Monday, August 15, 2011

HARD Summer Music Festival, Downtown Los Angeles, 8/6/2011

Patrick and Augustus of Bright & Shiny made the trek out to Los Angeles at the beginning of August to attend the HARD Summer music festival in LA, an event we were drawn to equally for its impressively diverse lineup and for the promise of legendary after parties. Join us on a chronological journey through our festival shenanigans.

The first act we made it in time to see was Gesaffelstein, the Parisian producer who recently burst onto the scene with his style of jarring future-techno that he continues to pioneer entirely as his own. We were excited and curious from the outset to see what kind of set he'd throw down, since his music is in every quantifiable way different from your average dance music: the rhythms are chaotic, the transitions abrupt and jarring, and the layering of sounds are thoroughly unique and non status-quo.

For those curious about his appearance, the dude manned the decks donning a baller-ass tuxedo and proceeded to chain-smoke cigarettes for the entirety of his set. His set bobbed and weaved through a continuous stream of his own productions, which makes sense since I'm not sure what other music could congruently fit with his mental-ass style of techno. It should be noted that his style of mixing was not that of your average DJ; rather than traditionally mixing from song to song in gliding fashion as most disc jockeys do, Gesaffelstien's transitions matched his off-kilter and bizarre approach to techno by being jagged, abrupt, and thoroughly creative. All of these elements, in addition to his wonderful selection of proprietary beats, combined to make Gesaffelstein's set one of the highlights of the night. Here are some of our favorite tunes from the performance:

Gesaffelstein - Glass (Original Mix) [Download Here]

ZZT - ZZafrika (Gesaffelstein Remix) [Download Here]

Franz & Shape - Lump feat. Shrubbn!! (Gesaffelstein Remix) [Download Here]

Gesaffelstein - Opr (Original Mix) [Download Here]

The Hacker & Gesaffelstein - Crainte (Original Mix) [Download Here]

Here is a snippet of his stellar intro:

After Gesaffelstein, we made the trek over to the DFA tent to check out what the Juan Maclean was throwing down. We quickly learned that the DFA tent was, and would continue to be, a wondrous haven of soothing and groovy sounds. While the music had an overall funk-fueled sound, most all of it was bathed in thick synths that gave it a contemporary feel. I have to say, I was thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed this performance. We knew the Juan Maclean was legit, but this performance really opened my eyes to the wonders and power this gray haired mix master can bring to the decks.

The Juan Maclean - Feel So Good [Download Here]

The Juan Maclean - Happy House (VHS or Beta Remix) [Download Here]

Siriusmo, putting on his first ever American show, played almost exclusively songs out of his own repertoire. We had been extremely excited to see him spin since the man very rarely plays live (reportedly due to intense stage fear, which he's just now beginning to get over). Despite all the hype, his set was a little bit underwhelming. Don't get me wrong; the music he selected was all wonderful, and the light show was enthralling.  But it was more the atmosphere; the crowd never really seemed that into it and as a novice DJ/party-starter, Siriusmo didn't do a particularly great job at attempting to increase the energy level. Regardless, we left his set glad to have heard his unique sounds blast out of festival-grade speakers, and even happier to have been able to witness the ways of this French wizard in person.

Siriusmo - Blaue Sonne

After Siriusmo, we booked it over to Digitalism, an act who we were entirely on the fence about from the outset. We all knew and loved the old Digitalism sound (circa 2007 and their rookie album "Idealism").  But at the same time we were let down by their newest LP, "I Love You Dude,"  and  though it had its highlights, thought the release marked a downward trend for the group. So we approached their performance curious to see if these Germans from the hey-day of bloghouse could redeem themselves, or if they really had peaked and were just simply headed in the wrong direction. We soon knew the answer: Digitalism is here to stay. They absolutely ROCKED the stage with a hard-knocking live performance (versus a DJ set) that featured Jence and Isi working the synths, singing on the mics and performing alongside a live drummer. I cannot emphasize this enough: they absolutely KILLED IT. Probably one of the most high-energy sets of the entire night, which was a huge curve ball for us all... Definitely tied for the Bright & Shiny favorite performance of the evening.

One highlight of their performance was their live rendition of their classic party song 'Homezone,' during which instead of singing the original lyrics ("I have the biggest party ever at home / we have the biggest party eva") they switched it up to make it location appropriate, jumping around like a couple of crazies with the crowd, which was totally into it, shouting "LA, WE HAVE THE DANKEST PARTY EVA"... Mad props for that. Another highlight was their live rendition of Blitz, a song that is equally serene and beautiful as it is hard-hitting and energy-packed. Overall, a truly awesome performance. We walked away surprised and impressed.

Digitalism - Home Zone [Download Here]

The live version they played actually sounded closer to the Proxy remix than to the original above, so we're including that, too.

