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These Are the 10 Best Musical Moments of CRSSD Spring 2020 Featuring Gesaffelstein, Justin Jay & More

Gesaffelstein
Felicia Garcia

Gesaffelstein

Bringing in Southern California’s festival season since 2015, CRSSD Festival has become a staple among four-on-the-floor fans from the region, and with good reason, too. While characteristics such as the venue and layout have remained largely the same, in its sixth year, CRSSD has also evolved.

Taking place at San Diego's Waterfront Park the weekend of March 7-8, the most recent iteration of CRSSD saw slight but powerful upgrades to sound and stage design, with carefully placed set times allowing attendees to enjoy the full scope of the lineup.

In total, 15,000 dance fans flocked to CRSSD each day. Some were first-timers; others were eleventh-timers. But all enjoyed the hard work from event promoters FNGRS CRSSD, who once again demonstrated why their event is a major contender on the national dance scene.

Here are the 10 best musical moments of CRSDD Spring 2020.

Lee K

This San Diego native has attended all 11 CRSSDs, with this edition being her eighth time playing. Needless to say, Lee K has a special relationship with this festival, and that relationship showed through with every techno drop she conjured during her set. Dark beats when the sun’s out is always an interesting combination, but she combined them expertly, setting off day one in proper fashion.

Audion

Matthew Dear’s live set is always a sight to behold. And the word “sight” is key here, because as he crafts new sounds from modular synthesizers, his body morphs and contorts in ways comparable to Hendrix mid guitar solo.

Sacha Robotti

A new standard among house and techno festivals that goes against the culture’s founding principles is the prevalence of 60-minute DJ sets. Ask any veteran selector, and they’ll say that an hour is insufficient to provide a true impression of their style.

Yet through this confinement, an hour-long set can also demonstrate a DJ’s skill. If a DJ can still take listeners on a journey, guide them through multiple genres, and inject their musical identity all within an hour, then that DJ is truly gifted.

Los Angeles-based DJ Sacha Robotti accomplished all these feats. Robotti entered the SoCal zeitgeist under the Dirtybird umbrella, and he paid homage by starting his set with “Waddaday” from Claude VonStroke’s latest album before pivoting to his own Robosonic-style techno and then to engrossing acid house.

2manydjs x Brodinski

This was the best set of the weekend, and not just because of the titanic track selections. Since its inception, CRSSD has always thrown in special back-to-backs, bringing together artists who either share deep chemistry or seasoned history. This was such a back-to-back, and what these two acts shared was the latter.

The Dewaele Brothers were long-standing mentors to Brodinski once he started making a name for himself in his native France and beyond. Brodinski has cited them as two of his earliest inspirations, and together, the trio delivered on that style in full force, bouncing from Chemical Brothers edits of “Hey Boy, Hey Girl” to Green Velvet classics such as “Lazer Beams” to Brodinski originals including “Hector” with seamless precision.

I Hate Models

Coming off an extended warehouse set in L.A. the night before, I Hate Models adjusted his output for the time and space he was provided at CRSSD. A real DJ won’t treat a 75-minute set on an outdoor stage like a four-hour set in a dark, sweaty room, nor will they sacrifice any of their passion if they’re in a different setting or have less time to play. Throughout the set, it was thus only masterfully curated high-tempo techno rocking the speakers.

Gesaffelstein

Gesaffelstein has played CRSSD in the past, but only as a DJ. This time he returned with his full live show, mirrored mask and all. While his 2019 LP, Hyperion, had some extra pop influence via vocals from artists such as The Weeknd, his live performance was nothing but the grueling, engrossing beats contained within his debut album Aleph and his recent EP Novo Sonic Sound System. It was a premier way to close out day one.

Charlotte De Witte

Whenever an artist rises through the ranks with the speed and potency of Charlotte De Witte, one is always left wondering if that ascension is based on pure talent or rather some other aspect of their profile. In De Witte's case, it is undeniably her talent. Hers is a kind of ability that revives the passion of a jaded techno veteran and turns a skeptic into a fan. To see an artist at the beginning of their career draw from the entire oeuvre of techno history proves De Witte will stand the test of time.

2manydjs Live

Just a month before the festival, CRSSD made the deflating announcement that Soulwax would not be able to perform due to production delays. Luckily, the brothers were still able to make the trip, and even luckier, they have a live show separate from their DJ set that filled the open slot. Pairing animated visuals of album artwork with their track selections, the brothers once again dazzled the crowd with their diversity.

Prospa

Overlapping with Carl Cox at any event is a tall order, but also an opportunity for an artist to prove themselves. Prospa did just that. While Cox's set was filled with bodies, Prospa’s dance floor was fluid and open, giving everyone a chance to dance their hardest. The Leeds-based duo has been around for just three years, but their infectious break-beat style landed them a prime slot at CRSSD, and the set they played gave them license to return for the next event.

Justin Jay

Justin Jay followed Prospa while Cox was still going, so he inherited the same energy for his closing set and subsequently took it to another level, launching into hard-hitting tech house set against his own rap edits. Those who have observed Jay’s career have seen it expand into different areas of music such as his live band project and his label Fantastic Voyage, but he broke into the scene DJing via house. As he closed out CRSSD, his passion for the genre was palpable.

Festivals 2020


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