HARD Summer Music Festival 2012 Review (Day 1 - 8.3.12)
Published: August 14, 2012
By: Jordan Calvano
On August 3rd, crowds from all across North America gathered at scenic Los Angeles Historic Park to witness an explosive celebration of music that will not soon be forgotten. This year’s edition of HARD Summer was a gripping experience that had attendees counting down the days for months in advance as they patiently awaited the chance to see their favorite performers go at it. The event started around five the first day, as concertgoers emerged from whatever hotel, household, or vehicle they had been staying in, and flooded toward the gates of HARD Summer to see what was in store.
After a few hours of jaw dropping sets from artists like Alex Metric, Little Dragon, and Nick Catchdubs, it was time for bass legends Magnetic Man to step up to “The HARD Stage.” The well-known London based trio is made up of critically acclaimed producers Benga, Skream, and Artwork; some of the most influential musicians to derive from their respective scene, and masters when it comes to setting a dance floor off. They wasted no time, and immediately starting reeling the crowd in with extensive build-ups, before dropping an unlimited supply of bass on the pumped up crowd. The three than let loose some of their most tantalizing tracks, including colorations with Angela Hunte, P. Money, and John Legend, which had the crowd dancing and singing a long throughout. Benga was even playing live synths, crowd surfing to the back of the audience, and belting out vocals on stage; an energetic performer who knows exactly what his fans want to see.
Next up on the man stage was Swedish indie pop trio Miike Snow. Their infectious sound is perfect for those late night sing along sessions, and features lyrics that will get stuck in your head for weeks. The group’s intricate setup took a bit longer to piece together than expected, but once on stage, they wasted no time proving that their eclectic tunes will regale the ears of any audience. They started things off by performing recent tracks from their album Happy To You, including crowd favorites like “The Wave” and “Bavarian #1 (Say You Will).” Next up was some classic songs like “Silvia,” “Cult Logic,” and “Black & Blue” from their debut album, which had audience members jumping up with a sense of nostalgia running through them. They finished off their set with a massive performance of “Paddling Out,” while the main character from the music video danced across the stage, and a lengthy version of “Animal,” which turned the four minute track into an eight minute long jam session. The addition of two other members on stage put the icing on the cake for this memorable set, as they worked together in unison to create a breathtaking atmosphere.
Araabmuzik (Abraham Orellana) is one of those musicians who can do it all. Whether he’s unleashing dreamy electronic pop songs, producing bouncy hip-hop tracks, or bringing the heavy on his MPC at live sets, we can promise you will amused. He took the stage at the Fool’s Gold Clubhouse, and quickly set off on a vicious warpath, leaving the audience stunned from the sheer chaos that was bursting from his speakers. The bass slinging mad man immediately started the party right with some chopped up versions of rambunctious tunes from Skrillex, Doctor P, and Flux Pavilion, which has the wild crowd going all out during each one. Orellana than dropped some more melodic gems like “Streetz Tonight” off his Electronic Dream album, if only to let the audience catch their breathe for a few seconds. His quick paced style of MPC destruction will have fans holding on for dear life, as he wrecks every dance floor that dare step in front of him.
Closing out the night on the Fool’s Gold stage was none other than label head A-Trak (Alain Macklovitch); an incredibly talented performer who doesn’t simply play songs, but creates thrilling journeys that lead to unexpected destinations. He walked onto the stage in front of his loyal fans, and quickly incited a massive dance party with some mind-blowing tracks. This included ubiquitous revamps of artists like Justice, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Zedd, and Martin Solveig, songs from his side project Duck Sauce, and a recent collaboration with Dillon Francis, who popped on stage a few times to playfully flip him off. Macklovitch also kept up with the times and “Ran the Trap” for about 20 minutes, and dropped thunderous remixes from RL Grime & Salva and Luminox, which had the audience ragin’ like there was no tomorrow. A-Trak proved once again that anytime he steps in front of the audience, it’s going to be a night to remember. His unique style of improvised turntablism always creates unforgettable memories and cliffhanging switch ups, which tend to surprise everyone in attendance, including the man himself.
Last up on “The Hard Stage” was another label head: Boys Noize (Alexander Ridha). The German techno machine is a beast when it comes to producing catchy and charismatic tunes, but seems at his best when letting loose in front of a massive audience. He killed it last year as a headliner at HARD Summer 2011, so it only seemed fitting to give the man another chance to rock it. He started things off by dropping “XTC,” the single off his forthcoming album OUT OF THE BLACK, and kept the new tunes flowing after that. This included a reworking of Jungle Brother’s 1989 breakout hit “I’ll House You,” with a spiced up set of instrumentations and the good homie Snoop Dogg, or Snoop Lion, busting out the vocals. Ridha than took the crowd on a trip down memory lane and unloaded “Lemonade;” a hair raising, synth smackin’ colab with Erol Alkan, who killed it at “The Harder Stage” earlier in the night. Boys Noize proved a worthy headliner for day one, and left the whole crowd aching for some more bass.
HARD Summer day one had come and gone, but fortunately for those in attendance, there was a lot more where that came from coming very soon. The crowd dispersed from the venue and went their separate ways, went to bed dreaming of tomorrow’s lineup, and got ready for another day at the park.