm not sure what the right answer is on this front.

    Queen Mary and After Parties Feedback

    Queen Mary is realistically an old retired cruiseship, but it makes for nice pictures:


    Insomniac did their best to help people figure the place out, it was not very obvious:


    the map was needed, getting from Grand to/from Britannia was a long walk with many stairs
    the map was needed, getting from Grand to/from Britannia was a long walk with many stairs

    Nice views outside:



    There were limited food options on the boat, no alcohol at night due to lack of liquor license after hours, but insomniac made sure that people at least got water, which was nice:


    Bathrooms were more of a problem, in the worst case scenario (britanica), you had to go 1 floor up, across the entire boat, and then 2 floors down, and all the way back. That's over 10 minutes and a lot of stairs for tired people and some who had issues with so many stairs but didn't have an ADA wristband that would have allowed them to take an elevator. Something to improve for sure.

    But yes, it did look cool at night from Dream:


    Rain

    Yes it rain, drizzle on day 1, then it poured in the middle of the night during after party, so much the the place was still wet and muddy, especially in sequence on day 2.
    Day 2 was ok-ish until the last hour when it rained fairly hard, not really fun for most, but at least my outfit didn't short or catch fire :)


    I'll just state here for the people who didn't like NOS and SB, that it did not rain there while it was raining in Long Beach


    People

    Of course, a big part of what makes Us insomniac events so much fun is the people who are part of the party.

    It's also a good excuse to take Trancefamily pictures:






    Dreamstate Balloon
    Dreamstate Balloon










    Great to see my usual 4 dreamstate GFs :)



    So many DJs, thanks for taking pictures with me






    very cool chat with Boris from Electric Universe about his laser harp show
    very cool chat with Boris from Electric Universe about his laser harp show

    The truth is that Dreamstate is about the people, all of you! We would probably still have lots of fun in a safeway parking lot :)

    Day 1

    Anyway, this brings us to the Festival. Day 1 started bright and early with Miyuki at 16:00 and many of her fans made it to represent. It was impressive.

    Miyuki had lots of fans
    Miyuki had lots of fans
















    Day 1 Summary Video:

    Day 1: Queen Mary Afterparty




    it was awesome to see Blastoyz again, but sad that he had to play as 'secret guest'
    it was awesome to see Blastoyz again, but sad that he had to play as 'secret guest'


    Day 1 Afterparty Summary Video:

    Day 2

    After getting to bed after sunrise and having hotel breakfast as late dinner, plus repairs on my LED outfit that broke on day 1, arriving on time for day2 was more challengings and I totally missed the day parties. So, I started Day #2 with Somna, lovely set:












    Richard Durand at Vision was loads of fun even it meant I missed Craig vs FactorB:






    More psytrance at Sequence with Reality Test:



    Then the laser harp show from Electric Universe was very cool, especially for those who knew the origins from Jean-Michel Jarre:




    For comparison, that was Jean-Michel Jarre in 2017 at Berkeley with is laser harp dating from the 1980's:


    Fun fact about the Laser Harp, Jean-Michel Jarre's version is different and older technology he has used since the 1980's, and the internet says "t was patented in 1982 by the French composer Bernard Szajner, but the Australian Geoffrey Rose claims it was his invention and that he had taken out a provisional patent in 1975-1976".

    After that, it was time to see the end of Armin's set at Dream:



    By 01:00 and change, the actual dreamstate was over, and for the lucky ones who were able to secure after party tickets, it continued on the boat until 08:00:

    Day 2 Summary Video:

    Day 2: Queen Mary Afterparty







    it was starting to get late in the night, but great to see more from FactorB
    it was starting to get late in the night, but great to see more from FactorB

    Day 2 Afterparty Summary Video:

    After almost 40 hours, it was nice to see the sun come up a 2nd time, and walk back to the room for some much needed sleep:



    Sunrise!

    Aftermath and Conclusion: Should this not be 3 days and with a bit more sleep?

