Review and Photography By Mitch Tilley
Leaving America can be an exciting endeavor, but it is even more exhilarating when the trip is for your first international EDM festival. From the moment I walked off the plane, I knew this weekend would be one of the most epic trips I have ever experienced. During the car ride to Day 1 of EDC Mexico, I had this sense of uneasiness because I was so unsure what to expect at an international festival. Would anyone speak English? What will the food be like at the festival? Do any of the locals trade kandi or wear costumes for festivals? Before we parked, I remembered a phase my high school professor used to tell me, “Participate, don’t anticipate”. At that moment, I let go of what I was expecting and opened my mind. Mexico City felt like home because so many people were there for one reason regardless of their differences…..music.
Day 1 was such a sensory overload because there were so many things to see. After dropping our stuff off at the Skydeck table we reserved, we hung up our Texas and Colorado state flags before exploring around the festival grounds. There was about an hour and half before Kayzo started, so I wanted get my bearings before the bright, red skyline became dark to let EDC Mexico come alive with lights, fireworks, and mind-blowing lasers. After exiting the Skydeck near Kinetic Field, I stumbled upon the infamous ball pit that everyone told me about at EDC Las Vegas. This is the first part of EDC Mexico where I let my inner kid out; however, don’t let those little plastic balls fool you because that pit is quite deep and it eats childish adults alive, slowly. EDC took it one step further to fuel my inner kid by putting up large chalkboard for people to write positive messages for everyone to see.
After running around like a teenager for a bit, I finally made it to Kayzo’s set at the post apocalyptic Wasteland stage. I previously had seen his set at Stereo Live in Houston, TC a few months earlier, but he definitely changed it up for his EDC Mexico set. Kayzo opened up with his song “Avalanche (ft. Dylan Matthew)”; however, it was the acoustic version which I absolutely loved. From there, Kayzo dropped a ton of older songs I hadn’t heard live in a while, such as “Levels” by Avicii (Skrillex remix, of course), “Save the World” by Swedish House Mafia, and so on. Kayzo won me over with his set immediately when he dropped his and Gammer’s remix of Porter Robinson’s song “Language”. I got so lost in Kayzo’s set that I almost forgot to go back to Kinetic Field to watch my personal favorite, Seven Lions.
With the sun finally setting, I rejoined the squad back at Kinetic Field for Seven Lions. Before the set start, the official EDC Opening Ceremony transformed the festival over from day to night with flame throwers, tons of fireworks, and hype music. Shortly afterwards, Jeff Montalvo (Seven Lions) opened with psytrance to get the crowd warmed up for an unforgettable set. The buildup of energy was so intense when he played Tiesto’s “Adagio for Strings” and then immediately transitioned on the drop to his song “Cusp” with perfectly timed fireworks. Jeff also dropped Porter Robinson’s song “Language” like Kayzo did, but played the Tommy Trash remix (my personal favorite). Since a little bass never hurt anyone, Jeff transitioned into “Lights” by Ellie Goulding (Bassnectar Remix) and then finished off the crowd with melodic dubstep using his song “Worlds Apart (feat. Kerli)”. I’m not going to lie; this song gets me in the feels every time because when I hear it nothing else matters. For a few moments, I let go of everything and just let the melodic tones engulf me for an amazing, yet intimate journey with Jeff. Before closing out Day 1, I made sure to check out the other stages like Neon Garden, Dos Equis, Upside Down House, and the Boombox Art Car. I made a rookie mistake at my first EDC Las Vegas by only going to stages for DJs I wanted to see. I stumbled upon Jaime Jones at Neon Garden and found his set quite fantastic for the few moments I caught.
Day 1 was absolutely mind blowing despite my initial nervousness and Day 2 couldn’t have come any quicker. Since we forgot a group photo on Day 1, our massive 20-person, international crew did a squad photo at the beginning of Alan Walker’s set at Kinetic Field before the hair and makeup started to get re-oriented from so much head banging. In all seriousness though, our crew was comprised of some of the most amazing ravers I have ever met. If I hadn’t met my best friend, Ganz, almost 1 year ago at Ultra Music Festival (2016), none of this weekend would have ever happened like it did.
Boombox Cartel was on the top of my list for Day 2 artists. Earlier this year, they made a post of an entirely black photo on Instagram with the caption “until next time”. The internet freaked out after Boombox posted on Instagram and began discussing the finer points of what it could mean over Reddit. Some speculated that the duo were going dark until a new album or EP released, but no one knew for sure. Regardless of the post, their EDC Mexico set was absolutely amazing. To kick off their set, they hyped the crowd up with their song “Jefe” and everyone lost their bananas when Boombox played “Mosh Pit (feat. Casino)” by Flosstradamus. I have never seen a crowd go so hard during a mosh pit and people helped anyone that fell to the floor. They even satisfied my inner dubstep fangirl by dropping “Get with the Program” by Zomboy, “Scary Monsters and Nice Spirits (Yookie remix)” by Skrillex, and “Deep in the Night” by Pegboard Nerds and Snails. While Boombox Cartel completely surprised me for the time I was there, I had to head back to Kinetic Field for W&W.
W&W is one of the artists that I don’t catch very often so I made sure to see their full set since I had seen Boombox Cartel a few months earlier. For their opener, W&W decided to play their fun, yet tropical song “Caribbean Rave” to prep the crowd for an amazing set. The majority of the set consisted of big room and electro house, with tracks from Demiti Vegas & Like Mike, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Hardwell, Ummet Ozcan, and Zedd. W&W threw in a little trance into the mix with ”Great Spirit” by Armin van Buuren and “Sandstorm” by Darude; however, they played the Mark Sixma bootleg’s of “Sandstorm”. “Runaway” by Galantis was a crowd favorite and transitioned well to their song “Bowser” with Blasterjaxx for closing out their set. I am super excited to catch their local set here in Houston, TX at Stereo Live on March 10th even though I saw them play a little over 2 weeks ago in Mexico City.