This series of parties, thrown by Shawn from Hipster Overkill, are quickly becoming a staple of the EDM scene in our nations capital. The first three iterations of Face-Off popped off hard from what I am told, matching great local DJs with nationally touring talent and keeping cups filled and booties shaking.
For the fourth installment things get even crazier! And now you and a friend can go for free, just email the funniest picture you can find to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the offerings:
Heavy Artillery Recordings/DC
ENCRYPTION vs RESONANCE
Dritbox Radio/3D/EXBC Radio
The DystRucXion Dancers Getting Down with..
-6000+ Sf. of Space!
-30,000 watts of MONSTER sound!
-Free Glow Shit (while supplies last)
-Fire Blowing Flair Bartenders
-$3 PBR 16oz Tall Boys
ITS A MOTHAFUCKIN FOAM PARTY!!!
No seriously they are turning the deck into a giant foam pit. So come get dirty, because we all know thats what the foam is for.
Unless you live under a rock, or in some sort of cult compound, I am sure that you know by now that Starscape has officially sold out online. You can still scoop tickets from one of the ticket outlets including Karmic Connection in Baltimore, Turnstyle in Richmond. But you really need to hurry because they are going quick.
For those of you who are going we will now begin the process of getting you a little more familiar with the sounds you will be shaking to on June 4th.
This spotlight was written by Baltimore’s own Israeli Psy-Trance DJ/expert Elemental. Be sure to check him out on the Fort Stage if you are fortunate enough to have VIP tickets.
Infected Mushroom has succeeded in blending the the intense sounds of Psy-Trance and the hard hits of Rock, forming one of the most explosive Electronic groups in history. Originally consisting of the duo Erez Eisen ( I.Zen) and Amit Duvdevani (also known as Duvdev) in the city of Hafia in Northern Israel. Early on in their career they mainly focused on Goa Psy-Trance and ambient Psy-Trance with their albums The Gathering(1999), Classical Mushroom(2000) and BP Empire(2001). Infected has always been known for their ever changing sound which is exemplified in the 2 disk album Converting Vegetarians (in my opinion their best album ever). You could begin to feel a new element being Incorporated to Infected’s sounds. After the release of I am the Supervisor(2004), Vicious Delicious(2007) emerged. This album truly showed the new sound Infected Mushroom was going for. They brought in guitarist Thomas Cunningham, in 2004, (whose family lives in Baltimore BOH!BOH!) and Brazilian percussionist Rogério Jardim for their live performances. That year Infected hit number 9 on DJ Mag’s Top 100 list, which was the highest psytrance has ever been placed. For over a decade Infected Mushroom have been a major influence in the world of Psy-Trance, their latest album was released in 2009, entitled The Legend of The Black Shwarma. Infected always brings unmatched energy and uplifting sounds so be prepared to sent to the stars. The main stage is never going to recover from this trip!
I wasn’t able to make it out to the Shpongle show, because I was too broke to drive, so I had my friend Dan write up a little review of the show. Dan is an old friend of mine and actually the person who showed me Shpongle in the first place. He produces dance music under the name Debaser (Soundcloud) and is also a guitarist in the Frederick based jam band The Human Condition. What follows is a very detailed report on the show that is a true joy to read.
Many Thanks To Dan!!
THE SHPONGLETRON EXPERIENCE: A Modern Psychedelic Lightshow at it’s Finest
ANTICIPATION builds as the local freaks assemble into the newly blue-painted 9:30 club. An amalgamation of sounds such as Shpongle draws out a diverse crowd; EDM kids, psy-nuts, deadheads, the newly-turned-on college bros, and many others who sparked interested in the group due to its widely-disseminated hype across the interwebz. General pre-journey excitement and mischief is in the air as the opener mans his battle station.
