Story by Douglas Chiki
Video by OrganixMedia
After a summer’s worth of promotion and hype, Identity Festival kicked off its 20-city tour on August 11th at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana. The 10-hour long festival included 23 artists, 3 stages, and a selection of vendors that sold top-notch t-shirts and rave gear. Without saying much, Identity is a jam-packed, special event. After all, it’s the first touring electronic music festival and each stop is an easy way to see big performers in one fell swoop. While the performers, layout, and schedule vary by stop, Identity unifies electronic music lovers geographically. At Noblesville, Kaskade and DJ Shadow closed out the night, but were preceded by The Disco Biscuits, Rusko, Datsik, The Crystal Method and several other amazing performers.
The festival opened at 1 o’clock and pretty much never stopped until it closed at 11:15. Although there was always something to watch and listen to, you had to make some tough decisions when the schedule conflicted. The biggest help in planning my day was downloading the Identity phone app when I got there. Not only did it serve as my schedule, it sent notifications that said when an act was about go on and where artists were doing meet and greets. I’ve never been to a festival or concert where this was available and I have to say, it kept me on track and was a great resource.
That being said, the first person my friends and I posted up for was Dylan Eiland, aka Le Castle Vania. I saw him for the first time at Starscape this year and discovered his heavy, loaded, yet incredibly danceable style. The performance is entrancing because he lays down a healthy mix of original songs and killer remixes. By the end of his set, the crowd grew as more festival goers entered the venue, so my friends and I decided to roam around the vendors before facing the toughest decision of our day: how to divide our time between Datsik and The Disco Biscuits.
Well, Datsik started his set first so it made sense that we would go there. As always, Datsik threw down some of the heaviest and best dubstep I’ve seen to date. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but no one else is like Troy Beetles. He knows how to read a crowd and then pull and push them with every sound he produces. Unfortunately we didn’t get to stay for the entire set, but he played “U Don’t like me” and I got to act like a fool.
The 3 stages were placed close enough so you could easily move from one artist to another if they had conflicting sets. We met up with the Disco Biscuits at the main stage and were greeted with the familiar sound of their electro-infused jam. I’m not sure about other people, but I feel like I’m grooving in space with no gravity whenever I see them. The Disco Biscuits were a good change of pace and we got to collect ourselves after some intense dancing. We were just about to leave when they started to play some Pink Floyd, so we stuck around for the end of their set.
After that, we went back to the DimMak stage, where the crowd was waiting for The Crystal Method to go on. I didn’t know what to expect, but when they were playing, I definitely had one of those “HOLY SHIT, THIS IS INTENSE!” moments. Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland have a long history of music-making success. From video games to movies, their music has penetrated many scenes and garnered a couple Grammy nominations for the duo. Their set at Identity put me in a trance and I would love to remember specific songs they played, but for lack of better terms I was a true space cadet. Without a doubt, it was one of the best performances I’ve seen. Their set smoothly transitioned into Nero and I was once again blown away with the talent Identity had to offer. Though only one-half of the duo made the trip, he played a remix of “Crush on You,” which was definitely one of the best new songs I heard all day.
By this point, we were exhausted from the heat and pretty strung out, so we walked up to the lawn where we sprawled out in silence for Rusko. Rusko was one of my first introductions to dubstep and it felt rewarding to finally see him live. Although I was immobile during his show, he played “Cockney Thug” and “Woo Boost,” which gave me the strength to sit up. For the lack of dancing from my friends and I, Rusko certainly made up for it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone move as rapidly for such a prolonged time as him.
After Rusko, there was a slight break on the main stage so they could set up for Kaskade’s performance. By the looks of the stage, which included flowing white streamers and a huge podium made of LED screens, I knew it was going to be one of the highlights of the festival. However, in addition to spectacular eye candy, Kaskade was a very rejuvenating and uplifting concert experience. It felt like the entire day came full circle and I could once again let loose, but not in the grimy, dirty sense. The best segment of his set was “Eyes,” which was complimented by some trippy visuals on the screen.
We left Kaskade early to go catch DJ Shadow. When we got there, he wasn’t playing yet due to malfunctions with his projectors. As someone who loves lasers and LED screens, I was a little worried about what was coming. Joshua Davis performs in this orb-like thing, which is normally positioned so you can’t seem him, but we got to watch him scratch and mix. In my opinion, this was the perfect set to end Identity. It was a great balance of heavy and flowing, and he played one of my favorite songs “Fixed Income.” He was just starting to play “Six Days,” another song you should check out, but they cut him off and we knew Identity was at its end.
His set ended and we milled about the Verizon Wireless center asking, “What the fuck happened for the past 10 hours?” We found ourselves gathered by a giant, rusty, rattling fan waiting for its noise to drop and that was an indicator it was time to leave. In conclusion, Identity was well organized, fast paced, and loaded event. If you have the opportunity to see it anywhere near you, DO IT. You won’t be disappointed because very few events can parallel its line-up and ambience.
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