Hard Red Rocks (written by Matthew Holmes)
As I made my way into Red Rocks I was able to catch Destructo throwing down on the decks. People were certainly feeling the groove as he threw down some of his well-known tracks. The highlight of the set was his latest track with YG called “Party Up” which really got the energy going. After Destructo did his thing it was time for Rudimental to take the stage. The group from the UK were a delight to watch as they were very energetic and very engaged with the crowd throughout their performance. They also brought the live aspect to the table with their live trumpet player and a number of live singers that stole the show. After the great showing by Rudimental, and a short intermission to build the stage, it was time for Dillon Francis himself to take the decks. As the man in the suit took the stage he took us on a journey of Moombahton, Trap, and House. Showcasing many of his songs off his new album and many of his of his long time staples, Dillon put on a show to remember. Like I have said many times behind all of the online antics and social media ploys, Mr. Francis has proved time and time again that his music is just as big as his social media presence. Last one to take the stage at Hard Red Rocks was the bass duo Nero. Taking cue from the opening acts Nero kept the energy coming. Mixing in some of their big time tracks from their massive album, Welcome Reality with some of their newer tracks from Satisfy, Nero had the bass happy crowd loving life. It was great to see the bass legends return to the rocks and put on one heck of a high energy show. Thank you to everyone that came out and be sure to check out the photo album to see some great photos of the event!
HARD Summer (written by Jon Gilman)
I’ll preface my wrap-up of HARD Summer by saying it will only cover Day Two. Due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to get to the festival for Day One, missing out on acts like Jack U, Axwell, Sharooz, GRiZ, Tchami, Oliver, Dusky, Jack Beats, The Martinez Brothers, Tiga Vs. Audion, and so many more who I was excited to see.
Though I was only able to enjoy 50% of HARD Summer 2014, I still had an absolute blast and I think it’s safe to say most of the people in attendance did too. Once I got a lay of the land, it became obvious why Whittier Narrows was chosen as the venue for HARD Summer 2014: it was spacious enough to house five stages, carnival rides, food and beverage, and spaces to take a load off everywhere in between. But it certainly wasn’t all packed in there and I didn’t experience a single dose of sound bleed from one stage to the next.
While my friends and I dipped our toes into the waters of all five stages, we spent most of our time hopping between the Pink and Green tents and spent minimal time at either of the HARD stages (“HARD” and “HARDer” – which acted as the main stages). Not that I’m against the main stage these days, but my tastes have evolved to prefer artists who are more typically on side stages. But I wasn’t alone – there was a huge contingency of ShipFam (Holy Ship alumni) who were gathered at the Green Tent for most of the day, some of them never leaving. This is probably because artists like Shiba San, Destructo, Hannah Wants, Kill Frenzy, and plenty more were at the Green Tent – all DJs that Holy Ship loyalists have come to adore. The Green Tent, at least on Day Two, had become a haven for G-House, Garage, and a cross-roads where off-the-beaten-path House music could come to thrive.
Meanwhile, the larger and louder Pink Tent showcased DJs who fell in the Deep House, Techno, and Tech-House realms. One big surprise of the weekend, for me, was Jimmy Edgar’s hard-hitting Techno-fueled set. Though it was early in the day, there was a large group of people congregated to enjoy the heavy beats, only to double down when Danny Daze went on immediately after. Other sets I had the pleasure of witnessing in the Pink Tent included the always-great Claptone, Gorgon City, Julio Bashmore, and Maya Jane Coles. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Julio Bashmore’s set. Not to say I don’t love his track “Au Seve”, among others, but he really threw down and it was my first time seeing him. Maya Jane Coles I had seen before, but she really cranked up the energy to bring us a great way to close out the weekend.
When I wasn’t at the Pink or Green Tents, I ventured to the Purple Tent to see Wave Racer – a set that may have taken the cake for the weekend. We also saw A-Trak do his typically awesome A-Trak thing at the HARD stage, and Nero and Sub Focus bring out the heavy bass at the HARDer stage. One thing to note is how much dust was flying around the two main stages – something for the HARD team to consider for next year.
All-in-all, I had a fantastic weekend experiencing HARD festivals at Red Rocks and in Los Angeles and I want to say thank you as always to the HARD Team as well as all the folks as MSO PR for working with us here at MMIBTY.
My Top 5 Acts from HARD Summer:
- Wave Racer
- Jimmy Edgar
- Sharam Jey
- Julio Bashmore
- Maya Jane Coles
*Much love to all the friendly people we met in Denver and Los Angeles!*
*9/22/14 update: HARD dropped the official video recap last week*