CRSSD Festival Day 1 Highlights: Zhu, The Flaming Lips, Jamie xx & More

Skyler Greene
CRSSD Festival

CRSSD Festival, a joint venture between Goldenvoice and FNGRS CRSSD, returned to San Diego’s Waterfront Park on Saturday, Oct. 10. After selling out its inaugural edition in March, the event appeared in top form for its second go-round.

FNGRS CRSSD and Goldenvoice Launch New CRSSD Festival in San Diego

Backdropped by the near-paradisiac setting of downtown San Diego’s skyline and bay, Day 1 of the festival hosted The Flaming Lips, Jamie xx, Zhu and more. With unfaltering sunshine and some serious talent across its three stages, the first day epitomized the appeal of the crossover electronic event. Billboard takes you through the sweat-stained revelry of the first day of CRSSD.

3:30 p.m.: It’s 96 degrees. A growing mass of attendees swell toward the entrance to the festival. Crowd control is in full effect as ticket buyers wait patiently under the blistering San Diego heat. In the distance, the thump of Australia’s Golden Features is just audible.

4:30 p.m: The City Steps stage, home to CRSSD’s house and techno contingent, sits in the middle of the park to a backdrop of the prodigious County Administration Center. Dirtybird’s youngest player, Justin Jay, nails the daytime vibe, dropping classics like Lipps Inc.’s “Funky Town” as inflatable bananas bounce over the crowd.

5:20 p.m.: Over at The Palms stage, Goldroom and Le Youth are performing one of the many B2B sets of the weekend. The bay breeze provides some much needed relief as the sun begins to dip over the ships on the horizon. Disclosure’s “Holding On” proves the perfect soundtrack for the moment; no remix needed.

6:18 p.m.: Gallant -- the first artist to sign to Zhu’s Mind of a Genius label --- struts the main stage dressed in all white clothing. His performance culminates with “Weight in Gold,” the breakout summer single that earned him remixes from the likes of Sweater Beats, Ta-ku, ATTLAS and more.

7:08 p.m.: With sunset in full effect, Bob Moses enamor the crowd with new cuts from their debut album Days Gone By. Smoke blankets the stage as Tom Howie’s bluesy vocals reach out from the fog over the heavily swung house beat of “Tearing Me Up.”

Bob Moses Discusses Debut Album ‘Days Gone By’ & The Intersection of Dance Music and Songwriting

8:00 p.m.: Simon Green delivers a hypnotic DJ set under his Bonobo moniker. Moving from stirring downtempo to smooth deep house, Green delights the City Steps audience with his eclecticism. “Cirrus” pleasantly blends the two styles as fans rejoice in the cooling air of the night.

8:30 p.m.: Back on the main stage, the largest crowd of the night is gathering in anticipation of Zhu’s set. A plane takes off in the background as the stage slowly comes to life. Hidden behind a screen, the enigmatic producer begins with an ode to The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.” Eight minutes later, in an unexpected move, Zhu incorporates Maceo Plex’s 2012 jam “Frisky.”

9:13 p.m.: After suspending the crowd with Pink Floyd-like psych rock, Zhu teases out the intro to “Faded.” The Grammy-nominated single enraptures the audience, bringing the crowd together in cheerful unison.

9:20 p.m.: Disco royalty is in the house as Giorgio Moroder performs from the City Steps stage. Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff,” the Moroder-produced single from 1979, emblazons his cross-generational appeal as fans of all ages jive to the disco classic.

10:16 p.m.: Jamie xx is a DJ’s DJ, and his mastery of the craft is on full display for his closing set from The Palms stage. The UK producer is rightfully experiencing his moment in the sun in the wake of his debut album In Colour. A well-executed backspin into “Loud Places,” featuring Romy from The xx, has the crowd swooning in delight.

10:35 p.m.: “If there ain’t no heaven, maybe there ain’t no hell.” The ever-existential Wayne Coyne lends some philosophical flavor to the Flaming Lips’ headlining performance. As the slow psychedelica of “Vein of Stars” washes over the crowd, Coyne enters his signature bubble before walking out among the sea of people. Costumed animals dance around the stage, adding to the entrancing sense of fantasy enacted by the show.