SkeetBeatz 4 Lyf
- GameFace x BeazyTymes - Untouchable
May 19, 2013
- GameFace x BeazyTymes - Untouchable
Tomorrowland 2012. Where to even begin…Let’s start here:
Yesterday is History; Today is a Gift; Tomorrow is a Mystery.
Words to live by. My tickets, aptly titled “Full Madness Comfort Pass,” didn’t really prepare me for the journey I was contractually obligated to participate in once I walked through those festival doors. Luckily, we had table service and wouldn’t you know it, when you buy table service at Tomorrowland, you get an Alice-in-Wonderland-like host to transport you through the festival of the future.
Quincy happened to be his name, and he was one of the coolest Belgians I had the fortune of meeting all weekend.
He guided us through the winding forest of stages and water features that seemed to be never ending. Everywhere you turned there were giant pinwheels guiding the way; it was almost as if the breeze spinning them was setting the pace for the crowd as it moseyed towards their next destination.
Even if you knew exactly where you were going and what turntablist you wanted to see, it was tough to make it anywhere because of all the mesmerizing events happening along the way. Mad Hatters, DJs on party boats, sparklers attached like rockets to 3,000 Euro bottles of champagne, foreign accents all around you; it was like a big slice of heaven being served up on your very happy unbirthday.
I can safely say the Tomorrowland After Video that garnished some 45 million YouTube hits did not prepare me for the fantasyland I was about to enter.
As we meandered throughout the festival on our way to the main stage, I was amazed by the style and fitness of literally every person there. I’d never seen so many good-looking, fit people all in one place at one time. But I guess I’d never been to Europe before either, so that must be commonplace.
Most donned skinny jeans and ultra thin high tops, so I’m sure I stuck out like a sore thumb. Our newest Cali friends Chad and Stephen probably didn’t help in their “YOLO” muscle shirts and backwards flat-billed hats but hey, somebody had to rep America.
Once we got up to the VIP tent facing the main stage, I snapped into a state of ecstacy. I looked forward and lost all train of thought. It was the prettiest, most awe striking creation I had ever seen in my life.
The only other construction on earth I can think of to compare it to is the Great Wall of China. I wouldn’t doubt that you could see the Tomorrowland main stage from space.
This is where I really start to appreciate my job for Skeetbeatz. I get to review the biggest and best DJs at concerts all across the world. That statement held true for two of the DJs waiting for their chance to wow some 60,000 people in person, and millions across the world via YouTube’s live Tomorrowland channel.
Cazzette was the first act I caught; they were unmistakable with giant cassette tapes on their heads. They rocked the crowd with their signature Swedish electro house synths and big bass. This was my first time seeing them live, and I must say I was really looking forward to it. They didn’t disappoint, as I myself was incredibly impressed with the energy they brought to the crowd in the dwindling sunlight. They did a great job setting the vibe for what I consider to be the best DJ set of Tomorrowland: Thomas Gold.
I’m going to throw a bunch of verbs out that describe what Thomas Gold did with his time slot at Tomorrowland, and you can pick from which one you like best (just so my Dutch readers don’t get lost in translation, he was absolutely amazing):
Destroyed, Annihilated, Exterminated, Smashed, Shattered, Desolated, Maimed, Obliterated, Overthrew, Quashed, Crushed, Dismembered.
I’m going to pick this one for my descriptive: Massacred. I want to say it was the best DJ set I’ve ever seen, but that would be unfair to Alesso, whose performance also gets to be described by the words listed above.
You know what the best part about these three performances was?
BACK TO BACK TO BACK.
I can’t think of another day of any event or festival I’ve been to where I was so impressed with so many performances, let alone one after another.
I have to comment on the fact that Alesso and Thomas Gold stepped out of the proverbial DJ box; they didn’t play the same old songs in the same old fashion like you see so many of the Top 100 DJs do night in and night out. They actually IMPRESSED me, which is a hard thing to do these days if you are standing behind four CDJs.