Weapon of Choice—Ableton Live. Random Rab is a newcomer in the downtempo psychedelic style that began emerging out of late 90’s trip hop and in-bred with oddities like psytrance and “jamtronica”. Rab’s tunes can best be described as more stripped-down, organic versions of say, what Alex B (Pnuma Trio) used to play, pre-Pretty Lights signing. The signifying difference being the organic, psychedelic tinge to the tracks not unlike what can be found towards the end of some Chemical Brothers albums. This positive vibe cleanses the space as the revelers begin to loosen up, head-bobs giving way to full on knee dips. It should be noted that Rab had his own screen for visuals set up behind him, in front of the soon-to-be animate Shpongletron. The visuals ranged from the natural and sublime, to tediously programmed CGI (very tasteful CGI at that) sepia toned fractals growing and evolving into sometimes, a larger figure such as a tree or a face (that one specifically blew me away). Rab’s set builds to an intense trippy, but soulful climax with all the ambience of an early Aphex Twin release. Eventually most of the floor is digging Rab, the majority of the crowd dancing as if he were the main act. Cheers erupt through the club as he finishes his set, Rab seemed to enjoy it very much, especially since he had the attention of such a generally open minded party crowd. Much of the “Shponglers” find their way outside for a last cigarette and breath of fresh may air before the trip really begins.
SIMON POSFORD rises up to his booth in the Shpongletron as the crowd explodes with cheering and the house lights are dimmed; ready for liftoff. Deep timestretched vocal samples and swirling synth resonances blast through the PA (generously turned up for the headliner). This all meant one thing to me—DMT (Divine Moments Of Truth). An almost cacophonous mix of detuned, modulating synth pads and arpeggios are introduced to the mix creating a sort of psychedelic thunder warning of the storm approaching. I should note at this point the Shpongletron itself. Rewind almost a year to 2010’s Burning Man Festival. A GIGANTIC state of the art projection rig was unveiled the size of two school buses stacked on each other; the DJ booth is a relief in the middle, with projection screen behind the selectors themselves. This rig was also present at March’s Ultra Music Festival, blowing minds for audiences during such prolific acts as Sasha and Digweed (I believe they actually toured with this rig for a bit). The sophistication of the visuals parallels this technologic generation’s 3D revolution. Since the rig is wrapped on three-dimensional scaffold, ones perspective of the visuals changes depending on your position due to the rig’s depth. This gives the viewer an effect akin to wearing 3D glasses. But I digress, the SHPONGLETRON is based on this technology. Three large wings ascending in size, flank the rig. The bottom consists of two boxes to each side, with a strange cubic, mirrored chamber in the middle lined with LED lights slowly morphing in color. The coolest part about this component is that unless you’re standing dead center, your perspective gives the lines of LEDs a slight Fibbonacci spiral. Adorning the whole structure smack in the middle is the classic Shpongle six-eyed medusa head, hand carved from what appeared to be plaster of paris. Back to the performance, the psychedelic thunder diffuses into the air and the percussion accompanied shamanic chant of Divine Moments of Truth emerges through the fog and the crowd explodes in excitement in recognition of one of the groups most notable tracks.
TWISTING and turning through unexplored improvised sections of the track, Simon remixes on the fly: looping and drenching channels in effects, all while individually mixing each part of the song in on his gigantic 32-channel stage mixer. A master of this technique, Posford has been performing this way since the early nineties as seminal psy-trance act Hallucinogen. Such a pro at his craft, he allegedly has performed this way under the influence of LSD many times. The experiences shows—the crowds heads already becoming wrapped in a journey of the mind not stopping any time soon. Not quite yet in full ecstatic dance, most eyes are absolutely fixed on the Shpongletron. The visuals are similar to the ones mentioned for Rab’s set, but this time they are EXPLODING with color and velocity. The screens blur as the bass hits, Wrapping the screens sometimes is a trim that is filled with a smooth spectrum of all color moving as a band around the tron. Fractals, mandalas, and molecules (from my brief experience as a biochem major, appeared to be the drug N,N-DMT) shifting, spinning, and undulating through the screens, projected by what appeared to be a multi-thousand dollar projector the size of a small piano in the back. Most notable to me was the Shpongle face: due to the projections and play of light and shadow, the bank white plaster face was transformed into a gesturing, flipping character who stuck out his tongue, rolled eyes and slowly developed a bigger smile as the set progressed. It was obvious that Simon wanted to grab your mind by the ego and shred it to pieces in ecstatic bliss. From DMT on, Posford plays much of “Nothing Lasts…but Nothing is Lost” (In my opinion, his best work).
