All photos used with permission of CRSSD Festival | Cover photo by Keiki Knudsen @imkeiki
I have two confessions to make – 1.) I’m a self-proclaimed Bass Head and 2.) I had a blast at CRSSD Festival. I went undercover to the Spring edition of CRSSD in San Diego, which is primarily a House and Techno festival. This revelation will shock my friends, but I didn’t sit down once this past weekend! Every muscle is currently aching, but I have zero regrets. The insatiable energy of the crowd was palpable and contagious. If you’re a House and/or Techno Aficionado, you must make the pilgrimage to CRSSD.
The Waterfront Park in San Diego is absolutely beautiful. Situated between the ocean and City Hall, the space is lined with palm trees and has lush grass to dance on. After sundown, City Hall is also dressed to impress; the CRSSD snake logos are projected onto the side of the building, with coordinating colored uplights for a very striking feature. I appreciate how they chose to celebrate and highlight City Hall since it’s part of the landscape. It also makes for wonderful photo backgrounds!
Fountains line one side of Ocean View and the Palms stages. Dancing in them is encouraged! Despite it being a little chilly and windy this year, I talked a friend into dancing in them with me. I’m told this is a CRSSD tradition, and it was definitely a highlight of my weekend. There are plenty of tasty food vendors to fuel you mid-set, and even more bars slinging craft cocktails and beers to keep you grooving all night long.
Each stage was genre-themed, which made it easy to plan out your schedule. They were categorized as follows:
- The Palms = House
- City Steps = Techno
- Ocean View = Live acts
I personally kept stage hopping to get a nice sampling of House, Techno, and live acts. (One of the headliners and my favorite) Bass-heavy, House-duo Gorgon City is the reason which I braved the unknown– I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to finally see them. I recognized a few other artists on the lineup, such as Lastlings, Cautious Clay, Chet Faker, Sofi Tukker, and Felix Da Housecat.
Gorgon City played a high energy set that surpassed my expectations. The delivery of banger after bass-infused house banger made this Bass Kitty ecstatic. They played a lot of their new album, “Olympia” and their set was absolutely transcendent. I could have danced to them for hours! A few of my absolute favorite songs/remixes were also featured, including “Someone to Love” by Ben Kim, “You’ve Done Enough” and “Imagination.”
Australian-based brother and sister duo Lastlings played their first US performance at CRSSD Fest, which made their set all the more special. We were serenaded by Amy’s ethereal voice surrounded by palm trees under the California sun. Her brother Josh played guitar and a third member played drums. Having live acts on the Ocean View stage was a lovely addition to the House x Techno stages. I highly recommend catching them the next time they’re in town!
Truthfully-I wasn’t sure if I’d like Techno, as I also had never seen it performed live. It turns out that I can get down to Techno in small doses. I really enjoyed Joris Voorn’s set. Though I don’t really have the proper vocabulary to describe how his set stood out, I know that I will definitely see him again. While I found other sets at City Steps incredibly repetitive and fairly intense, Joris mixed up the tempo and played with building up drops in a way that I hadn’t heard from that stage before. His set seemed almost playful in a way.
I caught the first half of Four Tet’s performance and was really impressed. He opened with a Drum and Bass track that immediately got my attention. The tempo change was music to my ears! Then, he dropped “Supersonic” by Skrillex and I thought I was hallucinating – Skrillex at CRSSD!? My silent prayers had been answered! He then went on to play a fun set, experimenting with unique sounds and tempos.
I was sad to leave Four Tet but wanted to catch Sofi Tukker. I walked up to the tail-end of a high-intensity remix of “Purple Hat” that was off the rails! Even from the very back, I could make out dancers doing the most on stage and lots of commotion. As the song ended, Sophie breathlessly said “wow, we just made a core memory–that was INSANE!” The rest of their set was tons of fun and high-energy. I appreciated how dramatic Sophie and Tukker were, from their precise on-stage choreography to their wardrobes and even set pieces on stage. They brought down the house with their unmistakable trademark energy and impeccable vocals.
Worth It? YES!
Ultimately, CRSSD was a weekend I won’t soon forget. If you’re serious about House and Techno, or even if you love live music like I do, you will have the time of your life. They host a Spring and a Fall festival -so perhaps I’ll see you this Fall?