Tag Archives: Kaskade

[The Audiofiles] Another Night Out, Another Dance Floor with Late Night Alumni and DJ Firefly

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Last Friday night, hundreds of eager, friendly faces crowded into Orange County’s Yost Theater for a musical treat.  For the first time almost a year, down tempo house sensation Late Night Alumni was slotted for a headlining set with support from local talent DJ Firefly and A Baum.  In the last decade, Late Night Alumni have championed their own unique style of downtempo, ambient electronic music that incorporates equal parts electronic production and organic instrumentation. Originally a quartet with Ryan Raddon of Kaskade fame, Late Night Alumni currently tours as a duo – angelic vocalist Becky Jean Williams with John Hancock, a prolific producer, with Finn Bjarnson occasionally making it a trio.

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DJ Firefly kick-started the evening with a proper punch and pizazz.  A California transplant originally from Michigan, Firefly lit up the night with an eclectic mix of deep, tech and progressive house you couldn’t help but bounce around to.  From 10pm to close, the mood was set at a magnificent high as the vibrations from the speakers matched the energy on the dance floor.

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Up next, DJ ABaum took the decks, ebbing and flowing through bass heavy EDM bangers – leaving the crowd wistfully wondering how the night would segue into Late Night Alumni.

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As Becky Jean Williams‘ ethereal vocals dazzled the audience, I found myself equally entranced by John Hancock’s expert skill with the multitudes of instruments on stage, including an electric piano, violin and a Thermin.  After seeing Oliver Huntemann live on a ReacTable a few years back  in Los Angeles, I’ve been prepared for almost any instrument to be brought out on stage, but the Thermin was novel – and I was impressed.

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Live performances are the blue moons of EDM shows, with a set magnificently strung together with purpose, pride and passion.  Throughout the night, Late Night Alumni found a way through their entire anthology of hits, mixing newer tunes from their 5th and latest studio album, Eclipse – released on Kaskade’s Arkade imprint, and of course some oldies but goodies like Empty Streets and 4AM.  

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Photography by Daniel Leist / Daniel Leist Photography

For the full album, head to Facebook

For more on Late Night Alumni, DJ ABaum or Firefly, head to their socials –

Late Night Alumni: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

DJ A-BAUM: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

DJ Firefly: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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[Music Monday] EDC ’14 Live Sets

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Photo Credit: Alex Perez for Insomniac

This past weekend, over 400,000 smiling faces graced the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for three nights of what can only be described as a whirlwind combination of friendly faces, massive bass, eclectic costumes and immense, immersive stages.  Now in it’s 18th year – Pasquelle Rotella and Insomniac Events have been bringing people together under the beautiful, electric sky for a night of magic, mystery, euphoria and the most beautiful type of mayhem you’ll ever encounter.  From it’s humble beginnings in San Bernadino and Los Angeles, to the massive scale festival that’s now situated just beyond the bright lights of Las Veags – EDC has become an internationally renowned festival; and the Insomniac Team has it’s more than earned those bragging rights.

Between the 8 permanent stages of music and mobile art carts traversing the grounds, there was literally something for everyone.  neonGARDEN played host to the Deep and Tech House DJs for the night, and was hosted by the man, the myth and the legend Carl Cox the first two nights and hosted the likes f Claude VonStroke, Dusky, Art Department, Adam Beyer, Booka Shade, Maya Jane Coles and Eats Everything.  The circuitGROUNDS brought in some of the more bass heavy, electro house like Afrojack, Sander van Doorn, Dada Life, Bingo Players and my personal favorite, Prydz.  Even though there were some stand outs in the line-up for me, Martin Garrix would be enough for me to avoid the circuit like the plague on the first night and any stage hosted by Avicii is reason enough for me to meander elsewhere.

