Backwoods Music Festival stakes its claim on Mulberry Mountain [EVENT REVIEW]

This post was originally published on this site

When Wakarusa announced it would not be returning to its magical setting nestled in the Arkansas Ozarks, attendees were filled with as many questions as they were with shock and dismay. Why would a landmark festival gathering be coming to an abrupt halt during its prime? Was the production company behind Wakarusa facing legal and financial troubles? Would there ever be another chance to return Mulberry Mountain?

That was 2015, and as answers have since become woefully clear, there remained a glimmer of hope for Wakarusa attendees. Thankfully for them, a humble grassroots festival out of Stroud, Oklahoma made the key business decision to pick up the reins. After two years of steadily growing attendance, and building a Midwest festival following akin to the Wakarusa crowd, the folks at Backwoods Music Festival took a year off to regroup, reorganize, and prepare for their debut at Mulberry Mountain — a lush landscape filled with scenic 360-degree views of sprawling Southern mountains, waterfall trails around every bend, and rich spirits.

With headliners STS9GRiZ, and The Floozies gracing the 2018 bill, Backwoods was rich with the authentic energy of Wakarusa in its early infancy. Interesting enough, attendees even went as far as to fondly dub the festival “Backarusa” and “Wakawoods” throughout the weekend. The festival subsumed a relaxed, familial vibe that welcomed Backwoods and Wakarusa veterans alike — as well as many newcomers — into a melting pot of live interactive art installations, roaming performers, and one-of-a-kind stage designs.

Fresh off last weekend’s conclusion, we’ve compiled a few reasons why Backwoods should be on your festival bucket list.

1. The stages

After making the shift from a Labor Day festival to a spring time event, Backwoods selected April 20th-23rd for their coveted weekend slot; and with April showers come May flowers. Despite pouring rain conditions halfway through the weekend, the stages held up supremely well during this rain or shine event.

The festival’s main stage, dubbed The Motherland, was a tree house of fun and flow arts as performers moved across four different platforms perched atop the stage’s front end. GRiZ delivered a polarizing Friday night performance; Sound Tribe Sector 9 went for an extended 2-hour set in the rain, playing much of their Universe Inside album; and, perhaps most notably, was the closing Sunday night performance from The Floozies duo, who got their very start on Mulberry Mountain. In addition to the headliners, the Motherland stage served as a “Who’s Who” of heavy bass and jamtronica, boasting stand-out sets from Papadosio, Figure, Snails, Space Jesus, Emancipator, Sunsquabi, and a special farewell set from Zoogma.

Perhaps Backwoods’ most intriguing stage was the Globe Theater, which hosted a uniquely curated list of folk, bluegrass, rock, and electronica acts. Adorned with charming, Shakespearean-inspired woodwork, the stage was hand-crafted by a DIY troop of artists and builders belonging to The Imagination Nation. Upon entry, performers acted as gatekeepers into the humble abode, asking each attendee to solve a short riddle. Those who solved the puzzle were then invited backstage to co-mingle in a secret speakeasy, complete with a bevy of prohibition era characters and a flapper bartender serving complimentary Old Fashioned cocktails. From this point, a back trail opened up into the woods leading to the Space Station, which hosted the Untz traveling bass stage.

The Space Station sat at the foot of a steep, grassy hill to host the festival’s most underground and experimental bass music acts. Erected as a psychedelic pyramid lined by subwoofers along its base, artists like Yheti and Jade Cicada could be seen demolishing the decks from inside the structure’s peak point. ThazDope Records also hosted late night sets — with a roster of impressive free form bass music artists in APLSOZ, beardthug, Brainrack, Cut Rugs, and more — as attendees lined the hill in their tree hung hammocks enjoying sets until the wee sunrise hours.

2. The vendors and live art installations

The DIY ethos was alive and thriving at Backwoods 2018. Upon roaming through the shady forest camp grounds, attendees could stumble upon a psychedelic playground with live interactive art experiences, live painters and graffiti artists, and tents filled with canvases for sale.

This space also housed the many consciousness-raising activities and sacred healing workshops throughout the weekend, including several forms of yoga, aerial and flow arts, sound therapy, and guided meditations. Take a short walk over the vendor row, where famous smells from the Grilled Cheese Incident (a Forest favorite) consumed the senses, as attendees shopped at all the popular festival apparel companies.

3. The grounds

As any Mulberry veteran would tell you, the weather conditions on the mountain are not for the faint of heart. Past Wakarusa events included tornado warning conditions and mud up to the ankles and shins. While Backwoods enjoyed two full days of sunshine, with torrential downpour beginning late Saturday evening, it became quickly apparent that roughing the cold wilderness conditions was apart of the late night fun. Attendees pulled out the ponchos and stomped around in their sponge-soaked footwear without an ounce of care.

