The clouds were grey and the air was chilly, but that did not stop anyone. The distinctive tech label, Dirtybird, hosted their first BBQ event in Washington D.C. on May 13th in the suburban parking lot of DC Brau Brewing Company. Dirtybirds found themselves trekking through suburban D.C. in a small strip mall to enter the wondrous parking lot BBQ. But once you entered that back lot, location and weather did not matter, you were in for a techno treat.
As we mentioned in our preview article, we advised attendees to arrive early as to not miss any of the smaller names on this lineup. The venue was tucked in the back lot of a small strip mall in suburban D.C. One would have no idea that just off the highway behind the Brau Brewery, one of the largest techno labels was throwing a BBQ. The stage production was simplistic, a small stage and just a minimal amount of lights. Getting to the event at the ripe hour of 3 p.m. was most definitely the move. As we arrived, the tent was not yet filled, there was plenty of room up to get up close to the stage and still boogie.
Dirtybird up and comer, Weiss, was just beginning to bless the tent with a phenomenal tech house set jam packed with classics and singles everyone in attendance knew by heart. Weiss is famous for his party vibe filled sets, and he definitely proved his claim to fame at his early afternoon BBQ set. Not only did he play some of his own tracks, but mixed in tech classics such as Techno by Will Clarke and BOT and Tribesman by Solardo. All in all, we couldn't have asked for a better set to start our day.
Next was the highly anticipated star Brooklyn duo, Walker & Royce. The duo has been making waves in the techno scene recently from the releases of their huge singles such as Hit Dem Draws and Peep This Cat, to their more recent collab with English producer Billy Kenny. The two introduced a heavier techno vibe to the tent that afternoon and enticed the crowd with their collaborative mixing. They even dropped their notorious ID featuring the lyrics “Take me to your leader”, which we just can not wait to be released. Walker and Royce not only kept the energy up as the second set of the day, but left us wanting even more.
Kill Frenzy took to the stage next with a chiller set than the previous two artists. His sound was undoubtedly distinctive with an evident Detroit influence and more of a funky vibe. After the last two artists up tempo and high energy sets, we found ourselves in need of an energy boost. So we made our way over to the BBQ truck on the other side of the venue for a plate of BBQ whipped up by none other than Grill$on himself. The plate included delicious BBQd pulled pork, ribs and baked beans. 10/10 would recommend.
Finally, one of Dirtybird's two fathers took over the stage, none other than Justin Martin. Justin Martin demonstrated his down to earth character by bopping through the crowd the entire day and taking pictures with excited fans and even live streaming his set on his instagram story. His set, to no surprise, was flawless as per usual. A highlight for us was when he dropped Green Velvet's staple track; La La Land. How could you not sing along and dance like crazy with your squad?
The grand finale of the day was now upon us, daddy dirty, the one, the only, Claude VonStroke was now ready to steal the show. Claude has a certain aura about him that is hard to describe. He is a legend, one of the greatest the techno music scene has ever seen, and not only does everyone in the crowd know this, but Claude himself is aware in the best way possible. He always looks so pleasantly and genuinely happy while DJ'ing, surrounded by thousands of his fans and many artists he has signed to his own label. Claude also has an amazing talent to put his crowd into a complete trance in which he is their leader. He has the ability to remove nearly every level of sound in his music to almost complete silence and then bring the energy right back up, and the crowd just eats it all up. He has created Dirtybird and helped build the community around the label, and for that we are just as grateful as we are for his mind-blowing sets. Claude played many of his own signature tracks, such as Make a Cake, Mind Yo Bizness and The Rain Break. Overall, the perfect end to the perfect day festival. Until the after party that is.
As we left the strange suburban venue, Dirtybird and U Street announced the afterparty. We found ourselves there and in line an hour before the doors even opened, because we were so excited and in need of more Dirtybird beats. While waiting in the seemingly endless line, we were lucky enough to meet Justin Martin himself, who was going up and down the line taking pictures with fans. He was such a genuine and sweet dude and was more than happy to snap a few pics with us.
Weiss, Walker and Royce, Kill Frenzy and Justin Martin and various B2B combinations played at the after party and all their sets were just as impressive and amazing as their afternoon ones. The beauty of U Street, similarly to the day time BBQ, is it's simplicity in stage production. U Street is virtually pitch black other than a sparing amount of varying colored spotlights. This leaves a lot to the listener to focus solely on the music, which is a beautiful thing and fairly distinctive to the techno scene.
To reiterate, Dirtybird, DC Brau Brewery and U Street Music Hall all did a fantastic job and put on an incredible day festival and after party. We highly recommend the BBQ series, and the food, to anyone, whether you're a die hard Dirtybirdy or just getting into techno. Until next time.