[FESTIVAL REVIEW] 10 Acts That Blew Us Away At Spring Awakening
It’s been over a week since Spring Awakening 2014 concluded, but we’re still abuzz about all the acts that helped make this fantastic festival such a memorable experience. Here at The Sights and Sounds, we’ve been having some heated debates over the producers that made the most positive impressions on us during the weekend. Somehow, and we have no idea how, we managed to cut the list down to 10 names. This countdown should give you a clear idea about the acts we were feeling during Spring Awakening weekend. Hope you enjoy it!
10. Porn & Chicken
Chicken wings flying through the air, grown-ass men in bright yellow chicken suits waving flags, women grinding sparks from their vaginas and one of Chicago’s most recognized MC’s jumping on top of the crowd in a fit of frenzy is just a small part of the insanity that is Porn and Chicken Dance Party. It’s no oversight that Spring Awakening scheduled this troupe of mayhem to open Sunday morning as they consistently bring in the masses to rage even on a weary day 3 time slot. With Orville Kline and Fei Tang throwing down banger after banger behind the decks and superstar MC Dom Brown on the mic and in the crowd, Porn and Chicken got the early Sunday crowd turnt up for the final day of the fest.
9. Knife Party
Knife Party have been relatively quiet on the release side of things lately, but that doesn’t mean they have lost their touch. Oh no. This hard-hitting duo absolutely slayed the Friday night crowd as fire, pyrotechnics, streamers and sonic waves permeated the air over thousands of gyrating bodies. Quiet they may be on the Soundcloud, but their set was anything and everything but timid. With crowd favorites such as “Power Glove”, “LRAD”, and “Internet Friends VIP” blasting through the speakers, the frenetic audience got everything they were looking for in a Knife Party set, and more.
8. Feed Me
When Feed Me took to the stage on Friday night, the sun has still yet to set. But that didn’t detour the day one Spring Awakeners from getting in on the the early antics. When this producer’s performance began, I found myself near the back of the surprisingly large audience that had already gathered. By the time his last couple tunes rolled around, I had unknowingly progressed all the way up past the sound stage and into a zone where the bass was hitting me just right. Then Feed Me dropped “Cloudburn” out of nowhere and immediately won some extra brownie points with me! That (amazing) song aside, the rest of his show included a great balance of fresh cuts and recognizable oldies. We would also like to point out that he did not play “Relocation,” but we won’t be sticklers. I found Feed Me to be thoroughly entertaining for his entire hour on stage.
7. Big Gigantic
When you’ve seen a group perform as many times as I’ve seen Big Gigantic perform, you would think that their set would feel tarnished over time. But that’s not the case with the Colorado duo, as their closing Sunday evening performance kept me as enthralled as any of the times I’ve seen them previous. Having seen them just two weeks ago at Mysteryland, thinking that would be the penultimate performance space, I was surprised that their SAMF set seemed bigger, louder and in a lot of ways, more entertaining. Perhaps it’s their love for Chicago, as shown by the Bulls jerseys they sported throughout the set, or maybe it was the shoulder-to-shoulder packed crowd, but the Equinox stage was absolute insanity as Big G tore through hits off their recent album, The Night Is Young, plus favorites “Power” and “Let’s Go”. If you want more Big Gigantic, make sure to check out our interview with them from Mysteryland USA here.
Fuck, this guy can throw down. Time after time, no matter the festival or show, whenever I’ve seen Borgore perform he has absolutely blown the top off the venue. At TomorrowWorld he literally made it rain inside the tent as the kinetic energy created thunderstorms within. Spring Awakening’s performance didn’t see rain clouds inside the tent, but that doesn’t mean the crowd didn’t get a bit wet as partway through the set Borgore jumped on the front speakers with fellow beat-maker Carnage and doused the sweaty crowd with the refreshing bubbly of champagne showers.
5. Flux Pavilion
The Surprise of the Festival (at least my festival) might have to be awarded to Flux Pavilion. Honestly, going into this weekend, he was one of the artist’s that I thought would put on a real hit-or-miss performance. But let me tell you, he hit, hard! The first half of his set focused mainly on his personal works (which, for the most part, I’ve always enjoyed) and the second half converted that whole football stadium into a fiery bass music battleground! Busting out consecutive tunes from the likes of MUST DIE!, Eptic, & even Trampa, Flux dished out the kind of filth that you only hear about in dubstep fairy tales. There were a couple instances where I had to rub my eyes and reassure myself that this show was actually taking place right in front of me. Flux Pavilion was more phenomenal than I could’ve ever fathomed!
4. Andy C
Drum & bass producers don’t grow on trees. Well, at least not in the United States. Having said that, Andy C was still kind enough to bring his talents to the comforting confines of Chicago for Spring Awakening. I’m not sure how many people planted at The Equinox Stage enjoyed this particular show as much as I did – but this musician immediately proved to me why he is widely-regarded as one of the best DJ’s in the dance music industry today. Not to take away from his producing abilities, because he’s quite skilled in that area as well, but it was his DJing that stole the show on this sunny Saturday. All of the characteristics that I look for in a strongly mixed set were readily apparent. Song selection? On point. Transitions? Smoother than a baby’s bottom. Crowd response? Much better than I anticipated. Andy C provided the perfect change of pace for this house-heavy weekend.
3. Eric Prydz
I’ve been going out of my way to try to catch Eric Prydz live for quite awhile now. I guess sometimes you just have to let fate handle things for you. Now, I’ll admit that I’m not much of a house or trance (or whatever you want to call it) guy, but man did this producer pack in the crowd before Tiesto on Friday night! Plus, there was not one second of his set that I would consider a down point or a dull moment, which if you ask me, is a rarity in any type of EDM performance nowadays. It’s kind of humorous that one of the artists I was the most clueless about ended up being one of my favorites at the entire festival, but life is peculiar like that sometimes. If anything, it makes me glad that an act I’m not as familiar with could resonate with me so much. After Spring Awakening, I finally understood all the hype surrounding Eric Prydz.
Okay, I’ll just come out and say it, I missed the first 20 minutes of Datsik’s set. There, I said it! Are you happy? Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But Barrett, you love dubstep more than life itself, how could you let such a tragic thing occur?” Look, lets not get into semantics people, I’ll just leave you with this helpful piece of advice: paper schedules are no longer a reliable source for finding accurate set times at festivals. I know, it’s a sad situation, but that’s just the type of cruel and unfair world we live in today. But rather than focus on the bad, lets focus on the good. Because lord knows there was plenty of it drifting around during Datsik’s hour on the decks! His dubstep-driven set showcased a ton of original material, as well as popular tunes from producers like Eptic & Twine. Over the years I’ve learned one thing, Datsik never disappoints.
1. Pretty Lights
Is anybody surprised that Pretty Lights was my favorite performer of the weekend? Because you shouldn’t be. Ever since this producer made the decision to link up with a full band, he’s been absolutely on fire! His soulful tracks were the breath of fresh air that this festival so badly required after two straight days of generic EDM acts. I managed to get a pretty solid spot on the floor for his show, and whenever I would turn around, there was an ocean of floating heads for as long as the eye could see. Soldier Field was flooded with so many colorful lights that it was difficult to make sense of this overwhelming spectacle! Known for compiling sets that consist solely of his own music, it was an awesome surprise when the band & Derek busted out Opiuo’s remix of “Done Wrong.” With fireworks going off in the background throughout his performance, Pretty Lights remained calm and collected while delivering the best set Spring Awakening had to offer.
Check out our full photo recap on our official Facebook page here, and if you see a picture of yourself, feel free to download, tag and share!