For the outdoor gurus, attendees could lace up their hiking boots and take the hour-long trek down the mountain to spend time at multiple waterfall stops. Along the way, it was not uncommon to find selenite clusters hiding in the dirt or quartz pieces floating down the river bed. With such a supremely beautiful landscape, and not nearly enough time to explore every nook and crany of the mountain, attendees could opt in for helicopter tours with aerial views of the festival and scenic detours into the foothills to view the mountain’s many majestic waterfalls.

Upon departure from the festival grounds, taking the 30-minute drive winding down two-lane mountain roads, life begins to slow down and one is filled with the overwhelming sense of hope and gratitude instilled by Mulberry. If not for the expertly-curated line-up of top-notch national, regional, and local acts, Backwoods is one festival you experience for the spirit of the mountain. As the festival grows from it’s infancy, do not be surprised at seeing some colossal headliners in the years to come.

Featured photo courtesy of Jamie Seed, additional photo credits: Sergio Zuniga, Braden James, & Aaron Bradley.

In Defense of Bassheads: The 5 pillars of the Bassnectar community

This post was originally published on this site

Easter Sunday has come and gone. While most god-fearing men and women hunkered down in church for communion followed by an Easter egg hunt in their local parks, the Bassnectar family flocked to the Midwest for their own holy sacrament.

The bass worshiping disciples have congregated in Chicago’s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center under the iconic bass drop image displayed across several large LED screens. They’ve traveled far and wide, commingling in the sacred space to commune and catch up since their last familial gathering. After all, it’s been several months since their last mass migration to Atlanta, Georgia — far too long.

The two-day event, dubbed Spring Gathering, is the first of four family affairs scheduled for 2018. The previous night saw Lorin Ashton deliver a truly mystical full moon sermon, with amorphous sound waves crashing into the hearts and minds of his loyal followers, making them weak at the knees as they lean their faces to the floor, bowing to the bass in head banging unison.

As the onlookers prepare for the weekend’s second and final set from their musical savior, Bassnectar, it’s clear they’re feigning for deeper exploration of the bass music abyss. The pre-show music begins, preparing the congregation for the ensuing throw down, and the scene begins to feel a bit like an enchanting ritual.

Nerves settle. Pupils dilate. Arms extend upward. Anticipation permeates the air.

Bassnectar Spring Gathering, Chicago, Illinois. Photo: aLIVE Coverage

Known collectively as “bassheads,” Bassnectar fanatics are a generally a progressive, fun-loving, and wildly ostentatious bunch. So, why do they often get such a bad rep? Many have heard the stereotypes: Bassheads are cynical and elitist, burnt out on their passion for Bassnectar, filled with contempt for newcomers into their cult-like community.

Admittedly, there are quite a few “haters” in the Bassnectar scene; although it’s important to note that, much of the time, haters are just angry lovers. This vocal minority pessimists often drown out the many positive voices in the Bassnectar community, longing for the days before the Ashton’s explosion into stardom and even shaming those in the community who don’t know every Bassnectar title circa the days of Underground Communication or Divergent Systems of Throb.

Generalizations are thus formed about the bassheads as a whole based off these particularly distinctive outcriers. After all, it’s a proven fact that our brains are biologically wired to categorize,compartmentalize, and make assumptions about a whole community based on personal and prominent observations. Ultimately, however, this reasoning is fallacious.

Dancing Astronaut aims to redeem bassheads from their misunderstood image by getting back to the essence of what the Bassnectar family truly stands for: community, love, and immersive bass music. Based on online polling results from within the community itself, we trace its five central pillars and the commandments within.


1) Unconditional love and unwavering acceptance

Bassnectar Spring Gathering, Night One, Chicago, Illinois, 2018. Photo: aLIVE Coverage.

Imagine having just endured the arduous endeavor of getting past the security and ticket lines and feeling fatigued. Then, a stranger approaches with a warm, familiar smile and presents a homemade business card with the following message: “You are loved beyond infinity.” Such sharing of meaningful, affirmative words and gifts are regular occurrences at any family gathering, known to bassheads as random acts of kindness.

This tenet, one that is similar to other pillars of transformational communities such as Burning Man, is in fact the first commandment bassheads live by. They carry this awareness from the show into everyday life, sending each other care packages and giving out small tokens of appreciation. Across the country, selfless bassheads are constantly engaging random acts of kindness and treating others with respect, gratitude, and equality.

The second commandment bassheads choose to consciously live by is best summed up in one of Bassnectar’s song titles: Inspire the empathetic. They practice empathy with a mission of existing with others on a leveled playing field. Empathy requires walking a mile in another’s shoes — a difficult task that bassheads work tirelessly, and not always successfully, to achieve.

