Photos by: Juliana Bernstein (Get Tiny Photography)
Story by: Ethan Lubeznik
Splash House will go down in history as the best pool party on the West Coast. Beach bodies from all over California flocked to Palm Springs to put on their floaties and dance in the desert. Spanning three hotels - The Hard Rock, Saguaro, and Hacienda - Splash House set up venues each with their own unique vibe.
The Hard Rock had the biggest names so naturally the masses came in droves. Adjacent from the pool, the deceptively personal stage hosted a wide array of acts like Chromeo, Cut Copy, Anna Lunoe, and Flume. Cabanas and umbrellas surrounded the happy crowd that stayed grooving no matter how many degrees above 100 the mercury inched. Let’s not forget the indoor stage by the entrance that doubled as the after party spot showcasing the talents of Motez, Bones, and Wax Motif, to name a few.
Saturday was all Hard Rock with Sophie, Flume, Anna Lunoe, Trippy Turtle, and Goldlink painting the early afternoon soundtrack. Flume welcomed the at-capacity venue by opening with “Drop The Game” and went on to play classic after classic. It wasn’t all Flume originals though, as he dropped What So Not favorites like “Jaguar” and their remix of Major Lazer’s “Get Free.” Flume brought a drum pad with him, which was put to good use during the performance of his remix of Lorde’s “Tennis Courts.” Needless to say the crowd loved every minute of it, as they bounced around to Flume’s euphoric tunes.
The Bass Drum Dealer herself, Anna Lunoe followed her fellow Aussie and really turned on the pool party vibes. At previous shows Anna would tend to drop hard-hitting house tracks of all kinds keeping the energy up, but she played a groovier, more laid-back set than fans of hers are used to. She was even wary of dropping BDD, which makes sense because it’s Anna’s most chaotic track in her repertoire. But thankfully she did play “Bass Drum Dealer,” along with originals like “Breathe” and her newest single, “All Out.” Experiencing an Anna Lunoe show involves much more than the music she plays, as Anna is one of the most energized DJ’s in the game. Always with a big smile on her face, she dances harder than most fancy foot workers. Speaking of that, Chromeo brought down the Splash House on Sunday with arguably the best set of the weekend.
Chromeo’s David Macklovitch screamed at the top of his lungs ,“All funk, none of that big room Aviici shit” as they dropped the fan-favorite, “Jealous (I Ain’t With It).” At this point in their career, Chromeo has the confidence and swagger to play whatever they want to, and the duo did a great job of balancing familiar bangers with showcasing underground funk. For instance, no one was ready when Chromeo dropped Vic Mensa’s “Down On My Luck,” but the response was some immediate shuffling. Ending the hour with “Fancy Footwork” David helped the crowd show his brother, A Trak some love by recruiting all the best twerkers at The Hard Rock to the front of the stage.
Leave it to A-Trak to play out every genre possible at the ragefest that was his late afternoon set. The show was so live, that the hordes of pool-goers splashed around like toddlers learning to swim every time a new beat dropped. Starting off with commanding big room tracks, then leading into hip hop anthems, all the way to his trap-filled ending, A-Trak pleased lovers of all kinds of EDM. Not surprisingly, A-Trak’s mixes were top notch as he meshed unlikely pairs of songs like Will Smith’s “The Prince of Bel Air” with Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode.” Ending the set with Wave Racer’s “Streamers” proved that A-Trak cannot be bogged down by one style. He encompasses the best of each genre into one, party fueled show.
A quick bus ride to Saguaro led to a hotel with more breathing room and felt like a classic pool party. The bright, multi-colored building enclosed the large pool with balconies full of fellow festivalgoers taking in the sights. Since the entire establishment was rented out to Splash House attendees, it’s safe to say the party never stopped. There was even a contest over the best-decorated balcony, which only added to the feels. The always popping but never too crowded pool saw the likes of Jason Bentley, Viceroy, Bot, and Bixel Boys hit the stage with varying degrees of house. Vanilla Ace had an especially strong set, with his disco vibes amassing a large dance floor at arguably the hottest time of the day (stay tuned for an official poolside Interview with London’s Vanilla Ace). The final venue, Hacienda was the ultimate lounge scene. A nice fruity drink and a comfortable beach chair accompanied by a well-kept grassy knoll that housed the DJ booth made for a very laid back environment. Astronomar, SNBRN, and Them Jeans were among the top acts that graced the Hacienda stage.
Saturday and Sunday were closed out right with live performances from Cut Copy and Jagwar Ma. It was a wise decision for Splash House to leave the only live music of the weekend to the last spots. Epic is the first word that comes to mind when you factor in the beautiful nighttime environment with powerful visuals and pronounced singers. Cut Copy’s lead vocalist, Dan Whitford, had this palpable energy about him that everyone fed off of. When “Hearts On Fire” came on Dan exclaimed “It’s a dance party so let’s dance” and the crowd followed suit. Jagwar Ma was more relaxed, which was a perfect end to a tiring weekend. Besides some technical difficulties, the 90’s influenced electronica band had an eclectic set of otherworldly, almost spastic sounds.
Overall, Splash House is the perfect getaway for any electronic music fan that knows how to party in the sun. Between the diverse venues, top tier crowd, and even better music, I can’t wait to see what LED and Goldenvoice have in store for year three. Summer 2015 can’t come soon enough.