Lacing underground house and electro house with 80’s and 90’s vocals at all the right times had me wondering if I was listening to the most perfect DJ sets ever created. For now, I’m going to go with yes. Another thing I absolutely love was that I kept hearing Eric Prydz strategically placed throughout sets all weekend. You don’t really hear that in America, and I started fist pumping like a teenager on too much Adderall every time I heard Allein.
Carl Cox closed out Friday night, and as many saw from YouTube, his drops were knocking the world off its axis throughout the evening. To call him a true veteran would be an understatement. If anybody is an authority and a legend of electronic music, it’s your boy Carl Cox. My first time seeing him; I was far beyond impressed. I would have to describe watching him DJ as the pinnacle of ones’ fan career. I’m actually pretty sure I saw the music coming out of his soul, not the speakers. I’d describe Carl Cox as a master DJ disguised as a master DJ.
After Friday’s incredible night of music, I woke up Saturday morning in disbelief that I was about to repeat the previous night’s events. I remember thinking, “I’m one of the luckiest 60,000 people in the world this weekend.” After our ride to TML, we started the long journey back to the VIP tent at the main stage. Even though it was the second trip I had taken on this route, I kept noticing things I hadn’t seen the previous day.
Once we were settled, we were front and center for Hardwell. This, my first time seeing Hardwell, was a great experience. If I had to describe him in a few simple words, they would be “Dutch Zoolander Blue Steel Lookalike Crowd Pleaser.” I don’t know if you’ve seen the portrait he uses for his picture on lineups, but there is an uncanny resemblance to the runway model Derek Zoolander. Hmm. He threw down the dirtiest of dirty Dutch house mashups just like I expected him to. I’m not going to rank the top three sets of Saturday night (that I witnessed), but I will say he made the cut.
Next up was Chuckie, who also threw down the smash house Dutch. You wouldn’t really ever catch me listening to Chuckie unless he was in between two DJs I was interested in seeing, and he was. He puts off good vibes and looks like the rapper Twista with his headphones wrapped around the front of his hat’s bill. It was overall an energetic set that melted the crowd’s inhibitions.
Not that inhibitions needed to disappear since they were probably all gone by the point Martin Solveig appeared on stage, but that headband does take some getting used to. I prefer headbands to be on cute, adorable little raver chicks with under 30 square inches of clothing on, but I guess since he produced “The Night Out,” I’ll let it slide. He was the only DJ I heard incorporate multiple different genres throughout his hour and a half of playtime, and he did it incredibly well. From house to techno to hip-hop to dubstep, he had pretty much every fan in the crowd covered. Niggas in Paris was a huge hit all weekend, and he dropped it like the bomb that hit Hiroshima.
Next up was Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike (known as the “Smash the House” brothers), who I had the pleasure of meeting backstage later that night. Between their flat-billed hats and stunna shades, they kind of resemble the guy from “Malibu’s Most Wanted.” Having said that, they really pound you with Dutch bass. They know how to party. Check this vid:
I don’t really have anything great to say about the last two sets on the main stage Saturday night besides the lasers (Check the SHM & Skrillex vids for these-Mind Blowing). I saw Skrillex on Halloween last year, and he really blew me away. Unfortunately, the Saturday evening headliner was more of a let down from what I was expecting. I would bet it has to do with the fact that he no longer uses Ableton for his live DJ sets, but rather CDJ-2000s. In most cases, I would bet all DJs should make the switch like he did, but after hearing him without the blending wonders of Ableton, I feel bad for future fans expecting to hear a mind-blowing show. I was waiting for the signature cocktail of Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites; My Name is Skrillex, Promises (Nero & Skrillex Remix), and Rock & Roll (will take you to the Mountain) to no avail. You would just have to hear it to understand the God like properties of Skrillex’s music to know what he is actually capable of behind a table and a MacBook Pro in front of thousands of screaming fans, but unfortunately Tomorrowland 2012 never found out. I met him backstage with Ellie Goulding after the show and have to say he is a really cool guy. Props for taking Dubstep to the heights that you did sir.
