Major Lazer Leads Mad Decent Block Party to New Braunfels

One stage, nine bands, an inflatable cooling station, free T-shirts and even sponsored mascots (a walking taco, a walking pizza) are some of the features of the sixth edition of the Mad Decent Block Party—the first to come to Texas, and also the first with a ticket price after five free years

“It just didn’t make any sense [to keep it free] because too many people wanted to come and couldn’t get in, and there was a lot of RSVP confusion,” said Jasper Goggins, label manager for Mad Decent. Yes, Diplo may own it, but Goggins is the guy who runs Mad Decent and works behind the scenes for this year’s Block Party, which grew to 13 cities from only five last year.

Mad Decent Block Parties started in 2008 outside the label’s former office in Philadelphia (it’s now headquartered in Los Angeles) and have steadily grown from a crowd of 500-1,000 the first year to mostly sold-out crowds of no less than 4,000 and up to 15,000 (depending on the venue) in 2013, and it keeps on growing

“We’re already talking about some foreign places,” said Goggins. “We have strong presence in places like Australia, England, France and New Zealand, so we’ll see.”

The 2013 lineup includes EDM superstars like Major Lazer, the “Harlem Shake” dude Baauer (who is only playing in Dallas and New Braunfels, so consider yourself lucky), Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus (Chicago DJs J2K and Autobot), Amsterdam’s The Party Squad (huge in the Netherlands, these are their first U.S. shows) and others

“Usually a Major Lazer show alone will cost as much as the whole Block Party, but [here] you’re getting a lot for your money,” said Goggins. “Everyone who played in the past free events hardly charged us anything to play. But even now we keep the ticket price so low because [everyone] understands the goal here is to have kids of all ages come and see all these bands without having to spend over $100, which is usually what these things cost.”

The headliners aren’t skimping, either. Dancehall-lovin’ Major Lazer comes in full force: Diplo, Jillionaire, Walshy Fire (original producer Switch left in late 2011 due to creative differences), two dancers and an explosive mix that’s as overstuffed as the “featuring” line of the group’s latest album, Free the Universe, which included the likes of Peaches, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, Bruno Mars and many more. If you loved the irresistibly infamous video for “Bubble Butt,” you’ll want to check out the new “Scare Me” video (also off Free the Universe, released in April). The live action mini-film employs a roster of stars for a B-movie tribute in which the Major Lazer character takes out various bad dudes and dudettes with the help of a fierce female sidekick before a missile explodes. (Or something.) It’s almost as fun as jiggling your own bubble butt to a live performance by these partying fusioners

Mad Decent even throws a bone to our cultural heritage, inviting 3BallMTY to the Block Party. Pronounced “Tribal Monterrey,” these three Mexican kids have an infectious way of mixing cumbia, synth-pop and techno without dumbing things down. The three DJs/producers (Erick Rincón, DJ Sheeqo Beat and DJ Otto) won a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist in 2012, had a number one Billboard Latin song for two weeks (“Inténtalo”) and will be in the area for the third time after two consecutive appearances at the Festival People en Español

The 3BallMTY link to Mad Decent: Toy Selektah (mixmaster for Control Machete, arguably Mexico’s greatest hip-hop group), who produced their Inténtalo album and who released his own Mex Machine EP on Mad Decent in 2011

“[At the New York date] I was wondering how it would go [with 3BallMTY],” said Goggins. “The whole front of the audience were white young teenagers from Connecticut and Long Island, but it went great—everyone was digging their ‘Suavemente’ remix. It was awesome.”

Mad Decent Block Party feat. Major Lazer, Big Gigantic, Baauer, Dillon Francis, 3BallMTY, Flosstradamus, The Party Squad, Kito & Reija Lee, DJ El Dusty

$30-$75 (all ages)
4pm-1am Sat, Sept 7
WhiteWater Amphitheater
11860 FM 306 (New Braunfels)
(830) 964-3800