As my fellow companions and I road-tripped from Denver, Colorado Thursday night to arrive at our destination for Seismic Dance Event in Austin, Texas, I began considering which angle to take on my post-coverage article. A visit to Austin, mostly known for being the live-music capital of the world, tacos for days, kickin’ BBQ food, and southern flare with nothing but a friendly atmosphere to encompass its visitors was just what the doctor ordered. After much thought and the experience of a techno and house heavy weekend that I will cherish for many years, the main theme runs strong… the cathartic effect these few days had on everyone was apparent and will continue to vibrate strongly in our souls for quite some time to come.
On Saturday, November 16th, with a promise to shake the underground music scene, Austin locals and electronic music connoisseurs from all over the country united to attend the highly anticipated Seismic Dance Event 2.0, held at the Austin American-Statesman right in the heart of downtown Austin. Andrew Parsons and Kelly Gray, the creative minds behind and founding parents of RealMusic Events, put together a legendary lineup of top-tier house and techno artists from global headlining acts and underground aliases such as TESTPILOT, Cirez D, Justin Martin, Chris Lake, and Gorgon City – just to name a few.
The Austin American-Statesman was buzzing as festivalgoers filled in to start day one of our long 12-hour dance marathon due to no re-entry. The beautiful Tsunami stage had the Austin cityscape as a backdrop, hosting mainly house DJs such as Nora En Pure, Prok | Fitch, Gene Farris and MK, while the indoor volcano stage delivered impeccable, deep, dark and sweaty warehouse vibes hosting acts such as Ellen Allien, Idris Elba, Bicep and i_o. The Realm (Sunken Garden) allowed a large collection of local and smaller artists to soar, some of whom are personal friends of ours; Mass Appeal and Shep were among a few we were stoked to see electrify the dancefloor.
The first favorite set of the weekend was Nora En Pure. She always delivers pure, sweet, organic sounds and uplifting vibes. My absolute favorite set of day one was i_o. Standing on stage watching this mysterious, enigmatic creature doing what he does best was truly exhilarating for me as I distinctly remember thinking, “Fuck, If I could pick a happy place anywhere in the world, this would be it.” He invited us all into a high energy techno therapy session that left my heart hypnotized and melting. The intimate venue was a perfect space to rekindle and form new friendships with all sorts of ravers and artists alike. It was a prime example of how a community is formed and strengthened through none other than pure talent and high-quality attendees.
The only mishap the event came across was towards the end of day one – fire marshals forced the crowd to a halt to ensure flow of traffic was at a moderate pace between the indoor Volcano stage and the outdoor Tsunami stage once the music at Tsunami ended. Many festivalgoers had to head home due to chilly conditions as we waited in the cold, eager to be let inside to catch deadmau5‘s techno alias TESTPILOT. Despite that being one of the only minor issues, the positive experiences at Seismic still outweigh the negatives by far. And with a team like Andrew and Kelly, there was a seamless solution for nearly every bump in the road, which made going into and enjoying the second day flawless.
Making our way into day two, we were looking forward to reliving classic moments that we all love. Starting with Justin Martin, who had us teleporting straight into rousing Dirtybird Campout vibes that had me stuck in undiluted nostalgia. Running directly from Jmart into MK, my heart was ricocheting inside my chest. MK had such an intoxicating, loving vibe coming at us with original bangers closing his set with an all-time favorite, “17,” which possessed the entire crowd to sing at the top of their lungs and pick up their feet. From bubbly MK to the dark grooves and soul-stirring house that Gorgon City threw at us, I couldn’t imagine a better way to close out the Tsunami stage for the final night.
Upon moving from our bouncing house-music stage and into the dark techno dungeon, we headed right into a curated Euro-vibe by none other than Eric Prydz’s alter-ego Cirez D. We finished up our night with Bicep, who threw down a slamming techno set, closing with an uplifting mix of their top song, “Glue”. Witnessing Bicep in the U.S. is quite a rare treat, and had us all feeling the cleansing of negative energy being destroyed by music that can unite anyone and everyone from all walks of life.
This weekend left us all with pounding techno music in our heads and energy that will vibrate for weeks and months to come. Not to mention that we’re still washing the sweat off our bodies days later. I believe that this setting has provided not only me, but everyone else with a sense of self-actualization and rejuvenation to get back to the real world and crush our goals. RealMusic Events shined bright and proved they can promote evolution within the ATX music scene as well as throw an elite, boutique festival with top-tier production, sound and lighting. Without a doubt in my mind, I will be making my way back next year to attend Seismic Dance Event 3.0 to witness the progression 2020 provides and experience another banging, underground warehouse event. Hope to catch you there!