These two commandments form the first pillar of the Bassnectar community: Unconditional love and Unwavering Acceptance. This is the new age sense of spiritualism that pervades the Bassnectar community, a belief emanating from Ashton’s Bay area upbringing in a hippie commune that is absorbed and proliferated by his followers.


 2) Freedom of artistic expression 

Live painting at BassCenter X, Hampton, Virginia. Photo: Reston Campbell Photography.

Anyone whose traveled to a Bassnectar special event has almost assuredly been bombarded with the usual traveling creatives hustling event-specific gear in the parking lot, before even checking into hotel. Through the revolving doors and into the lobby, a pop-up marketplace beckons: one painter has laid out her psychedelic-inspired oil canvases, while a craftsman is selling his handmade wire-wrapped jewelry.

The above encapsulates another critical commandment of the Bassnectar community: a strong support for grassroots art. Many within cultivate their own creativity out of deep inspiration for Ashton’s DIY attitude. While some fans pursue art at an amateur level, others have manifested their artistic passions as a full-time career and a live embodiment of the commitment to Freedom of Artistic Expression.

One basshead revealed, “I quit my nine-to-five because I was getting so many requests for custom wire wrapped rings and pendants. Now I’m making a living off my art. I’ve even started learning welding and soldering techniques to become a professional jeweler someday. I’m living the dream!” He pours his all into each piece he constructs.

These are the kinds of goals, dreams, and artistic aspirations that grant bassheads the means to travel all over the country to attend every nectar family event — and trust that they don’t miss a single gathering.

“That’s the key to evolution, you always want to change, adapt and improve but also balancing that out with being grateful.” – Lorin Ashton, in a previous interview with Dancing Astronaut

Roaming performers pose at BassCenter 9 in Commerce City, Colorado. Photo: 303 Magazine.


 3) Connection with like-minded individuals 

Basshead railers at BUKU 2018, New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo: Christian Miller.

Every couple of months or so, bassheads come together from all over the country for “listening parties,” where they put on a throwback Bassnectar mixtape in real time and with strangers online through live tweeting and such. Local bass families will often convene at someone’s home or in a local park with enormous subwoofers as they listen, reflect, and head bang together. The point of these social functions is to celebrate bass music and come together in the same moment despite barriers of physical distance.

This is more-or-less the bedrock of an cult, underground community built from like-minded individuals coming together to baptize one another in bass. They flock to four special locations each season to completely immerse themselves in the alien frequencies of their figurehead, who they’ve dubbed “The King of Sound,” as well as to celebrate Ashton’s amorphous music in all its majestic height. At each festival that Bassnectar headlines, dedicated followers often stay behind after the set armed with trash bags to collect every bit of garbage and confetti left on the ground — it’s a sustainable practice with roots in the Burning Man “leave no trace” principle. Bassheads regularly come together in their respective cities and towns to volunteer their time to serving in the community as well, usually through local clothing and canned food drives or park and beach clean-ups.

But Bassnectar’s cult-like movement has ballooned into a burgeoning and increasingly bifurcated community that is anything but underground, with Ashton sitting at the helm of a rockstar spectacle. As the it continues to grow at an exponential rate, so too do its complexities and contradictory cultural inner-workings.

Bassheads gather in New Jersey to volunteer at The Food Bank. Photo courtesy of The Bass Network.

 4) Passion for politics and progressive activism 

Ashton’s politics are unapologetically progressive at their core. So naturally the issues that are important to him are important to bassheads. Bassheads have shown up in large numbers to high-stakes, at times dangerous, political demonstrations like the Dakota Pipeline protests, the Women’s March, and the fight for Net Neutrality.

Key issues like these have long been a theme in Bassnectar’s music, which he took from the 1990s punk rock and death metal scenes he came of age in, infusing those values and ideals into the cultural current of his electronic music.

“The spirit of punk rock and death metal was very anti-establishment, pro-underground, pro-community, very fucking fiercely in opposition to the mainstream, in opposition to ignorance, and you know all kind of religions and weird human dogma traps. And having a flag of resistance to fly in the face of that is really powerful”

Basshead protests #NODAPL, Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Photo courtesy of Chelsea O’Connor.

Bassnectar brings this staunch sense of political activism into his live sets with visual segments that implicate public figures like Dick Cheney and Donald Trump using Nazi and KKK imagery — all as his bass-bolstered remix of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” plays over clipped images of the swastika and white hooded figures.

During his iconic Oregon Eclipse and BassCenter X sets last year, Ashton brought to the stage a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, named Chase Iron Eyes, who delivered a powerful message about the continued protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Indigenous-American activist ended with a resounding chant that bassheads still echo into today: “Water is life!”

