Favorite ThisMagic on Mulberry Mountain: Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival 2010 (FRIDAY)

Published: June 10, 2010

Magic on Mulberry Mountain: Wakarusa Music & Camping Festival 2010

By Cole Epley

Friday Highlights:


Friday was one hellacious day of face-melting, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, dance-fueled elation, beginning with the first of the three Untz featured artists to play on Friday: Zoogma. The livetronica quintet came out with guns blazing, featuring tracks off their recent debut EP, Recreational Vehicles*, some choice deep cuts from days past and the fan-favorite Ghostbusters; these guys raised some serious hell from the depths of their inner funkdom and should give themselves at least a bit of credit for kicking off the perpetual party that became Friday. Despite being slated for just the opening set at Revival Tent at first, Zoogma and their faithful following (a.k.a. Zoogmanauts) brought such tremendous energy and a downright party to the mountain that they were offered a chance to bring yet another salacious set to the Outpost Stage on Sunday, which they graciously accepted. Another energetic, tasteful and eclectic set of livetronica with integrity was delivered; many were overheard commenting on Zoogma’s sets being among the best livetronica of the weekend. It would be hard to imagine if any other act made more friends than these guys did at the festival. Congrats to these Waka Winter Classic winners on pouring their hearts into the music and seeing it come back tenfold at such an epic event as Wakarusa. *Available for free download at www.zoogma.net


Fast-forward eight hot, sun-soaked hours to the still air of Friday night. If you’re at the Outpost Stage, then you’ve found your way into the hottest, most electrifyingly mind-numbing performance of the entire weekend. Boulder, Colorado’s Big Gigantic threw down harder than 15,000 meth-addled hillbillies at a country line dance, and if there were a better word than ‘rowdy’ to describe the show, insert it here: ______. As with any electronic performance worth its weight in wobble, it’s ill-advised to pass up the opportunity to see a live set - but saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken create compositions that live and breathe decibels which delicately range from the lofty highs to subterranean lows, and to miss any accessible Big G set would be akin to missing your own funeral. Pulse-pounding energy bombarded the senses throughout the entirety of the set, whilst Lalli and Salken went where nary a lone DJ can go, combining smooth-as-silk saxophone improv, sparkling synthesizers, a bombastic drum kit and an abundance of visual delicacies. Undoubtedly, Big Gigantic will make leaps and bounds in the near and distant future, but in the meantime, feast your eyes and ears on a taste of some Rocky Mountain roughhousing:


Staking the post as the Main Stage headliners for an unthinkable Friday lineup were electronic veteran jamsters Sound Tribe Sector 9, with bassist David Murphy outfitted with a custom* hard cast on his wrist to provide relief of a recent injury. (*Murph had cut holes into the cast to allow access to the mean strings of his bass.) A slow start, marred by technical difficulties with both audio and visual systems, brought the show to a few minutes’ standstill after a lackluster performance of Shock Doctrine, the third song of the set. In true Tribal fashion, however, the guys recovered quickly and re-ignited the crowd with a radiant rendition of Ramone & Emiglio before continuing into Abcees>Kaya. Next came the gem of the entire set, with Dom Lalli (of Big Gigantic) joining the band for a moving execution of Grow. The rest of the set tapered off into the night, with the obvious highlight of night being the return of the signature Saxton Waller light setup. The hallucinatory visual amalgamation of strobes, LEDs and moving lights triumphantly announced that STS9 is still here and has what it takes to move even the most sedentary of crowds. Not that excitement was lacking, of course—Untz featured artists Bassnectar and EOTO were still on the agenda for the evening, and no one was ready to call it a night quite yet. Check out Dom performing Glow with the guys of Tribe below:


It wasn’t hard to find out where the next hot spot of the night would be; that signature womp brought by San Francisco’s one and only Lorin Ashton, a.k.a. Bassnectar, could be heard and felt a mile underwater. Fortunately for festival-goers, it was a short trip away from the Main Stage over to Revival Tent, where that nasty ‘Nectar was putting the finishing touches on Here We Go, fresh from the Timestretch EP. The stifling humidity inside, the result of an aggregation of bass-hungry dance fiends, was welcoming after a brief cool down en route to hear, see and feel yet another simply astonishing display of showmanship, compliments of Mr. Ashton. All hands were reaching for the sky—if you had been in a bank, you would immediately have expected to see the frantically rollicking mass of hair hunched over the turntables flaunting a piece of heavy weaponry; metaphorically, the set-up which travels with Bassnectar really is just that. Except instead of striking fear into the hearts of bystanders, it’s pure breaks- and dubstep-inspired hysteria, a literal machine which pulls energy from any and all living creatures and transforms it into ultra-low frequency oscillations of the gnarliest bass heard all weekend long. The result was surely pleasant, and by the time the final wobbles from the Seek & Destroy tribute to Metallica finished rumbling through the thousands of body cavities in attendance, it was time for EOTO. Here’s an idea of what the beginning of the set looked like, even before everyone from STS9 could make their way into or around the Revival Tent:


With the Bassnectar set winding down somewhere around the 2:00 a.m. time frame, EOTO had been engaged for nearly a half hour in an all-out artillery strike of bass barrages fit for the deafest of the deaf. Jason Hann and Michael Travis beckoned to even the most haggard of bass heads to come and join them in the Outpost, where an hour and a half of their improvisational house+breaks+dubstep+drum&bass conglomeration rocked, teetered, tottered, shook, shimmied, swayed, rocked and rolled yet another crowd of massive proportions into the wee hours of the morning. It was an affair that was hard not to acknowledge, the signature one-of-a-kind show that has never, and will never, be seen nor heard live again. The experience itself is hard to impart onto one who’s never seen or heard it, but once you’re in the mix of sweating, stomping, raving maniacs, it’s all you can do but dance. So dance they did—through six movements of improvised, sheer incredulity; EOTO is an incredible thing, much like a drug: at first, you try to take it in and liken it to a prior experience or sensation. When you’ve failed, you then have to let the music take you away and into a different plane, a plane where dance is the international language, and everyone speaks it. It’s only then when you understand what and where you are—EOTO, at Wakarusa. Enough said. Here’s a video:


2010 is sure to have been a memorable year for not only those in attendance at Waka, but also for those organizational wizards behind the scenes. The Untz would like to give huge thanks to John Gallup and the folks at Cicada Rhythm who facilitated our being there, as well as to offer our congratulations on an incredibly organized and breathtaking party at Interstellar Meltdown. We can only hope that Interstellar Meltdown will be returning to bring the fire to the mountain—long live Wakarusa!

Stay tuned for Saturday Highlights coming soon!

Tags: LivetronicaDrum and BassBreaksDubstepGlitchTrapElectroHouse