    For all the diverging opinions on the new venue, I think everyone will agree this event was unique:

  • Points to Insomniac for trying something new, whether it was required or not, and honestly a lot more things went right than what went wrong given how different it was for them, so thumbs up on the end result!
  • The lineup for what was supposed to be a 2 day festival, was absolutely insane
  • The after parties lineup alone was bigger than many main festivals
  • If you want to be technical, this Dreamstate was not a 2 day festival, but literally 40 hours long, non stop. It started Saturday at 16:00, ran until 01:00, after parties until 08:00, saturday day party until 16:00, main festival day 2 until 01:00, and more after parties until 08:00. 40 hours total with 3 to 4 stages during 32 hours out of those 40 hours, woot!
  • So yeah, people got tired, multiple complained about the lack of seating at the main festival, although it was easier to rest on the boat:




    poor technicians got close to 0 sleep
    poor technicians got close to 0 sleep

  • I smiled shen I saw some FB posts and comment of people complaining they were already 30, so they were not that young anymore, and needed more places to sit/rest :) Let's not talk about the OG Trance Ravers who are closer to 50, including many of our favorite DJs :)
  • My personal opinion is that it was too much in too little time. I realize that extreme FOMO due to all the great sets you are missing every hour while being there and trying to see it all, is probably meant to be part of the event, but I'll also say that in my opinion it's too much and not necessary to that level. 3 days would make it better.
  • Sure, the after parties allowed me to see some of the DJs I missed main sets on, at the expense of even less sleep, and that only worked for those who were able to get the limited after party tickets, and let's be honest again that the after party rooms were not great (hot and stuffy, inconvenient to get to, and with limited facilities)
  • So I'm going to ask questions that are at the same time suggestions:

  • If Dreamstate is going to stay at Queen Mary where the 4th stage (Void) really didn't fit with the bridges and long way around, and just added more conflicts, why not have it 3 days and 3 stages only?
  • For anyone thinking I'm crazy for asking for only 3 stages if we're stuck at QM and its smaller footprint, I'd like to point out that Dreamstate Harbor only had 2 stages, they were 3mn walk apart and I loved it. I had so much less FOMO, felt I was able to see a lot more, and the main issue was the midnight curfew and lack of afterparties. Having only 2 stages that were both so good that I still had a hard time picking between them, was more than plenty. Tell me if I'm crazy, but hopefully in that context, my 3 stages 3 day proposal is not that crazy.
  • I know you guys are all overachievers and always trying to do better, we love you for that, but I don't think we need to many artists conflicts and so many hours with so little sleep. My friend Niko started the day party on saturday at 08:00. I'm told he had 5 people attend his set. It's both sad and understandable.
  • Can we bring back at least 2 megastructures (sequence and dream), and it's ok if we leave vision as is, or if it becomes the new void and vision gets dropped?
  • Bonus points with megastructures, you can put some mesh that will let some wind through but block at least part of the rain
  • More lasers please. Everything is always more better with more lasers :)
  • Find a way to nail the pickpockets, please.
  • Can the cruiseship terminal structure be used as an indoor stage for afterparties?

  • If we have to use the Queer Mary for afterparties again:

  • bathrooms on all floors
  • more ventilation/temperature controls in the rooms. We were dressed for cold weather outdoors and got into stuffy and sweaty rooms
  • more food options, they were very limited
  • all elevators for all, please.
  • I'm not an alcohol person, but people who were were disappointed to have none due to liquor license on the boat. There may not be a fix to that.
  • The lighting and general production quality inside the Queen Mary felt poor on multiple levels. I'm not sure how much it's fixable but also a point that this boat is not really a great party boat, it's really an old and tired cruiseship, sorry if I have to state that. I also remember lighting in those rooms that was basically flashing spotlights into the crowd and blinding people dancing. Not sure if that's the best way to do it :)
  • Should you go? Would I go Back?

