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Anime, electronic music collide in Oakland’s ‘Second Sky’

Electro-house DJ and producer Porter Robinson held his first personally curated music festival Saturday, staging Second Sky Music Festival as a melting pot of different artists in the dance and electronic music scene, all combined with similar themes of Japanese culture and beautiful, celestial-sounding beats.

Along the Bay overlooking all of San Francisco, Shoreline Park in Oakland picked up quick with crowds over 15, 000 excited EDM fans, according to festival organizers and public relations for Second Sky.

People arriving from as far as Japan and as close as San Francisco were all in awe at the Oakland dinosaur cranes greeting them into a world of cutesy love and dance.

The lineup included acts that hold a special place in Robinson’s heart, he said at the end of his set:

“One of my favorite things that happened today was how many of you showed up early and gave so much love to all the other artists here. That’s the point of this thing for me is to share my favorite music.”

The first of the musical phenoms started off with Robinson’s other solo project Virtual Self. Grammy-nominated and hugely successful, Virtual Self is meant to open while Robinson closed as the last act playing songs from his iconic Worlds album. He pointed out that he wanted people to show up early to see all the other artists.

Australian DJ and music producer Nina Las Vegas proceeded to turn the volume up a little more with quick, fast drums and bass.

Wednesday Campanella woke up the crowd with an unexpected display of true showmanship. Hailing from Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, the J-Pop and EDM infused group raise a huge banner behind the lead singer KOM_I. Unfortunately, that didn’t go as planned when the Oakland wind broke the banner off from the ropes holding it up. It wrapped around KOM_I, but with grace and professionalism, she sang beautifully in Japanese as crowd roared and cheered her on.

This is the moment that shows how special the Robinson fandom is.

Every attendee SFBay encountered seems genuine and helpful. Something about the range of cultures and personalities makes an experience that much powerful. Oakland pride shows off their true colors with how open and honest we can be to the outside world.

New York electronic and rock band Anamanaguchi took the stage after Wednesday Campanella’s astounding set.Two guitars, one bass, and one set of drums delivered more sounds than expected. Anamanaguchi use 8-bit video game tracks and classic instruments to create an experience unlike many bands today. They even riff off some of their visuals by introducing an animated computer DJ to play some songs.

Anamanaguchi is one of those bands that needs to be seen live, especially knowing that they are the geniuses behind the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game soundtrack.

SFBay took a dive to Robinson’s newest passion: The Robinson Malawi Fund.

Recently, Robinson has shared his experience with his brother Mark and how he was “in the hospital gravely ill and was eventually diagnosed with a rare form of fast-growing cancer called Burkitt lymphoma.”

Dr. Kate Westmoreland, one of Mark’s doctors, leads the pediatric cancer program at University of North Carolina Project-Malawi. She has stated in the Fund’s campaign that “in the US, Burkitt lymphoma is very rare and more than 90 percent of children are cured and survive. In Malawi, it is the most common childhood cancer, and survival rate can be as low as 29%.”

Second Sky proved itself to be an extraordinary place to have the backing of multiple talented people just trying to do something good for the world and for the individual.

Brooklyn transplant from Pittsburgh, drummer Chrome Sparks brought a specific taste of future beats to the table, featuring hard-hitting drums as an umbrella covering different electronic sounds like trap, groove and funk.

Robinson molded this lineup to manipulate the emotions of the audience. Starting off fresh and magnetic, the audience fueled up so when British indie pop band Kero Kero Bonito and G Jones stood on stage, the head-banging peaked.

Playing his remixes of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “Time After Time” and Daft Punk’s “One More Time,” Norwegian musician, DJ and record producer Cashmere Cat shook the sandy ground just as the sun set on the Bay Area’s cityscape horizon.

The colorful and loud main stage still boomed bright around the park. Bits of blue and red lighting tied down the neon and, quite frankly, out of this world fan art submitted to showcase during the festival.

French DJ and record producer Madeon, and one of Robinson’s best friends, released his newest single “All My Friends” on May 31 of this year. This new venture is his newest chapter in life, and he couldn’t be any more cryptic with his releases.

Inspired by 80’s pop synthesizers and anime, Madeon builds drops without losing the dance aspect to his Adventure album, of which he played most of his songs.

Just as expected and perfectly introduced, Robinson wrapped his show up with some thoughtful words and gnarly rhythms that bend the electro-house genre.

Speaking on his revolutionary Worlds album, Robinson said:

“I think I really wanted to feel understood.”

He was cut off by thousands of people crying and yelling, shouting:

“We understand you, Porter!”

Humbly smiling and chuckling, Robinson continued:

“I guess, what I’m trying to say is that, it’s five years later, there’s a sea of you people here showing up for this specific show, for Worlds, and also for all the other amazing artists. I think that 2014 me, that kid, his dreams really came true and it’s all because of you guys. Thank you guys so much.”

Fans of Porter Robinson and Madeon will know that “Shelter” is a unique song with meaning far beyond a general blanket. “Shelter” is a moment in time that fans will never forget.

Fitting that the last song of the night, Robinson would bring Madeon on stage with him to sing and perform “Shelter,” alongside a bevy of animated images that would bring even the strictest, most emotionless person to tears.

A cold and beautiful Bay Area night ended with musical ecstasy.

Robinson has announced that Second Sky will return in 2020.

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