[Doing it Right] HARD Summer 2013

‘It was deep, it was soulful , it was techno, it was disco – a kaleidoscope of sounds.’
A tribal beast of rhythm, a ceremony of sound, the gathering of the spirits that would lift us off the ground,
My vision was so clear, but it was still hazy in my mind;
I must have went to house heaven, because nothing’s that divine.

My Love

This Summer has been one of my busiest and best to date; but between the caliber of friendships that I’ve developed over the past year and the effervescent and ever-evolving music scene in Southern California why would I expect anything less?  This past weekend marked the annual mayhem and debauchery that is Hard Summer – one of the only multi-day EDM festivals left in the city of Los Angeles.  It’s taken a few days to recover, but somehow and somewhere between the laughs, the stories, the ‘did-you-guys-see-that?!’ moments and our tired joints we’ve managed to detox from one hell of a wild ride and revel in its glory.

One of the best things about the way HARD has transformed in the past year is that you could get fresh and funky one minute and dirty and dubstepping the next; with acts like Disclosure, Alex Metric, Oliver and Claude VonStroke‘s DirtyBird crewJ.Phlip and Justin Martin in the ‘Underground’ tent you could take a break from the ear thrashing bass (not that I don’t enjoy a good rage sesh every now and again) and groove to something different.  All in all, we couldn’t have asked for better company, weather, food trucks, people watching and amazing acts to see.

On the flip side my friends and I walked from the event with a few legitimate concerns about the safety of the set-up and layout of certain areas like the location of the food trucks, merchandise tents and the ‘Underground’ stage. The vending areas were in an incredibly central -read: profitable – area and disrupted an otherwise pleasant flow to the grounds. The biggest problem for me was having a tented off stage with closed sides. The Sahara and Gobi tents at Coachella created a similar relaxed, shady atmosphere but the addition of sides on the tent made the crowding unbearable and trampling a definite possibility. I was there for Disclosure and so thankful we escaped – the lack of oxygen was pretty brutal!

HARD works hand in hand with Los Angeles: when you purchase your ticket, you’re granted free access to the Metro systems in the city for the entire weekend.  It makes so many things absolutely easier on all of the festival go-ers – driving, traffic, parking, the possibility of accidents and DUIs; the list is endless and we didn’t have to fret about any of it! Once we hit Union Station, we were a mere hop, skip, jump and a ten minute walk to LA Historic Park.  On the way there was an amazing vendor handing out deliciously flavored, and might I add free, fruit-infused waters to all of us so we could fend off our impending dehydration – thank goodness!

Especially compared to the last few HARD events I’ve gone to (last year’s HARD Summer + Day of the Dead), the lines were so much more manageable this year and we barely had to wait; the addition of metal barricades between the lines was absolutely necessary and completely welcomed.  After a friendly little frisk by the security team, we were on and through to the other side: lights, camera, action – here we go!

I had-had-had to make sure we were inside by the time Keys n Krates hit the stage and rightfully so – I guarantee you one thing, they are part of an EDM revolution with the likes of Modestep, Infected Mushroom and the old Pendulum live sets.  There’s just something so damn magical about live instruments – especially the evolution and pairing of them with modern forms of electronics and technology.  It’s giving me a braingasm just thinking about it!  We bounced around between the stages essentially the entire day, because we have severe forms musical ADD and after Tommy Trash tore the city a new one the main stage never really sounded the same.

Day 2 was a whole horse of a different color when compared to the first day; chalk it up to people on Sunday needing to go to work on Monday (or, conversely, people on Saturday who planned on partying for 36 hours straight) but the vibe was a lot more low key and I heard lots more people interject with a “Sorry!” or an “Excuse me…”.  It was like we all got some unwritten memo about chilling out, and we did.  If the aggression of the first twelve hours dissuaded anyone from coming back to another HARD event I surely hope they let the second day change their minds.  Like usual, I came out of this festival with more friends than I went into it with; but, I’ve been doing one thing differently as of late that I hope everyone employs at festivals sooner or later: turn off your phone.  Not just the mobile network but the entire thing!  Sure, in emergencies whip that shit out and find your passe but while you have one: enjoy the moment and focus on the friends that are next to you instead of concerning yourself with people that aren’t around.   You’ll find your entire experience so much more enjoyable; trust me!

Justin Martin

Miau!

Zedd

For an excellent way to bounce through your day, peruse these fine sets from my favorite acts at Hard Summer; enjoy!

Doing It Right: HARD Presents – Day of the Dead

I think I’m finally on the verge of recovery from last weekend’s shenanigans – in typical Bouncy Kitty fashion, I more than enjoyed myself at the Music Festival last Saturday.  Sure, there were lines and there was pushing, it took forever to get in and then there were a clusterfuck of people – but that all comes with the territory of festival dwelling and was more or less expected.  Between the chaos and the camaraderie, I had such an amazing night with some of my closest friends – here are some of the highlights:

First of all, not to toot our costume horn but beepm’f’in’beep, my friends! The other weekend a zany, but plausible idea popped into my head in the middle of a brainstorming sesh: My friends and I were discussing our habitual Halloween “fall back” costumes, and a few of us admitted it was actually our “Plan A” every year and mine just happens to be a kitty cat (shocker…).  Well, because we were going to ‘Day of the Dead‘ I thought it’d be fun to incorporate some morbidity into our costumes – so, obviously, I opted for “Dead Cat”…which turned into “Dead Animals”…which somehow turned into “Hey, guys! Let’s be ROADKILL!”  I knew I loved my friends before, but I adore them 150% more because they went along with my ridiculously awesome idea.

Sexy Pieces of Dead Ass

The next highlight of the evening was getting a chance to finally see Miss Maya Jane Coles in action – as much as this was a personal highlight, it doesn’t begin to tell you how effing excited all my friends were.  She was the sole reason they bought their tickets and fended off the damn bike fences – hands down, one of the best deep house sets I’ve heard all year and according to my friends it was 110% completely worth it.

One thing I love about using LA State Historic Park as a venue is the ample stage space for ostentatious set-ups.  The Earstorm Stage where Knife Party ripped the festival a new one was no exception – it was huge, fabulous and stocked to the brim with more lights and lasers than I could count.

EARStorm Stage: Knife Party, Kill the Noise, Tommy Trash, Zane Lowe….

Last – but certainly far from least – I FINALLY SAW KNIFE PARTY!  When Knife Party came into the scene last year I didn’t know how to feel or what to expect from their evolution as a group – but the more I listen to them, the more enthralled I am by what they produce: this melodic dissonance that I simply can’t get enough of.

Knife Party – Save the World

Knife Party – Internet Friends