First, Snoop’s set ended early and it seemed like his entire audience headed for the exit. Then, after No Doubt wrapped up (it was their last show until Gwen Stefani completes her next solo album), there was another parade for the parking lot.
It wasn’t looking good for KAABOO’s late night line-up, and the only other thing going on was comedian Lewis Black on the Humor Me stage.
But outside the Encore stage (aka O’Brien Pavilion), very near where crews were already cleaning up cans and trash from Tha Doggfather’s truncated performance, a small group was gathering.
And looks can be deceiving.
When Chicago DJ duo The White Panda took the stage sharply at 10 p.m., the place was full. And by the time they were midway through their (far too brief) 45 minutes, it was jam-packed.
As Tom Evans (Procrast) + Dan Griffith (DJ Griffi), both sporting their trademark suits and panda masks, played the songs that have garnered them more than 60 million SoundCloud streams, the pavilion was transformed into a giant dance party. Lights, go-go dancers, glow-stick twirlers, CO2 effects - it was all there.
There was even a guy wearing a giraffe costume wrapped in Christmas lights dancing with a Pink Unicorn.
There’s a reason these dudes have been called “the mash-up kings,” and they did nothing to dispel that on Friday night.
There was a bit of a drop-off for the following performance by GRiZ, but the sturdy crowd that remained got a fantastic set. It also gave everyone in attendance just a little more room to dance.
GRiZ, the Detroit-based DJ and producer, otherwise known as Grant Kwiecinski, is also a pretty good saxophone player. And it isn’t a shtick. The 25-year-old has chops.
It’s a strange sight to see a DJ pick up a woodwind instrument and start wailing away when the beat drops, but somehow this guy makes it work.
And for a hall filled with fans that seemingly respect remixes over reeds, they all embraced GRiZ’s performance wholeheartedly.
Later in the night, Icona Pop and The Floozies took to the stage. For a day dominated by acts that were all 20-plus years old (No Doubt, Snoop Dogg, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, Ozomatli) the Encore stage successfully provided a ying to that yang.
Saturday night’s lineup includes Girl Talk, Cherub and Big Gigantic. If Friday night was any indication, the Encore stage has the chance to give Coachella’s Sahara Tent a run for its money in future years.