Justin Martin’s Coachella Set Is One for the Clouds

I have an unhealthy obsession with everything Dirtybird. I fly into San Francisco to see the quarterlies at Mezzanine; I caught every single Dirtybird set on Holy Ship. Both Billy Kenny and Justin Jay have been afterhours guests at the Braunasium. Almost a year ago today, I predicted that 2015 would be a breakout year for Dirtybird. And breakout year it was. The list of Dirtybird accomplishments is simply too long and beyond the scope of this article, however I do think that they are the final nail in EDM’s festival coffin and I’ll explain why.

While mega-festivals continue to alienate customers by leaving them in the mud, canceling their beloved events and declaring bankruptcy; Dirtybird’s string of BBQ’s and Campouts are quickly becoming a shining light in the less-is-more style of festival. Rather than trying too hard to be everything to everyone, Dirtybird’s focused approach of doing one specific thing really really absurdly well has been a much welcome breath of fresh air. Even Las Vegas, with its multi-million dollar residencies are beginning to take note.

Focused success does not come without its costs, however. Excessive touring can wear an audience out. Even if the booking agent is careful not to put the artist in the same spot too often, they have zero control over how often local acts will play their tracks, release imitations, and wear out the sound. Excessive touring can also leave artists with little time to produce new music.

These forces combined can threaten the success of an up-and-coming label. I’m not the only one who has felt that Dirtybird’s sound has gotten a little stale lately. However, when Justin Martin took the stage at the Yuma Tent at Coachella; he played what is quite possibly the best musical experience I’ve had in 2016 and possibly ever.

Before his set, he tweeted that he was considering opening with a new Jamie XX remix.

He certainly did open with said remix, and it was delicious. From there, he played a seemingly unending string of mind-blowing, unreleased new jams presumably from his upcoming album, Hello Clouds. Grounding his set, he did manage to work in a few staple Dirtybird classics, my favorite of which is Claude Vonstroke’s “Who’s Afraid of Detroit,” the track that put Dirtybird on the map in the first place. Look out for the album release on Wednesday, April 20. If this set is any indicator of the future of Dirtybird for 2016, I would have to say that we all have a lot to look forward to this year.

Pre-Order Hello Clouds Now: iTunes

If you have the chance, catch him at Sound Nightclub in L.A. for his birthday and Hello Clouds release party on April 20th or at Mezzanine SF for the Dirtybird Quarterly: Hello Clouds release party on April 22nd. If for whatever reason you can’t make it, his upcoming tour is jam packed with over 60 stops.

I write code. I spin records. Mostly deep house and techno records. I stay up late. Find me at the shows.
- 3 days ago

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