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Festival Review: Escape Halloween 2016

escape-halloweenYes, I know its December and no longer October, but Countdown NYE is just around the corner! So here is my review on Escape Psycho Circus to get you pumped and ready for Insomniac’s next event. Not only will I be providing you with my in depth experience while I attended this event, but some tips just in case you are new to the rave scene.

Escape is held at the NOS Event Center in San Bernardino, CA. This event is rising in popularity since it is the last Halloween musical festival in California. Due to the positive responses of the past year, Pasquale Rotella the CEO of Insomniac Events, decided to bring back the theme of Psycho Circus for their 2016 festival. For the very first time they created an actual haunted house, that I unfortunately did not get a chance to experience.

Insomniac cares about their guests more than what most would expect and so here is what I have learned about them from my experience. Insomniac allows their guests to dress up, but does have a dress code that prohibits cultural appropriation. In my opinion that is fantastic that they are taking the time to be activists as well! Insomniac is one of the few event organizers who have begun to allow organizations, who inform event goers or better known by the rave scene as headliners, about drug use and some even offer testing kits. They are not encouraging drug use, but are trying to prevent individuals from taking stuff that is not what they bought or from overdosing. Insomniac as well, offers other safety and wellness services such as medical tents, free hydration stations, and Group Control. Group Control is a team of individuals wearing purple shirts and fanny packs; they walk around making sure people are okay and hydrated. There is a strong stigma that you need to be on drugs in order to enjoy these events, and instead of creating more restrictions or cancelling the events all together; they provide services to help people. This is part of what is known as the PLUR culture which I will get into later.

The minute I stepped into Escape, I felt like I was in wonderland! There were hundreds of thousands of people dressed in costumes surrounded by bright colorful lights and a beautiful lake in the middle of the event. There were carnival games, rides, food, and even a Ferris wheel. There were actors everywhere dressed in costumes in regards to theme of Psycho Circus. Wherever you were people were smiling and even checking up on strangers who seemed to be lost or ill. That was the beauty of PLUR culture, which stands for peace, love, unity, and respect. At these events you let go of everything and just enjoy the music and people. People wear bracelets known as Kandi, and trade them at these events. There is a specific set of hand gestures in regards to the acronym PLUR and after completing it you each trade a bracelet, necklace, mask, or any piece of jewelry you crafted out of colorful beads.

The stages were massive and the crowds were so large that I am not even sure how I managed to make it to the front of the main stage when I saw the Chainsmokers and Hardwell. If you were standing near the front of the stage, you were able to capture the musician who seemed like a spec on the stage and the performers infront of you dancing in Halloween costumes. If you were towards the back you were able to enjoy the visuals from the lights and the hand crafted totem poles in the crowd. You as well could jump in on the shuffle circles that were always seen towards the back. There was honestly no bad spot to stand and enjoy the performances. The music would just consume you and if you took a moment to look around you within the crowd you could see the pure joy and peace on others faces. There was no sense of judgment at all and it was very cool to see individuals expressing themselves outside of the gender binary. By that I mean men were dressed in what society would consider feminine attire or vice versa for women and instead of being ridiculed EVERYONE embraced them! That day was probably the greatest day of my life and I wish I could relive it over and over. I was able to see Armin Van Buuren, Benny Benassi, Borgore, Boombox Cartel, the Chainsmokers, Eric Prydz, Hardwell, Jauz, Martin Solveig, Zomboy, and my favorite Tchami! Festivals are seen to the public as places where people go just to do drugs, but it is so much more than that. It is a place where you can be yourself, people are kind no matter what, and everyone there is attending for the same reasons as you! TO ENJOY THE MUSIC! I highly encourage attending one of these events. It is life changing.

Here are some tips I gathered from asking other headliners and my own knowledge:

-Stay Hydrated! I highly suggest buying a water backpack.
-Take breaks! It gets very hot within those crowds and it is a full two day event.
-Have a meet up spot just in case ya’ll split up. Phones typically don’t get service.
-Carry a fanny pack to put your phone, keys, and wallet in.
-Make kandi and get into the PLUR culture! Tell people it is your first time!
-Make new friends and enjoy the music!!

I hope you all enjoyed this review and these tips. Make sure to check out my review next fall because I will be attending EDC Las Vegas! Keep it PLUR!

Reviewed By Justin Torres

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KCSC Internview: Jaclyn “DJ Jac Black” Blackwell

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DJ Jaclyn “Jac Black” Blackwell and her friends, Kiana and Laura in the KCSC broadcasting booth.

Jaclyn “Dj Jac Black” Blackwell is a veteran of the KCSC DJ staff in her third semester slapping the filthiest EDM beats from the broadcast booth in the basement of the Bell Memorial Union. Since finding her passion in blending her love for music and broadcasting at Chico State and interning at KCSC, Jaclyn is now an employee at the local Chico country radio station “103.5 The Blaze” where she continues to forge her own path in the music broadcasting industry. KCSC.com sat down with the senior media arts major to talk about her weekly EDM show “Back at It” that airs every Wednesday night from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

KCSC: What type of music do you usually play on your show?

