The Northwest’s Best: Paradiso Festival 2014
With USC Events‘ third installment of Paradiso Festival last week, the Seattle-based events company did not disappoint. From stage set up, to production quality, to sound quality, (and even VIP Cabanas) USC brought it all to the table with this one. Imagine: a sold out electronic music show at The Gorge, one of the most beautiful venues in the world – this was one for the record books people.
The Paradise Main Stage was louder than ever before, with enough LEDs to light up ten Vegas nightclubs. The Digital Oasis stage had a strong club feel, with a raised DJ booth, slated tent style roof with openings and a centered visual piece that went from the front main screen to the very end of the tent. However, many peoples’ (especially the bass heads’) favorite stage was the pirate-themed Wreckage stage, which was half of a pirate ship that had somehow crash landed in the middle of The Gorge. Amenities were well worth it for festival-goers who were willing to shell out a little more cash; the VIP Cabana set up this year was top notch and pretty reasonably priced. At $500 per person, you had an elevated, covered table and couches at the main stage, with a dedicated server for eight people and four guests who were already inside the festival.
Our Top Ten Sets…for Different Reasons (In Alphabetical Order)
Above & Beyond
If you have ever been to an Above & Beyond show before, you know how heartfelt, yet seamless every set is. First off, their use of visual typing on screen to the crows hits the exact feelings we have at the time, and this is unmatched by any artist. Their use of vocals from Group Therapy, as well as Tri-State and Oceanlab productions perfectly matched with hard trance beats, providing a different sound that is absolutely beautiful. This large-audience festival set differed quite a bit from their last set in Seattle at the Showbox SoDo, which was only a few short months ago; this is definitely something us music connoisseurs always look for in a great performance.
At the ripe age of 21, this young man has plenty of great things ahead of him. Talks of him being the next king in the trance world are already spreading like wildfire. If you love trance and have the opportunity to go check him out, it is highly recommended. Using vocals from all types of electronic music, he matches them with Armin/ASOT style heavy beats that every trance-head is waiting for. He has the ability to make tracks like Dare you by Hardwell & Matthew Koma come to life bigger and better than before.
Possibly the biggest influence in all of the Drum & Bass world is Andy C; with his label RAM Records, he is always pushing forward. We were also luck enough to have an upcoming interview with him that will be posted for your viewing pleasure soon, so keep a look out! Andy brought all sorts of new tracks to the table that have never been played before. They were so new that he told us,”The only way you will know what tracks I am talking about is if you are on stage with me when I play them and I can sort of point them out to you because they are all still unnamed.” Even if you are not yet into Drum & Bass, this is an act you will want to check out at any festival or club.
This dude is one of the biggest proponents of electronic music as a whole. Bassnectar has a huge influence and always has tunes that are unmatched by pretty much anyone in ‘EDM’ right now (a term that Lorin is definitely not a fan of). His visual set up was awesome, with all sorts of strobes and weird, crazy graphics. Our favorite, long-haired basshead played tracks from his new EP that are a little different from what we were used, to but it is pretty much impossible to not like anything he puts out (including a track with a ton of ribbiting frogs). Bassnectar also played great old school tracks that brought many people into the scene such as his original “Basshead”. Overall, it was a great guy playing a classic set.
Booka Shade played a nighttime set at the Digital Oasis stage and brought some serious FUNK!! There was not one track that was played that we could find the name off the top of our heads. However, it was still awesome and kept everyone dancing their faces off. With jazz flute and saxophone sounds thrown in to a funky house/disco set, this one is for the true electronic music purist.
This house god from San Francisco has brought us amazing artists like Worthy, J.Phlip, Justin Martin, and many more on his killer label Dirtybird Records. Hands down, this was the highest level of mixing difficulty we saw this weekend. Playing a ton of his own tracks, moving into a hip hop vibe in the middle of the set, to his untouchable edit of “Okay” by Shiba San (which Laidback Luke also played, if you can believe it), Claude’s heavy house sounds kept the dancefloor MOVING from start to finish.
If you have heard Mat Zo’s mixes, you never know what he will bring to the table but it will ALWAYS be epic. In my opinion, Mat Zo is one of the top five producers in the game right now, hands down. In one episode of his Mat Zo Mix, you will hear all drum and bass, then in the next one you will get deep house, progressive trance and more, which always keeps you on your toes. His set at Paradiso was no different; he played some massive progressive trance tunes along with a remix of Selfie for all of you Chainsmokers fans out there (ironic that they were playing at the same time). Every set he plays is SO well put together and has a little something for all fans across the board. If you haven’t got a chance to see him yet, it is highly recommended.
The production quality of this duo from LA is absolutely unmatched. From disco, to tech, to R&B, Oliver bring some futuristic sounds that are pretty much only heard in their tracks. This set was early on in the day, but everyone at the Digital Oasis stage was dancing their faces off. Playing songs such as Hope, their collab with Alex Metric, to the new banging beat by Anna Lunoe, “Bass Drum Dealer”, you couldn’t help but put your grooving pants on.
Seven Lions has that signature “trancestep” sound that everyone has come to love regardless of what subgenre is your favorite. At Paradiso, it really showed that his sound is unmatched in EDM at this time, because the Digital Oasis stage was more packed than any other artist playing there throughout the whole two day event. In fact, we are pretty sure it was 100% FULL. Whether it be a remix or an original track, the trance synths put together with dubstep style drops from Seven Lions are always amazing. With his recent EP getting great reviews, the future is looking stellar for him.
As new music and artists come about, it seems the producers with the most popular songs get “played out” and the EDM snobs like to talk trash about people like Zedd, whose songs like “Clarity” are played on the radio constantly. However, we’d like to tell you that Zedd has some huge new sounds and style coming your way that has not been heard before. Starting his set off with “Clarity” worried some people a bit, but as soon as a brand new drop hit on that song, he kept coming with crazy new electro/festival sounds that had everyone on their toes. Closing out the last night of any festival on main stage brings a heavy load on an artist’s shoulders, but he handled it with ease. To top it all off, his visual mapping was definitely in the top three out of all artists at Paradiso as well.
With Paradiso festival being relatively new (in its third installment), we can only hope for huge things next year and for years to come. USC Events is doing a great job at putting on this show in particular, and things can only go up from here. We would love to hear your thoughts on how the festival went, whether it is positive or what could be improved upon in the future. Leave your opinion in the comments!
Feature photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/keatonfoleyphotography
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