Festival Review: The Crazy Mediocrity of Mad Decent Block Party 2016

Mad Decent Block Party

Mad Decent Block Party is the dance music equivalent of Vans Warped Tour. Take that as you will, but for better or worse, just like Vans is sweat-soaked fun and debauchery for angry teenagers, MDBP is sweat-soaked fun and debauchery for horny teenagers / twenty-somethings.

Although Mad Decent Block Party has only been touring through Fort Lauderdale since 2013, it’s quickly become a staple of summer festival season both nationally and in South Florida. This past Saturday, MDBP began its 13 city journey at Revolution Live with a show that was for the most part lackluster, but closed with a pair of monster sets by the evening’s headliners.

Perhaps the initial problem with this year’s incarnation of the largely EDM event was the lineup. In the past, Mad Decent has brought us Action Bronson, Big Gigantic, Flume, Flosstradaumus, Jack U, and Major Lazer. This weekend’s lineup was a bit underwhelming. Maybe this is nitpicking and just we’re spoiled since Fort Lauderdale and Miami so often lure in top DJs and electronic acts, but still, the undercard wasn’t as great as previous lineups. It could very well have been a scheduling issue. Hard Summer in L.A., which both Dillon Francis and Mad Decent founder, Diplo, performed at, was running concurrent to MDBP. Then there was first ever 4-day version of Lollaplooza in Chicago which was celebrating its 25th anniversary with a bill that had everyone ever.

That being said, gates opened much earlier this time around with the all-day rave kicking off at 3 p.m. with Sleepy Tom outdoors on the Main Stage and Snappy Jit inside Revolution on the Mada Stage (information we only got a couple of hours beforehand since MDBP didn’t release the festival’s schedule until the day of.) Sure, it was about 92 degrees out there, but then, there was very little clothing. Shirtless bros and as much booty as the Revolution Live parking lot could hold.

And here we have another hard truth that concerns the venue. Revolution is a fine place for a punk show, but it has no business hosting an event that is clearly too big for the rock club. When a bunch of drunk, stoned college kids are trying to rage and they’re tripping over curbs and parking bumpers or chilling hard on a cement floor, something’s got to give.

The benefit of holding MDBP there is of course that it’s centrally located, near downtown, and right off the highway. Still, there has to be some piece of undeveloped land somewhere in Broward or Palm Beach where people could comfortably vomit into a nice, grassy field.

Speaking of which, there were hardly any major incidents at Mad Decent. The most notable one was when a girl wasn’t doing so well in the crowd during the Dillon Francis set and the “Get Low” and “IDGAFOS” producer thoughtfully stopped his show to check that she was okay. She was and Francis continued with what was one of the two best concerts of the night.

The fact that South Florida had to wait until almost the end for truly memorable sets from Francis and then the man of the hour, Diplo, is a shame, especially considering how many weren’t going to remember much by that point. Yes, Keys N Krates just before them were solid and Boombox Cartel crushed it indoors with some mosh worthy tracks, but for some it was a too little, too late. In the end, Made Decent Block Party wound up being just that: decent.