Disclaimer: Ryan Raddon is my favorite DJ. Period.
I remember when you created this dynasty with room for happiness, and at 4AM you moved for me. It was raining at Red Rocks, and the angel on my shoulder was all you. The empty streets were calling out, and we all looked to the sky as we stepped one two. We were finally found, but we won’t stop dancing cause we’ve got a fire in our new shoes.
That’s my stupid sappy attempt at throwing an inside line to all my fellow Kaskade fans. If you don’t get it, you should probably go listen to Avicii.
Fareoh opened up my night with the last 15 minutes of his set in torrential downpour. I’d never seen him, but know of his bootleg of Feel So Close with Wolfgang’s Shrunken Heads. One of the most played songs on my iPhone of the summer, he dropped some quite hard electro house with really great party vibes. Red Rocks was feeling him.
Next up was Alvin risk. I was really surprised to see him on the bill, as his music style is quite different from the headliner. Kaskade seems to be making a move towards much harder performances, and I think it really worked to have Alvin Risk pumping up the crowd for this newfound Kaskade.
As you’ll see in these videos, the rain was coming down so hard, hipsters personalities were being washed away. Lemonade seemed to be apparating into my cup, but once again, it was just the rain:
The anticipation I felt inside of my Gore-Tex coat was killing me. I’m sure all the people wearing trash bags felt the same way. The last time I saw Kaskade was at Coachella this year, and he literally blew me away. I was just standing there in awe and people kept coming up to me and asking me if I was ok. I was. Better than ok, actually.
Kaskade came in big with a hard piano synth and Eyes. The crowd did what it was supposed to do. At this point the rain had stopped, so the amount of skin showing increased 10 fold. He interlaced his version of Eyes together with that of Swanky Tunes’ remix and the crowd erupted.
He played his mash of Turn It Down with Nicky Romero’s Touluse, and there were two beautiful girls looking me in the face and singing along with me:
I went crazy with the videos and recorded some 30+ minutes of video:
I had the pleasure of making it down to the side stage for about 20 minutes of his set and I noticed something alarming: He was only using his mixer, no CDJ’s (he had CDJ’s there, but I never saw him touch them). This confirmed what I had been thinking for the past few months: He uses Ableton now. At first I was disappointed, but then I realized that I would be a hypocrite if I was anything less than incredibly satisfied at what he has morphed his live show into. I just did a little piece on the same issue with Skrillex in my Tomorrowland review. People maintain that using Ableton to DJ is offensive to the term, and that they should be tarred and feathered. I disagree. Here’s why: I’ve heard many DJ sets over my short but expansive career as an EDM fan, and I’ve heard too many DJs crash and burn live to respect it anymore. You’ve got veterans like Eric Prydz and Carl Cox who work CDJ’s like they are extensions of their bodies, and Kaskade used to be one of those veterans. I remember the first time I encountered Kaskade…I was walking into the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angelas, 2009, for Electric Daisy Carnival (my first dance with electronic music). On the long walk down those massive stadium stairs, Kaskade was staring me in the face from 100 yards away. I fell in love with the sounds of the “Madonna of Electronic Music” right then and there. I’ve seen him many times since then, and I must confess that his recent DJ sets (post CDJ) are my favorite of all. Even though he is locked into a computer program, he is so much more versatile and able to present the music in a way that isn’t possible with CDJ’s.
I think everybody has it wrong these days. I think the best DJ sets in the future are going to be incredibly well thought out, meticulous, precise, Ableton-esque sets that allow music to be warped into speeds and places never imaginable by the antiquated CDJ. There, I said it. Digital is the future of music. Thanks for leading the way, Kaskade.