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'Finger Lickin' ' rave barely whets the appetite

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FEBRUARY 20, 2014

The often quiet, grassy park and neighborhood area of Fort Mason in San Francisco played host to an unfamiliar crowd of young adults clad in fishnet tights, spandex shorts, furry hats and plastic bead “kandi” jewelry Sunday night. Goldenvoice Entertainment’s “Finger Lickin’ ” event, hosted in the large shipping warehouse at Fort Mason, boasted an extensive electronic lineup with Laidback Luke, DJ Snake, Adventure Club, TJR, Green Lantern and San Francisco’s very own WhiteNoize.

The concert began in the dimming afternoon light at 4 p.m. and posed an endurance test thatran late into the night. Each artist’s set lasted for one hour, making “Finger Lickin’ ” neither a single show nor quite a festival. While the warehouse itself had a beautiful exterior on the shoreline, offering impressive views of Bay Bridge, the dark Pacific waters, well-lit hills and Coit Tower, the actual offerings at the festival grounds left something to be desired.

For many, the highly anticipated acts of Adventure Club, DJ Snake and Laidback Luke seemed lacking in real-time music-mixing ability. Throughout all three sets, there were moments in which awkward beat-matching was audible and left the more sober members of the crowd frustrated and unsure of how to dance. Fortunately for the musicians, however, it seemed the majority of the young crowd was very far from sober.

The event seemed to host every stereotype about rave culture, both positive and negative. An impressive number of PLUR Angels flitted about in the darkness, all dressed in matching neon T-shirts to help those in need of water or assistance. The PLUR Angels concept sprouted from the “P.L.U.R.” acronym widely adopted by the vast majority of rave-goers and the raving community that stands for “peace, love, unity, respect.” PLUR Angels strive to act as generous guardian angels of sorts to those around them, and indeed their assistance was much needed and appreciated at “Finger Lickin’.”

During the event, a number of young men and women passed out, presumably either from dehydration, substance abuse or both, and many had to be carried out by security guards and into the arms of waiting medical personnel. Unfortunately, this aspect of rave culture has gotten out of control in recent years, and “Finger Lickin’ ” was no exception.

Despite such emergency situations, the music remained the primary focus of the event. The show carried on without stopping, the tightly packed throng of hundreds of sweaty people unable to notice fellow ravers passing out amidthe dark lighting, deafeningly loud bass and pulsing neon rays of light emitted from the center stage. As the night neared Laidback Luke’s final set, the crowd packed in closer and closer together.

The awkward pause between sets only increased the intense anticipation almost to the point of frustration as the crowd waited. When Laidback Luke finally took the stage, he blasted the sound even louder than it had been before and kept the music intense and high-energy. A glossy, well-made giant cardboard cutout of his head floated across the top of the crowd, his face an eerie and ominous apparition amid the dry ice fog that permeated the horde of dancing people. Luke himself appeared sinister as well, throwing up devil hand signs constantly throughout his set to the bemusement of his audience.

Given the production talent of many of the leading and headlining acts at “Finger Lickin’,” the actual live performances proved to be a letdown. While there were some good mixing moments during sets, the overall execution seemed average at best.

Contact Kate Irwin at [email protected].
LAST UPDATED

FEBRUARY 20, 2014


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