Part 1: Reported from the DJ booth at Marquee Dayclub’s Saturday pool party
Dirty South aka Dragan Roganović has just slept for 11 hours. After a late night in Vegas even pro partiers need to pay their sleep debt. “Vegas really eats you alive,” he half-jokes. “I went out to see Sebastian Ingrosso at XS. We ended up going to sleep at 8 a.m., so I pretty much slept until Marquee.”
Scotty Boy is winding down the opening set as the dayclub pool swells 4,000 partiers deep. Dirty South ascends from the crowd as his team hooks up equipment. Dancers bounce around with inflatable zebras, flamingoes and Aussie flags, and someone rocking the Marquee mascot.
Dirty South drops his brand new remix of Miike Snow’s “Devil’s Work.” The dancefloor goes nuts for the new tune. He turns and gives love to his friends as he pours a couple drinks. A few songs later he plays his Thomas Gold collabo, “Alive.” The mist machines blast the elated crowd as he mixes in “Walking Alone.”
Tao Group co-owner Jason Strauss is enjoying the show as his cabana becomes packed. He welcomes Calvin Harris just as Dirty South plays “Eyes Wide Open," then Dirty South brings in some Alesso and Justice before ending his set with a vodka shot.
He disappears post-set to eat and relax before heading to ringside seats for the Pacquio vs. Bradley fight.
Part 2: Reported from the DJ booth at EDC’s Kinetic Field Sunday Night
Dirty South is backstage 15 minutes before his set. “I just got into the EDC playground,” he muses with a smile. “Look at all the rides. I love all the LEDs. I love all the stages … I love what they did with the set-up. Really, it’s trippy—peace, love and rave and all that shit. It’s really cool … I think this is the biggest thing I’ve played.”
I ask how tonight’s song choices will compare to his Marquee set the day before. Since festival sets are shorter he stacks them with his own songs. At the pool, on the other hand, he has more time to experiment and play other producers’ tracks.
As we ascend to the stage fellow Marquee DJ Sunnery James hops up to show love. They're hugging and laughing like great friends who haven’t crossed paths in months. We make our way behind the DJ booth and kneel five feet behind Chuckie as he finishes his set.
Chuckie screams, "I only have two minutes left! I want to see everyone dance!” Dirty South is focused. He explains that he always listens to the preceding set to avoid repeating tracks. His tour manager, Aubrey, does a quick equipment setup, crouching to not take attention from Chuckie, who gives Dirty South some last minute advice to play “Calling,” “In My Mind” or “Levels.” Clearly, he thinks this EDC crowd is hungry for some Swedish house flavor.
Dirty South starts his set with “Walking Alone,” singing along with his tens of thousands of fans. He’s drinking water tonight, but he’s having just as much fun as the day before. He turns and jokes with Aubrey repeatedly, who tells me, “If we don't have fun it's not a good show."
Aubrey cues pyro as Dirty South drops Swedish House Mafia’s “Greyhound.” The fog machine erupts and confetti drops like floating hail. He feels the beat as he heel-stomps, occasionally switching to toe-taps. Dirty South mixes in DubVision’s “All By Myself” and turns to Aubrey with a sarcastic boo-hoo eye-fist and frowny face, playing off the lyrics. Aubrey is feelin’ it with his entire body—head bobs for the base, fist hits for snares and synths. He takes a picture and Dirty South photo bombs it. Their joking is constant, punctuated by fake punches, hugs and gracious thank you’s.
Dirty South mixes in he and Axwell’s remix of Temper Trap’s “Sweet Disposition,” then ends the set with his epic rendition of “Coming Home.” He leaves the stage with a gratified smile and is immediately swarmed by adoring fans that managed to get backstage for a photo opp.
His set has left the EDC audience sweaty and euphoric. From the melodies to the vocals, his big room house music has satisfied its biggest room yet.