August 6th 2011 marked the fourth annual HARD Summer Music Festival to be held, and the third to go down successfully. (people don’t forget!) If you were with me in 2009, I share the pain. All in good fun though! Gary Richards has long since redeemed himself. With the help of stacked lineup after stacked lineup in Los Angeles, and now through the rest of the country, HARD has established its superiority in the realm of memorable concerts. HARD Summer went off without a hitch, and I was fortunate enough to be there through the whole thing! I had my FlipCam handy and got to see all the future talent, while everyone else was at the already established names. Although it breaks my heart that I had to miss Jack Beats, Skrillex, and all of Boys Noize/Duck Sauce’s sets, I was happily tucked in the relatively crowd free stages. Here are the highlights from start to finish:
Dillon Francis 6:20-7:20
The first of the day. I actually got to the venue late and went through the line saying “Dillon Francis is on right now! If you know who he is, come with me. If you don’t, let me go!” After getting through the line way faster than expected and with a crew of Dillon Francis fans, the party had begun. Straight into the bassy moombah beats that I rushed through the crowd for. Dillon had everyone bouncing and definitely made it clear that he deserved a better slot.
Gesaffelstein 7:15-8:15 Delightful Mention!
Biggest surprise of the day. I hadn’t been able to get into his recordings before seeing him live, as it all made sense afterwards. True European techno with a musky feel that was new to me, but kept the crowd and me intrigued from start to finish. I wanted to record his whole set, because track after track was like nothing I had ever heard dropped before. This guy’s got some serious talent.
RATATAT 8:50-9:20 Runner Up!
Ratatat…..we finally meet. 10 feet back and center, I was ready to see the act I had been fawning over since I was in high school. One of the most creative sets I’ve bared witness. They had these huge screens that they had holographic images synced to the beat of the music. All the while, they were thrashing on their guitars or slamming the drum kits which added up to what I thought was going to be the best set of the night, til I saw Digitalism.
All the hype surrounding Siriusmo had my expectations set high. He very rarely plays live shows, so this was supposed to be a treat. It also didn’t help that his full length Mosaik slaps, and I had it on repeat through the week. His set was kind of a let down overall. Although he had pretty solid song selection, his persona matched that of dude on his 6th straight hour of World of Warcraft. Focused. Poised. Ready to kill. But not that fun to watch.
Digitalism (Live) 10:20-11:30 Best Set!
I heard myths and legends about how these guys were live and I was ready to get down in support of their latest album I Love You, Dude. Right off the bat: live drummer. NOTHING compares to a live drummer for electronic sets. The drummer was an addition to their live show but was my favorite part. Through the drum machine slamming, singing, and synth tweaking, these guys delivered the highest energy set of the night. Great stuff.
James Murphy & Pat Mahoney 11:30-12
Another hyped set I had to get my groove on to was this 2 hour disco special inside the DFA tent. Coolest most unique vibes I’ve ever felt at any concert. This tent was lined with disco balls and lights that had me in a time machine to the 70s. So cool! Glad they did this.
Busy Pictionary 12-12:30
After not having this set in my initial plan, I thought I’d leave the DFA tent early to pay my respects to the one and only BUSY P. So Me was on side of the decks, doodling away while Pedro threw down tracks of the future. Got there just in time to see the unreleased Justice track live! (video)
Carte Blanche 12:30-1:15
After a hefty intro from Busy P, DJ Mehdi and Riton brought the funk. I made it front and center as pretty much everyone else was at Skrillex or Boys Noize, so the setting was pretty intimate. I was expecting more in comparison to some of their mixes I had heard before, but I still had fun. Mehdi seems like a real cool dude. He was dancing the whole time, getting the crowd involved, and that’s the shit that makes a difference in the end.
I wish I could have seen more of Boys Noize and Duck Sauce, but I managed to sneak off to see my main squeezes throwing down just as I thought they would. Los Angeles, this is how a concert is done right. You got your headliners. You got your surprises. You got your low key, future of music hopefuls. And you got the LA skyline as your back drop. Get ready for Haunted Mansion people. Probably my favorite party of the year, and this year’s may take the cake.