Bassrush hosted the BassPod and brought in crowd favorites like 12th Planet, Infected Mushroom and Seven Lions for the first two nights.  On the last night, the BassPod boasted a co-curated stage with Andy C’s Ram Records for one of the most epic nights of Drum and Bass I’ve ever seen stitched together with Wilkinson, Loadstar, SubFocus, Netsky….um, yeah. Swoon.  In what I consider a monumental move, HARD is back at EDC for it’s second year with a curated stage – bringing in a Dubstep, Electro House, Bass heavy…well, party.  They’re covering all the genres with eclectic artists like Diplo, Justin Martin, Oliver, Madeon, Flosstradamus, Knife Party, Chromeo, Brancez, A-Trak, Zeds Dead, Dillon Francis, Bassnectar, What So Not and HARD’s founder Destructo. And for the first year, the DiscoveryProject itself was expanded to encompass costume design, stage design and art installations in addition to DJs and producers.

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I consider music my religion, so when I discovered that the kinesticFIELD – the main stage of EDC – had been completely redesigned into a cathedral – the DJ booth was giant pipe organ, adorned by two massive owls with outstretched wings. At over 440 feet wide and 80 feet tall, this is the largest stage in Insomniac history.  As I burrowed through pictures on social media – my heart swooned almost as fast as the FOMO set in; yes, I get claustrophobic, sure Las Vegas would’ve been expensive this weekend, and maybe I’m not exactly all the way recovered from my amazing weekend at Lightning in a Bottle.  So what?! Oh, man – that’s when I knew I was really missing out on something.  It was the first time since EDMBiz ended that I really felt the need to physically be in Vegas for EDC.  Through an on-point digital partnership with 7Up, EDC live streamed select stages for ‘EDC Curated’ as a way to indulge those of us that couldn’t attend the spectacle – and I’m so thankful they did!  As part of this global consciousness, it’s a great reminder for those of us that’ve been part of this ‘scene’ or whatever you want to call it that we really are connected by the music; and that’s a formidable bond.  My first EDC was the last festival held in San Bernadino and my last EDC was the first held in Vegas; the event and the community that engulfs it have become a family and within that, a second home for me.  So even though I wasn’t there, it was near impossible to not feel like I was still part of the event.

From stilt walkers to aerial artists, winged fairies and masked marathon dancers – the troupe that Insomniac brings in rivals the high octane energy of each and every smiling face in attendance.  Over 400,000 people from 40 different countries and all 50 states came together to experience the epic 3 night event, and for everything potentially lost in the Vegas desert – from cell phones to wallets, id cards and brain cells – with the new friends and a welcoming community, I guarantee much more was found.

If you’re fighting against the grain this Monday, wishing you were in Vegas or itching to get back – I’m pretty sure these EDC sets will help you coast through until 5pm. Enjoy! 🙂

 

[Doing it Right] Armin Van Buuren’s Post-Grammy Award Show

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Being a California native, it takes me a little more than the average bear to get ‘starstruck‘; but, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.   Back when I was working in El Segundo for Internet Brands, I saw Gary Payton at the local dive bar and started shaking in my boots I was so excited!  It’s not everyday that you’re standing in front of a childhood idol, and there I was – jaw to the floor in front of ‘The Glove’ and I couldn’t even muster enough syllables to form a coherent sentence. When I worked at Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week in Los Angeles, I hugged and interviewed Christian Audigier of the infamous Ed Hardy clothing brand. Now, no – I don’t ‘love‘ his clothes, and you might have to pay me to wear about a third of what they produce – but absolutely nothing can compare to meeting an idol, fashion mogul and exceptional business brain.  A year ago this weekend, I started writing for The DJ List’ – an internationally respected, EDM webzine, and the number of opportunities I’ve had that take my breath away are simply magnificent.  What started as me wanting a ‘hand in the EDM cookie jar’ has catapulted to me with a foot in the door in the EDM world.  I’ve had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with the best and brightest, and have amazing memories to show for it.