The Bassnectar community’s passion for taking a stand against wage and class inequality highlights another important commandment: that art is and always has been political.

5) Think for yourself and question everything 

Bassnectar performs in Rothbury, Michigan, 2017. Photo courtesy of Electric Forest.

When Lorin Ashton launched his “Think For Yourself” campaign with Electric Forest in 2015, he compelled fans to challenge the mainstream news that is bound by political bias and corporate interests. The campaign encourages bassheads to seek out alternative news sources that cater to the well-being of the general public, as opposed to the 1%.

“When it comes to current compelling issues, it is very difficult to find ‘the truth’ without wading through a ton of bias from corporate sponsors, pundits, or even just the opinion of the newscaster or the owner of the publication (or some half-wit long-haired DJ who has found the time to type a zillion words and post them online),” Ashton wrote on his official blog.

He even puts his own biases on display as a public figure with a sizable influence over the opinions of others. Despite how the Bassnectar community constantly catapults Lorin to god-like status — sometimes for fun and giggles, sometimes not — Lorin Ashton is, for all intents and purposes, only human after all.

The message is very simple. 

Bassnectar Spring Gathering, Night One, Chicago, Illinois, 2018. Photo: aLIVE Coverage.

A few years ago, when Lorin Ashton made his Electric Forest debut, a landmark festival which now houses Bassnectar’s residency, DA sat down with the man behind the hair to discuss his cultish community of loving bassheads. It was a time of great transition for the underground king of bass — from a figure who detests fame to an electronic music rockstar whose name draws tens of thousands of loyal followers to any given event. Ashton made the decision to stop touring in the classical sense, with his iconic 2014 Noise Vs. Beauty Tour resting as his last, and start creating more immersive family gatherings several times a year. The events that unfold at these gatherings is what sits at the core of the Bassnectar project: Unconditional love, artistic expression, connection with like-minded individuals, passion for politics, and thinking for yourself. 

These five pillars of the Bassnectar family are really the very same ideals that strike at the heart of the music community at large. The Bassnectar community is just one tiny microcosm for seeing into the more expansive universe of music. From the freaks and outcasts of punk rock and metal core to electronic dance music, issues that sometimes plague the community aren’t anything new or specific to only the Bassnectar family.

So when returning to the earlier problem of how bassheads are perceived — as cynical, misanthropic misfits — the reality is that communities are much more nuanced than we can ever fathom them from the side lines, and that sometimes it only takes a small minority of negative individuals to making enough noise to end up representing a whole group of people. As outside onlookers, we ought to use caution when making blanket statements that lump large groups of people together; lest we risk stereotyping in such a way that stigmatizes, which leads to ignorance, demagoguery, and witch-hunting. Generalizations can be helpful, but they can also be harmful. Ultimately at stake is an ethical question that boils down to this: Live and let live.

Bassnectar family photo. Spring Gathering 2018, Night 1. Photo: aLIVE Coverage.



Dancing Astronaut’s ‘Best of CRSSD’ Fall 2017 edition

This post was originally published on this site

CRSSD Festival has become a veritable institution of California’s flourishing electronic music landscape. The bi-annual festival, produced by FNGRS CRSSD, consistently curates some of the more forward-thinking lineups around, as evidenced by bookings this year like Mathew Jonson, Marcel Dettmann and more.

Combined with its gorgeous backdrop of Waterfront Park, CRSSD has found its formula, and it’s hard to find fault. With the fall edition having freshly wrapped up, Dancing Astronaut has selected five highlights from the weekend.

Train (42 of 374)

Photo credit: Mike Selsky

CRSSD and Redbull Curates host first-ever CRSSD Xpress

Prior to gates opening this year, CRSSD, in partnership with Redbull Curates, hosted the first-ever CRSSD Xpress: a futuristic party train transporting guests from LA’s Union Station to San Diego. Converting two private Amtrak carriages into fully-furnished hangout spots — including live jazz, cocktail bars, and futuristic light therapy — the train provided a standout experience for select CRSSD guests before the festival even began. What’s more, the train featured performances from both Patrick Topping and Latmun, the latter of which was captured live by Mixmag.

Ultimately, the event epitomized Red Bull’s ability to curate experiences in unlikely locations. A three-hour party train hosting some of the underground’s finest DJs is certainly a first in our book.


