HARD Summer was one of our favorite music festivals of 2014. The Los Angeles festival had an unbelievable lineup, and we were constantly awestruck. It was extremely difficult to narrow our favorite moments of the festival down to just five, but we were somehow able to do it. Check out the five times HARD Summer blew our mind below.
Jack U Takes The Stage
Well, the opening of Jack U's set blew our mind in a bad way. It seems that both Skrillex and Diplo had tracks cued, and the result was an unsavory mish-mash of sounds, which left us utterly confused. Once we were able to get over the unfortunate opening, the two superstar producers started playing a solid set. As expected, Jack U played a variety of genres, including some of their biggest hit songs. We'll admit that the set was not as good as many of HARD Summer's performances, but it was still awesome to see Diplo and Skrillex spinning on stage at the same time. The energy in the air was palpable, and the crowd was completely captivated. People danced their hearts out, even with the rare Los Angeles rainfall pouring down.
Nero's Mind-Blowing Set
Nero's ability to represent a diverse array of sub-genres across their productions (while maintaining consistency in their brand) has been a huge factor in their success, and definitely solidified their set as a highlight of HARD Summer. Both visually and musically, their performance unfolded cinematically; creating a story somewhere between Diablo and Tron. Despite putting a giant focus on building this story, they did not fail to engage the audience with both recognizable classics and new productions from their forthcoming album. As always, Alana Watson’s live performance aided in building this narrative for Nero’s performance. Watson is undoubtedly one of the most talent and most recognizable voices in contemporary dance music. A highlight of their set was definitely the “Icky Thump” remix the duo dropped half way through the performance.
Emoh Instead Represents For What So Not
What So Not has been one of the hottest names in dance music this year. Emoh Instead and Flume are the two members of the duo, but Emoh has been touring under the What So Not name on his own. It's completely understandable, as Flume has had a huge year in his own right, and he's been on his own tour around the world. At HARD, Emoh showed that only one member of What So Not is necessary for the crowd to have a great time. His masterful set had the packed tent going wild from start to finish. Luckily, Glenjamn documented the first eight minutes of the set, and it is awesome.
Trippy Turtle Shows Jersey Club Is Here To Stay
Trippy Turtle's set at HARD Summer this weekend was undeniably a step forward in his career, and on a greater level a step forward for the Jersey Club and Future scenes. Trippy’s set was packed with a large selection of his productions, along with several Jersey Club and Future favorites from the likes of DJ Sliink and Hoodboi. Trippy also tactfully weaved in a few Lido tracks; in turn bridging the gap between his two artist aliases. Above all, what truly made Trippy Turtle’s HARD Summer memorable was his ability to turn his live set into an interactive experience; physically engaging with the crowd and dropping accessible vocals at opportune moments while still relentlessly switching gears at a lightning fast pace - and not losing interest at any point in the set.
Baauer Goes Higher
After "Harlem Shake" went viral, Baauer could have taken the mainstream route and easily become a star. Instead, he's impressed us by taking a more experimental turn. However, the thing that blew our mind about Baauer's set was what happened when he played "Higher." He jumped down from the stage, ran to the middle of the crowd and made his way towards a strange tower. As "Tell Me" from What So Not and RL Grime ended, sirens started to play on the speakers. As Baauer's collaboration with Just Blaze, "Higher," started fading in, Baauer appeared at the top of the tower. He literally went higher for the track, and it blew the crowd's mind. Baauer's surprise was a great way for him to stand out among an absolutely stacked HARD Summer lineup.
Keep in mind that these were just five of the moments that blew our mind at HARD Summer 2014. There were a ridiculous amount of amazing sets from acts like LOUISAHHH!!!, Justin Martin, TWRK, Seth Troxler, Jack Beats, Shift Key, Cashmere Cat, Tchami, Alex Metric, and so many more. The long list of stunning sets is a testament to Gary Richards and HARD's unparalleled ability to book great festival lineups.
Cover photo credit: HARD
Written by Mike Walkusky and Tony Fresch