DJ Jac Black: “I play EDM music. I usually play the lighter EDM in the beginning and get to the heavy dubstep and trap towards the end of the night. Get people pumped up!”

KCSC: What’s your favorite thing about working at KCSC?

DJ Jac Black: “I like the freedom that we have on the show. I like how I can play my favorite music, I actually really like being on the music staff and reviewing new albums each week.”

KCSC: Awesome. So you work at 103.5 The Blaze now, can you talk a little bit about what you do there?

DJ Jac Black: “I will work at events, like the Taste of Chico. That was pretty fun. But, when I work at the station, I will do on-air work, like voice tracks for commercials. I update their website and do a lot of random stuff too. But, I really like doing the voice tracks because I was on the radio one day, and (my manager) said he might be able to get me a on-air segment for a little bit, which would be awesome.”

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DJ Jac Black has been bumping EDM beats over the past three semesters of interning at KCSC Radio.

KCSC: Have you ever heard yourself on the radio yet?

DJ Jac Black: “Yeah, I get all my voice tracks sent (to me.) We always practice my different on-air radio voices, but when I’m at KCSC I just talk most of the time.”

KCSC: What are your favorite things about working in radio and broadcasting?

DJ Jac Black: “Just being around music. It’s just so exciting. During one of my shows last year I made a Facebook status telling people to listen, my friends from Los Gatos, Chico, and San Luis Obispo were texting me during my show and telling me I was doing awesome, I could not stop smiling and it was such a great feeling.”

Dj Jac Black checking out some vinyl before her show in the KCSC broadcast office.

Dj Jac Black checking out some vinyl before her show in the KCSC broadcast office.

KCSC: How did KCSC Radio help you get your job at the Blaze?

DJ Jac Black: “Actually, my major really did. But, it really helped that I had background in radio. One of my teachers told me to email three different stations about interning there, and The Blaze was the only that contacted me. And I got hired right on the spot (during the interview.)”

KCSC: Who are some of your favorite artists right now?

DJ Jac Black: “That’s really hard. For more filthy trap, I would say Yellow Claw. I really like Yellow Claw. Taking it down, probably What So Not and Flume. Flume is always great, a lot of stuff like that.”

DJ Jac Black will be graduating from Chico State this semester with her degree in Media Arts on her birthday, December 15th.

DJ Jac Black will be graduating from Chico State this semester with her degree in Media Arts on her birthday, December 15th.

Check out Dj Jac Black’s EDM show “Back at It” next Wednesday from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. during our final week of shows for the Fall semester of 2016.

KCSC writer and reporter Lars Gustafson can be reached on Twitter at @larsonsports.

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Album Review: NxWorries- Yes Lawd!

Artist: NxWorries

Album: Yes Lawd!

Label: Stones Throw

Release: October 21st, 2016nxworries-yes-lawd

Yes lawd! Those that are already familiar with Anderson .Paak know that his signature catch phrase is also the title to his joint collaborative album with Los Angeles based producer Knxwledge, and together these two form the powerhouse duo NxWorries. These two both possess their own style and vibe, but together their sound intertwines and becomes one: NxWorries.

Yes Lawd! combines elements from both parties on the album, taking Knxwledges smooth, jazzy samples with .Paaks soulful vocals, blending together meticulously and creating a fluid, R&B/Soul project, with plenty elements of hip-hop throughout. Although the album stands tall at 19 tracks long, Yes Lawd! Is only 49 minutes from front to back, including the intro, a few interlude-esq songs, and two tracks that stem from their Link Up & Suede EP from earlier this year.

Out of the 19 tracks from the album, a handful of them really stand out, one of those being “Get Bigger / Do U Luv”. This track is the perfect example to introduce someone who’s never listened to Knxwledge and Anderson .Paak before, as it illustrates exactly who they are, and where their styles lie. Packed with a groovy sample, harmonic vocals, and a laidback vibe, this defines NxWorries. “Lyk Dis” is another runner up that would be perfect for introductions to this duo. It shows .Paaks versatility to approaching music, as he takes more of a hip-hop approach, outshining plenty others that classify themselves as rappers. Nonetheless, the twos signature sound carries itself through every track on Yes Lawd!, never falling short on showing the listener who they are.

With Yes Lawd! being Anderson .Paaks second album of the year already, it clearly shows he won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Knx and .Paak seamlessly show just how well they work together, and how their styles truly complement one another. That being said, the album isn’t exactly perfect. Some of the tracks tend to get repetitive, looping the same sample throughout the song, and many of the songs almost seem to be ideas that never truly get to their destination, and stop halfway. Nonetheless, Yes Lawd! is a great album that deserves commemoration from both parties that truly put together a great collaborative project.

Review by Terren Husges

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