This past March 14th & 15th marked the inception of a new Southern California festival gem. Setting a tone for the future of San Diego electronic music shows, the FNGRS CRSSD team (normally stationed out of Bang Bang) left no detail untouched and seamlessly executed the production. Virtually every human I ran into was having the time of their lives and such high vibes – this, alongside a jaw-dropping location made for the weekend of a lifetime.

Even though it was CRSSD Festival’s initial showing, you wouldn’t have been able to guess it. The seven person team behind San Diego based FNGRS CRSSD partnered with festival veteran, Goldenvoice (Coachella Stagecoach) to put on an event unlike any America’s finest city has ever seen. A playful mix of palm trees, sun light, high-waisted shorts and man-buns infused the distinct San Diegan vibe into the surroundings, while the tropical beats and buttery bass transported attendees to a world of their own.

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A view of the Live (Main) Stage, from the fountains. Photo: Kevin Serrano

At first we really didn’t know what to expect –  after finding ample parking downtown, we began our journey and ventured a few blocks over to the Waterfront Park. After a short line, I was immediately greeted by an expansive area of lush grass, shaded stage areas, good looking people, huge pillows (that people seemed to claim and walk around with for the rest of the day), several fountains, and three very well thought out stages.  It was as though I’d left San Diego and had been immersed into a Treasure Island Music Festival & Coachella combination of sorts – but better.

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The Palms stage. Photo: Kevin Serrano

Wedged in between the edge of the glimmering Pacific and the City Administration building, the venue provided the perfect opportunity to get creative with stage placement and planning. Closest to the entrance lay the sprawling Palms stage with with an umbrella lined overhang to the right and left of center stage. Personal highlights at the Palms for me included Odesza, Flight Facilities, Goldroom, Lido and Jamie Jones b2b Seth Troxler . Directly on the back of the Palms lay the location of the All Gone Pete Tong Stage (#AGPT) – including the likes of Lee Burridge, James Murphy, J.Phlip & Lee K.

I went from stage to stage trying to find Carmada. I was supposed to be catching Skrillex’s favorite Australians before our interview, but they were no where to be found. I was alerted by a small vibration in my pocket and pulled out my phone only to find a message that read “we missed our flight, mate.” But don’t worry we’ll be having a bite to eat with them in Miami, live streamed to you guys directly on our Twitter.

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All Gone Pete Tong Stage #AGPT. Photo: Kevin Serrano

Seeing as many had never been to the newly renovated Waterfront Park in San Diego before this weekend, all attendees knew FNGRS CRSSD was prepared to make effective use of their time. Out the back of the City Steps stage and past a long row of shooting jets comprising the fountain lie the main stage, Ocean View Live. Utilizing the beauty of the cityscape itself, planes could be seen gently landing behind the glow of the signature CRRSD LEDs (pun intended) hanging on either side of the live act. Need I mention the sunset each night was absolutely epic?

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The most energetic and sexy stage performance of the weekend, Goldroom. Photo: Kevin Serrano

With the tropical feel of The Palms stage, the hard hitting beats of the All Gone Pete Tong Stage and of course the Live Stage (with only live music, hosted by KCRW DJ Jason Bentley) it was hard to find something that you couldn’t groove to. The first act we caught was Goldroom, performing at the Live Stage. Knowing just a little about Josh’s project, I was instantly transported into a musical heaven as the slow female vocals drifted through the sound-waves. The vocalist’s angelic voice was reminiscent of Sarah (Lead Singer, Phantogram), inviting us into the bliss of the tracks with her.

Next on our list was Klangkarussell (Austria) and Amtrac (USA). The duo composing Klangkarussell hit us with some groovy future and deep house. Complete with Tiga’sBugatti” and a few other extra funky tracks, we got a kick out of these Aussies. Post Klangkarussell, we made the short journey (literally 20-25 steps) to the #AGPT (All Gone Pete Tong) Stage for the commuters favorite, Amtrac. This sent one of my friends into a frenzy as he literally thought all of his friends were leaving the festival and heading to the train station. I quickly educated my wildly confused companion on the Kentucky native and we got down to his mellow jams. Check out his latest White Light mix for some sample material.

