Set List Bonus: Spring Awakening Music Festival
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Ramon Alvarez-Smikle
On June 15 React Presents kicked off Chicago's second annual premier electronic music event, the Spring Awakening Music Festival. The three-day festival took place at Soldier Field in Chicago and featured massive headliners such as Bassnectar, Calvin Harris and Moby.
Entering the festival, I grew anxious as I, alongside thousands of eager electronic music fans, was greeted with four unique stages, each with its own distinct sound. The energy inside the massive stadium couldn't have been higher as PANTyRAid (a duo featuring DJ Ooah and MartyParty) dropped massive tracks, including the crowd-favorite "Beba," as four dancers onstage added a visual element with cartwheels and splits.
My day continued with one-half of the Dutch production duo Bingo Players. DJ Maarten Hoogstraten played crowd-favorites such as "Cry (Just A Little)" and the Beatport chart-topping hit "When I Dip." It was my favorite set of the day, and left me wondering what it would have been like to see Hoogstraten's partner Paul Bäumer perform with him.
Moby's closing performance was greeted with wild applause as he delivered an electrifying hour-long set of rocking anthems.
By day two it was nearly impossible to navigate through the crowd of roughly 50,000 festivalgoers. I made my way to Da Equinox Stage to catch an electrifying set by Oligee, a Los Angeles duo consisting of producer U-Tern and DJ Oligee (aka Oliver). With one hand gripped around a microphone and the other fixed on his mixer, Oligee yelled, "Chicago lets party!"
Other highlights from day two included Flosstradamus, the duo often dubbed as the creators of the EDM subgenre trap. The pair drew an impressive amount of excitement from the crowd as they ran onstage wearing their signature hoodies, accompanied by their backup dancers, the Hoodie Boyz.
Wolfgang Gartner's electrifying presence and robotic-sounding electro house music rocked the entire stadium. With his massive buildups and drops, it was clear he was having a blast. Speaking with Gartner shortly before his set, I asked him about his favorite part of playing festivals. "Festivals have the best crowds [and] people are the most hyped up," he said. "It's loud and I can go crazy."
Day two ended with an epic light and video show from Bay Area DJ sensation Bassnectar.
Day three was the hottest. Nonetheless, it still proved to be a spectacular day. Local DJs Krewella pulled out all the stops, and even recruited Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler to introduce them before they took the stage. The crowd seemed to multiply by the end of their set as they worked their way through songs such as "Killin' It." The crowd broke into a frenzy as vocalist Yasmine Yousaf dove into the crowd in what seemed like a homecoming for the Chicago trio.
Complextro house pioneer Porter Robinson revved up the crowd on the main stage with hits including "Language," as fans dressed in multicolored beaded masks jumped up and down with excitement.
Harris delighted the crowd with his closing set, which included performances of "Spectrum (Say My Name)," a collaboration with Florence Welch; "We Found Love," his hit collaboration with Rihanna; and his recent chart-topper "Sweet Nothing," which also features Welch. As the crowd danced as one, massive glow sticks were thrown from the stage, setting the scene for an incredible display of lights. As Harris transitioned into the Top 20 hit "Feel So Close," fireworks fired off over the stage. It was an incredible way to close out the weekend.
(Ramon Alvarez-Smikle works as the GRAMMY U representative for The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter. He has interviewed artists such as M83, Toro Y Moi and Porter Robinson, among others. He has been published on many online blogs and websites over the past year, including GRAMMY.com.)