  • Despite the challenges with the new venue, the event still went really well overall and was a lot of fun. There are so many great things about DS and all of you coming and making it what it is, that it's hard not to have a great time. So it's another "hell yes"
  • I'll repeat again and again that all the staff truly cares and goes all out. It wasn't perfect but it went quite well considering, and again stuff like the LED bridge was far out. The getting around to void was a mess, and they made the back path 2 way half way through the festival, which was still a real time improvement.
  • Security was definitely nice overall, hopefully the event is still secure enough.
  • It was an insane event like I wrote already, it may not need to be that insane, I think 3 stages over 3 days would be better if we have to keep using that venue, but either way it was awesome again.
  • I'll give the same answer to "Is it worth flying across the world for?" If you like trance and you want a better production value than many european shows (not counting Tomorrowland and arguably untold), yes, it is worth going to. Only 2 days, but it's really good and the night decors and costumes are much better than what you'll find in Europe.
  • Yes, night and lights and costumes make festivals way more fun, if you disagree, I'm sorry :)
  • So much fun, 'till next time:


    2023/11/11 Tritonal 15 Years of Enhanced Music Tour at Midway SF
    π 2023-11-11 01:01 in Clubbing
    Another nice night at Midway with some good trance thanks to Farius, Morgin Madison and Tritonal:













    Video Summary:

    2023/10/22 Transmission Bangkok After-afterparty at Portal
    π 2023-10-22 01:01 in Clubbing, Thailand2023
    Transmission Bangkok posts:
  • Space Plus Bangkok - Transmission Pre-Party - Cosmic Gate
  • Transmission Bangkok Afterparty at Amnesia
  • Transmission in Bangkok
  • Transmission Bangkok After-afterparty at Portal
  • Sunday night, the day after Transmission and the first after party that ended around sunrise (or 04:00 for me, because I'm a quitter, haha), there was another after party at Portal. Portal was a night club at the top of a building, with a very nice view, and a really decked out LED setup, it was very nicely done.

    It went from 20:00 to 02:00, with more beautiful trance thanks to transmisison artists that stayed an extra day to play for us, thank you.









    First time meeting Stoneface and Terminal, great set it was
    First time meeting Stoneface and Terminal, great set it was




    Video Summary:

    2023/10/21 Transmission in Bangkok
    π 2023-10-21 01:01 in Clubbing, Festivals, Thailand2023
    Transmission Bangkok posts:
  • Space Plus Bangkok - Transmission Pre-Party - Cosmic Gate
  • Transmission Bangkok Afterparty at Amnesia
  • Transmission in Bangkok
  • Transmission Bangkok After-afterparty at Portal

  • I had only done one Transmission so far, and it was Transmission Prague 2019 in O2 Arena. I was beyond Epic!, so that set the bar high because it literally was the best indoor show I had ever seen.
    The location felt a bit weird, inside a convention center, and at first, I was going to go to the wrong room with another show:


    wrong place :)
    wrong place :)

    After walking around the building, got to the right place. The show started at 15:00, but since it was indoors, it was dark enough for me:


    swee lineup
    swee lineup

    Security was fairly thorough, and very intent on taking your unopened water so that you were forced to buy theirs inside, which is annoying to say the least. And not just that, but they also used some stpuid fake money rechargeable wristband system and they kept all the unused credits at the end. I honestly find that petty and insulting :(


    WTF, guys, please stop this fake money BS
    WTF, guys, please stop this fake money BS

    Thankfully they were not worried about my outfit, and I was able to secure a special wristband, just in case :)


    Another local thing I saw in Thailand was VIP is for peasants. They have Very VIP, and Super Very VIP :)



    Glad to run into friends and make new ones as always:

    thanks Marie for getting me to come here
    thanks Marie for getting me to come here






    Anthony was surprised to hear my voice on this side of the world :)
    Anthony was surprised to hear my voice on this side of the world :)

    And the best for last, Blastoyz!
    And the best for last, Blastoyz!

