Thousands of festival attendees flocked to the Los Angeles State Historic Park in Downtown LA this past weekend for one of HARDFEST's greatest festivals: HARD Day of the Dead. A two day festival that landed Halloween weekend - the event featured quality production, carnival rides, a plethora of refreshments and of course the most important part, the stacked lineup of first-rate talent that Gary Richards and the rest of the HARD team compiled for music lovers alike.
With big names like Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, and Skrillex; as well as lesser known talent like Dusky, Oliver and Tensnake - the lineup offered a little bit of everything to the fans. After attending the festival this past weekend, and having a blast, we at EPIC came up with our top 10 favorite acts of the weekend. Check them out below!
Producing some of the hardest, genre-bending electro tracks on the festival circuit to date is Miami-based duo GTA. Their name and musical style are much like the video game Grand Theft Auto - hard, fast and right in your face. Being one of the top must-sees for us, we caught their whole set and went bananas to the insane big-room drops and synth-filled breakdowns. They even paid tribute to the bay by dropping E-40's 'Tell Me When To Go'. Every person in the house from NorCal was giggin', it was definitely a monumental moment.
Finally making our way past security the first day, we ran to go catch Oliver's funky, disco set. At HARD Summer this past August, the duo played on the Underground Stage, so it was nice to see that their hard worked paid off and they made it to the main stage. They opened with 'The Night Is On My Mind', one of our favorite originals from them. Dropping a variety of other tracks, Oliver doubtlessly set the mood for the rest of the night.
Dubstep pioneer turned incoming nu-disco artist, Skream, really heated up things inside the Discotheque tent Sunday night. His exuberant MC, Seargant Pokes brought an added flavor to the set, singing over classic tracks with an eccentric voice that really uplifted the spirits and made the vibe perfect. While his change over to disco is greatly respected by us, we'd still love to hear some of that true Skream and Benga era dubstep again one day.
7. Duke Dumont
We missed him at HARD Summer, so the EPIC crew knew we had to catch his set on Sunday - and damn are we glad we didn't miss it again. His funky melodies and pristine mixing made for an unbelievable listening experience. The pure talent this dude has is amazing, he continuously would take his headphones off, wave hello to the crowd, all still mixing everything live, purely by the memory of the music. If you haven't caught Duke Dumont at a show or festival yet, you definitely should hop on that.
Moombahton will forever be alive and in our hearts, and Nadastrom surely proved that on Saturday night with their mind-bending moombah stacked set at the HARDer stage. Dropping favorites like their original track 'i!!', Major Lazer's 'Bumaye' and Dirtybird Justin Jay's hitter 'Static', their set featured a plethora of genres such as deep house, trap, disco and of course moombahton. These fools really know how to get a party going, so if you like to go hard check them out for sure.
5. Wolf + Lamb
Being one of the rarest acts on this year's lineup, Wolf + Lamb have only been on a small number of rosters and only a select few have seen them perform. Widely known for their insanely long sets at Burning Man, this electronic group doubles as a record label. Their set at HARD was one of the most magical of the first night, featuring tons of jazz influences that the crowd embodied to the fullest. Take a journey to a dark and weird place with Wolf + Lamb's music and don't miss them the next time they come around.
4. Boys Noize
Winning the award for the weirdest visuals, Boys Noize threw down a killer set to match. Sporting his notorious skull head DJ booth, he played a ferocious electro and hard techno set that had the crowd jumping and convulsing to the pounding bass. Boys Noize really rocked the main stage dropping songs like 'XTC' and 'Go Hard', which was featured in the Day of the Dead Official Trailer. His satanic visuals, over-the-top musical productions and overall berserk human qualities made the HARD stage into the perfect dance floor.
Starting with one of the longest build-ups we've ever witnessed, the legend Joel Zimmerman really pushed the boundaries with his Sunday night closing set. He played with us as the levels in music would suddenly drop, making it sound like he messed up, but nope, it's just Deadmau5 playing with the entire crowd and sounding damn good doing it. His melodies are so pure and unique to what most of the main stage headliners had to offer. He definitely pushed the envelope by playing such a soft set at a HARD festival, but he's Deadmau5, he can do whatever the hell he wants.
UK-based duo Nero, accompained by the live vocals of Alana Watson, was undoubtedly one of our favorite acts of the night. One of the few names on the roster who played dubstep, we really enjoyed hearing all of their original tracks as well as some of their remixes like their remake of Calvin Harris' 'Feel So Close'. The way they mixed their tracks into each other was flawless, and we absolutely lost ourselves during their set. Nero manifests the meaning of HARD music in every way.
1. Cirez D
Going under the moniker Cirez D, you probably know him as Eric Prydz because he rarely plays events under his alter-ego, but for Day of the Dead he made an exception. Dropping one of the most eclectic techno and deep house sets we've ever seen, this dude knows how to get the crowd grooving. His hard synths, soulful hi-hats and funky melodies are a good representation of what this festival is supposed to be about - weird, out-of-the-ordinary music that makes you feel some type of way.
AUTHOR CREDIT: CAROLINE CANTRALL