Review & Photos | Burning Man 2013 | Black Rock City

Breaking from the music for a moment -- on Thursday afternoon, a swarm of numerous Law Enforcement vehicles were ominously making their way toward the Temple, lights flashing. At that moment, naturally people feared the worst, and a stunned aura came over the area. Soon it was explained that this was a situation diametrically opposite to that of our trepidation. Each officer exited the cars forming a circle a path toward the temple, they stood at attention and removed their hats. A woman was then escorted down the lane slowly, carrying a plaque that memorialized her husband, a fallen policeman. More family members followed the same path and entered the temple, and then the officers did the same. Burners respectfully surrounded the temple, and the entire community, LEO and Black Rock City denizens, bowed heads in silent mourning. This procession provided one of the more poignant and powerful events to take place on the Playa all week.

[Jeff Kravitz’s Video Of The Man Burn]

Power was an issue, with generators and speakers, so not too many bands set up, a few did here and there on a smaller scale. There were however phenomenal impromptu concerts at my camp Bee Here Now, located at 9:30 and G on the Playa. Not only did our international krewe provide breathtaking acoustic entertainment in four languages, we were graced with a choice recital from a twin-duo from Los Angeles-by-way-of-Canada Carmen and Camille. If I were to recreate each and every setting where a musician torched my spirit in BRC, this article would never end. For the purpose of brevity alone, here are a handful of standout situations that manifested themselves over the course of a week in Black Rock City. This report focuses on the smattering of DJs and producers that I was lucky enough to take in over the course of nearly seven days in the desert sands of Burning Man.

Sidecar Tommy is a drummer and producer of Beats Antique (who also provided DJ sets throughout the week at various sound camps). Those of us in the know were anticipating a monster throwdown in the 4 a.m. slot at Camp Question Mark, late Thursday night , but Tommy was thrown a few logistic curveballs. Nevertheless, the stalwart Oakland pro set up gear on an art car in front of Camp Q and provided those who braved the early murky waters with set that will stand the test of time. Sidecar’s master influx of world music sounds and ideas took root and flourished as the dancing masses kept the blood and vibes flowing. Post-dub step bass wobble underpinned sitar and Middle Eastern flourishes with trunk- rattling authority. A valiant vision laid the plans for a future metamorphosis from this artist, and the early returns were more than promising. Despite the setbacks, Sidecar Tommy’s will to persevere gave us all safe passageway to a marvelous heart of darkness.

Though busy throughout the week with Freq Nasty sets, Darin McFayden’s other project on Playa, The Dub Kirtan Allstars (DJ sets) was a most impressive unification of spirituality, culture and sound over the entire week of Burning Man. Spellbinding Kirtan and grandiloquent beat-science amalgamate into a sensual, sacred potion as Freq himself captained the superfluous-terrestrial saucer. The dread cosmonaut enchanted with Yoga of Bass, and played Capoeira of Crunk; with walloping low end dropping soundsystem thunderclaps whilst chanting channeled holiness from the depths within ourselves. On the final morning of Burning Man, at the magnificent Fractal Planet camp, just before sunrise, Darin rose to riveting occasion and liberated the massive mind, soul and body with thrilling takes on tracks from recent EP Subsonic Devotion, and deeper still beneath the rugged undertow of bass riddims and entrancing chant.

Dave Tipper Sunrise sets on Wednesday and Monday mornings bookended Burn bombastics. On the former, Tipper’s first performance since open-heart surgery earlier this year, the Mayan Warrior art car soldiered out toward the Temple and he delivered a sublime, downtempo set soaked in love-drenched waves. At the conclusion he gave gratitude and thanks to those who willed him through the darkness. For Monday, Tipper set it off proper with a Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” guitar riff, looped up something dirty with funky-ass undertones. The liftoff for this guy’s final set of dancing at Burning Man 2013 was magnificent, and spilled into over an hour par excellence.

The Scumfrog’s Tuesday night/Wednesday sunrise set on the Robot Heart car was a proper introduction to how the freaks come out at night on the Playa. Frog came through with a vast assortment of tricks up his sleeveless arms, going back to his roots of psychedelic and deep House influences, and blessing the moment of Mother Sun’s appearance with his take on the seminal Beach Boys classic “Our Prayer.” He also managed to work in Pink Floyd’s “Mother” and The Police’s “Walking on the Moon” amidst Timo Maas and Todd Terje house anthems.

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