Last Spring, my boyfriend and I met Markus Schulz and covered the details of his Scream 2 Album and Bus Tour.  Then, to throw a cherry on top of my musical ice cream sundae – this past December as a little belated birthday present from the world at large: I got to meet, touch and hug the #1 Trance DJ in the world, Armin van Buuren at an exclusive Press and Fan meet and greet opportunity at the House of Blues in Hollywood where he dished about his latest one man tour, Armin Only: Intense, as well as his first Grammy nomination for the smash single ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ featuring vocalist Trevor Guthrie. Fast forward to last week and I’m churning through my emails, trying to find a ray of sunlight in my bleak inbox – and stumbled across an email from his PR agent who I simply adore: Sound Nightclub was pairing up with Armin and Trevor to celebrate their Grammy nomination for ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ and they wanted me there.  What?!  This is one of the first, and only moments, that’s left me laughing historically, wondering who in the world I am and exactly how I’ve gotten so lucky?  Granted, hard work and dedication have paid off – I’ve penned almost 60 articles for The DJ List, which isn’t anything to sneeze at – especially when you consider my full time job, and penchant for wild and crazy fun, and inherent need to basically do everything under the sun.  I want it all, and somehow, I’ve managed to get it.

Last night, three of my favorite people in the world – my wonderful boyfriend, one of my best gals that I started Beatnet EDM with and my friend who pioneered the amazing EDM Event site ‘Music Alerts’ – strutted into one of the hottest, and newest Hollywood clubs for our first time to see the man, the myth, the Trance Legend – AVB!  The venue was small enough that it’s an intimate setting, and the party was small enough that there was room to shake your groove thing and get down with your trance arms wherever you felt necessary.  Most parties at Sound pack the place to the brim, but since this was Armin’s party – no real tickets were sold; the show was invite only and the crowd, as plastic as 80% of them looked, was having the time of their lives.  Unfortunately, Armin didn’t take home the Grammy for ‘Best Dance Recording’ but the category was chalk full of amazing singles, and could’ve easily been anyone’s ball game. The rest of the category played out like this –  This Is What It Feels Like was up against Clarity from Zedd and Foxes, Kaskade’s Atmosphere, Calvin Harris and Florence Welch for Sweet Nothings, and last but certainly not least, breakthrough smash ‘Need You (100%)’ by Duke Dumont, MNEK and A*M*E.  At the end of the night, the award was much deservingly given to Zedd and Foxes – and I couldn’t be happier with the choice.  As much as I was rooting for Armin, if I had to pick a single of his to be nominated – that would not have been it.  In and Out Of LoveFine Without YouVirual Friend – they each have an immense depth, heavy layers and ethereal vocals that build throughout the track and IMO, were much more deserving of a Grammy nod; but that was a different world back then.  I’m more than interested how EDM effects other, more mainstream genres and infiltrates both Pop Music, and our Pop Culture;  Dance Music has been on the rise over the last ten years, and I can’t wait to see how EDM pushes the musical boundaries next.

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[The Audiofiles] 2013 – A Year In Musical Review

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Looking back at my posts from the last year, one that stands out the most to be is my 2012 Year in Musical Review.  Partially, because it’s catalyzed my writing career on multiple fronts – but mostly because music, especially kickass live music, is something I truly care about to my core.  Music influences our moods, our personalities and even our daily interactions.  Unless there’s something highly important and technical that I have a deadline for, I’m literally submersed in music 24/7 – from the time my alarm and I wake up, to my morning runs, to the drive to work, you get the picture: I more or less have provided myself with a soundtrack to my life.  With my attention span as short as it is (…squirrel!…), I constantly refresh my collection of original jams, remixes and singles and try to take in as much live music as I can.

I’ve been leafing through the ticket stubs and reminiscing about the excellent year in music that I just had.  From attempting to co-start a music forum site and to with The DJ List, my daily extra-curricular activities have always circled around new music, fresh artists and the latest and greatest they have to offer.  Somehow, even though I’ve managed to be busier than I’ve ever been I’ve definitely managed to fit in some quality R&R (Rave & Relaxation) into the mix. So, without further ado – here are my musical musings for 2013; enjoy!

