(photo: Priscilla Rodriguez)
As someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about EDM, Porter Robinson’s Second Sky Festival at Oakland’s Middle Harbor Shoreline Park was a great gateway for those unfamiliar with the genre.
10 acts took the stage throughout the day, most new to me except when the special guest showed up and turned out to be Skrillex. The crowd went crazy. That was the one artist that I’ve actually spent hours listening to years ago and it was the point I really started to feel the groove. (For an idea of the contrast of my taste in genres, the week before I saw people moshing to FIDLAR in Berkeley and at Second Sky I wore a Rozwell Kid, shirt mainly because of that rule that you’re not suppose to wear the shirt of the musician you’re seeing.)
One act that help bridged my gap from rock to EDM was Kero Kero Bonito. A three-piece band inspired by J-pop, their genre has been said to be a range from indie-pop to dance rock. Having a drummer and guitarist brought that familiarity that I was used to at shows.
The main event and host Porter Robinson had a great set in which his music flowed with the on-screen visuals that included Japanese-inspired animation and imagery of fictional worlds. During the set, he mentioned that he likes to create worlds though his music and the accompanying visual arts on screen. That really drew me in, as both elements made it feel as though a story was being told his set — something you don’t experience much at rock shows.
The venue was new to me — it was my first time at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. On the shuttle to the venue, I was wondering why it was in the middle of the Oakland shipyard, but once you arrive, you see a beautiful view of San Francisco by the water. Also being surrounded by the shipping cranes/AT-ATs gave a nice aesthetic to the venue. Those, along with the attractions they added for the festival, made for a ton of Instagrammable photo opportunities to show people online you’re cool and go to music festivals.
In addition to the lack of parking, one downside to venue is that it does get pretty cold once the sun sets. There were times I couldn’t tell if a fog was rolling in or it was just clouds of vape smoke being exhaled by the concert goers. It may have been a bit of both.