Bay Area Anjuna fans were counting down the days and the nights till Anjunabeats San Jose touched down at the City National Civic on Friday, May 12.
Typically the San Francisco Bay Area doesn’t get many trance events, with the exception of a few one-offs hosted by Trance Family SF and Phoria Events, and of course Dreamstate SF. So it came as no surprise to me that the trance filled Anjunabeats San Jose tour stop sold out days before the event. The event selling out is a testament to San Francisco’s trance community growing and how fiercely loyal trance fans are to their genre.
To further prove this point, we were one of the few lucky cities other than Los Angeles and New York in the US that has received Insomniac’s designated trance-only event Dreamstate. Now that I’ve set the stage, I can go into the event itself and my overall experience.
Entry into the venue was fairly painless as security lines and ticket checkers were working diligently to get all attendees inside. The 21+ ID check was located to the right of the auditorium and the staff there was able to quickly wristband those interested in drinking for the night. However, I would rate the overall layout of the venue itself somewhat poor, as there was only one bar, which was located upstairs away from the music.
The problem arose went you actually wanted to grab a drink, because you had to leave the stage area and miss out on an entire set, if not more.
Here is what I mean. If you wanted to grab a drink, you would have to go to the “sky” bar and wait at least 20 minutes to be served by one of the four bartenders working. Not exactly the best situation considering from the “sky” bar you are completely unable to hear or see the stage. To top it all off you can’t leave until you finish your drink, which made getting a drink more of an annoyance than anything. Although this may be unavoidable due to San Jose’s liquor laws, it’s just a flaw of the venue itself and something to consider if you plan on drinking at an event hosted there.
On the bright side, City National Civic is equipped with plenty of bathrooms and a large outdoor smoking area where they provide free water. There are also lots of places to get a good view of the stage due to the many seats lining the balcony and walls of the venue. Even though the event was sold out, I still found that there was still ample space to dance without being squished or trapped behind taller attendees. Short girl problems I know, but it’s something I enjoy at events.
Lineup-wise, the artists I was looking forward to the most were Ilan Bluestone and Mat Zo, as he was billed for a special Anjunabeats Classics Set.
Although I’ve already seen Ilan Bluestone around three or four times, I still love his sets and the energy he exudes as he plays. His set at Anjunabeats San Jose was no different, especially when he went b2b with Adam Bayer and played the Above & Beyond songs that hit you right in the feels. Since everyone is waiting for that “Blue Sky Action” and “A Thing Called Love” in their life. Mat Zo brought it all together mixing in his originals like “Hurricane,” “Easy,” along with other Anjunabeats staples.
Even though I initially went for those two particular artists, I ended up falling in love with Jason Ross. I had only briefly listened to his music prior to the event, but after seeing him that night I became an instant fan. Listen to his track with Seven Lions and Paul Meany, “Higher Love“, and his future edit of “Atlas”, I promise you won’t regret it. Other notable mentions, of course, go to Sunny Lax and Spencer Brown for keeping the vibe alive during their sets too.
Overall, annoyances with the bar situation aside, Anjunabeats San Jose was a solid trance event. I look forward to seeing how Anjuna continues to grow and evolve, and can’t wait for them to return to the Bay Area. Hope to see you all at ABGT 250!
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Featured Photo Credit: Arman Salari