Swedish House Mafia to me is an underwhelming overproduction of talent. They take main stages everywhere and play the same set over and over again. You’d think with their salaries they might actually put in some effort; think again. They played the identical set at Coachella this year and it was great then, but to see the same set twice is a bit embarrassing. The real credit goes to the designer and crew who built the main stage of Tomorrowland 2012. Check out the videos and appreciate one of the most amazing light shows ever produced (Watch in [1080p]):
Sunday was exploration day. We made it to five or six different stages that day and really had a chance to explore the festival ground. Here are some pictures from our travels that day:
Once we finally settled down we ended up at the pearl stage just in time for Tommy Trash. One of the best sets of the weekend, Trash got a proper rave going in the pearl tent for about 5,000 fans. It was like a strobe dungeon in there, and I found myself coming in and out multiple times to make sure I didn’t go into cardiac arrest. When he dropped his remix of The Veldt, I turned to see thousands of people from the food and beverage area running towards the tent to help get the party started. Tommy Trash is one of my favorite producers, and now he ranks up there as one of my favorite DJ’s as well.
Sander Van Doorn and Roger Sanchez followed Tommy Trash and kept the good vibes going for the fashion show that was happening just across the VIP area at the official Tomorrowland pool:
After we finished up at the pearl stage, we headed back up to the main stage for the last two acts of the festival: David Guetta and Steve Aoki.
David Guetta has always been a favorite of mine to see live, despite the apparent fact that he just “mixes between two iPods.” He’s a feel-good act to see, and he knows how to work a crowd. He plays what I like to refer to as “nasty house,” and crowds seem to love it all over the world. There was some technical difficulty with the house sound that cut into his set for about 10 minutes, but it was smooth sailing other than that. The rain started to come in halfway through his set, and it was a beautiful thing to say the least. The crowd embraced the opened up sky, and Guetta himself could be heard chanting, “Fuck the Rain!” The bowl shaped amphitheater that the main stage was contained within was full to the brim at this point and the festival was clearly ending on a high. Fireworks and flames danced to Guetta’s famous tracks, and made it hard to forget why everybody near and far traveled to this festival to get a glimpse of the magical production.
And then there was Steve Aoki. The man with those hard hitting, forever building, electro banging, female vocal tracks that take you on a rocketship to the moon. Personally, I don’t like it when big festivals close with trance music artists like Above & Beyond and Cosmic Gate. I think it calms down the atmosphere to an almost comatose level, and I’ve always wanted to attend a festival that went out on a rock note. Tomorrowland obliged. From the fireworks pulsing to Wynter Gordon’s vocals to the grandiose images of Aoki himself flinging his hair back and forth on the big screen, you knew this was 21st century rock and roll. I was impressed.
Sadly, Aoki’s performance came to an end and the Book of Wisdom closed for it’s 8th consecutive year. After the festival closed it’s doors, I had the fortune of making it back to the Artist VIP area where I met Michiel Beers, one of the brothers who founded the festival we know as Tomorrowland. An overly humble person, we chatted over a few drinks, and he let me in on some of the mystery behind the festival. He told me that Tomorrowland had humble beginnings, and that him and his brother Manu just wanted to spread great music out to as many people as they could in a tasteful way. He also said he never dreamed it would grow to the scale it has today, with over 16 stages gracing Recreation Area De Schorre, and 60,000 attendees a day. Overall, he’s happy with the progress of the festival and looks forward to the Festival continuing on into the future.
I’d like to give a special thanks to all the people that made the most incredible weekend of my life, because without all of you I definitely would not have had the amazing experiences that I did (This means YOU too if I left you out!):
Stephen Lucas, Chad Hazlett, David Anderson, Quincy Cabral, Tom De Smet, Abdel Zrh, Kobe Desmet, Tine Wilberts, Aicha Candeesha, Kim van den Born, Nathalie Van Riel, Steven Himpe, Michiel Beers, Debby Wilmsen, and of course Devin Norcross.
Until next year when I fall down the rabbit hole again, it’s been a pleasure Tomorrowland.