Digitalism - Home Zone (Proxy Remix) [Download Here]

Digitalism - Blitz [Download Here]

Digitalism - Zdarlight [Download Here]

Next up was French DJ/Ed Banger label boss/badass extraordinaire Busy P. This was hands down the performance of the night. His unique style and creative transitions were seamless and tasteful in every way, demonstrating the sonic maturity we've come to expect from the French tastemaker. We weren't sure what to expect out of his set, but after seeing him at last year's HARD Haunted Mansion, we learned that if there was one thing we could count on, it was for Busy P to bring a party like no other. In typical BUSY P W.T.F fashion, he arrived on stage wearing a pair of white overalls splattered with copious amounts of colorful paint and donning this really awesome Cool Cats hat that I've been thinking about buying for quite a while. He was fashionably late to his set, explaining to the crowd that he was off watching Duck Sauce...

This was no ordinary Busy P set. This show was billed as Busy Pictionary, meaning a collaboration between Busy P & So Me (The graphics designer for all things Ed Banger and Cool Cats). We weren't exactly sure what this would mean at first, but we quickly learned it was something incredibly innovative, something way cooler than we could have ever dreamed of. For the entirety of Busy P's set, So Me was set up five feet away on-stage with some sort of electronic tablet and pen which was connected to the massive screen behind the DJ booth where generic visuals would normally be played. Instead, So Me spontaneously drew stuff along with the music throughout the entire set. It was absolutely incredible; this man is a genius.

Mister P opened his dazzling set with a song that gave the crowd a much needed and appreciated breather from the relentless electro destruction that had just been mercilessly rained down upon them by Digitalism:  the delightful and airy remix of Breakbot's 'Fantasy' by Video Village.

Breakbot - Fantasy (Video Village Remix) [Download Here]

Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You [Download Here]

Busy P - To Protect and Entertain (Crookers Remix) [Download Here]

Daft Punk - Aerodynamic [Download Here]

Busy Pedro then threw together a consistently groovy and thoroughly awesome collection of classics and new, unreleased gold, including the new Justice single, 'Audio Video Disco', and the new Mr. Oizo track, 'Douche Beat'.

"You want some new Ed Banger Shit or what???"
Mr. Oizo - Douche Beat

Then, all of the sudden about halfway through the set, Busy P completely cut off the music and in his characteristically French way, yells, "EY, LOS ANGELES, WHERE ZE FUCK ARE WE AT? ARE WE IN NEW YORK? PARIS? TOKYO? I DONT ZINK SO... WHERE ZE FUCK ARE WE AT?" Slowly, the sirens of one of the most famous California rap songs ever, 'Straight Outta Compton', crept out of the speakers. Gradually, as the crowd realized what was happening, people started screaming and cheering until finally he asked one more time, "LA WHERE WE AT?" and then the track dropped in perfect timing… people went nuts as the legendary track blared at full force. I can't find a video of Pedro visiting such destruction upon the City of Angels, but if you have one or know of one on youtube, be sure to leave it in the comments.

After playing out Daft Punk's Aerodynamic, he prepped the crowd for the new unreleased Justice track that he had promised everyone: [skip to about 2:00 if you don't feel like waiting]

After Busy P, Carte Blanche, a duo comprised of DJ Mehdi and Riton, took the stage and continued the amazing vibes that Busy P had doused over the crowd, throwing down yet another monstrous set. DJ Mehdi was dressed in all white, while Riton donned a black on black attire (see what they did there?). They transitioned from great track to great track, all the while dancing and visibly having a great time up there. Check out the video below and some of the great selections they played:

Our last show of the night was legendary DJ set from DFA label boss James Murphy and  ex-bandmate Pat Mahoney in the DFA tent. This was one of the funkiest disco parties that I have ever been a part of and we consider ourselves truly lucky men to have witnessed it. To be honest, we recognized almost nothing they played seeing as it was truly a 70's disco fiesta, so download the songs we did manage to find, watch the video below, and reminisce on (or be jealous of) one of the best sets of Hard Summer LA 2011.

Love Committee - Just As Long As I Got You (Re-Edit by Dimitri from Paris) [Download Here]

Motor City Drum Ensemble - A Raw Cut #2 [Download Here]

Bonus highlights:

After Gesafflestein's set, we ran into him and Fool's Gold label boss A-Trak walking through the crowd. We were lucky enough to be able to strike up a conversation and impart unto them some Bright & Shiny stickers, which they hopefully took home and cherished.

Boys Noize:

Now just because we didn't catch very much of Boys Noize at the festival itself does not mean that we didn't get an earful of this beautiful man's mad techno sensibilities at the Hard afterparty. Stay tuned for our next post, devoted to the amazing warehouse rave stylings of The Well and the surprise appearance from everybody's favorite German man, Boys Noize.


Patrick and Augustus


  1. Hey guys, really nice write-up. I met some of you at Hard Summer right before Busy P went on (one of you was named Alex...?). I was with two girls and none of us knew who Busy P was - you gave a nice little rundown and got us siked for him. It turned out to be a great performance so thanks for the recommendation. Just wanted to stop by, keep up the good work.

  2. Yeah man, I definitely remember meeting you guys before that show. Thanks for the support. Glad you enjoyed Busy P as much as we did.

  3. /Excellent/ run-down for those of us who missed it - Thanks! -Tyler

  4. Hey guys, it's Kat. Loving re-living this whole experience. Just here to complain that you didn't mention my presence once in this post. Kidding-just wanted to let you know that your link to The Well goes to the facebook page of a software company. Let's do this again sometime.


  5. hahaha thanks for the heads up, Kat