LA’s premier music festival laid another milestone last weekend that’s not to be forgotten anytime soon. For everyone there, whether working at the fest or simply being a guest, HARD Summer was something special. This was our fourth HARD Summer, and we were able to get a behind the scenes look at one of our most anticipated festivals of the year. It’s always so tough narrowing these down to a “Best Of” list, but the festival would not have been the same without the contributions of the following artists. Check them out after the jump:
It seemed as if time stood still at the main stage on night 2 of HARD summer. Nero brought their full live set to southern California for the third time, and I finally got the opportunity to see it. Their regular DJ sets were some of the best dubstep sets I have been apart of, but their live set was of a different realm. I was ecstatic to be recording as Alana came out to sing, because her beautiful voice combined with Nero getting down on the synths right in front of us made for one of the most monumental sets I’ve ever seen. This all of course, was despite their sound cutting off towards the end. You could feel the frustration among them and the crowd, considering how great they had been performing for the duration. Doesn’t change anything for me. Nero was the best of the weekend.
If there is one person that can manage to pull a packed crowd for a headlining AND opening set at a festival, it’s A-Trak. He brought the Fools Gold tent together at the end of night 1 to a set stuffed with the freshest tracks of the recent past. He also spinning and scratching between the newest trend of EDM: trap. The crowd was off the charts! On day 2, Alain showcased the ‘A.’ That set consisted of everything that made A-Trak earn the respect of the masses: Head Will Roll remix, Night out remix, OH!, Stingray, Money Makin’. No games. This guy is a legend.
Let’s go back a year ago when Dillon played for his first time at HARD. An opening set. I had to run through the line, telling people that I was going to see Dillon Francis and that if they knew him to come with me, and if they didn’t to stfu and let me go. I think I managed to picked up 5 people. Fast forward to HARD Summer 2012: this tent was absolutely packed. Dillon delivered a set that consisted mostly of his own productions. This was probably the best crowd to be a part of, as I knew it would be. His most loyal following is in LA. I didn’t even want to get back stage. To anyone who thinks that moombahton is dead, think again!
It was about time the Bloody Beetroots went back to their roots with the DJ sets that put them in the spotlight. I commend their efforts of adding live instruments to their shows, but their DJ sets incorporated some of the highest energy of any of I’ve ever seen! We managed to MacGyver our way on stage, and after looking at the crowd I couldn’t breathe. I’d never seen anything like that! A well deserved crowd for these rockstars.
This was undoubtedly one of the more unique sets of the weekend. A hidden gem of HARD Summer. Four dudes, recent signees of Skrillex’s OWSLA, all mixing live together. Scratching back to back. Putting out a tracklist of lesser known releases. Cool to be behind them witnessing it all come together at such a close proximity. Make sure to watch the video to see the action for yourself. Unbelievable.
Leave it to Fake Blood to consistently bring the heat. This man is just always on point. Throwing down track after track of straight bangers. Most of them unknown to me. I love that though. When someone takes risks by playing lesser known tracks, and yet still manages to keep the energy high and the people jumping. Of course, he played his classics: I think I like it, Medieval, and ended with Mars. His set cut out a couple times, and I’ve never seen someone handle it as stylishly as him. Everyone was cheering to support him during the downtime, which didn’t last long. Awesome set!!
It actually didn’t take until I saw Gesaffelstein live at last year’s HARD Summer for his music to really hit home with me. The way he drops his bass so relentlessly on the haunting techno synths is like nothing else I’ve heard. It’s very much one of a kind. For HARD Summer this year, Gesaffelstein took it to the next level. He played his whole set live, which for those who don’t know, is a big f*cking deal. He used Ableton to recreate his own produced tracks LIVE. Right in front of us. As opposed to a DJ set with other artists’ music, using regular CDJs. So much for the whole “button pushers” thing.
I didn’t have the highest expectations going into this set. Not because I don’t trust Chromeo, it’s just that usually the DJ sets of artists like this never really compare to the live version. Little did I know, the two weren’t even worth comparing. All the Discotheque tent wanted was a funky set, and Chromeo assured us this wouldn’t be an issue. The tent was filled front to back, side to side, with funkateers and chromettes bouncing around and enjoying one of the grooviest sets of the weekend.
There you have it folks. I’m having a hard time putting my finger on a weekend that meant more to me than this past one. The fact that everything I had done in my life had led me to that moment in time really puts me in a good place. These are the kind of feelings you get at HARD events. I can’t get enough. ‘Til next time, HARD.
Just For Fun
Most Overplayed Track: Duck Sauce – Big Bad Wolf (Dada Life Remix)
Best Moment: Dancing with Breakbot backstage for Chromeo
Most Epic: Alana Watson trying to save the day by singing through Nero’s sound cutting off
Coolest Person: Dave 1 of Chromeo (A-Trak’s brother)
Biggest Disappointment: Squarepusher