Photo credit: Felicia Garcia

Richie Hawtin’s ENTER. Sake Bar

Richie Hawtin’s love for sake is no secret. In fact, it’s one of the cornerstones of his global ENTER. brand. In celebration of World Sake Day, Hawtin hosted a pop-up sake bar on Sunday of CRSSD. With high quality sake on tap, Hawtin arrived for a meet and greet with fans. While CRSSD’s craft beer selection has always been a staple of the festival, the pop-up sake bar proved a welcome addition to the festival’s experiential offerings.

What’s more, in a brief conversation with Hawtin, the Canadian veteran confirmed to Dancing Astronaut his plans for a revamped ‘Close’ show, including all new production and technology. More information to come on that soon.


Photo credit: Julian Bajsel

Bedouin and Mathew Jonson 

There’s a certain exotic charm to Bedouin’s music that makes their performances downright spell-binding. While their music can often be a bit sedative or soporific in the home listening environment, with a proper sound system at their disposal, their creations take on a mesmerizing energy. Though playing just a one hour set at 4pm on Sunday, their performance proved an easy highlight from the weekend.

Mathew Jonson Live was a rare treat at CRSSD, and unequivocally one of the more praise-worthy bookings from the FNGRS CRSSD team over the years. The analog virtuoso brought his beautifully erratic style to the City Steps stage, providing a welcome change of pace from the more traditional house and techno sets that pervaded the weekend.


Photo credit: Felicia Garcia

RUFUS Du Sol draw the biggest crowd of the weekend

Rufus Du Sol were the biggest attraction of CRSSD’s Fall edition, and for good reason: their feel-good blend of live electronic music is the perfect match for the festival’s dreamy outdoor setting. Coupled with an indie dance-leaning, deep house-savvy demographic, and it’s no surprise that the crowd came out in thousands for their headlining set on Saturday night.

One thing that sets Rufus apart is their consistency. Fans largely know what to expect, with Bloom still holding strong nearly two years later, yet that’s part of the draw: a sea of people singing to “Like an Animal,” or a thousand hearts melting to “Innerbloom.”


Photo credit: Julian Bajsel

Richie Hawtin reaffirms his legendary status

When Richie Hawtin is on his game, there’s few in the world who can match him. Sunday night was one of those nights. For two hours, Hawtin provided a masterclass on the City Steps stage, offering a bold, brilliant showcase of his abilities.

What became readily apparent throughout Hawtin’s set was his unparalleled control of dynamics. Through dexterous EQ precious, volume manipulation, and filter work, Richie created the auditory illusion of each successive drop sounding more impactful. Combined with his live drum programming and unabashed improvisation, it was the kind of techno set capable of turning new fans of the genre into dedicated zealots.

Read More:

CRSSD Festival partners with WeTransfer to offer free music and cocktail recipe

Meet the underground talent of CRSSD Fest: Dena Amy

Techno Tuesday: Jesse Rose elaborates on retirement ahead of first & last CRSSD appearance

[Event Review] MK @ Shimanski, Brooklyn

This post was originally published on this site

This past weekend, Marc Kinchen aka MK took the decks at Shimanski, the newly named Brooklyn nightclub that took over the Verboten space after it was forced to shut it’s doors last year. It was my first time returning to the club since then. There were still the same layout issues, but that wasn’t stopping this crowd from

The post [Event Review] MK @ Shimanski, Brooklyn appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Life In Color Surpasses Expectations for 10th Anniversary [Event Review]

This post was originally published on this site

By now, it would be expected that the novelty of getting blasted with streaks of pink, blue, and green would be a tad bit irritating. After all, paint parties have been around before Life In Color came to be.

What started as over-the-top college parties at Florida State University over a decade ago evolved into one of Miami’s most unique series of concerts in the last five years. From massive expansions across South Florida, touring across the country, and even a Guinness World Record for “most people covered in paint at one time,” the people behind Life In Color reimagined their paint parties into a festival experience that combines massive themes with enormous musical performances. And this year was no different.

Much like Ultra Music Festival, Life In Color’s flagship is in Miami, where prior installments packed enormous crowds by the Hard Rock Stadium. This year, however, the music festival made a venue change, trading the expansive parking lot of the Miami Dolphins’ football arena for the intimate combination of Mana Wynwood and the abandoned RC Cola Plant. At first, I came to believe that this is a continuance of the downsizing of Life In Color’s concerting production as Wynwood is a tight neighborhood. After Life In Color 2014 spread its stay for a full weekend of musical messes, LIC 2016 returned to a single-day music festival criteria while still bringing a fierce lineup of commercial house, trap, dubstep, and hip-hop.

To my surprise, the switch made Life In Color feel larger than ever as it sat between large murals of street art and chic restaurants.