THE DANCEFLOOR IS ALIVE with dancers and ragers alike. Everyone working it out to the complex sounds from the speakers, yet still reminiscent of some strain of tribal trance music from time lost. The vibe begins to take on a sort of psychedelic mardi gras: with freaks adorned with colorful masks, beads, and feathers in hats (including Posford himself). The energy reaches its first climax at an intense, mind-melting breakdown, and the light artist turns it on. The most intense laser I personally have ever seen splits into ten or so separate beams as thick as a handrail glowing deep colors in full spectrum. The audience loves it; they become even more excited and now the whole thing is full swing and everyone is getting shpongled. A few more trippy numbers are mixed in and the tribal drums of Levitation Nation appear in the mix and the crowd goes wild. This track, my personal favorite, is dancey enough that I have surprisingly been known to mix it into my sets during a trippy, tribal tangent. As the party vocals come in (in Spanish? In Shponglish?) the entire room chants along to it and the dancing reaches maximum velocity as the set climaxes. Post-Levitation, the vibe of the music changes to a harder beat, somewhere between tribal house and trance. Obvious to me, much of this matierial is newer/unreleased (I’m way more familiar with the more “psybient” trippy stuff). The crowd continues to rage through most of these tracks, although I lose interest slightly. Simon mixes part of his songs live, doing a remix on the fly, as he did with DMT. Much of these tracks were DJed in from what I could tell, as you DO need a bounce track when you run out of channels to use in your continuous mix. The last couple of tracks were definitely pieced together off the cuff, and weren’t recognizable to me…possible new Shpongle?
Posford closes the set, and he announces to the crowd as the music dies down that he’s had a great time and thanks everyone. He even cracks a joke about how Osama Bin Laden may or may not have been killed, a bold move considering how apolitical most people in the crowd seemed, but assuring that “there are no tyrants in Shpongleland!”. Regardless, he seemed like he had a blast, and “since no one else is playing” he played one more, another one that sounded new to me.
IN A WORLD OF INSTANT GRATIFICATION one can forget that its really about the journey, not the destination. As seen with the “Shpongletron” most became fixed on the stage itself but in the end the focus (or lack there of) all became on dancing and just vibin’ out. A stage show, or lightshow, can be a crutch or a tool, depending on how its used. In Shpongle’s case, it became a catalyst for the short-lived psychedelic communion through music and dancing, or at least as much as it can be in a rock concert format.
I didn’t know I would be writing this, or else I would have written a set list down, but some of the best tracks were (in no particular order, may be some errors, shpongle songs certainly blend together!):
Divine Moments of Truth
Periscopes of Consciousness
Shnitzled in the Negev
…But Nothing is Lost
Stamen of the Shamen
Connoisseur of Hallucinations
The Nebbish Route
The Dorset Perception
Walking Backwards through the Cosmic Mirror
All in all I would give the show a 7/10. 20$ ticket (+) 10$ service charge (–). Excellent stage production, cutting edge visuals/lasers etc. Tim Walther of Walther Productions (the folks who put on All Good Festival and bring many jam bands to the area) were responsible for this show and usually at his shows the bass frequencies are extremely prominent in the PA. As soon as Shpongle took the stage it was very obvious the system had been tuned specifically for this gig. Security was very thorough, but honestly 9:30 stopped being a “party” venue a long time ago. Simon seemed to have a GREAT time and so did Random Rab. Now if someone would bring out Shpongle live with Raja Ram, the singers, strings, drums and the whole nine yards, I woudn’t care what the service charge would be!
What could possibly be better than repeatedly smashing your face against a wall? Well, of course having your face smashed against a sub woofer by an experienced smasher of faces. I speak, you undoubtedly guessed, of Smash Gordon the savior of our ever loving universe.
It is with pride in my heart and grime in my ears that I present to you “Smash Your Fucking Face: Volume 3” and it does indeed smash. Jam packed with only the hardest, most bass filled and filthiest of electronic music mixed one after another in a relentless attack that leaves you wondering which song is which and searching for a clean pair of panties. This mix is a continuation of the destruction started with “Smash Your Fucking Face: Volume Two” and “This Is Not For Tour Computer Speakers: Vol 1” and it kicks it up a notch, like Emeril wielding a chainsaw after too many shots of makers mark. I personally love how much drum and bass there is on this mix but you can be sure that there is a little something for everyone on this mix.
