Hostile Takeover at Wobbleland

Wobbleland steamed through San Francisco on January 19th through 20th. Bill Graham became a battlefield for the thousands of Bay Area ravers coming together for the first festival of the year. The community was full of spirit and feral energy, ready to face the bass head on. The two day festival presented some heavy hitters in the scene as well as breakthrough artists currently on the rise. With two stages and 30 artists, Wobbleland was an excellent event to kick off the 2024 season. 

Kai Wachi (from Wobbleland IG posted January 22nd)

The weekend kicked off on Friday with Jalaya opening the smaller Toxic Stage. With the crowds just starting to arrive, Jalaya put on a more laid back set to warm up the audience. Zeke Beats and Hamro were some of the highlights of Friday’s opening acts. Infekt’s set was noticeably less aggressive than the other artists playing the mainstage on Friday. The funkier tone, paired with playful visuals and brilliant lighting design, created a delightful experience and the crowd ate it up. The atmosphere in the venue immediately changed when LAYZ came on stage. This was my first time seeing her perform and it was one of my favorite sets of the weekend. Not only did she play some of the heaviest music of the weekend, the set was also impressive because of its visual production. The crisp and vivid lighting through the set was excellent but the lasers were especially stunning. This entire set was amazing; the potential and mastery of sound LAYZ displayed was outstanding. Lil Texas played another great set, surprise surprise, and had a huge crowd fighting to find space at the Toxic Stage. The cramped space and very hot sweaty air wasn’t enough to scare away his fans. Leading up to Friday’s headliner, HOL! and Adventure Club got the mainstage crowd riled up. The intensity of HOL!’s set was nicely followed by a more merciful set by Adventure Club. By the time Svdden Death came on, the crowd was rested yet still rowdy. His hour and a half long set had the crowd continuously swarming. Mosh pits were brutal and heads were banging in every direction. As aggressive the crowd was, the lovely demeanor and PLUR vibes of the bassheads were maintained all night. I’ve seen Svdden Death play many times and this set was up there with the best. The visuals had great variety and showcased what appeared to be images from his recently released Harbinger EP. The 3D shifty visual effects their team utilized were especially captivating. 

LAYZ taken by Deni for The Festival Voice

Coming into Saturday, the crowds were quick to arrive to catch Emorfik’s early set at the mainstage. Following his summer show at The Midway, the Bay developed a loving for Emorfik’s distorted style. His sets are refreshing like a deep tissue massage. The exhilarating and twisted visuals, paired with the gnarly tones of his music let the audience give into the dramatic physical and emotional release from tension. Hesh was an excellent act to follow this set. Entering the last hour of the festival, Crankdat and Kompany so cruelly made their presence known. The b2b was nasty and grimy in every way you could hope. The night’s merciless mainstage lineup continued to wreak havoc with Kai Wachi decimating the crowd with the hardest rail riders of the weekend. At the same time, Cyclops played an exhilarating and fresh set at the Toxic Stage. He also introduced a new collaboration with Rezz. The hypnotic track with pulsating bass was masterfully composed and had puppeteering control over the crowd. As the event came to a close, ravers and all gathered to go to BTSM church. For a second time in the Bay, Portals by BTSM told Naomi’s story. The immersive visuals were increasingly captivating beside the committed and experienced fanbase they have collected over their career. It was like the entire auditorium became one and the crowd was a part of the set. It was an incredible display of a story connecting so deeply with the audience. I’ve gotten so used to BTSM playing their one more song at the end of their sets. And when they didn’t do so to close Wobbleland, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little heartbroken.

Crankdat b2b Kompany taken by Deni for The Festival Voice

A delightful surprise of the weekend was the small business booths that made their appearance at Wobbleland. I love that recently we have been seeing vendors at local festivals in the Bay. I had a chance to speak with Riya from Kandies World about the hand dipped, glow in the dark items they specialize in. They were strikingly beautiful and each of them different. They also had other merchandise like led face masks and a huge variety of fans and pashminas. And of course, handmade perler necklaces and other arm kandi as well.

Kandies World, Riya on the left (from Kandies World IG posted Jan 21)

Both nights of the festival were continued at the DNA Lounge afterparties. Friday night was closed by Lil Texas and Hamro b2b Point Blank, Saturday by Jessica Auddifred and RZRKT. Hamro and Point Blank brought heavy dubstep to the end of night 1 and Saturday similarly closed the show with a feral mosh pit. Day 2 was packed, the floor and balcony were full. The crowd stayed together until the end of the show. If I’ve learned anything about my community this weekend, it’s that the Bay can always take more. 21 hours of partying breezed over San Francisco as quickly as it came. Months of anticipation turned out a hungry and rowdy crowd. The first heavy bass festival of the Bay Area was a success and Wobbleland will be bringing that same energy with a different lineup to Denver, Colorado on February 3rd.