You know it’s going to be an interesting day when you wake up to the sight of 6:45 am on the clock and you’re exhausted from partying to the sounds of SBTRKT, Laidback Luke, 2manydjs, Fatboy Slim, and Rusko the night before at HARD Haunted Mansion. Early last Saturday morning, my friends and I made our way back to the west side from downtown LA, only to rest and prepare for our journey inland to Insomniac’s first Halloween massive, Escape From Wonderland. See what it was all about after the jump…
We arrived just after sundown and the sound of bass in the distance left me both anxious as well as strangely calm to know that we had reached our destination and our night was finally upon us. We made it through the relatively short security checks, and as we walked into the NOS Event Center, we noticed the dense fog that enveloped the area in and around the lagoon, which signaled that we were entering a place of Halloween debauchery. After just a short walk from the entrance, I felt completely immersed in the Escape From Wonderland. I was surprised to see the excellent work Insomniac did to create such a reality altering environment, yet in the back of my mind, I expected their masterful execution. The dark had fallen and there were hordes of monsters, zombies, and whatever else hastily weaving their way through in front of me. The hundreds of lights suspended in the air were flickering above, and I could hear the pounding music that beckoned me to come indulge in a hedonistic fashion. I feel that Insomniac did just about everything they could to bring more to the table other than music with haunted mazes, rides, 3D attractions, and art installations. The Insomniac founder, Pasquale Rotella, always stresses that he aims to create a comprehensive experience for his attendees and he certainly did just that with his first Halloween effort.
As with any other Insomniac event, the production was first-class and included powerful sound systems as well as over-the-top light designs and no shortage of lasers. The main stage was the awe-inspring colossal structure that Insomniac has used in the past and I literally felt like I was standing in a gigantic space ship. In the Ghoul’s Graveyard tent, it was a great time dancing dirty with the skeletons and ghosts hanging from the ceiling, and I must say that I laughed to myself at the absurdity of the sight… Everything came together very nicely and definitely enhanced the experience.
Now for the music… I gave myself a very energetic start to the night at the Chopping Block (dubstep/dnb stage) with Brookes Brothers throwing it down and playing an absolutely killer set that was fitted perfectly to the vibe of the crowd throughout. After receiving a solid dose of drum ‘n’ bass, I made my way out to the Ghoul’s Graveyard (house tent) and the Slaughter House (main stage) to catch the end of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and a portion of AN21 & Max Vangeli. Both of the stages were overflowing with energy as everyone seemed to be in tune with one another and the good vibes acted as a catalyst for dancing. In the span of a couple hours I saw the impressive R3hab, Subfocus, Afrojack, and Benny Benassi. I must note that when Afrojack was playing, the Ghoul’s Graveyard was spilling far out of it’s boundaries and once/if you made it in the tent, it was more of an oven than a graveyard. Also, it was awesome to see Mr. Benassi appropriately dressed in a Superman costume. The rest of my night consisted of Pendulum heaviness and big room Steve Angello. You can always count on Steve Angello for great mixing, track selections, and hyperextended buildups that foster a level of tension that I find unique to Steve. During his set was the first time I ever participated in a sit down/jump up ordeal and it got pretty insane when the jump up was triggered by the Swedish House Mafia & Knife Party track, “Antidote”. After the music had ended and my experience was complete, it was clear that Escape From Wonderland was one of the very best electronic music events I had ever attended.
Escape From Wonderland was excellent in all respects and above all, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I want to thank Insomniac for providing us with consistent, quality events, and I look forward to continuing my support.
Attempt to relive the experience or enjoy great sets with the downloads below:
*Tracklists can be found here.