As mythical and awesome as the title for this post sounds I assure you that the show was much more than a simple headline could possibly convey, this night was truly epic sauce from start to finish. I arrived early to see an expectedly empty club and a few people on the rooftop, so I settled in with a drink and got myself ready for the night ahead. Lock Danan was holding down the roof for the first two hours, playing to the few people who showed up early as they stood around smoking cigarettes in the open air. Meanwhile downstairs Uncle Jesse rocked a regretably empty floor in the ballroom, shame on you kids for not showing up early enough to watch these two masters at work.
As the clock struck 10 people were steadily flowing through the door and the excitement was mounting. As 2Rip took the stage downstairs you could see Wolfgang’s stage setup looming behind him covered in black drapes and the crowd was buzzing with what it was all about, shame on them for not checking out the production videos ahead of time. Although he started with a nearly deserted floor soon 2Rip was commanding a half full room and eventually the Ballroom started to really fill out.
As I, PartyChu!, took over the decks the rooftop was becoming quite populated, everyone soaking in the cool breeze and fresh air. My set was great, I had such a good time with you guys and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and as much as it seemed like you did. I even got an extra half an hour to play when DJ Who forgot one of his Serato control CD’s (Thanks again!!) and I cannot wait to rage out with you guys again. Who’s set was exemplary and I was sad to see the floor clear considerably for him, come on people I know it isn’t filthy but its soooo good! Who has an impeccable taste in music and his mixing is just about as close to flawless as I can imagine, which I guess happens when you have been spinning since the days of the wax cylinder (Just kidding Chip!) You guys have another chance to catch this Baltimore legend and all around badman at Bassdrop Volume 2 Featuring Afrojack, so get your tickets and bring those mother fuckin’ dance shoes.
As hard as it proved pulling myself away from the pure house magic on the roof I absolutely could not miss Harvard Bass, who I only found out was playing this show the day of. When I got back down to the Ballroom I was surprised to see a full floor, remember I had left it deserted somewhere in Uncle Jesse’s set, and oh boy was he killing it. I have been a big fan of Harvard Bass’ productions for a long time now and it was great to finally see him. His sound is distinct and yet totally accessible, but mostly that shit just makes you want to dance your ass off.
Finally it was time for the main event, Wolfgang Mother Fuckin’ Gartner!! He walked onstage and walked up into the Medusa and it was on like Donkey Kong. I have seen Wolfgang a whole bunch of times and I would venture to say that this is in the running as one of the best shows to date, although that might have something to do with the enormous, trippy stage he was playing on. The Medusa was unlike anything I had seen before, it is reminiscent of the Daft Punk pyramid and Deasmau5′ cube (which of course is reminiscent of the pyramid) except Medusa is set apart by its 3D factor. The way it has three layers of screens creates an amazing visual effect and it looks totally different depending on your angle of sight.
Wolfgangs music wasn’t too bad either. And by that I mean he totally annihilated. Perhaps it was the energy of being on his own tour or playing night after night in the same crazy stage set up that got him in the groove but boy was he on point. Every mix was smooth like butter and the whole set flowed beautifully. He played a lot of the songs I wanted to hear but he stayed away from the most overplayed bits of his catalogue. Overall this was a night to remember as basically smashing from start to finish.
Here are some bits of Wolfgang wonderfulness! (Not all of them played on this particular night.)
P.S. Video from the night coming soon!
This is the first part in a series of introduction to artists coming out on Basstarded Recordings, the label headed by master of disaster Gangsta Fun. These are names that I can all but guarantee will be blowing up soon, and you heard it here first.
Our first artist is Gnome (Facebook, Soundcloud) a very young producer from across the pond who will “eat your ears,” you’ve been warned! Here are some of the tracks he has dropped for free up to this date.
Gnome’s new EP, entitled “Skankout”, comes out this Monday May 2nd on Beatport and believe me it outstrips his previous work by a good amount and is absolutely murderous. Here is a little preview of the madness.
Finally I have for you a short interview I did with the man himself, check it out!
When I was a toddler I played my mini electronic keyboard all the time, I think i was 2 – 3 years of age. Classical music soon became a passion of mine. I didn’t like most of the music that was in the charts (commercial music) and it always made me question myself. Why do i have such strong passion for music when i hardly like anything I hear? Then I herd my sister, ‘Debbie Turner’ play a happy hardcore CD. This blew my mind. It made me realize there was more music out there than just the shit music on the radio and classical music. Frantically searching the internet I came across DnB and later on Dubstep, it seemed I had met my destiny.