    The show production value was very good for what was otherwise a big empty room. Not to the level of the O2 Arena hat was much better equipped for this, but still about as good as you can make a show within such a space.









    lots of phones were watching the show :)
    lots of phones were watching the show :)




    The show started with Jonny B, a local who played nice trance at all the events I went to:



    Daxon was next, I met him at Untold, and he did great for both shows:




    Next Xijaro and Pitch played another great set with lovely remixes:




    Stoneface & Terminal came next:



    Cosmic Gate also did a nice set, different from their usual one:



    After that, we got Ferry Corsten as SystemF, a great trip back in memory lane:




    Marlo Tech Energy was a fun set, zero fucks given, and nice back and forth journey between Trance and Techno:


    look at all the phones :)
    look at all the phones :)

    did we have enough lasers? :)
    did we have enough lasers? :)

    nice fan club :)
    nice fan club :)

    After that, was Will Atkinson:


    going to the front was challenging, but went from time to time
    going to the front was challenging, but went from time to time

    And saving the best for last, Blastoyz got to finish the show, just last transmission Prague, and we got to enjoy his high energy beats and triplets. So much fun as always:




    And that was it, 9 hours, 15:00 to 00:00, lots of fun again.

    Video Summary:

    Should you go? Would I go Back?

    Transmission is festival that is single day and single room, so in that respect it doesn't compare with bigger festivals. Single room can actually be a plus in my book if it's packed with the best artists you can get, and that you like them. I sure loved their selection, so I didn't need more rooms full of conflicts and something ridiculous like ASOT Utrecht with 5 or 6 rooms where you are missing great stuff every hour.
    As for single day, if you could the pre and after parties, you could almost say it's 3 days, so that makes the trip more worth it. That said, is it really worth flying across the world, for (over 24H of flying for me)? I'd say probably not unless you have another reason to travel here, and that's easy to fix, I'm going diving nearby afterwards :)

    Back to transmission:

  • the room setup, lighting, and lasers were top notch
  • the story and transition between artists, was very enjoyable this time again
  • Security was "thorough", both because they worry about muslim terrorists apparently (over 6000 people killed by them in Thailand :( ), and are intent on making sure you don't bring water :( (tap water is not drinkable in Thailand)
  • I realize that too many countries in Asia do not have drinkable tap water and the culture is to use an endless amount of non recyclable plastic bottles that aren't recyclable and mostly end up in the great ocean plastic garbage pile, but offering water to refill from big water containers, would be super nice
  • I'm really annoyed by the fake money wristband BS, it's a waste of time, it's petty and just vexing, especially when they make it clear that they will keep left over money you didn't use. Charge what you need to charge at the entrance, and stop playing games, please.
  • All is all, it was a good show and worth going to if you can fly there reasonably easily, but Transmission Prague was a much nicer arena (vs a room in a connention center)
  • Conclusion

    This was my first festival in Asia, so that made it special. It was interesting to see different kinds of crowds, but at the end of the day, we're all trance lovers, and this unites us. Even though I was far from home, I felt right at home. Thank you.
    See more images for Transmission in Bangkok
    2023/10/21 Transmission Bangkok Afterparty at Amnesia
    π 2023-10-21 01:01 in Clubbing, Thailand2023
    Transmission Bangkok posts:
  • Space Plus Bangkok - Transmission Pre-Party - Cosmic Gate
  • Transmission Bangkok Afterparty at Amnesia
  • Transmission in Bangkok
  • Transmission Bangkok After-afterparty at Portal
  • Getting to Amnesia without public transport was a bit challenging, and the best way was to pay overpriced taxis that were negotiating very inflated set prices if you wanted to get out that night. Oh well.

    With "Amnesia", I was thinking about the Ibiza club I had seen, but it really only had the name. It was a pretty packed small club on mutiple levels, including levels behind a "don't go there" door :)
    Despite the packed rooms, we had good trance, good vibes and good fun :)













    Video Summary:


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