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Thomas Jack at The Palms Stage. Photo: Kevin Serrano

After a brief venture back to The Palms stage, we caught the true tropical master – Thomas Jack. Well folks, Thomas Jack is the new go-to and for a good reason – the kid has managed to put out a very specific blend of tropical house through his originals and remixes . He played a very proper two hour set, and while we were in & out, we did manage to catch him play an epic Santana remix. If anyone knows where to find this track, let us know!

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Classix (Live) at the Live Stage. Photo: Kevin Serrano

The rest of the day consisted of legend Pete Tong (the worlds foremost authority in dance music), LA duo Classix (Live) and Charles Yin Yin, known to his fans as Giraffage. Having seen the later two artists at various times in the past, we’d like to note the progress Giraffage has made in the scene. Last time we caught him, he was playing an opening set for University of California: San Diego’s Sun God Festival.
We also managed to catch Los Angeles based Anabel Englund and the rest of the Hot Creations crew serenading an exceptionally large and entranced audience – her voice alongside the production value of MK & Lee Foss was a treat both the first night and the following day at their show as Pleasure State.

 


 

Day 2:

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Trippy Turtle at The Palms Stage. Photo: Kevin Serrano

On the second day we arrived just in time for young Trippy Turtle’s performance at The Palms, this reptile had everyone vibing to his bed squeaks and nasty trap beats. While he must have been extremely hot in his turtle shell, he didn’t let it show. After catching this fellow at Snowglobe, I knew to expect his signature sound overlaid with tons of hip-hop and rap. He delivered, as expected.

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Viceroy getting after it during his b2b set with The Bixel Boys. Photo: Kevin Serrano

Post Trippy, same stage – Bixel Boys b2b Viceroy. Playing a 4pm-5pm set, the sun was just beginning to drop while these three gentlemen dropped pop disco like it was the 90s. The time that each has spent in this wonderful city became evident as they knew exactly what to play to the San Diego crowd. Dropping the likes of Janet Jackson, we felt like we went back in time for an hour. Watch the full set here.

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Lido, complete with dual keyboards, drum pad, etc. Photo: Kevin Serrano

While everyone was dancing about, we made our way over to the Live Stage to catch the multifaceted Norwegian producer, Lido. Playing the keyboard, a drum pad and even doing his own vocals – my jaw dropped. I truly had no idea how versatile this kid really is. With tons of sampling, his originals, and a few remixes, his set was the most underrated of the weekend.

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Brooke Addamo & Flight Facilities killing the Live Stage. Photo: Kevin Serrano

Next up on the Live stage was Flight Facilities – the Australian duo had Brooke Addamo on vocals, and started off slow with an electronic 10-0 countdown (it was very appropriate). Letting the crowd know it was their first time in San Diego, they brought out all sorts of goodies. Multiple singers, live covers of songs like “Get Free” and even a male vocalist (didn’t catch his name). I must say the highlight of this set was “Crave You,” hearing this track the way it’s meant to be sung was special.

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Odesza commanding the Live Stage. Photo: Kevin Serrano

Knowing that Seattle natives Odesza would be taking the live stage soon, we wanted to ensure ourselves a solid spot in the crowd. As Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight took the stage, the crowd went wild. They started their performance off with the first few tracks of their Summer is Gone EP. It reminded me of their KEXP performance. But if you really want to get a feel for their set listen to the first few songs of the whole EP here. I just can’t get enough of that Early BBC Radiophonics: Private Dreams & Public Nightmares (1957) intro they used as the intro to their Summer is Gone EP, as well as their set that night.

With the guys in separate booths, live synchronized drumming and heads bumpin’ the whole time – this was the Odesza set we had been waiting for. It was incredible. It’s just such a rare sight to see two people seem more in their natural environment. Their set also featured the most spectacular visuals of the entire weekend, with natural landscapes, city settings, and an almost aurora borealis-like images projecting in and out. We managed to see quite a few sets throughout the weekend, but few where the audience clapped after almost every song. It was remarkable. It truly showed the talent the duo are bringing to the table(s). They ended their set with their remix of  “Faded” and a trap inspired track that still had everyone asking for the ID. Be sure to scope our interview we had with them as well.
All in all, CRSSD was a phenomenal festival, executed to perfection. With a few minor sound issues on main stage the first day and a large-line for media  & liquids being the only qualms I found when reading other reviews, I’d say CRSSD Fest is sure to be ingrained in the San Diegan dance culture for years to come!

Thanks for taking such awesome pics: Kevin Serrano

Watch more live sets from MixMag here.

Check our FNGRS CRSSD here.