2. Who really influenced your sound?
My first influence was Hype but in the Dubstep world, I got to big up Stenchman. His live radio show was the first real filthy Dubstep I herd. Next is Genetix. We both used to work at Torbay Hotel and we would swap tunes and chat step all day! The rest go without saying, Cookie Monsta, Funtcase, Excision, Flux Pavillion, Datsik etc.
3. What was your first party/club experience?
I was 17 and because of my baby face, it was the first time I managed to get into a club. My sister was there as a dancer and my old friend randomly was there too. Kind of a mixed genre night with hardcore, hardstyle and drum and bass. I was diggin’ the drum and bass. Such a messy night!
4. Top 5 favorite producers
Cookie Monsta, Funtcase, Flux Pavillion, Excision and Doctor P (because of the Tetris remix!)
5. Something on your ipod we wouldn’t expect?
Bach Toccata & Fugue in D Minor
6. What is it like to have Lou (G-Fun) as a record exec?
A pain in my rectum…. Ha Ha! Nah just kiddin! He is awesome because he pushes and pushes me to make better tunes. Some of the work I have done wouldn’t of been as heavy without him. He is also a great guy and a great m8
Dropping my tune Pure Torture for the first time, was nuts! The floor filled up in seconds! Also that night when the club closed, my mate tried to pay for a subway with his driver’s license what a mess head haha!
I meant to put this up here yesterday but other things came up. This video was shot in the actual studio where Flux Pavillion and Doctor P work, true story.
Who here wouldn’t volunteer for these Bass Cannon experiments?
I got a good number of emails for the tickets to tonight’s Face Off 3 but there was a clear winner. I have to give it to Derek Cousemaker because even though I didn’t ask anything of you in your submission he sent me this awesomely winning photograph of a small child face planting in a sack race. Honestly I think anyone would have given the tickets to him for this:
Thanks to everyone who participated, better luck next time.
It is a beautiful spring day and all seems right with the world. I figured I would give you guys three different versions of a beautiful tune to help you relax as you soak up all this tranquility and wonder.
I am sure you have all heard the wildly popular “Breathe” by Telepopmusic. The song was launched into the pop music stratosphere when Mitsubishi used it in one of their advertising campaigns and it has been all over the place since. I have three delicious remixes of this chilled out track to get your brain feeling all tingly and melted.
The first is a dubstep remix by Mimosa. This is by far the chillest of the three mixes, hearkening back to a day when dubstep was about feeling like you were floating not getting smashed into the ground.
Next up is the Tokimonsta remix, another dubstep take on this track but totally different from the Mimosa version. It is also very chill but much more danceable and really has a much more hip hop feel than the above. You can catch this girl and her wonderful dub at Starscape this year.
Lastly we have a liquid funk version by local Baltimore DnB producer C-Level. I would have to say that this is my favorite version out of the three, but I do have a soft spot for liquid funk. This mix is upbeat while still remaining chilled out and spacey. It has a very repetitive nature about it and will be sure to put you into a near meditative state.
Have fun today kids but don’t space out too hard!
I have free tickets children!!!
I know this is the sort of thing that we would normally do on Free Shit Fridays but I don’t know why you are questioning me, I am trying to give away free stuff here. A pair of free tickets for the third installment of the Face-Off parties in DC to be precise. This party is hosted by MAXIMUS JONX aka MCSL, of HipsterOverkill.com and the FRINGE parties fame and these are gearing up to be one of the major parties in local DC dance music. Shoot me an email at PartyChu@gmail.com for your chance to catch the next Face Off for free!
Now I will give you a taste of what this party has to offer.
HavocNdeed is a producer/DJ duo from Las Vegas and they make hard, hard bass music. Here are two of their most recent tracks, alas they are only clips but it should give you an idea of what these two are capable of.
