Reliving Wonderland: The Dancing Astronaut recap
To all disciples of house,
Beyond Wonderland proved to be a whirlwind of experiences that we’ll never forget and the fact that they were all jumbled together in one afternoon/evening/night makes it that much more magical. As soon as the Astronauts arrived on the scene, we jammed over to the main stage, “The Queen’s Domain,” to catch Adrian Lux starting things off with a bang. Before proceeding with the review we’d like to lay down some rules of thumb to any potential festival attendees:
1. Cell phones reception is a no go — so choose a home base for you and all your friends to meet and reconvene.
2. Bring a refillable water bottle.
3. Choco Tacos are a dish best served cold. NOT frozen solid.
Not only did Insomniac Events provide some of the best talent in the EDM world, but there were many attractions throughout the grounds to add to the Wonderland theme — including a Cheshire cat riding around on a massive unicycle, beautiful art structures, and thousands of fans anxious to take a ride on the beats provided by some of the world’s finest DJs on a trip away from reality.
We headed towards the Queen’s Domain to catch Adrian’s set, and being that it was only 4:45 in the afternoon we weren’t expecting a large crowd but we underestimated the power of Adrian Lux’s name . There were thousands of people at Adrian Lux’s set at this time and I could only imagine how much more packed it was going to be later on in the night!
Lux dropped Mr. Oizo’s “Let the Children Techno” to start things off…
Lux went on to John Dahlback’s “Kairo” and things were now on their way. As you’d expect the biggest moment of the show came when when he dropped Axwell & Henrik B’s remode of “Teenage Crime”.
The crowd was fully immersed in the show and that is exactly when he proceeded to drop his newest project soon after to a warm welcome from the crowd of early birds. Teenage Crime was the most electrifying part of his set but my personal favorite moment was when Lux dropped his remix of “Bullets”. The emotion and meaning in Rebecca and Fiona’s vocals are accentuated by the instrumental mix Lux and Knause provide and it’s one of my favorite songs of the year.
After Lux dropped “Bullets” we worked our way towards the “Cheshire Woods” stage where a highly anticipated set from Porter Robinson was about to begin…
We got a glimpse of Porter backstage before the show and the 19 year old prodigy was already feeling the anticipation of the crowd swelling but he embraced the pressure like a champ. Had it not been for the hundreds of feminine felines chanting his name we would’ve guessed Porter Robinson was just another fan in the crowd, which was made up primarily of young adults in their late teens/early twenties. When the North Carolina native played his remix of Spencer and Hill’s “Less Go!” We happened to be directly next to the front row speakers (snapping shots) and nearly lost our heads when the drop hit. The split second pause before he drops that beat made our lives flash before our eyes and set the tone for the remainder of his electrifying show.
He introduced a new song he had been working on with the help of Skrillex and we apologize to you and to ourselves for not catching the name of it through the muffled microphone and sound of cheering fans! Another one of the favorite mixes Robinson dropped was his hard-hitting electro version of Avicii’s “Seek Bromance”.
After glancing at the program we realized it was time for what was to be one of the big highlights of the day for us: Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano’s set at the main stage.
Now before this trip we weren’t very familiar with James and Marciano’s live music. That is, until we made our way back to The Queen’s Domain stage and got up close and personal with the two Dutch DJs. The energy coming from the main stage could’ve caused an earthquake and their quadruple CDJ 2000s would’ve been the epicenter. These guys were dancing just as any fan would be to their music and getting as excited about the music they dropped as the crowd did. It was as if they were thinking “did we just really do that!!!????” and answering “hellll yeeeeeee!!” after every drop. We saw the chemistry these two had while on stage being reflected in the rest of the Beyond Wonderland crowd. Their biggest hit of the year “Markuzza” (which still hasn’t been released) dropped to cheers from the fans showing that Marciano ‘sand James’ prowess as producers is on the rise. Some other notable moments and tracks they played are listed below:
After their set the DJs, who ended up being amazingly artistic and humble, brought us back to their trailer, where the crew asked them a few questions. We will bring you that interview soon! Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano are all about the music and you should expect big things from them and catch them live for a guaranteed good time! Fortunately, it wouldn’t be the last time we saw them that day.
The next act on the main stage were The Manufactured Superstars. Our fellow astronaut Senthil had mentioned these guys are on EVERY big stage there is in the House world but have yet to embark on original mixes or productions. Being that Senthil is a one man wrecking crew and Sherlock Holmes when it comes to finding new music in house, I was intrigued by the MS. Before I even had time to ask Marciano and James they pointed out that the two DJs (who were dressed as astronauts!) were in fact the owners of Beatport. I was introduced to them briefly and didn’t have time to tell them how appreciative we were for their contributions to the EDM world. So here is our chance: THANK YOU to Brad Roulier and Shawn Sabo for providing a channel through which the fans can support all our favorite DJs. We went to check out some of their set and the guys are no joke. They mixed well and played all of the biggest house anthems and everyone was Fuckin’ Down.
Here are some of the highlights of their set:
After their set: Awooga! It was about to get massive at Queen’s Domain. One of the most revered DJs in the world was going to step on stage. The wiry 6’6 producer/DJ made his way up to the stage while fans who were fortunate enough to be backstage swarmed him. It was time for the UK’s Calvin Harris to step on the scene and during his set I had one of the craziest/most humbling experiences in my life. Fans started creeping in from all over the grounds to see what Harris had to offer. Well I assure you the set was nothing less than epic. He came out mixing in banger after banger and apart from being such an amazing producer was a great live performer as well.
Starting with “You Used to Hold Me” He hit the crowd hard and later on dropped his (at the time unreleased) new effort “Awooga”.
Soon after came the moment we were waiting to tell you guys about: “Flashback” by Calvin Harris is one of our favorite songs in any genre ever! That is no joke. As soon as the opening chords dropped I saw the crowds from the outside gravitate towards the main tent. He went to the drop of the Guetta remix but brought it back to the original mix which is my favorite and as soon as the first few words were sung, the crowd was chanting along. We saw an ocean of people which was still growing at a visible rate. When the chorus chimed “This is like a flashback” the crowd that had just jumped and pumped fists for hours on end had come to a virtual standstill and sang along in unison! We were in awe and could barely describe the sight we was seeing and emotions we were feeling. Soon after the chorus he brought back the David Guetta drop and everyone was back to going crazy again! Afrojack’s “Replica” was played next and we all know what happens when that song drops, so we won’t even explain how we made it out alive.
Please stay tuned for the next part of the review as there are tales of many more artists to be told including Congorock, Judge Jules, and Kaskade.