Photos by: Zak Littrell (AXZL Media)
Story by: John Verwey
Let the memories and festival hangover cures commence, as another great weekend of music has sadly come to an end. This past weekend in Baltimore, Maryland one of the biggest east coast festivals took place 15 minutes from downtown. Moonrise Festival took the city by storm by doubling the capacity, letting Brillz curate a stage, and a crazy stacked lineup for this year’s weekend showdown at the Pimlico Race Course.
This thoroughbred horse track was completely transformed into a spacious music wonderland, offering 4 stages, an art wall with various live artists, an amazing selection of shops like The Headspace and BL visuals and even some unintentional poles to hammock by the main stage with perfect viewing. Enjoy our weekend recap with some of our favorite sets from the weekend.
Firepower Records started the weekend off proper, bringing that traditional heavy sound to the packed Solar Tent. Playing from 2-3, his heavy style of music set the stage for the other acts to follow. Dropping a mixed array of grimy dubstep, it was a good start to the chaotic scheduled weekend.
Words can't describe what actually happens when you combine these three forces onstage. It's like combing the heaviest sounds man create and then multiplying it by three to create a complete UK powerhouse takeover. Each playing a different role and mixing all at once, it was pure mayhem from start to finish. Getting a rare sitting of all three of them at once, Funtcase insured me later in the evening by saying “Yeah that was sick, we really don’t do things like that”
The brotherly duo of Producer/Guitarist Matt Hill and drummer Mark Hill was an awesome switch up from the strictly DJ sets. Bringing that live performance aspect, they had the crowd grooving around to those funky beats. They have mixed the funk with fresh cutting edge breakdowns to create an all around rocking party.
Returning for the second straight year, Bassnectar is seemingly showing that he loves this east coast throw down weekend. Headlining Saturday night for a special 8/08 performance, it was nothing short of pure bliss for the thousands of bass heads who all gathered together under the super moon. Dropping everything from old school bangers like “808,” “Ready to Rage,” “Raw Charles” to his new releases off Into the Sun, like “Speakerbox,” “Generate,” “Science Fiction,” and “One Thing,” to name a few. His huge “Basshead” fan base fuels his fire and Moonrise can see that. Asking him to curate his own stage in 2016 we can begin to wonder what can possibly be in store after the first two massive throw downs.
The extremely talented and 100% improvised sounds of duo Michael Travis and Jason Hann is nothing to mess with. Percussionists of The String Cheese Incident, they have created a way artists can expand and transform the live performance. Taking over the main stage for a hot and sweaty ride of Hann’s loops and Travis’ whistles. Usually booked to play in the evening, the genius duo experienced some technical malfunctions while having to deal with the hot summer temperatures. Travis switched out his mixing board and got right back into things. Playing for a little bit longer then their time slot, they had the crowd bouncing and cheering for an encore.
Stumbling upon this while walking over from Savoy, Snails was throwing down one of the heavier sets of the weekend. His most recent EP Free The Vomit was pretty much the theme of his set. Dropping “Murda Sound,” the crowd was lit with excitement as everyone clapped along.
Troy came out guns blazing and fired up from his Shambhala set. Literally dropping banger after banger, it seemed like he was on a mission of destruction. Protohype joined in on the fun, playing for the first 45 minuets of the set. I’ve never seen a tent so filled with sweaty air and slimy people, besides a Bassnectar show.
Bringing their three-piece industrial beats and electronic sound to the race track to close out the Lunar Stage on Sunday night, and competing with Above & Beyond and Zeds Dead as closers, they drew a big crowd for the revived triplet. The live show they bring is nothing like any other artist. Having 7 drums surround them with digital hand drum pads and mixer in front of them, they truly put on one of the most electrifying shows.
Catching the first hour of their set, they put on a fantastic headlining show in the solar tent on Sunday night. DC and Hooks have made a huge name for themselves in the business since the beginning. With their variation of heavy synths and distinct style, they dropped some classics like “Coffee Shop,” “Adrenaline,” “Rude Boy,” “White Satin” and new tunes “Collapse 2.0,” “Flies” with LOUDPVCK, and “Wit Me Dub” with Megalodon.
If doubling in size didn't make the heads turn, this second year electronic festival made sure they packed as much music as possible into two hectic days. Apparently set breaks aren't a thing on the east coast, especially under the Solar Tent, where the music never seemed to stop for a second. We can’t wait to see what the folks at Steez Promo and Glow DC have in their plans for us next year. The future is looking very bright for Moonrise Festival, don’t miss out on joining the festivities in 2016 and watching the moonrise with thousands of other beautiful souls.
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