Tuesday, November 2, 2010

HARD Haunted Mansion, Day 1

Photography by Dan Rawe

Every October 30-31st, downtown Los Angeles hosts the HARD Haunted Mansion, one of North America's most legendary dance music events. Between the costumes and the carnival-esque vibe of Halloween, HARD has a unique feel that's unlike anything else out there. Previous years have had incredible lineups, featuring everyone from Justice to deadmau5. With that said, this year's could have been the most well rounded lineup yet (that's saying a lot).

We wanted to get there early to see UCSB alum Sticky K on the decks, but due to what can only be described as poor event organizing, we ended up spending nearly 2 hours waiting in line outside the venue to get in. I was a little upset that we had to miss him, since I was hoping to catch the mysterious Prince of Persia live (he put a preview of the monster track on his soundcloud for like 2 days before taking it down with no explanation). Nonetheless, the moment we got inside there was no time to dwell on it, as we were greeted by the blaring chants of "BUSY P, WHAT THE FUUCKKKK"

Busy P
As soon as I heard that line, I knew I was in for a good time. It comes from his collaboration with the rapper Murs, To Protect and Entertain, which was the song that first introduced me to the world of Busy P. I heard it at the end of Justice's Metissage Mix in 2008, and it completely blew me away. Between the diabolical synth bassline and the hilarious raps of Murs, the song smashed together elements of hip hop and electro in a way that I'd never heard before. Looking back now, it was way ahead of its time in 2008, as the lines that used to separate hip-hop from the various forms of electronic music are becoming more and more blurred every day. After a little research, I quickly learned that being ahead of the curve was no new thing for the man named Pedro Winter. Between managing Daft Punk for a decade and running one of the coolest record labels in the world, Ed Banger, Busy P has quietly been involved with some of the best house music made anywhere over the past 15 years. Needless to say, I've been waiting for the chance to go see this guy.

Busy P - To Protect and Entertain (feat. Murs)

The repetitions of "BUSY P, WHAT THE FUUCKKK" (one of the funniest catch-phrases ever) that had greeted us were quickly followed by the bouncing, energetic drums from the Crookers remix of "To Protect and Entertain." Over the next hour, Busy P pieced together a ragetastic electro mix that utterly disregarded any concept of boundaries between genres. Some highlights include Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child Mixed over Big Boi's Shutterbug, and Cassius' I Love You So to finish the set. While the songs came from all different styles, one thing stayed constant throughout his set. From start to finish, the performance was threaded together by the same fun, get-down-and-dirty elements that To Protect and Entertain embodied in the first place.  Busy P can start a party like none other. 

Mr. Oizo was supposed to come on next, but.. well, actually I'll let Busy P do the talking..(explanation comes on at the 2:00 minute mark)

Video courtesy of GlenJamn from glenjamn.com

Diplo was a welcome substitution, but to be honest I was really hoping to see Mr. Oizo live. His productions are filthy and bizarre, deliberate and powerful; I'm sure his live performances are similar. People in the crowd were excited for Diplodocus, but I saw him at Electric Zoo 2 months ago and was a little underwhelmed (too much dubstep), so I was a little skeptical about what to expect. Don't get me wrong, I love Diplo and Major Lazer, it's just his recently dubstep-leaning live style that doesn't really jive with me. He appeared to be chilling during the set anyway, turning over the decks for extended periods to one of the other DJ's on Mad Decent. All in all though, it ended up being a pretty solid set.

Gyptian - Hold Yuh (Major Lazer Remix)

Up next came the goofy and wonderful Italian duo, Crookers. One of the most Bright & Shiny sets of Ultra 2010 came courtesy of these two madmen, so they were one of our heavily anticipated acts at HARD. As we had hoped, their performance lived up to the high level of both quality and creativity that has come to define their sets. Seamlessly mixing between some of their classics and underground anthems, Bot and Phra put together a bumping hour of electro-house that had us yelling CROOOKAAZZ the whole time.

Don Rimini - Let Me Back Up (Crookers Tetsujin Mix)

Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand (Afrojack Meaty Mix)

After Crookers, Rusko took the stage outside, and as you know we're not really about that dubstep here at Bright & Shiny, so I moved inside to check out Brodinski, one of the many high quality frenchmen on Ed Banger. What I walked in on was some of the rawest, most unprecedented shit that I'd seen in a long time. In the middle of destroying everyone with his relentless, Alex Gopher-type style, Brodinski did something that I'd never seen before and I doubt I'll ever see again. Towards the end of his set, with the crowd fully immersed in every beat he was putting down, Brodinski layered into a fierce, grinding build up that sounded similar to what I would anticipate the tearing of the fabric of the universe sounds like, and he just held it there. And held it there, and held it there, and held it there... fast forward at least 2 or 3 minutes, he was still holding the drone steady, toying with everyone to an extent that I'd never even conceived possible. There he was, chilling on stage with his homies, pounding his drink, while a room full of ravers are ripping their eyeballs out from the most intense build up of all time. I've never seen a crowd yearn more for a drop than I did then - the room was pregnant with a burning, soul-pervading tension. 

Right as I began to wonder whether this frenchmen was some loon who'd gotten himself in over his head, the relentless drone that had been going on for several minutes now released into an unidentified drum beat that was the most awesome thing that's ever been poured into my ears. The crowd went absolutely berserk, and Brodinski solidified himself as one of the ballsiest, most ruthless frenchmen to ever set foot this side of the Atlantic. Don't trust this man anywhere near your mother or sister.

The Bloody Beetroots (DC77)
I was a little skeptical about Death Crew 77, (DC77 is the Bloody Beetroots performing their songs like a live band), but the second that they took the stage on saturday, I knew that those doubts were misplaced. The high octane group from Italy crashed out of the gates with Domino, which I've thought for a long time is one of the greatest set-openers ever, and they kept up the energy for over an hour. I'm not going to lie, they had me dancing like a deranged chimpanzee for the entire time. Some highlights were Warp 1977 and their live cover of New Noise by Refused.

The Bloody Beetroots - Domino

The Bloody Beetroots - Talkin' In My Sleep (The Bloody Beetroots Remix)

The Bloody Beetroots - Warp 1977

Special thanks to Glenjamn from Glenjamn.com for the video, and to Dan Rawe Photography for the pictures. 


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