Coming into the venue, the main “Sector X” stage featured opening acts Nitti Gritti and Bonnie X Clyde whose musical careers kickstarted from Wynwood Fear Factory and Life In Color 2016 respectively. Between new music, both acts have unreleased and tenacious bangers shaping 2017, their acts set the tone for the incoming performances on the main stage and for the nearby “Rare Stage” which took the form of a circus tent. It was over here that equally bass-heavy performances from Fresko, Doctor P, and Ookay transitioned from the dusk and into the evening. I stayed here for quite some time before returning to Sector X.

In between both stages where a vast array of food trucks and stands offering funnel cakes, gyros, salads, and more. Yet, most of these places began to run out of food faster than they could make new food for future customers. I found that around the time that Marshmello and Desiigner were set to perform (between 9p.m. – 11p.m.), the lines were too long to properly serve anyone and the food being served was underwhelming in comparison to their relatively high prices. This problem struck the hardest for the main food stands that supposedly offered hot dogs, gyros, and Philly cheese steaks because all of these options disappeared by the time Mija was finished with her performance. This came as such a shock to me as previous installments were able have had less food truck options while still having less issues with serving the fan base.

As the evening began to gear up for the headliners, it became abundantly clear that Young Thug was nowhere to be found on the lineup when he was apart of the promotional lineup for the event. However, after seeing his recent antics in not showing up for his own music video shoot, I think this was a little outside of the hands of Life In Color. Meanwhile, every other headliner delivered terrific sets from the melodic dubstep powerhouses such as Seven Lions and Illenium to the electro house bangers coming from the sets of Mija and Tritonal. The night was topped off with performances from Diplo and Carnage who dropped trap, dubstep, and moombahton tracks to send off the 10th Anniversary of Life In Color with flying colors.

Even though there were hiccups with the food provided for guests and one headliner was unable to make an appearance, Life In Color blew my expectations. I went in believing that the transition to Wynwood (which usually hosts underground concerts) would be particularly arduous as it was about to host a relatively commercial music festival. But seeing the success of Wynwood Fear Factory last Halloween and LIC’s using the size of two venues to host the whole event, Life In Color established another successful show filled with head-banging EDM and the most tolerant body paint to be splashed on the faces of its fans.

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Life In Color Surpasses Expectations for 10th Anniversary [Event Review]

Event Review: Reaction NYE 2017

This post was originally published on this site

Lovers of electronic and hip hop music in the Midwest were treated to an epic, full-throttle New Year’s Eve weekend in the Chicago area last week, when React Presents threw one of the most jam-packed NYE festivals in the nation. Reaction NYE boasted an immense lineup of acts from far across the musical spectrum, split evenly between the event’s two nights. Stars like Flume, Zeds Dead, Anderson Paak., Dillon Francis, and Gucci Mane were joined some of the scene’s most notable up and comers, such as Mr. Carmack, Noname, Tchami, Smino, and even Danny Brown.

Inside the doors of Rosemont’s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and through its towering halls, the spectacle of Reaction NYE opened itself to the colorful collection of attendees that sought refuge from the wintery Chicago air. Donned in neon, costumes and black, Night 1’s crowd wasted no time pushing to the front of the venue’s endless main stage.

Stretching from one side of the hangar-like warehouse to the other, the stage and its array of screens, lights and effects creating an engaging visual spectacle from start to finish, with each of the evening’s acts given more visual and aural intensity and control than the last. By the time Flume closed out the night, the entire Convention Center was a wash of never-ending hands, screams and dancing. Before him, Danny Brown, Mr. Carmack and Dillon Francis brought the energy to its peak, while Anderson Paak. and the Free Nationals represented the soul sector. Fans left the venue with weak arms and smiles, exhausted but prepared to return for the New Year’s Eve festivities to come on Day 2.

One of the most defining attractions of the weekend was Reaction’s secondary Arcade Stage, filled throughout both nights with an incredible roster of techno, deep house and other local acts. Featuring intimate performances from the likes of Milk N Cooks, Statik, Antics, Fee Lion and many more, the pushed back space came as a temporary breather from the mayhem and grandeur of the main stage.

As the Arcade fans bounced in the back, the Warehouse saw live performances from Emily Nichols, rapper Smino, dance music legends Manic Focus and Tchami, as well as an enormously special show from hip hop godfather Gucci Mane.

As the clock finally struck midnight, ushering in the first moments of 2017, bass duo Zeds Dead took to the decks to play out a monumental set worthy of their ever-expanding base of Chicago listeners. From their own, nostalgic material to the newest beats from their 2016-released Northern Lights album, the two provided an ideal and explosive introduction to the new year.

Despite the incredible lineup and always-exciting production, the tall ceilings and immeasurable amount of space within the Convention Center’s walls made for several sets that were mired in sound bleeding. Perhaps if more was done with the Center’s space, or if the sound system was arranged in a more appropriate manner, fans of the first few opening acts would have been able to experience the full power of their performances.

