I had a lot of high expectations in tow when I attended the Tipper Sound Experience show at the Cocoanut Grove on Saturday, July 2. For one, it was put on by Raindance Presents—and with longtime local party thrower DJ Little John at the helm, Raindance gatherings are always guaranteed to be a good time.
Secondly, it was held in the Cocoanut Grove Grand Ballroom at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, where concerts are few and far between (although—cross your fingers—that may finally be changing). Thirdly, Tipper is more or less an electronic music deity.
The British music composer and electronic music DJ, full name David Tipper, did not disappoint. With his eyes locked on his equipment, he played music like a nerdy scientist executing a precise and intricate experiment. Personally, pinning down the exact delineation of whatever sub-genre of electronic music someone plays has never been as important to me as whether or not their music makes me dance. So while Tipper’s music has been described as ambient, trip hop, break beat and much more, what really came across was his ability to unite a crowd in infectious, lose-yourself-in-the-moment dancing. Even the electronic music skeptics got out on the dance floor.
The gigantic 21 and up bar area provided a nice respite when the dance floor got too steamy. The bartenders poured exceptionally stiff drinks, which were enjoyed with the sand and sea of Main Beach to one side and thumping, transcendental music on the other. The main room, with its ornate décor, worn carpet and vaulted ceiling, was ideal for the “sound experience” provided—Tipper teamed up with Nexus (for the uninitiated, Nexus is a Burning Man camp) to perform using their famous Funktion One sound system. The speakers caused as much of a buzz as the music itself—the system was originally designed by Tony Andrews, known among the sonically obsessed for his work in sound, and featured an arrangement of speakers and sub woofers that made for crisp sounds and amazingly deep, resonating bass.
The experience was topped off with a mesmerizing array of LED lights, a joyful crowd (many taking a break from festival season), and a great opening line up (VibeSquad, Little John). Now, let the countdown begin for the next Raindance/Cocoanut Grove collaboration...