Live Shows: Concerts and Festivals

Best Trance Show:

Above & Beyond @ Avila Beach,

Cosmic Gate @ Palladium (Runner Up)

Truth be told, I’m sitting here trying my hardest to even place Cosmic Gate in second place because Above & Beyond’s sunset at Avila Beach was just so spectacular!  It was a small crowd with unexpected surprises in store for everyone in my friend group – we each found someone at the event from out of town (LA, Riverside and SF) that we didn’t know was in attendance and were all simply wowed by the musical prowess the group possesses.  But Cosmic Gate is not a team to be underestimated, during the live show they brought out my favorite pixie blonde vocalist, Emma Hewitt, and Jonathan Mendelson who gave a phenomenal first live vocal performance during Nic Chagall’s ‘This Moment’.

Best D&B show: Modestep at the Nokia Club, High Contrast w. Camo & Krooked  at Dim Mak Studios

Best Deep / Tech House Show: Kaskade @ Focus OC’s 10 Year Anniversary

Best Progressive House Show: Eric Prydz / Pryda / Cirez D @ Create

Best Electro House Show: Gareth Emery @ XIV

Best Festival: Lightning in a Bottle

For the last six or seven years I’ve been a self-professed seasoned festival go-er and have a host of Insomniac, HARD and GoVentures events under my EDM belt (almost 40 if you want to get specific), but truth be told last year I only attended three festivals, one of them being Sea of Dreams on NYE. For as much as the lineup to  HARD Summer thrilled my pants off, the event didn’t…however, Lightning in a Bottle and Sea of Dreams surely did.  Each was musically right in their own right but on a more personal level, I truly felt bonded to the community that LIB and Burning Man cultivates and have actively been seeking out similar events ever since.

Best Festival Set: Keys n Krates, Dillon Francis, Alex Metric ((HARD Summer)) HeRObust, Pumpkin, Rusko, The Polish Ambassador,  Odeza, Andreilien ((LIB)), LowRIDERz, A-Trak, Thievery Corporation ((Sea of Dreams))

Best Venue: Sea of Dreams @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | NYE was one of the most amazing musical experiences I’ve ever had, everything about the night was golden and a lot of that is due to the venue and soundsystem that came with it; top notch.

Weird but Rad Venue: Lightning in a Bottle @ Lake Skinner, Temecula, CA | I was tempted to give LIB the gold star for ‘Best Venue’ but after the all of the shenanigans with the county and residents of Riverside, I’ll wait until next year to grant the festival that award.  Basically, I want to see it shine in all of its glory; not just in my personal experiences but for the greater community in attendance as well.

Best Pool Party: Daylight

Best Party: Sea of Dreams

Best Up and Coming Venue: Sound in Hollywood

Favorite Reopened VenueCreate (previously, known as Vanguard)

Best CrowdDoLab shows – Avalon | If you only remember one thing about the music scene in LA, let it be this: the Do Lab will always do you right.  I always look forward to the art infused musical events they throw.  Whether they’re at the Nokia Club, King King or out in the middle of nowhere Riverside – they make sure to cater to all of your senses and the people who show up are some of the nicest friends you hadn’t met you.

Douche-iest CrowdXIV by Hyde, Greystone Manor, Sutra | I still hold by last year’s statement about Sutra, but now that I’ve finally attended events at Greystone and XIV I can easily bump those two to the top of the list.  Maybe it goes hand-in-hand with my appetite for all things Do Lab and underground, but I can’t wrap my head around wearing 3″+ heals to a club and cozy-ing up to people just snag an extra drink (or five).  I prefer the let-your-freak-flag-fly mentality of other events and prefer stomping around in flats to trying to maintain a proper demeanor in an outfit that’s definitely not meant for dancing.

Best Lasers: Create and Exchange have most definitely stepped their laser game up in the last year, far surpassing anything that Avalon has ever done (sorry guys – not knocking the place (it’s still rad!) but it’s true).

