The first three days of Tomorrowland 2018 are officially in the books. While there may be another packed weekend of brilliant, Belgian-based mayhem still in store, we took a look back at high points from weekend one of EDM’s most storied celebration. Whether it’s a two-hour euphoria trip with Above & Beyond at the Anjunabeats stage or a crawl through the techno trenches with Charlotte de Witte at the main stage, weekend one implores a revisit. See our top highlights from Tomorrowland’s opening weekend below.
A destination festival, when well-executed, is a dreamy experience indeed. Those lucky enough to make it to one often find themselves surrounded by natural beauty they rarely, if ever, get to see, and equally inspiring sets by artists on the bill.
However, as proven by Fyre Festival and the multitudes of other failed attempts at organizing an Instagram-worthy event in recent years, planning them is quite a difficult feat. Sometimes, poor enough planning even leads to them being labeled as fraud, like the recently-failed XO.
Above & Beyond‘s destination festival has become the latest casualty in the game; although, the difference here is that luckily the trio and their Anjunabeats colleagues realized it was failed before proceedings truly began. Much like how they first announced this concept gathering — to take place on the picturesque Riviera Maya — they also announced its demise through their artist subreddit. They’d taken in a ton of negative feedback from fans regarding price, accessibility, and beyond, and ultimately decided to can the idea before trying (and failing) to go through with it.
“We heard from some that the price point felt too much of a stretch, or that this event felt too exclusive, and were disappointed that this amazing experience wasn’t accessible for more people. All this feedback we have taken to heart. We can only do what we do when we have your support, and you’ve told us loud and clear that we got this one wrong.”
Above & Beyond might just be the next group to launch their own all-inclusive island festival. Though such a feat hadn’t proved successful for the dumpster fire, known quite aptly as Fyre Festival, it still proves to be a promising and attainable idea if the interest is there.
Recently, on their own dedicated subreddit, AnjunabeatsHQ shared some details about Above & Beyond‘s plans surrounding their own all-inclusive festival weekend on an island. With a plethora of the best Anjunabeats talent and an impeccable location, Above & Beyond may really be taking their ABGT to the next level. Considering that there’s an increasingly shrinking market for festivals in the US, and a folding of small festivals from big names like FYF and more recently Lost Lake, a tight-knit exotic excursion might just be the direction festivals need to remain unique and desirable, and most importantly, afloat.
The most important day of every week: New Music Friday. As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed.
Sydney producer JVLY teams up with the sultry SARAI to create a groovy atmospheric tune full of pulsing synths and clean high hats.
The production trio known as Brohug take the original “Too Good To Be True” and turn it into a vibrant house heater that entices dancing from beginning to end.
Blasterjaxx and Bassjackers perfectly execute a dynamic big room track, with a heavy kick and mesmerizing lead synth. Festival-goers will stand no chance.
If future house is on the agenda for the weekend, then Jay Hardway and Mesto are claiming their spot with a track that bounces with stuttering synths and a catchy repeating vocal, leaving some of us not wanting to be saved.
Building anticipation for their new album on June 22, the Yellow Claw duo release yet another silky tune featuring Rochelle, full of brassy horns and a fat snare.
Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa sound like a dream duo, until Valentino Khan comes along and puts his spin on “One Kiss,” turning it into a classic house beat riddled with alluring piano.
Elephante taps on the powerfully elegant Nevve to bring “Otherside” to life, that speaks about trying to remember a dream you had and the pursuit of getting back to it.
1788-L creates a literal “CYBERSPACE,” by building an epically cinematic and intricate track full of gritty synths that makes one feel as if they really are in the future.
SLANDER create their own emotional rendition of Above & Beyond‘s “ALWAYS,” that dramatically builds from minimal elements to an all encompassing drop.
Melbourne duo Two Can deliver a melodic beauty “Got Habits” in the form of one knocky wood block, a hypnotizing vocal, and strategic synths.
Delicate guitar riffs ring, as deep bass slowly take over on Tom Budin and Kopa’s splendid new track “Things Change.”
Australian multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mickey Kojak, delivers a refreshingly unique tune full of retro vibes from the arpeggiating pluck to the funky bassline.
The mysterious In.Drip. project feels something like driving in the rain. With his crispy yet mellow beats, laden with his effortlessly gentle voice that delivers verse after verse, he makes any drive a pleasant one.
ZAXX pulls on the heartstrings in “Together” with playful xylophones and a huge synth drop, that leaves the listener in a world of their own.
Newcomer OTHER creates a catchy tune from his soulful voice reminiscent of Blackbear and Mike Posner, to the clean guitar and exciting electronic drop.
New South Wales (NSW) police will implement a tight admission policy to combat illict drug use at Above & Beyond’s Common Groundshow, scheduled for June 9 at Sydney Olympic Park’s Exhibition Halls at Sydney Showground.
