The Sea of Dreams’ 14th annual New Years Eve celebration took on a new theme and venue for their 2014 transcendental gala, VibrantSea. Playing upon the theme of “energetic realms of felt experience,” the festival relocated from its previous residency to the heart of San Francisco, taking over the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for nine whimsical hours to ring in 2014.
Presenting a challenging shift in spatial dimensions, the new venue helped to curate a very different experience than most have come to expect with Sea of Dreams festivities. In previous years, attendees have had to navigate through the crowd constraints of a shotgun floor plan, but the Bill Graham Civic allowed for revelers to flow freely amidst its ample space and side rooms. Enhancing the overall experience and motif of the evening, movement amongst the masses maintained a comfortable fluidity throughout the auditorium and allowed for ample time to immerse in the entirety of the VibrantSea experience.
Swedish synth pop fourtet Little Dragon got the venue stirring after an opening set by DJ Jocelyn on the main stage. Pulling tracks from their entire catalogue, this one-off performance was the perfect way to usher in the multitudes of fans and first time observers. The soulful electronic grooves of this opening performance was highlighted by familiar favorite “Ritual Union” and a striking dub remix of their 2011 hit “Little Man.”
Next up on the Main Stage, Thievery Corporation brought their unique blend of world music, electronica and hip hop to the party. Ramping up the eccentric auditorium with a full band ensemble and rotating vocalists, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton brought the largest crowd of the evening together under the floating lanterns, inflatable sea creatures and the eventual sea of balloons that dropped over the dancing masses at midnight. Their set began with diva-led revelry and led to hip-hop driven songs after midnight.
Thievery’s hip-hop driven post-midnight jams transitioned nicely into late night heavy hitters A-Trak and Dillon Francis, who went back to back with bass-pounding performances. Scheduled directly after one another, the EDM giants treated the crowd to a rare collaboration, sharing duties as selector while vibing off the other for the next choice.
The two competitively battled as rap prodigy and NYE Mezzanine headliner Danny Brown made a debaucherous late night appearance that sounded a bit like spent karaoke. But Brown’s presence brought new life to the cavernous Civic Center, so witnessing Danny Brown perform with A-Trak and Dillon Francis was icing on the cake of a fantastic evening.