Tag: raves

I have had the good fortune to watch live DJs spin music at raves in over five different countries. The rave scenes in these different countries varied greatly, but part of that is also due to the time difference. The raves I am going to mention here took place over a period of 15 years. During that time, rave culture changed in each one of these countries. I only partied at a certain time in each country, so I don’t know what they were like during the other times. This makes it difficult to compare one country to the other directly. But I will try.

The first raves I ever saw were in Seattle, Washington in the United States. They were simply amazing. I’m sure some of this has to do with the fact that they were my first raves, but back then it was the height of the rave culture in the US. The DJs were amazing and so were the venues. They took place in warehouses, but also large public venues. People took ecstasy and danced all night while wearing crazy clothes. The atmosphere was simply wonderful and it has never been beat by any rave or EDM festival I have attended since.

Outdoor rave in Europe
Crowds at an outdoor rave in Europe

Next I’ll quickly mention a rave I went to in Las Vegas in the desert. It was similar to the Seattle ones, but I did not know anyone there, so I didn’t have quite as great of a time. I also did not have any party favors and let’s face it, that does make a difference. The music at that desert rave was great, too, but I have to admit it was very cold at night in the desert and I was not dressed for the occasion. I had a few beers before I went, but there was no alcohol being sold at the venue, because there were people under 21 there and it was in the US. I got tired quickly because of this.

The next rave I went to was in Tokyo, Japan. This was in a gigantic venue right on the waterfront. The music was incredible, perhaps the best out of any of the raves, but the atmosphere just wasn’t there. The whole thing was much too commercial and that definitely took away from the feeling. We did have some party favors this night and I was there with a girl I really liked. This all made for a great night, but I did miss the underground feel of the raves back in the US.

From that point on I didn’t go to any raves for a while. In Europe I just went to clubs, because they did not seem to have real raves. They didn’t need them. You could do anything you wanted in the club. The next actual outdoor music festival with electronic music was in Seoul, South Korea. It was an electronic dance music festival with some large DJs. Some of the biggest name DJs in the world actually. Unfortunately, this being Korea, there were absolutely no party favors whatsoever. There was a lot of alcohol and everyone got very drunk, but it didn’t feel like a rave at all. It felt like a big party. It was a ton of fun, but I would not call it a rave. It was missing everything that makes a rave a rave.

EDM festival type rave in US
Ravers partying at an EDM festival in the US

Finally, I went to a few raves in Shenzhen, China. Being China, there was some weed, but nothing else. They also sold alcohol. I didn’t know anyone there and the parties were very small, so I got bored quickly. The music was fine, but nothing special. It was a nice try, especially for China. This is a country where you really do not have any good clubs at all and the nightlife generally sucks. The fact that someone tried to put on a rave is really incredible. They did a good job, too, but that’s not enough in this country. When you are in China, no matter how good you are at promoting parties and events, you just can’t compete with raves in the US or even Japan.

I just realized I forgot to mention the biggest rave of them all: the full moon party in Thailand. Yes I’ve been there and it was incredible. It also did not really feel like a rave, since most people were getting drunk. I was always against the US policy of not selling alcohol at these things, but now that I see what happens when you do, I actually like it. Raves are about drugs, not alcohol. The drugs fuel the enjoyment of the music and the general atmosphere of love and peace. Alcohol does the exact opposite of that. This is why the best raves I have been to were in the United States. That is probably surprising to you. It definitely is to me.

You’ll find info on raves on the Badass Raves FB page.

raves

When I was in college I went to my first rave. I went with one of my friends who I’m actually no longer friends with, but he was a nice guy. We were both learning to DJ at the time using this method and we wanted to see some real live DJs. We went to an old warehouse on the West side of Seattle. I’d never been to this part of town before and had never been to a rave before. I didn’t know what to expect from either.

As I was driving the car, we were listening to techno music. I always liked this kind of music but I had never gone to a rave to hear a live DJ. As we were blasting the music in the car on the way there, we were getting more and more excited. My friend’s sister went to a lot of raves even though she was several years younger than us, but strangely we had never been.

As we drove down the street along the waterfront and got close to the rave, we started seeing more and more people dressed in brightly colored clothes. Many of them were wearing strange hats, carrying stuffed animals, sucking on pacifiers and just generally giving off a very ‘peace and love’ kind of vibe. We were dressed the same as always and it was clear would be completely out of place.

We found a place to park and walked up and got in line. The thing that made the biggest impression on me that moment was the girls. They were hot. Not all, but a large percentage. Before getting out of the car we took some pills and it was the first time we were doing that too. Seeing the people around us it was clear we were not the only ones doing it.

Once we had gotten through the line and we had been patted down and frisked, we walked into the warehouse and approached the dull thumping of techno music. The first DJ really wasn’t that great in retrospect, but it sounded amazing to us at the time. The main reason for that was the atmosphere of all the people around us. They were totally into the music and letting it carry them, without a care in the world. And did I mention the girls were hot?

Once the pills kicked in we joined in the dancing and we had a great time. That time only got better early in the morning, when the main DJ took the stage. His name was Donald Glaude.

DJ Donald Glaude
DJ Donald Glaude

He was a large black man with an afro who played an incredible selection of songs and he knew just how to get the crowd going. The energy he fed into the assembled masses was incredible and it was at that moment that I knew I wanted to be a DJ. I have since tried many methods to make that happen, but in the end, I was not able to become a DJ. I just don’t have the ear for music. I guess it’s for the better; leave it to the professionals. I’ve since seen Donald perform several times and he has been amazing every single one of them.

American DJs