The announcement that Designer Drugs would soon start their set was met by drunken hoards in pinnies leaving Old Campus for the promise of a Wenzel or some cheesy fries. Ezra Stiles Master Steven Pitti ’91 seemed to have captured the mood of these people: “I left after Fiasco. I really don’t care about the rest.” Word. I entered Old Campus soon after Lupe finished his set, wondering who had stayed. Certainly not the multiple people carted away in one of the ambulances stationed outside of Durfee’s. As I navigated around the intermittent pools of vomit that dotted the Old Campus lawn, I caught glimpses of people making out against trees in the darkness of the night and groups of frolicking hipsters smoking and dancing in circles. I had found my people. I was ready for a performance that would revitalize the apparently exhausted Flingers that surrounded me, a set that would cure the early-onset hangovers and get people moving again. Where were they? Where was Designer Drugs? Not the kind taken by the kid rolling on the soiled grass beside me — where was the DJ?
Fashionably late and stationed behind a DJ kiosk straight out of the Haus of Daft Punk. I expected great things from the look of his setup, especially considering that Designer Drugs looked like he had just crawled out of his mother’s basement — those are the types from which you can expect great things. He produced some passable but unoriginal dancing beats that released the dancing beast within me, for a bit. The set started to get a bit monotonous and the crowd, poor babies, were trying with all of their might to muster the energy they needed to enjoy electronic dance music, energy they just did not possess. Most people had resigned themselves to some fist-pumping and some foot-stomping, but the chaos that Designer Drugs’ set called for just did not happen.
There were some brave souls that did rally and a few half-hearted attempts to crowd-surf, but the energy of the music was still having trouble catching on. Acts like Designer Drugs thrive on enclosed space where the sound can really demand some orgiastic gesticulation. There is just no way to dance to dubstep without looking like you need a straitjacket, so when Designer Drugs threw some massive drops at the crowd, the audience hesitated. They thought, “How in hell do I dance to this shit?” Some people started to grind with bewildered expressions, some championed the slow fist-pump, some just stood in place. My favorite study music hit the wrong crowd at the wrong time at the wrong level of wasted.
But Designer Drugs threw the audience a couple of bones. Some familiar throwbacks like Duck Sauce’s “Barbra Streisand” and Far East Movement’s “Like a G6” allowed those who were utterly bewildered by dubstep to enjoy the show without being scared shitless by dubstep’s signature “Inception”-esque bass lines. And as the mixes kept coming, more and more people came back from the line at A1 to partake in the magic to come. As more people came, the crowd rallied, and Designer Drugs’ performance finally began to make sense as the closing act of Spring Fling.
Apart from the DJ’s squeaky voice, which was reminiscent of the villain from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” the only other major problem was the order of the set in the lineup. Designer Drugs would have been primo pump-up music for Lupe, who would have made the crowd go crazy immediately with his more interactive appeal. That lineup would also have helped people pace themselves over the course of the day. Unless you’re Girl Talk, a DJ really has to work harder to make the crowd go wild, especially in an outdoor venue. Designer Drugs would be good for a casual club kid get-together or a private party hosted by a faux-in-the-know celebutante, but it was not a Spring Fling headliner.