Helicopter Showdown is a quickly ascending presence in the dubstep world. His tracks have been insed by SLUGGO, Downlink, Bassnectar, Vaski, Mark Instinct, PANTyRAID, Ajapai and more, their Debut EP “The Wrestler” [Ultragore] made Beatport’s Dubstep Top 100 Chart with the title single in the Top 10 for 3 weeks. You can also catch them at Dub Nation Firepower Edition!
I really don’t have much to say today. So I will just give you tuneage to enjoy this weekend with special attention to great spring music, so get outside and blast some tunes while you play frisbee or whatever the kids are doing these days.
Fresh Moombahton from madman Dillon Francis:
High Rankin deliciousness. The title really says everything.
Netsky’s remix of “Everyday” by Rusko. This is going to be the next “Hold On” plus its a great song for driving with the windows down.
A couple of new remixes from Felix Cartal. “Look Ma!” has a nice chopped up, disco feel to it and “Beyond God To Elvis” is just filthy house madness.
The French boy wonder, here is some freshness from Gesffelstein (Thanks to Vacay Vitamins!). Both of these tracks are the absolute dopeness.
Some hot shit from Doorly. I was literally just rockin’ this while I drove around doing errands, officially rush hour traffic approved.
I was for sure excited when I found out about our new “Bassdrop” series and I was even more excited when I found out the inaugural party would be headlined by the always on point Jack Beats. But even with all that excitement I could not have anticipated that it would be so fucking amazing.
It just blows me away how good Jack beats is at making music. They don’t have the largest library of tunes, but fuck me if every single song they drop isn’t 100% amazing. Even my friend who pretty much exclusively plays, listens to and produces drum and bass was totally psyched on the show and got down hard. I think it just has everything to do with the fact that these two make just about the most delicious noises in electronic music.
I arrived with only a few minutes remaining in Breakage’s set. The first person I ran into immediately blurted out “Oh my god dude, Breakage is killing it!!!” I told him that I had just arrived and he seemed genuinely upset for me. As I navigated the crowd I was pleased to see that Bassdrop was exactly the type of party that I had hoped it would turn out to be, totally filled with people but not too packed. Everyone was dancing and really into the music. This show seriously had one of the better vibes I have experienced in my career of party going.
Jack Beats came on and the onslaught of just about every song I could have hoped for them to play. Although the beginning of their set started out a little bit slow, really quick cuts and lacking a bit in flow, it wasn’t long before the two of them were in perfect sync and blasting our ears with a perfectly crafted dance set. I was amazed by how smoothly they two of them could play on two decks each, I even caught a glimpse of their screen and saw that they were pretty much playing no less than three tracks at any one time. I would have been impressed if one person played a set as tight as the one the two of them played, its like they are connected at the brain or something.
Highlights from the show include when they dropped “Drop The Pressure”, which I could happily never hear again after they played it. I nearly lost my shit when they played Herve’s “Together” which uses the chorus from Primal Scream’s “Come Together”, which is off the album Screamadelica and if you haven’t heard that you need to do so immediately. I was also psyched to hear them play “Out Of Body” and “Revolution” which are their two latest original tracks. But I would have to say that the best part of the night was when they played their remix of John B’s “All Night” into the Skream remix, a mix that I had literally played no more than two hours earlier at my show, so I was pretty pleased with that. Although obviously they pulled off the mix much more smoothly and dropped it way harder than I did.
Looking back this was truly one of the best shows I have ever been to. Jack beats absolutely blew my mind with their set, it was nearly perfect on every level, and the vibe in Bourbon was perfect. Don’t miss Bassdrop Volume two as we bring in the dutch master Afrojack to tear you a new one!
Here are a bunch of the tunes that JB played. It is all zipped up so its easy to download. ENJOY!!!
Today I have for you some fresh new UK Drumstep for you From Leko and the rest of the Tharsis Records team. The duo responsible for this EP, entitled Changes, calls themselves B-Tek and they know how to crank out some filth. The title track destroys and is being played by the likes of Reid Speed. I don’t have much more info on B-Tek but I got a sneak peak of their upcoming EP and I will have more on them and that as the release approaches.
Moving on to the second day of Ultra madness!!!
