Based on the success of the inaugural BOO! event in San Francisco last year, Insomniac Events decided to expand their BOO! event to two new cities this year. I was incredibly excited to hear that they chose to expand to Dallas as it’s a true testament to not only Dallas’ growth as an Electronic Dance Music market, but the rising popularity of electronic music events in Texas as a whole.
Promising to bring us two huge nights of music and partying, BOO! set out to redefine what we think of when we think “Halloween party.” With such a stacked lineup, including artists like Baauer, Bro Safari, Zeds Dead, Party Favor, Big Gigantic, and Snails, Insomniac seemed to provide a lineup that perfectly matched Dallas’ love for heavy hitting trap and pounding bass music and with a venue as accommodating as South Side Ballroom, this two-day event was destined for success from inception. But, did the BOO! team make good on their promise?
So with my high hopes and the type of giddy excitement you’d expect from a ten-year-old, I headed off to South Side Ballroom hoping to get there early enough to get an up close look at the stage production the BOO! team and South Side had been able to put together. By the time I arrived, Unlike Pluto was on opening duty delivering a well crafted, upbeat dance set that kept his fans and the crowd, albeit a small crowd, up on their feet and energetic throughout its entirety. The stage and the lighting were also in full use, giving the eager crowd a taste of the excitement and controlled chaos that occurs every time a headlining DJ takes the stage.
As people slowly drifted into the venue and added to the crowd, it became ever more clear to me, just how much fun this event was going to be. With people dressing up as astronauts, cowboys, and dinosaurs, and with groups of people theming their costumes together in hilarious fashion, it was evident that Insomniac succeeded in fostering the intended “Halloween Party” atmosphere. By making the crowd pivotal in creating the atmosphere, BOO! left itself open to interpretation. Individual creativity with costumes and outfits, complemented by the openness that forms the basis of Electronic Dance Music culture, gave way to a uniquely personal experience that perfectly blended together the laid back, comedic nature of a Halloween Party with the high-energy, party atmosphere of a dance music event.
The first day continued on with G Jones delivering an impressive bass set that really set the crowd off, ensuring that the following artists (Baauer, Bro Safari, and Zeds Dead) would inherit a crowd that was primed and ready for all of the excitement and theatrics promised by the headlining acts.
I missed most of Baauer’s set to interview Bro Safari (article coming soon) and when I finally got back into the crowd with around ten minutes left in his set, South Side had finally reached capacity. It was a wonderful sight, thousands of people dressed in outlandish costumes, headbanging, and dancing to the sounds of some of the world’s best Electronic Dance Music DJs as they performed on a stage with a giant skull seemingly levitating above the DJ booth.
Bro Safari and Zeds Dead closed the night out with exactly what we’ve come to expect from them with sets highlighting their popular singles and their unique cross-genre approaches.
Day 2 carried on the success of day 1 and was nearly virtually identical in every aspect except for the change in artists playing. The same vibes and crowd energy permeated throughout the venue and just like with day 1, there was no shortage of outrageous costumes to remind you that this was indeed, a Halloween party.
Snails had the standout set for me on day 2 and his approach to the music he calls “vomitstep” is always a welcome shift away from the norm for me.
The live instrumentation of Big Gigantic always adds a cool dynamic to their performances and BOO! was no exception to that, making them my other standout set for day 2. Additionally, I’d also like to give Big Gigantic a shout out for teaming up with Electric Family to help clean up trash and litter from the Trinity River bed. From Dallas and all of the fans, we thank you for efforts in bettering the communities that play host to your shows. For more info and to see if you can join future volunteer efforts, click here.
Total success. The consistency between the days was much appreciated. With any multi-day event that sells single day tickets, there’s always the possibility that the next day might bring a different crowd, a different vibe, and a whole new set of problems, but BOO! never ran into that issue. The stage production was fitting to the theme, the crowd bought into the Halloween party concept, the venue appeared to not run into any technical issues, and the artists played sets that perfectly catered to the tastes of Dallas fans.
Hopefully, we’ll see BOO! return again next year!