But regardless of some sound system shakiness toward the beginning of the evenings, Reaction NYE’s 2016 edition went off without a hitch. Its unbeatable lineup, ample room for attendees to explore and convenience of location made for a truly idillic transition into the new year. For fans of all things hip hop and dance music in the Midwest, there was no better place to welcome in 2017.

Check below for photos from the NYE weekend, courtesy of Georgia Modi Photography.

Day One 

Day Two 

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Event Review: Reaction NYE 2017

Decadence Colorado: The City of Dreams [Event Review]

This post was originally published on this site

New Year’s festivals hold a special place in my heart. Sure, who doesn’t love the idea of saying goodbye to the year prior and getting amped for the New Year, all in the presence of your favorite DJs? But for me, it was a New Year’s Eve a few years back that I attended my

The post Decadence Colorado: The City of Dreams [Event Review] appeared first on EDM Sauce.

EDC Orlando Shines Bright in its 6th Year [Event Review]

This post was originally published on this site
Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac

Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac

EDC rests at the top of the EDM festival pantheon, largely in part to its flagship event that occurs in Las Vegas every June. While it’s been great watching the festival reach unthinkable heights year after year, EDC’s spin-off festivals deserve recognition for their exceptional growth as well. One in particular has really come into its own over its six-year run, with this year marking its brightest event yet.

EDC Orlando returned for its sixth event on November 4-5 at Tinker Field in Orlando, the city known for its amusement parts such as Disney and Universal, thriving music scene and what I like to call the three T’s: tourism, tolls and traffic. It’s only natural that Insomniac Events imbues EDC Orlando with as much as focus and flash as it does with its other massive events, but each year it always seems like EDC Orlando is a little sister to its bigger sibling in the west. This year, EDC Orlando excelled at moving past that position by recontexualizing EDC Vegas’ production, assembling a diverse lineup and adding small yet welcome touches that raised the festival from a fun weekend excursion to a full-on, multi-sensory experience.

Expanded Production

Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac

Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac

EDC prides itself on its production, but EDC Orlando’s production up to this point has always felt like a compartmentalized adaptation of what’s at EDC Vegas. The kineticFIELD is typically shrunk and shipped, with vanilla designs being used for circuitGROUNDS (the exception being in 2015 when Vegas’ megastructure was used) and neonGARDEN. This year, Insomniac tried a different approach: bring the exact same stages from EDC Vegas, with the exception of the kineticFIELD, which was a reimagined version of the Vegas stage this year.

The experiment paid off excellently. The kineticFIELD, while similar in appearance to the Vegas stage, towered massively over attendees, equipped with a variety of lights, pyrotechnics and even spouting water. Insomniac brought the new 360 circuitGROUNDS to the event as well, assorting tall pillars decked with LEDs around the stage. Finally, neonGARDEN received its much overdue upgrade. No more Buddha blocking a sole LED screen; EDC Orlando gifted attendees with the Vegas tent for the stage, creating a club-like atmosphere for its trance, tech house and techno acts. Every stage sounded great, although some noise bleed did occur when sitting at the fringe of one stage. Overall EDC Orlando’s 2016 production was a massive improvement, and we’re excited to see what’s next.

The Chainsmokers, Bassnectar, Jamie Jones, OH MY!

Photo Caption: aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac

Photo Caption: aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac

Insomniac also does a great job in diversifying its lineups and representing all corners of the EDM spectrum. This year, EDC Orlando continued the trend of crafting a lineup complete with radio-friendly headliners, genre heavyweights and rising stars. On the kineticFIELD side, The ChainsmokersAbove & BeyondHardwell and Axwell held down headlining slots, with acts like a DJ set from Porter RobinsonW&WJauz and more rounding the days out. All of these artists fit the main stage vibe and their accompanying production meshed well with kineticFIELD’s own production kinks.

The bass-centric circuitGROUNDS once again brought favorites like BassnectarAlison Wonderland and others. As was the case with kineticFIELD, circuitGROUNDS’ production complemented the frantic, heavy music that played from the stage’s speakers throughout the weekend. Despite some sound issues during Bassnectar’s set, the proceedings went relatively smoothly. On day two, a heartwarming tribute set to the late BIG MAKK was held, a bittersweet appreciation for the Orlando-native bass producer.


Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac

Finally, kineticFIELD once again split its lineups down the middle: trance on day one and house and techno on day two. Both lineups comprised some of the best artists in the game, with rare sets from Simon PattersonBryan Kearney and Ferry Corsten presenting his Gouryella alias on day one and tech favorites such as Jamie JonesNicole Moudaber and a great b2b from Mark Knight and Florida natives Chus & Cheballos on day two. All three stages did a great job at slotting similar yet distinct lineups, always a great perk of EDC.

