Over the weekend of November 1st and 2nd we had the fortunate experience of covering one of HARD Presents most coveted events: Day of the Dead 2014. With an amazing lineup featuring such headlining acts as Bassnectar, Calvin Harris, Zeds Dead, RL Grime, Pretty Lights (Live), and Deadmau5 b2b Eric Prydz – this two-day event was truly extraordinary.

Hosted at a new location, the Pomona Fairplex, there was ample space for their five stage set up, with no sound interference and plenty of dancing room (even for Bassnectar & Zeds Dead)! But five stages wasn’t enough for Mr. Gary Richards (Destructo, and creator of HARD) – he brought in a ferris wheel and even installed a zip line to the main stage. Now, the stages:  from the main HARD stage with visuals rivalling the biggest events around the world, to the HARDer stage put on by V Squared Labs, all the way to the underground feel of the Pink and Green Stages (which made you feel as though you were back at a warehouse rave in the 90’s).  As much as we’d like to give you a recap of every artist we got the chance to experience, we’ll go ahead and provide you with our top acts for each night.

 

Day 1:

 

Yogi: The recently signed OWSLA artist threw down heavy trap beats throughout his set. Dropping everything from Kendrick Lamar to beautifully remixed trap samples, he impressed every member of the early crowd. Be on the look out for this dude, he has just made a name for himself on the scene, and there’s surely some incredible progress coming.

 

Snails: This fellow was high on our list of artists to see. With his unique sound, we really didn’t know what to expect… He dropped everything from Skrillex to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” His set really kept us going after Yogi’s set with his filthy trap sounds, featuring heavy influences of dubstep and bass! Wearing a Bixel Boys Freelife shirt and a Twonk hat, you could tell he supported his new found friends in his epic trap frenzy of a career.

snails

Moody Good: From creepy visuals and filthy beats, Good dropped an incredible set. Never before having seen him play, we were deeply impressed. His incredible transitions and insane trap beats left us wanting MORE!

ZhuIn an effort to hide Zhu’s identity, a giant white sheet separated him from the crowd, only to see his silhouette and the logo that represents him. The scrim was provided by V Squared Labs, who VJed the HARDer stage the whole weekend and provided amazing visuals for the Green Stage with a combination of projection mapping & LED video. Although Zhu played on an outdoor stage, his vibes had the entire crowd feeling like they were in an underground club in Berlin. His use of bounce and echo amazed the overflowing crowd, dropping every song on his Nightday EP. To keep the Halloween festivities going, Zhu played a remix of Michel Jackson’s “thriller”, adding a sexy Zhu-bounce for the crowd.

Gesaffelstein: The Dark Prince of techno took the Pink stage by storm.  His classic minimal visuals and almost evil production embodied everything that Day of The Dead and the airplane hangar of a stage could have imagined.  He managed to put down classic tracks like “Opr,” “Viol,” and “Pursuit” while mixing in extended versions of his remix of “Shockwave” and varying his minimal visuals and lighting with thought provoking projections of various people, constellations, animals, etc. His set was dark, brooding, and f*#king incredible; not to mention he can rock the hell out of a suit.

 

Day 2:

 

Shiba San: Standing the day off with the funk, Shiba’s set was almost too groovy. We didn’t know what to do other than dance to his low frequency bass heavy house. Keepin’ it classy with some Slim Thug, and even visuals of the infamous “Dancing Baby” from youtube – this set will go down in the books as a funk-fest.

big gigantic

Big Gigantic: Always a good time, Big G kept up the excitement with loads of crowd interaction and killer sax & drum beats. Mixing it up a bit, they dropped some Kanye West and even Aloe Blacc‘s “I Need A Dollar.” We’ve seen these guys many times, so we honestly thought we knew what to expect – we were wrong. The best way to describe the boys that compose Big Gigantic?  Like a fine wine, only better with age.

Branchez: Incredible. Click here for our recap and interview.

rl grime

RL Grime: Oh Mr. Steinway… To try and describe his set posed rather challenging, but I tried my best. Unfortunately my photographer and I were just finishing up our interview with Branchez, as RL was taking the HARD (Main) Stage. We were lucky enough to get shuttled over from the artist area, by a speedy golf card in order to make sure we were deep in the photo pit for his set. With the insane visuals radiating off the crowd like the sunset over a New England pond, RL started off with A Trak‘s remix of The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll” into TRAP! His heavy trap beats filled the Pomona Fairplex as he dropped hip-hop masterpieces from A$AP Ferg, Lil Wayne, Chief Keef, and Birdman. Along with this gratuitous amount of hip hop, he played true to the stage he was on (HARD) and had the crowd going absolutely nuts to his absurd unheard of trap beats. Everyone from Jessie Andrews, to Dom from Big Gigantic was watching his set with his from the soundbooth. Talent knows talent. This guy is good.

zeds dead

Zeds Dead: Having seen our boys DC and Hooks almost 20 times, I knew I couldn’t miss their set – no matter what. They will never repeat themselves. The guys came out rocking full moon suits, as seen above, but that didn’t stop them from THROWING IT DOWN. From their new VIP of Hadouken to Jimmy Hendrix, these Canadian Dubstep beasts demolished the Fairplex.

Top 3 words to describe this set: Unique, Beautiful and Filthy.

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Core Team: I snuck away from the first 15 minutes of Bassnectar to catch RL Grime‘s special Core Stage performance with Cam’ron. Unfortunately, I had to make it over to Bassnectar before this special 30 minute set was over – but I managed to catch RL’s opening, which was straight (bass-heavy) hip-hop – It was legendary. Once again, everyone from AarabMuzik to the LOUDPVCK boys were there. Amazing set from what I saw, but I had to head to make it over to ….

bassnectar

Bassnectar:  The king of bass took his rightful place on the HARDer Stage Sunday night to close out this behemoth of a festival.  For the last hour and fifteen of the festival, Lorin Ashton took us on an absolute journey through the inner workings of his mind.  Straying away from a more commercial set along the lines of his “Lights” remix, he incorporated some incredible low-frequency tracks, classic hip-hop samples, and unparalleled, Flaming-Lips-worthy visuals.  About mid-set, he mixed in the part of the opening in Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle” that says “Martin had a dream,” with an actual voice recording of the quote by Martin Luther King Jr. that goes along the lines of:

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

It was truly a profound journey in music. He ultimately closed out with Daladubz “Pink Elephants VIP” paired with visuals straight from Dumbo, a signature Bassnectar move by any means.  Lorin left each and every bass head in that crowd with a feeling of overwhelming content; a perfect end to a fantastic weekend.

basssnectar

 

To say we had fun would be an understatement… We look forward to the next Hard event, and especially next years installment of Day of the Dead! What will they bring us next?