Ferry Corsten @ Exchange
Hit us with those laser beams
*pew pew pew*

Artists

Favorite Set/Act of 2013: Above & Beyond in Avila Beach

Best Surprise of 2013: Crywolf, Mitis, Kill Paris, Disclosure, Keys n Krates, Flume

So Glad I (Re-)Discovered: Bonobo, Emancipator, Shpongle, The Magician, 

Remixes So Nicely:  SubFocus, Flume

Best Remix-er: Boy Noize, Dillon Francis, Cazzette

Favorite Vocalists: Jonathan Mendelson, Alex Clare, Annabel Englund, MNEK, Chet Faker, Florence Welch, Emma Hewitt

Most Disappointing: Daft Punk everything; maybe because it was directly juxtaposed to Keys’n’Krates with their live instruments, but Duke Dumont was also pretty underwhelming live and looked like he was just pressing a button; last but not least, Cedric Gervais did absolutely nothing for me.

Vocalists Who Shouldn’t Perform Live with DJs: Danny Brown

People Who Should Be Reminded They’re Not DJs: Will.i.Am, Paris Hilton

Songs:

My Top 10 Songs of the Year

  1. Depeche Mode – Soothe My Soul (Steve Angello + Jaques Lu Cont Remix)
  2. Darkside – Papertrails
  3. Oliver – Night is On My Mind (Dillon Francis Remix)
  4. Disclosure – You & Me (Baauer Remix)
  5. Seven Lions + Myon & Shane 54 – Strangers
  6. Minnesota – Stardust Redux (Crywolf Remix)
  7. Maya Jane Coles ft Karin Park – Everything
  8. Thomas Jack – Booka Shake
  9. Flume ft Freddie Gibbs – Holdin’ On (LKids Remix)
  10. Lane 8 – Be Mine
  11. Mat Zo – Lucid Dreams – (M Machine Remix) [runner up]

Favorite Soundcloud Sets:

Show and Tell:

Best Hosted Web Show: BBC Radio 1 Diplo + Friends, Above & Beyond Group Therapy

Best Site for Discovering New Music: Hypem

Best Sites for Shows: MetroWize LA,Resident Advisor, The DJ List

XP Points:

Festivals Attended: Lightning in a Bottle, HARD Summer, Sea of Dreams

Shows Attended: All Day I Dream (/Lee Burridge), Donald Glaude, Richard Vission, Porter Robinson, Seven Lions(x2), Ferry Corsten, Krewella (x3), Modestep, Mimosa, Kill Paris, Crywolf, Markus Schulz, KhoMha, Jamie Jones, Jack Beats, Style of Eye, Gareth Emery, Kaskade, Skrillex, Bauuer, Eric Prydz (x2), Above & Beyond, Cosmic Gate, Candyland.

Parties Frequented: None (weird!)

Strobelight Seduction: Kaskade + Focus’ 10 Year Anniversary

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I’d been waiting two months for last night to come to fruition.

Back in April, a good friend of mine gave me a very valid heads up that one of my favorite DJs would be playing a secret show at an intimate Southern California venue; since then, the interwebs have seen ample speculation about who this Mystery DJ would be. 

The venue in question is Orange County’s hub of House – Focus OC.  Once a week, a Tapas of Newport Beach is transformed into a mecca of music and an escape for everyone wishing they could time travel from Monday to Friday with the snap of their fingers. They’ve gotten some incredible DJs over the last few years and totally too many for me to list off – but of the ones I’ve actually seen there, I’ve yet to be disappointed.

Mark Farina and Collette both gave phenomenal shows last year at Focus’ 9th Anniversary Party and the gentlemen of Dusky proved that they’ve mastered moving the dancefloor.  So, when it came time to purchase tickets for this year’s 10th anniversary show – who was I kidding? So in!  I’ve tried to pay little to no mind to the rumors but come the fuck on, how could you not be the least bit enticed?! So, I did what any rational EDM maven would do – buy two tickets and hope for the best; life’s more fun with a partner in crime, and going to concerts? Doubly so.

From the moment we arrived, we were greeted with both fresh and familiar faces; Focus has a knack for attracting some of the most down to earth, friendly, music loving people to the west of the 405 and last night was definitely no different.  I mobbed down with two of my favorite partners-in-crime – just add them to my collection of attractive, intelligent blondes if you will – and we were beyond stoked to bounce around to the tunes of Wobs, Josh Billings and Non-Fiction while everyone was getting settled.

