Well, it's the end of October and we're just finding time to write this post! What a summer it's been for PK in the States!
We kicked off festival season in May with Camp Question Mark's Emissions festival, where DJ Shadow played on our sound system for the first time and really stole the show. He performed remarkably, throwing down all sorts of genres and transitioning seamlessly. Other festival highlights include performances by fellow Canadians, such as Ill Gates, Stylust Beats and Pigeon Hole.
With some downtime in late May, we were able to help with some last minute technical and production details for the new Destroid project, which performed its debut show at the iconic Warfield Theater in San Francisco. Destroid is really bringing something new to the performance side of electronic music, having developed an entire back-story in comic book form prior to putting on a live show. It was a privilege to participate in the process of incorporating this performance narrative into a technical stage production, which includes a host of special effects and crazy alien suits, on top of the more standard A/V aspects. Destroid is definitely worth checking out.
PK was on board to do sound for the third year at Lighting in a Bottle, which was spectacular as usual. Great production coupled with piles of art installations, silent disco, late night bingo, carnivalesque performances everywhere you turn, and of course a stellar music lineup, make this one of my favorite events of the year. Each night after sunset the crowd filled the Lightning Stage, which was furnished with a 130,000 watt PK sound rig. We were treated to diverse and creative programming on the Lightning Stage this year, including live and electronic music. Highlights include Purity Ring on Friday, with super tight music production and seductive vocals. Saturday night got rowdy with Rusko playing an unexpected drum & bass set, complete with a random fan appearing out of nowhere on stage in his birthday suit. Nikolas Jaar took the crowd on an amazing journey through the depths of rhythmic four-on-the-floor, and it was awesome to hear the PK rig do justice to Jaar's round, warm sound. Panty Raid closed the weekend in style delivering the new school sound and getting the crowd turned up!
Not long after LIB we sent most of the SF inventory up north to Shambhala. The festival had a great vibe this year, it seemed somehow to regain the intimate and down-to-earth feeling of its early days (a difficult feat considering Shambhala's significant growth over the past decade). Too much good music to mention!
Shortly after making my way back down to the Bay, it was time once again for Burning Man! For those of you who've been, you know what it's like to "go home" to Black Rock City. Participating in one of the most interesting and ongoing sociological experiments in the world is always a remarkable experience. Many have documented the Burning Man experience only to fall short of truly conveying its effects, so I won't try here to encapsulate it. Suffice it to say that although this was my seventh burn, it still provided me with new perspectives and inspirations. PK was involved with three camps this year: GreenSol, a Tahoe based crew; Salon 7 from Vancouver, BC; and of course, Camp Question Mark. Camp Q really stepped up the lineup this year hosting acts such as Diplo, Beats Antique and the Glitch Mob. The Camp Walter crew from Arizona also bought 10 of our CX800 subs early in the year and installed them in the most bad ass art car on the playa. There was some amazing craftsmanship that went into this refurbished fire engine, including tablet controlled audio and lighting, wireless links to other art cars in the Camp Walter fleet, and signal reception from other theme camps playing music. Plus they topped it all off with a fire 'tornado cauldron' that was part of a graduate project at the University of Perdue.
The base of the infamous "Man" was a UFO this year and the Saturday night fire show was sensational. Unfortunately I wasnât able to see the temple burn on Sunday night, as a couple of us left early to set up for the Hieroglyphics one-day festival in Oakland. Hiero Day, as it's called, was a special event for Oakland, a free, all-ages event intended to foster peace and community in the historically troubled city. The hip-hop acts spouted nothing but good vibes with their lyrics, reminiscent of old school underground. There's a lot of that musical positivity in the Bay Area, and we're super stoked to be a part of that scene.
Another highlight this summer was The Mad Decent Block Party in LA, which went off again this year with Major Laser, Big Gigantic, Matt&Kim, Dillon Francis and more banging it out on one of our VX12/CX800 rigs. The How Weird Street Faire, and the Super Hero Street Fair in San Francisco were both super fun and crazyâevents like that are part of why I like living in the Bay; so many unique shows at all sorts of venues.
We did sound for two rooms at Ghost Ship Halloween for Sunset SF this past weekend and it was a blast. They transformed an old pier warehouse into a multi-room art-filled extravaganza. This is a great concept for an event, no expensive headline DJs, just Bay Area performers and a pile of Burning Man art and art cars, et voila! Best Halloween party in town!
Well that's the update. All in all it has been a great year and I have been fortunate to hear so much great music along the way! I'll cap it off with a photo of our good buddy Ill Gates, who is loving his new Klarity 12s. Hit us up for a pair if you want to be as happy as this guy!
- Arlen Cormack, PK Sound