A Look Back: Hard Summer 2014
Hard Summer, brought to us by the great Gary Richards, was at a new venue this year and filled with unique music that you wouldn’t have found at other electronic music festivals over the summer of 2014. Funky, weird, crazy, alternative, and different are all adjectives that you’ll hear people use when describing this festival. With five stages: HARD, HARDER, Pink Tent, Purple Tent, and Green Tent there is something for every music lover. From live acts like Disclosure and Rudimental, to DJ sets from artists around the globe, HARD Summer 2014 is an experience unlike any other.
Our Top Ten Sets..For Different Reasons (In Alphabetical Order)
Seeing a live show is always impressive at electronic festivals. These two guys gave off so much energy whipped the crowd into a frenzy playing their tracks that everyone has come to know (and love) over the past two years. From packing the only tent stage last year to destroying the main (HARD) stage in 2014, it’s been one hell of a year for Disclosure and it was even more fun getting to watch them live. Not only did they play each song to a T, Guy and Howard did special live remixes of most of their songs. On top of that, they brought out Eliza Doolittle to sing You & Me, and the R&B legend Mary J. Blige to sing the rework of F for You.
Gorgon City played in the pink tent midday on Sunday and it was GLORIOUSSSSS. The deep signature sound of Foamo & RackNRuin (Gorgon City) have a corner on, mixed with beautiful vocals had everyone singing their hearts out. There was also a ton of room to bounce around at this set and move your feet. This set made my top ten because of the feelings they put out into the crowd that made everyone in the tent smile! Good vibes = Good times.
Fresh out of the UK and absolutely killing it. It doesn’t matter how hot, dusty, or humid it was everyone was MOVING to her beats. As one of the only women to play at the festival she absolutely threw down. She has a very unique sound in the UK Garage/Bass subgenres. Hannah takes it to the next level by scratching to slow down the track to transition into old hip hop and R&B songs which is really impressive, and then will scratch right back out into another bass driven beat.
DO NOT miss Jack U if you have the chance to see them. Two legends in their own right (Skrillex & Diplo) on the decks at the same time is an amazing sight. Not only are they mixing songs in and out every minute or two, they perfectly link the sounds of each individual artist together. By tweaking old songs that they both put out in the past slightly and putting them together, Jack U creates many sounds that have never been heard before. The energy at this set was also the highest I saw over the whole weekend.
Mr. Pizza himself didn’t let us down. With that Dirtybird Records vibe, amazing visuals, and I’m sure a slice or two of pepperoni Justin made the top ten. The thing that is really impressive about the Dirtybird guys is that not only do they produce amazing tunes and play them impeccably, they also take those songs and switch them up a little bit at every live show. Not only will you not hear the same set twice from them, even each individual song you will notice sounds a little different every time which the ears really appreciate.
Le Youth played early on Saturday at the HARD stage. He started off his set with his hit C O O L and never looked back. This set had the best/most summery and old school vibe that I saw this weekend. Playing all sorts of old school R&B tracks while keeping an upbeat and happy feel going through the whole thing.
This trio has been off of the grid for a while and I can’t tell you how great it is to have them back. Their production value is unmatched by a long shot and it seems their time off has paid off. Daniel and Joe played all of their old tracks but never the originals. Always with insanely well produced and thought out new beats to every vocal. Alana Watson’s voice is smooth yet powerful and just as good in person if not better. With a new tech house/techno feel to their old heavy dubstep tracks, this set blew some minds closing out the HARDER stage on Sunday evening.
Rudimental’s live show for those of you that don’t know consists of Amir Amor, Piers Agget, Kesi Dryden, and DJ Locksmith. This set had the most live instruments we saw being played at once this weekend on one stage which is why they made the top ten. The energy at Rudimental’s set is a lot like a rock show because of all of the instruments being played as well as live vocals. It is amazing to see a live act play and sound even better than they do on recordings!
For a relatively new artist coming up in the scene this guy has his own touch on the deep/bass house subgenres. Even if you haven’t heard of him before you definitely know his first hit song Okay which was/is being played by artists of all subgenres at festivals around the globe this season. He killed it from start to finish in the green tent and played an edit of Okay (which is thought to be a Claude VonStroke edit but correct me if I am wrong here) that is even more dirty than the original.
Related: Shiba San – OKAY
Hands down the best set that we saw in the pink tent was from Tchami and he had the most people at that stage all weekend. Breaking into the scene with his massive self coined Future House sound Tchami is breaking down all sorts of boundaries and really doing his own thing. He started off with his original sound, then through in a trap break down to a house beat, and the a hip hop track all within the first fifteen minutes. Seeing an artist be able to move so smoothly across different styles of music is what is really impressive about this Frenchman.
Last Thoughts/Additional Content
The best way to describe HARD events will always be ‘different’ which is something very rare these days at festivals, so keep doing you Gary!! Over the next couple days be on the lookout for our other articles related to HARD Summer including: A pro tips for next year piece, an interview with Rudimental, as well as an interview with Worthy.
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