Extras: Smirnoff House for the Win


Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac

EDC Orlando is always a well-run and organized festival, and this year was no exception. Getting from stage to stage proved to be a pretty painless task, and water stations next to the kineticFIELD and circuitGROUNDS helped attendees stay hydrated. The removal of a water station next to neonGARDEN proved to be a big oversight, though, and we hope they bring it back for next year.

This year marked the debut of the Smirnoff House, a traveling stage that gives attendees a chance to catch intimate sets from performers. Only big enough to fit 150 or so people, this stage was EDC Orlando’s cherry on top of the proverbial cake. Everyone from NGHTMRE to Mark Knight played sets in the Smirnoff House, giving attendees the rare chance to catch some of their favorite acts twice during the weekend.

We’ll Be Back

Photo Credit: Get Tiny for Insomniac

Photo Credit: Get Tiny for Insomniac

In its sixth year, EDC Orlando has running a successful festival down to a science. At this point the festival is mainly refining the aspects that work and fine-tuning the small problems along the way. This year sold out in advance, signalling a huge demand for its return. If EDC Orlando continues to bring top-class talent, production and service, we expect it to one day rival EDC Vegas. We’ll be back.

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: EDC Orlando Shines Bright in its 6th Year [Event Review]

EDC Orlando 2016 Made History [Event Review]

This post was originally published on this site

Last weekend, the 6th annual EDC Orlando made history, the first sold out event bringing in a crowd of approximately 75,000 raging fans to Tink Field – the largest ever. Electric Daisy Carnival is a place where people come together for two days from all parts of the world to dance, have fun, and to be

The post EDC Orlando 2016 Made History [Event Review] appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Minimal Effort Halloween turns LA Center Studios into a house and techno haven [Event Review]

This post was originally published on this site

Los Angeles had plenty of Halloween events to select between and take part in this year, however it was underground party Minimal Effort that was clearly the front runner. The beloved brand has built a loyal following in the city — and quickly as well, moving from small warehouses parties to the larger Belasco Theater, and ultimately setting down this year at LA Center Studios.

With views of downtown LA’s urban skyline as a backdrop, Minimal Effort took over the multipurpose venue and transformed it into a “mini-festival” featuring 10 hours of music from some of the most defining names in house and techno.

Christopher Soltis Minimal Effort

Photo by: Christopher Soltis

Situated outdoors were two stages: The Bridge and The Garden. The former focused more on true techno, delivered by Steve Bug, Jonas Rathsman, Thugfucker, and Human Resources (one half of which is Minimal Effort’s founder, Cyril Bitar) while the latter diversified things a bit, featuring a touch of disco from Tensnake, electro from TEED, and the LA debut of Tiga’s live show. Meanwhile, indoors played host to the Suara Room, arguably the stage with the best sound and darkest selection of music courtesy of artists such as Mark Farina, Edu Imbernon, Coyu, and Dosem.

Christopher Soltis Minimal Effort

Photo by: Christopher Soltis

World class tastemaking artists aside, what stood out most about Minimal Effort Halloween was the unassuming and loyal nature of its attendees. Ask around a bit in the crowd and one will find that most have been to a Minimal Effort event or two before. And that’s for good reason. The brand has left plenty of room for creativity in both the experience it offers attendees and the musical direction of the artists it books. This has in turn created a community that’s a little transformational festival, part Burner, and still attracts a significant chunk of the all-black wearing underground crowd.

Christopher Soltis Minimal Effort

Photo by: Christopher Soltis

During a time of year when most electronic music events are plagued by flashy productions and bottle-service ridden clubs, Minimal Effort has taken great care to instead put the focus on areas which serve as the foundation for its events. Communicating event updates openly with attendees, crafting a welcoming space to dance within, and matching that with an incredibly talented lineup, Minimal Effort events have become what could be called a guaranteed good time.

It thus comes as no surprise that one of the most anticipated and exciting parts of Minimal Effort Halloween came in the form of a flyer for its NYE event. Boasting some of the most in demand live acts today: Stephan Bodzin, Recondite, Audion, in addition to performances by &ME, the Desert Hearts Crew, and a DJ set from Simian Mobile Disco, it’s looking like Minimal Effort NYE will be a front runner in events yet again.

Tickets for Minimal Effort NYE go on sale Monday, November 7 and can be purchased here.

Read More:

Cyril Bitar on the branding and evolution of LA’s foremost Halloween underground party: Minimal Effort

LA’s Minimal Effort expands to 5,000 cap venue for Halloween and NYE events