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Favorite ThisWakarusa 2011: Day 2 Review

Published: June 17, 2011

By: Evan Townsend
Photos: Matt Thomas & Victor Protasio (

The second day of Wakarusa saw many of the heavy-hitting electronic acts in the festival’s lineup, including the bigger names like STS9, Skrillex and Bassnectar. With the workweek just ending for most festivalgoers, a fresh influx of people gave Friday night a unique atmosphere. Part of the crowd carried raised expectations as a result of Thursday’s performances, while the other part was ready to forget about the workload from which they had recently escaped. With the energy and the bar set on high, Friday night had a unique atmosphere of anxiety and excitement.

STS9 returned to the festival this year for their fifth Wakarusa in a row. The group has been garnering quite the fan base since Wakarusa’s days back in Lawrence, Kansas. (STS9 banners accompanied KU flags in marking many a campsite.)

The band'sfollowing has primarily grown based on their legendary live experience. Past the fog and flashing lights, STS9 has a knack for revealing their music through simple performance and attitude, an easy translation for such dynamic sound. As festival favorites, Friday night they were headlining the main stage, but the group would also return to the stage in the Revival Tent the following evening. 

Ana Sia, a petite, unassuming DJ from San Francisco, showed her true character when she stepped up to her decks in the Grassroots Satellite stage shortly before STS9 ended their set.

In her natural environment of throbbing backbeats and pulsing beams of light, Ana Sia let loose. With her set between Main Stage shows, it seemed a large portion of the festival had wandered over to see her play, so she undoubtedly won a few new fans with her alternately gritty and precise electronic sound.

Back near the Main Stage lay the festival’s sixth venue, reserved strictly for the audio and visual experience of Kansas City’s Quixotic Fusion, who performed there between Main Stage sets all three nights of the festival. The concept behind the group starts with the music, but from there, dozens of artists add their own voice to create a more encompassing performance.

Led by creative directors Mica Thomas and Anthony Magliano (recent guest on The Untz podcast) performers paraded in elaborate costumes, dangled from deceivingly thin ropes, and danced to the bright vocals and electric violin from the group’s audio side.

Once Quixotic Fusion had finished their nightly routine, the crowd collectively turned face and traipsed back to the Main Stage for the highly anticipated Bassnectar set. The first low bass lines had already begun to ooze from the speakers as the wave of self-proclaimed “bassheads” drew closer to the stage.
Bassnectar pumped some familiar favorites, like his meatier interpretation of the pop hit “Starry Eyed.” One song that seemed to get the most reaction from the crowd was Bassnectar’s nightmarish rendition of the already disturbing “Pink Elephants on Parade,” accompanied by clips from its original source Dumbo playing on screens to either side of the stage.
Following Bassnectar was the last show the Main Stage would see all night. Ghostland Observatory’s set was tucked into a slot in the wee hours of Saturday morning, leaving a smaller but more intimate crowd for the Austin duo.
Fueled by almost nothing but adrenaline and party favors, the audience mimicked vocalist Aaron Behrens energy as he pranced around the stage, while Thomas Ross Turner bobbed enthusiastically in the back, sporting his ubiquitous cape.
Lasers sliced through the fog above the audience as Ghostland laid down classic tracks like “Sad Sad City” and the newer but equally popular “Give Me The Beat.”
Across the festival grounds Skrillex was commanding an exuberant late-night crowd of fans both old and new in the Technaflora Outpost Tent. Hardly standing still, he bounced back and forth between his laptop and controllers all the while smoking cigarettes and thanking his fans.
An engaging personality, Skrillex bantered with the crowd throughout his set. He seemed excited to drop a handful of new tracks including a remix of Nero’s "Promises" while also throwing in crowd pleasers like “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” off 2010’s EP of the same name. The mutual admiration was evident in that packed tent, as arms waved, heads bobbed and the crowd anticipated the DROP.
Back at the GRC Satellite stage, the party continued with Elliot Lipp’s second set of the festival, followed by the acclaimed Emancipator performing a Sunrise set at 6 am.
With such a tempting lineup, many of the campers braved the lack of sleep as the predawn hours began to fade to sunlight. 




Tags: BreaksDowntempoDrum and BassDubstepElectroElectronicaGlitchHip HopHouseLivetronicaTrap