Then, at midnight – it was time for the man, the myth, the legend:

KASKADE.

 For the last few months, Kaskade has been on his ‘Redux’ tour around the United States, hitting his favorite major cities for some intimate gigs – and last night was certainly no different.  I’ve seen Kaskade a handful of times – each has been energetic, lively and entrancing; last night at Focus I got something completely different and it’s precisely what I’ve been craving from him: seductive basslines, delicate transitions and the bass – so much bass!  His next tour, titled ‘Atmospheres: Big Rooms, Small Tour‘ is set to follow a similar format to his Redux tour, bringing him back to his true deep house roots.  Pre-sales went up today at noon in each time zone – LA, Chicago, New York and Miami – and tickets formally go on sale this Friday – if this sounds up your ally, grab your tickets now or you’ll be walking those empty streets alone at 4am.

Oh, Snap: Globe Photo

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At this point, I both think and hope y’all understand that I have this ridiculous love for all things technology and photography related; when I discovered Pixlr-o-matic I went a little crazy and started editing the shit out of my favorite pictures.  Well, seems life has come relatively full circle because now I have a new admiration for an Android application – this one is called ‘Globe Photo‘.  I know there are a few out there for you iPhone obsessives as well, but hey – that sounds like a personal problem 😉

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Essentially, what the application does is take the left and right edges of your image and stitch it together to make a circular, planet-esque, image.  After a few hours of playing around with horizons, lines and fun edges in my old pictures I have a nice little album going of my own images – enjoy

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Porter Robinson World

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Cosmic Gate World

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All Day I Dream

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Ingrosso

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Coachella

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Kaskade

And last, but certainly not least:

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San Diego Train Tracks

Music Monday: Movin’ and Shakin’

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I think we’ve all been here before:

You’re all packed and ready to head out the door; your hands are full and your head is swimming with excitement over your weekend vacation.  With the trunk packed and some snacks in the passenger seat, you head out on your journey….only to be accompanied by everyone’s mom and dog because it’s 4pm on a Friday and you live in the heart of ‘insert-major-metropolitan-city-here‘.  Traffic on city streets is a little slow but that’s okay for you, you can handle it.  You start to merge onto the freeway and suddenly you’re engulfed into a parking lot of metal, exhaust and horrible moods. Oh, no!

I grew up in the Silicon Valley, and let me tell you – even with all those Freeways (101, 85, 87, 280, 80, 180, 680, 880….) we had some of the worst rush hour traffic I’ve ever been in.  And then I moved to Los Angeles.  If traffic in the bay is deplorable, traffic down here is like being in the second or third layer of hell – respectively.  Good thing this potentially awful experience has an antidote: music.  When I know I’ll be stuck in traffic, I get on my computer the night before with a purpose – if my car isn’t moving, I think my body should be. I’m one of those creatures who hates sitting still, so if I’m not tearing rubber having a one girl car rave seems like the next best logical choice.  Before I left for San Diego, I had a feeling I’d be sitting in traffic for a long, long time.  So, I scoured my iTunes library and made a kickass playlist with new and old favorites that I could belt out and dance to.  Chances are, I was “that” girl in my car – that girl having too much fun considering the situation at hand.  But when you compare that to the people that looked beyond miserable, I’ll take it – life might not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we may as well dance!

Tracklist:

  1. Craig David – Hot Stuff (Chase & Status Remix)
  2. Kaskade ft Haley – Llove (Dada Life Radio Edit)
  3. Chromeo – Night by Night (Shreddie Mercury Remix)
  4. Michael Jackson – Speed Demon (NERO Remix)
  5. Deadmau5 – There Might Be Coffe
  6. Pryda – Shadows
  7. Flight Facilities ft. Grovesnor – With You
  8. DJ Fresh ft Dizzee Rascal – The Power
  9. Rusko – Everyday (Netsky Remix)