On another note entirely, Seattle once again failed to come off as a particularly “cool” place. We commented last year how the city occasionally appears to be stuck in the ’90s, and that mentality didn’t appear to have changed much over the past 12 months. Make no mistake—by US standards, Decibel is an incredibly forward event; however, being at the festival rarely felt like taking a stroll on the cutting edge. A lot of that had to do with the crowd, which, in proper West Coast fashion, included a heavy contingent of aging former ravers. We don’t mean to appear shallow, but the general motif was an odd cross of tech-industry business casual (lots of fleece, windbreakers, and boot-cut jeans), grunge leftovers, and fashion cues seemingly inspired by the movie Waterworld. Although the music was undoubtedly the most important thing at Decibel, it was striking how the Seattle crowds came across as almost aggressively unfashionable. When traveling from out of town for a festival, particularly one focused on underground electronic music, most attendees want to feel like they’re mingling with a hip, in-the-know group of people. Instead of that, we often found ourselves in a sea of geeky diehards and goofy Burning Man castoffs.
I had the privilege of covering a couple Decibel Festival shows this year. It was the first time I’ve attended dbFest, a world-renowned electronic music festival now in its 10th year, and it struck me as a pretty cool event. Shawn Reynaldo, the editor of tastemaking online electronic music magazine XLR8R apparently thought differently. This paragraph follows another of about the same length where he complains about the rain.
The full review is on XLR8R.