By: Jordan Calvano
On August 4th, California bass heads gathered once again at Los Angeles Historical Park to experience another thrilling day at HARD Summer
. In previous years, fans would already be traveling back home and plugging their minds back into the real world, but this year was different. The addition of a second day was a huge step for the annual festival, and provided fans with more wild times at the fairground, and a lot more hard hitting producers to rock their worlds. The lineup was even crazier than day one, the grounds were chalked full of people, and it quickly became apparent upon arrival that the first day two of HARD Summer would be one for the books.
The day started with some appeasing performances from Nick Thayer, Trolley Snatcha
, and Squarepusher
, who riled the crowd up and got everyone pumped for the start-studded cast that followed. At around nine, it was time for Alvin Risk to step up to the plate, and step up he did. The remarkably talented young gun walked on stage at the OWSLA tent with a look of excitement on his face, while sporting his classic outfit: glasses, and a suave argyle sweater. Risk quickly started unleashing some of his most venomous cuts, and even brought Jason Aalon Butler on stage to help sing, well scream his vocal sections on “Pray.” He than titillated the crowd with his ubiquitous remixes, including fresh takes on tracks from Steve Aoki
, Skylar Grey, Ali Love, Oh My, and both revamps of Fun.’s breakout hit “We Are Young.” The rising star also dropped some well-received cuts from artists like Skrillex
, The Bloody Beetroots
, Kill The Noise
, and Porter Robinson
, before belting out in song and proving how diverse his talents really are.
Before Alvin Risk could even walk off stage, Taco Dill aka Dillon Francis had bombarded him with accolades, and prepared himself to keep up the good vibes that were flowing through the OWSLA tent. The Los Angeles resident continues to prove that he is incredibly good at two things: being one of EDM’s biggest jokesters, and making pumped up beats. Francis proved his knack for being a wild child by jumping on stage during sets throughout the weekend, but it was now time for him to make good on the latter. He started off with some well-known vocal samples from Daft Punk songs like “Around The World” and “Harder Better Faster Stronger,” before busting out some mind-blowing drops that instantly had listener’s hooked. Next up was his recent moombah collaboration with the one and only Doctor P
, original cuts like “I.D.G.A.F.O.S,” and some bass bumping slumps from Knife Party
and Alvaro. Francis also unleashed his tantalizing switch up of “Daydreamer” by Flux Pavilion
, and gave fans a chance to hear his unreleased remix of “Finale” by Madeon
Next up was some filthy action over at “The Harder Stage,” where artists were doing one thing and one thing only: bringing the heavy. Within seconds of local legend 12th Planet
finishing off his last tune, Datsik (Troy Beetles) stepped on stage to prove, well why they had booked him on that stage. He quickly began unleashing some earth shattering tracks and shouting out “Who’s feeling evil tonight,” and “Who likes that crazy robotic shit,” with the audience bursting out in approval. Beetles followed this by dropping full throttle collabs with Bare, Bassnectar
, Snak The Ripper, and even a brand new track with Excision
. Not to mention his monstrous remixes of Steve Aoki, MGMT, and thunderous original bangers like “Firepower” and “Hydraulic.” Datsik was throwing down so hard that a full-blown mosh pit, and even fight broke out, before a couple onlookers jumped in and stopped the madness. It quickly became apparent that he knew how to please the ears of the Los Angeles dub heads in attendance, and even dropped some “California Love” to really top things off.
If you have ever attended a Nero DJ set, and in turn believe they can now be checked off your list of “Artists to see,” its time to think again. Now were not trying to say that a Nero DJ set isn’t a remarkable experience, but it doesn’t even hold a candle to the sheer bliss that resonates each time the London based duo actually gets on stage together, throws on their wicked black glasses, and lets the live mixing begin. The two producers quickly got to work and started busting out serotonin heightening original tracks off their album Welcome To Reality, including crowd favorites “Reaching Out,” “New Life,” “Innocence,” and “Crush On you. They even brought Alana Watson on stage, as she flawlessly belted out the vocals to songs like “Promises” and “My Eyes,” sending shivers down the spine of anyone watching. The duo even gave fans a taste of their older remixes including vocal induced revamps of Plan B and The Streets, which had the crowd singing along and gently bobbing their heads to some classic dub beats.
Heading back over to the OWSLA tent, it was about that time for German born bass slinger Zedd to show Los Angeles what he was made of. It was his first time headlining a stage at a festival, and he was absolutely ready to make the most of this opportunity. He stepped up the tables, got on the microphone, and shouted, “I want this whole place to explode, and the main stage to feel you jumping.” Zedd got his wish, as the packed tent went wild and danced to every cut he unleashed. This included tenacious original tracks like “Stars Come Out,” “Shave It,” and “The Legend of Zelda,” along with undeniably impressive remixes of Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia
. The fresh faced producer than rocked the place with momentous tracks from artists like Alesso
, Bingo Players
, Knife Party, and The Bloody Beetroots, which adequately regaled the crowds desire for a good time. He even unveiled a forthcoming gem that “Won’t be released for a while,” but felt the HARD summer crowd was special enough to hear it. Zedd finished things off with his charismatic mashup “Don’t Slam the Cinema,” and than waved goodbye while dropping “Spectrum” on the rowdy crowd.
Before Zedd could even finish hit set, hundreds of people starting herding out of the OWSLA tent, and making haste to the main stage. The crowds didn’t get very far, before they soon intermingled with thousands of people trying to do the same thing, and let’s just say it was complete and utter madness. Fortunately, the main stage was playing a little bit of Bob Marley, which helped relax the minds of everyone anxiously awaiting Skrillex (Sonny Moore) to step into his spaceship. A huge lit up timer counted town from five minutes, before the bass legend finally popped up and began smashing his set. Moore screamed out “It’s good to be home Los Angeles,” and than started busting out mind blowing original tracks like “Right In,” “Ruffneck Bass,” “Hey Sexy Lady,” “My Name is Skrillex,” and the list goes on. He also dropped an armada of high-flying collaborations, including tracks with 12th planet, Kill The Noise, Damian Marley, Foreign Beggars, and Wolfgang Gartner, which had the crowd going absolutely wild as vivid LED images flashed across the screen. Moore than showed his hometown crowd what he was made of, while unloading remixes of Nero, Birdy Nam Nam, and jokingly stating during his remix of Avicii
’s “Levels” to “Pretend this is the first time you’re hearing this.” He came, they raged, and played a set that will stay engrained on listeners for a long time.
HARD Summer was an incredibly blissful festival that brought some of the biggest names in electronic and indie music to one place, and the result was something magical. We hope you had an amazing weekend, and until next year, keep going HARD in the paint people.
HARD Summer Music Festival - Day 1 Review