There was something in the air today. Something besides the humidity, the heat and the marijuana smoke that came from crowds. I think a lot of it was this feeling of fast moving time, probably because the festival started later, or maybe I was just so hazed from the heat that by the time I knew it I was looking at David Guetta slouched in the back of an SUV in front of my face while I tried to sway the mosquitoes away from my legs.
Starting off with watching James Zabiela set up his set on the backstage floor, I peeped over to the stage only to see dancing computers, and a laptop. It was actually The Hood Internet who delivered one of the most enjoyable sets that I experienced that day, besides the 5 minutes that I caught from Midnight Conspiracy, kinda. The Hood Internet, even for being in an early time slot, knew what they were doing as opposed to going up on stage and simply delivering a technical – or as I like to call them, “jerk-off sets.” They just played what got everyone in the mood to dance. Sure it wasn’t an obscure song or some mega technical performance but sometimes all a crowd wants to hear is an “Ignition” remix or some other familiar song mixed with something the act wants to experiment with.
After The Hood Internet got off stage, James Zabiela got up and played, as I had predicted in my picks, a really technical and tight set that included him scratching and elaborately mixing in beats. Looking into the crowd, and looking and the people who were dancing it seemed like a majority of people either got it, or they didn’t. I think that’s always the issue though when someone who is so technically proficient wants to show those skills off and then other people just want to dance. But overall I wouldn’t necessarily write off the set as a mere showcase for what he’s good at.
After James I headed over to catch SBTRKT, who I was SOOO excited to catch, especially after catching their set at the iTunes Festival in London. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a live set so my dreams were kinda crushed. When I got up to shoot, my friend Mariam pointed out that she hadn’t ever seen, I literally mean visually see, noise. And not only that, but when he started off with his remix of Radiohead’s, “Lotus Flower” it felt like I was inside a vibrator. But for a while the set got relaxed and picked up and came down and picked up and ended a bit limp—but Aaron did tell me he had just gotten off the plane. I honestly just wanna believe he wasn’t all there because I had, in my mind, raised the bar pretty high. When he played his own music in it kinda just sounded like I was listening to a CD….
While SBTRKT was playing, the stage people were setting up a large amount of ger, which was mainly used by David Guetta later on, but there was this large black stage/podium that literally covered Wolfgang Gartner up. I even joked that if he had wanted to not be seen that badly that maybe he should have worn a niquab.
I honestly had no opinions on his set, none. All I thought was how butch it was. He sprinkled in some canonical songs (Robin S., “Show Me Love”, that put yo hand up song, etc), and after playing the canonical song he would follow it back up with his gritty beats.
After Wolfgang came down, the anticipation was everywhere for David Guetta. In typical Guetta fashion I had predicted the intense light boxes, which also smartly advertised his new album, and the raising of his hands á la Jesus Cristo. The beginning of his set was so choreographed and ohesive it felt like a concert, not just a DJ set. It just didn’t last. By the middle, most of the crowd has dispersed to Wiz Khalifa and the local stage where Midnight Consiracy was playing, and where they gave David a run for his performance.
* I shoot with film so “high quality” photographs will not be available until after the festival.