So after a day of recollecting our hearing and visual memory from an incredible Halloween weekend, we recap on the best moments of the once again amazing Hard Haunted Mansion. The 2 day sell-out fest had crowds swarming each night, but I did my best to catch a least a bit of each act’s set so I could report back the juice. Saturday definitely got packed quicker but the lines seemed to move pretty fast getting in. Sunday was for the die-HARD fans (pun intended) as lines seemed to takes years to move. However, dirty dancers in the know got a real treat just a few blocks away … the most epic after-party you could hope for.
Off the bat Busy P got the night started for us, throwing down all the exclusive new tunes (in a Jack Skellington skull head) you could ask for. With Mr. Oizo and SBTRKT having to cancel (due to visa issues), Diplo answered the call and filled in as a surprise guest for Oizo’s slot. Although many wanted to see the Halloween weirdness of the Ed Banger mystery man, Diplo held it down pretty well and got the main stage crowd groovin’ fast, playing everything from new Mumbai Science to California Swag District – it was a Mad Decent set for sure. Crookers then followed and opened big with their recent remix for Faithless’ ‘Tweak Your Nipple’ (find that below). After a fun filled set of classic Crookers jams and their newer favs, Rusko followed with a high energy set that brought his heavy anthems full force among the warm October night.
To get things going inside, our GDD friend and familiar Sticky K lit up the opening set to set it off right. Following were sets by Hard big wig Destructo (dressed as Bill Clinton sure enough) and a punishing barrage of bang by Tommy Lee & DJ Aero. We only caught a little bit of this but if you were there and saw it – Tommy Lee had the scariest costume I’v ever seen. It’s one thing to unload nasty tracks like Skrillex’s new beatport basher Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites, but to be dressed like an albino clown from hell and do so is a bit too much for me. Great flare though.
Brodinski then took control of the Shrine Auditorium dropping an eclectic but high flying set of all the great music he blends within his own original productions (ps gave him a GDD sticker later that night and he was stoked). SebastiAn followed reviving great originals we know and love and letting loose on some suspected new productions (that actually sounded like possible new Justice?) throughout the hour. At this point you were either outside for the Beetroots ‘Death Crew’ show, or waiting patiently inside for the haunting sirens to start for the beginning of Fake Blood. “Yes Master. Riiiiiiseeeeeee.”The entire Shrine Auditorium lit up, excitement and fear mixing with the humid and lazer filled air in front of you. Commanding and closing out the night, Fake Blood laid down a perfect Halloween fitting set.
After RESET! warmed up the beginning of the night, Booka Shade performed a special live set that could be heard across the surrounding USC campus. Following was Calvin Harris wearing a gorilla mask in a Ghostbusters uniform (gotta love Halloween), lighting up the main stage with festival anthems and his own tracks remixed to a harder measure. A-Trak set it off afterwards, showcasing his native DMC champ skills and a good fill of Duck Sauce disco grooves. It was then that Underworld lived up to the anticipation that Los Angeles had built up ever since the unfortunate HARD failure in the summer of last year. If you didn’t get to see any of this you missed a spectacular show, similar to the experience of a Chemical Brothers/Crystal Method/Digitalism live performance. Finally after all the treats and beats throughout the night, everyone managed to find themselves witnessing Boys Noize execute another insurmountable performance of power-house techno. The energy could definitely be felt specifically in the eerie rave sounds of when he dropped Mumbai Science’s Ancova (find below).
Inside brought the low end heavy on Sunday night. Congorock, AC Slater, Nero and Flying Lotus all murdered the first half of the night, making the inside of the Shrine feel like a jungle of sweaty bass. The Special Guest turned out to be Christian of Miike Snow, dropping a surprisingly high energy DJ set that was anything but dreamy. Turns out their remixed tracks pay off big time in the appropriate setting. After that action, Erol Alkan delivered a dark heavy set that we all had hoped for, leaving lazers glimmering behind your eyelids. To close out the inside, Jack Beats brought forth their army of wobble in full force – with definite new tracks to look our for in the coming months.
So as we left with a joyous ringing in our ears, we watched as steam billowed out of the Shrine Auditorium and crowds poured into the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Lucky for us though, our good friends a few blocks over @ The Well put on an after party that turned into the only place in the world you would wanna be … and when word traveled backstage everyone wanted to keep partying, even the world class talent themselves.
Within minutes of being inside, we could only lose our minds when seeing Boys Noize, Brodinski, Beni G from Jack Beats and AC Slater all walk right in and take over the decks to throw down the biggest dream team set you could ask for that late in the game. Everything from Boys Noize jackin’ to some 90s acid techno to Beni G dropping bass heavy rap. It felt like WMC time, and that has got to be one of the better things to experience in life. Watch this video and get a feel for yourself … see you in Miami next March.
Gotta love that dirty zipper synth and baby wobble. Don’t sleep on this one.
GDD T-Shirt x HARD costume contest winner!
… and for all you that still wanted to know, Congratulations to Britney Haberl of Chico, CA! She came down for HARD for both days, and rocked a killer Duck Sauce costume, only to happen to have parked right next to A-Trak in the USC student parking lot. GOOD FA YOU.