Sunday night, it was up to Aussie electronic artist Chet Faker to close the second spring edition of San Diego’s CRSSD Fest. ODESZA had set the bar high the night before with a rousing headline performance. Could Chet Faker aka Nicholas Murphy match the Seattle duo’s intensity the following night?
Unfortunately for those who stayed, Chet Faker fell short — though not all at a fault of his own. Sound issues plagued his entire set and there were many moments where you struggled to hear Murphy’s vocals.
For one, Chet Faker’s headline set was only an hour long — kind of short for someone closing out a festival. There was also too much emphasis put on his down-tempo stuff. After Gorgon City’s main stage set right before, there was hope that momentum would carry into his set. But he stuck with some of the slower stuff and people weren’t able to move as much as they’d probably hoped.
That isn’t to say there weren’t high moments. A different version of his cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” his hit “Gold” and more recent track “The Trouble With Us” were upbeat and had people dancing — though the latter song had issues with the vocals. Chet Faker also went for a crowdsurf but was only held up for seconds before going to the ground and returning to the stage, not quite what you hope to see from a festival headliner. It was just an off night for him, he’s done much better when he’s performed in the past.
Luckily, if you bounced early to another stage you got to see tech house wonder Maceo Plex, who replaced Tales of Us last minute on the lineup. His set was very high energy and more than made up for Tales of Us bowing out due to an illness for one of the members.
Luckily, there was a lot of good stuff on Sunday’s undercard. Gorgon City‘s main stage set was pretty stellar. They had male and female vocalists accompany them to sing crowd favorites like “Real.”
The highlight of the day was San Francisco’s Tycho, who was the perfect fit for the main stage sunset set. Their live show is amazing and it’s awesome to see them reproduce those awesome sounds with actual instrumentation. Though Ryan Hemsworth didn’t quite cut it in that slot the previous day, Tycho did that and more. The ambient music project of Scott Hansen shined and they played all the favorites off his 2014 critically-acclaimed album Awake, plus a new song.
Elsewhere on the bill, Green Velvet, Hi-Lo and Adriatique impressed with sets earlier in the day.
Overall, CRSSD Spring 2016 ran very well. Waterfront Park might be one of the best places I’ve attended a festival, there’s just so much to offer and they really stepped it up from their first year. Seeing people playing in the fountains and making the most of all three stages was a joy. Sure, the sanitation wasn’t great as the bathroom lines were insanely long and the garbage overflowed, but that can be fixed. They also need to fix the lack of a second entrance.
The location is what makes this festival special, but their bookings were pretty on point. Tycho at sunset was genius. They’ve found a way to bring together all these different non-EDM cheese DJs from all over to a place they hardly play. San Diego isn’t exactly the deepest music town but twice a year CRSSD brings them the best electronic musicians, and that’s something to be excited about for years to come after they sold out this edition.
Words: Mark E. Ortega