Awesomely, I opened day two by running into the Vacay boys in line to get in. I could not have been more happy to run into these guys and get a chance to vacay with them. We quickly made our way to catch the end of Fake Blood’s set on the live stage. We only caught the last little bit and it was still rather sunny and hot so I didn’t really get into Fake Blood’s set, which is a shame since I was really looking forward to it. After Fake Blood came the always raging Steve Aoki playing to an increasingly enormous crowd. It was everything I have come to expect from Steve, champagne spray, lots of yelling, climbing stuff and general mayhem. It really amazes me how crazy everyone goes for him but I guess it is simply because he is going ten times crazier than anyone in the audience. The highlight of the set for me was definitely hearing turbulence on a giant system. It was just as good as I imagined it would be.
Next we headed over to the Tower Of Ultra to catch some of Skrillex’s set. Once again it was packed tighter than a can of sardines and it was impossible to get into the actual tent, and as I mentioned yesterday the sound outside the tent was total garbage. I really tried to get closer to the stage but it was nearly impossible and I soon gave up. Other than the sound problems Sonny sounded good, although somebody should really tell him about sequence matching its the only thing he is missing.
Next it was off to watch Dada Life in the UMF Brasil tent. Before I talk about Dada let me tell you that they had jungle gyms in this tent and it was just about the coolest thing ever. There was even a huge twisting ladder arcing over the stage leading to a little platform for dancing, although there wasn’t anyone climbing it at the time I was there, and I don’t think they were letting random people climb it. Anyway back to the music, Dada Life fucking killed it just like I knew they would with their dirty dirty sound (Way better than Tiesto, lol). The coolest thing was when 4-5 people got up on the catwalk behind the stage and took out laser pointers to make a custom laser show for Dada, and then people in the crowd pulled out their laser pointers and joined in. It wasn’t as mind bending as Deadmau5’s light show but it was a lot cooler since it was a group effort.
We departed the jungle gym funland of UMF Brasil to book it back to the Live Stage for a solid dose of Beardyman. It was even more amazing to watch him craft music out of only his voice and one keyboard in person than it is just listening to it. I honestly would have watched him for hours but unfortunately his set came to an abrupt end just after he got into drum and bass. But my sorrow at the end of his set was quickly wiped away by the arrival of everyones favorite canadian electro duo. I speak of course of Mstrkrft.
It has been a few years since I have seen the boys from the great white north, since Rothbury 2009 to be exact, and they have grown a bit since then. They blasted, seriously, one of the best sets I have seen in a long time kicking the filth up a notch. I sat upon the hill and watched as the entire area in front of the stage was filled with people and the people raged it out….hard. Sometimes being in a position to see the entire crowd is the craziest way to watch a show, you can really see the impact that the DJ’s have on the crowd en masse a perspective that is much different than being in the thick of it. Mstrkrft played a bunch of stuff I didn’t recognize (new tracks?) and stayed away from pretty much all of their old material so the set was fresh and hot. I cannot say enough, GO SEE MSTRKRFT THIS SUMMER!!!!!
And now it was finally the ultimate Ultra moment, for me at least, it was Chemical Brothers time! I have honestly been waiting to see The Chemical Brothers for the better part of a decade and I was absolutely giddy to see the boys break it down. I was nearly salivating as they came onstage and lowered their crazy light string tube (pictured above) and prepared to start melting brains. They opened up with Galvanize off of Push the button and the light up tube started going. As the song built up a few of the lights flickered on and as it dropped the huge LED map screen behind them lit up with the first of a series of song specific visuals.
At the end of the day the Chemical Brothers’ show was much much cooler than that of everyones favorite deceased rodent. It was much more nuanced, building up as the show went on adding more and more of the screens and lights and lasers as the music progressed. Every single song had its own visual that was linked up to the song which not only linked the set together very well but it is much more visually intriguing than random mouse people dancing around. To make a desperately boring minute by minute account of an entire Chemical brother show quick and easy I will say that it was perfect from start to finish. The sound was amazing and the visuals/lighting was amazing. The only thing I was disappointed in was the fact that they only played the hits from “Dig Your Own Hole” and “Push The Button” (closing with “Block Rockin’ Beats”). To be honest I really wanted to hear that old stuff, it is why I love them and I was a little sad that they didn’t play a bit more of it. Either way it was one of the top five shows I have ever been to, and if you have a chance to see The Chemical Brothers DO IT!!!
Well that was my Ultra experience. Next year I am going to do it bigger and harder but most importantly I am staying down by the action.