In a post recently published to the force’s official Facebook page, NSW police notified attendees that drug detection dogs will be present at the venue to patrol the grounds for traces of prohibited drugs. The message warns ticket holders that the drug dogs will be able to smell drugs carried on an intended user, as well as the illicit remnants on “someone who has recently had drugs on them.” The post proclaims that “If a dog makes an indication,” the given attendee “will be denied entry.”
“These dance parties can be a dangerous environment, particularly when alcohol and illegal drugs are involved. We all know there is no quality control in the production of illicit drugs and you are putting your life at risk,” South West Metropolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell said of the safety measure.
Who can appreciate an energizing bit of nostalgia set at a high tempo to kick off the morning? We certainly can.
Behold — trance duo Neptune Project have released their three-hour Anjunabeats Classics set in full, which they recorded at a boat party in Australia earlier in the year. They’ve spun quite a walk, or should we say, “run,” down memory lane, opening on an ethereal note with Above & Beyond‘s ambient number “Tokyo,” and continue on into the Tri-State classic, “Stealing Time.” The journey kicks off from there, launching into an array of Anjunabeats treasures from stalwarts like Andy Moor, Andrew Bayer, Luminary, Super8 & Tab, and more.
Simplicity is key with Above & Beyond‘s naming convention for their newest single, “Red Rocks.” The track is named after the legendary Colorado outdoor amphitheater, the place where they first dropped the song.
“Red Rocks” has a pulsing rhythm and dynamic synthesized vocal accents, adding variation to their infamous trance sound. The track has a grooving bent to it that is perfect the club and equally at home in larger venues — like its namesake. The trio released both the original and extended version of the release, which is out now on Anjunabeats.
After a series of memorable inclusions in both Above & Beyond and Oliver Smith‘s own DJ sets, Smith has finally released his progressive trance track, “Lovingly,” with his longtime label, Anjunabeats. A prolific and strategic remixer with official remixes for Mat Zo, Arty, and Above & Beyond themselves, Smith is also the only artist (other than A&B themselves) to appear on every Anjunabeats volume compilation to date.
“Lovingly” follows a long record of Smith’s delve into solely instrumental tracks — as his very first solo vocal production, featuring British songstress, Amy J Pryce. Pryce’s vocals flood the robust dance track with a full-bodied tenderness, magnifying the already starry-eyed progressive trance vigor.
Living up to its promise to “expect the unexpected” in 2018, UMF capped off a lofty Miami Music Week with a number of attention-grabbing acts from dance music’s top tastemakers, including David Guetta, Kaskade, Eric Prydz, and Above & Beyond, along with an illustrious cast of newcomers in REZZ, Jauz, and Virtual Self. The most exalted act of the weekend came in the form of a highly anticipated reunion from Swedish House Mafia, who filled the surprise guest slot to close out the festival. Marshmello made his main stage debut and premiered his newest collaboration with Lil Uzi Vert, The Chainsmokers put the naysayers to bed with their high-energy performance, which included four unreleased tracks and a flaming drum solo, and Sir Carl Cox delivered a high-powered spectacle in his Resistance Megastructure.
Other notable moments came care of DJ Snake, who brought out Tchami, Malaa, and Mercer to debut their new collaboration, “Let’s Get Ill;” Axwell Λ Ingrosso, who opened their set with a captivating new track ID; Tiësto, who invited out his new fiancé, model Annika Backes, to the stage; and Steve Aoki, who assembled Daddy Yankee, Elvis Crespo, and Play-N-Skillz for a live performance of their recent release, “Azukita.”
For those who can’t count themselves lucky enough to have witnessed the live weekend spectacle, DA has compiled a comprehensive list of streams from UMF 2018 to relive the festival’s most magical moments.
Above & Beyond’s emotive brand of dance music is that which demands many ‘hands in the air’ moments of joy during their shows. It turns out these moments are so intense for some that they end up losing valuable possessions — specifically, their wedding rings.
Such a an ironically tragic incident befell Paris Hilton on Friday night, March 23, during the trance trio’s Common Ground Miami tour stop. During the early morning hours in a bout of ecstatic dancing, the heiress’ 20-carat engagement ring reportedly flew off her finger and into the surrounding chaos, according to witnesses. Panic immediately ensued, with Hilton’s fiancé leading security officers in a search for the valuable bauble. They found it at the bottom of an ice bucket two tables down.
While the neither the couples’ camps nor the venue have been reached for comment as of writing time, Above & Beyond themselves confirmed the incident via a well-wishing Tweet hours later. Jono Grant also posted a picture of himself, Paavo, and Hilton after the show.
H/T: Page Six
Photo Credit: Raymond Hall/GC Images