Because its only two weeks away, everyone is booking their hotels and buying their tickets to pre parties for EDC. Soon thousands of colorful ravers will descend upon Las Vegas as club owners and hotel managers find every reason to raise the price on drinks, rooms, and chips even beyond the ridiculous standards of Vegas in the summer.
However let us not forget that another totally rad festival came and went last week: Lightning in a Bottle. This was a great year for LIB and even though EDC is probably at the forefront of everyone’s mind, perhaps these awesome things we saw will be enough to convince you to take a trip out there as well.
1. Fire Spinning
Flow arts are omnipresent at festivals like LIB. In fact most fests will have one or two vendors selling everything from poi to staffs in case another flow artist inspires you. At most festivals though, fire spinning is prohibited except by those who have been paid to do so. That wasn’t the case at LIB. Right next to the Pagoda Bar, LIBs resident spot for bass-fueled after-hours, there was a circle of rocks where anyone brave enough to wield the fire could give it a shot. Flow arts involved fire long before LED’s were even invented and everyone got a chance to see why at LIB
2. Poison Oak Hotel Jazz Lounge
Unfortunately the one area of LIB where I was unable to be at for most of the weekend was the Grand Artique. Other than a few minutes of live music and fun-time shenanigans, the Artique was mostly absent from my experience. A total drag considering how much I had there last year, but the best thing about the Artique is that it stays open later than almost anything at LIB. Starting at 4AM each night, the Fronteirville stage would close and remaining patrons of the Artique would shuffle into the Poison Oak Hotel Lounge for the remainder of the evening. What you would find there was a jazz quartet ready and waiting to swing you through the rest of the night, and trust me they were playing their hearts out even if it was for less than 20 people.
3. After-hours surprises
As stated above after-hours was full of post-party fun, but this year LIB stepped up their game and added every festie’s two favorite words to several parts of the schedule “secret guest”. All throughout the weekend secret guests would play the after-hours stages and all throughout the weekend those secret guests would mean business. (Sacha Robotti Sunrise Set anyone?)
The term “future bass” has been getting thrown around more and more often in the electronic music scene. So what does it mean? In my experience “future bass” refers to any bass driven sounds that doesn’t neatly fit the description of “dubstep” or “trap” or any other subgenre that has been readily established. LIB’s lineup included more than a few artists from this umbrella (G Jones vs Minnesota, Bleep Bloop), but the most impressive without a doubt was EPROM. Where as the other future bass artists stand out by approaching trap or dubstep in a funkier way, EPROM simply takes bass and turns it into his bitch. The things he does to the low frequencies were unrivaled by anyone on the lineup and continue to be unrivaled in the entire scene.
5. Chet Faker x2
Anyone who’s been to LIB could tell you that the musicians they book are booked for a reason. Other than trying to (mostly) avoid expected festival headliners, an LIB lineup demonstrates the versatility of electronic music and there are few artists who do that better than Chet Faker. Performing a solo set in 2014, Chet made his return to LIB with a bang by not only closing out MainStage with his full band, but by spinning an after-hours DJ set at the Temple as well. I was only able to catch part of his live set because Guy Gerber was teleporting the Woogie to a new dimension at the same time, but it was nothing short of amazing like the 4 other times I’ve seen him before. His DJ set though was something special. Anyone familiar with Chet’s music knows of his fondness for effects, and his DJ set combined that fondness with another fondness he has regularly referred to: techno. At the beginning of his set, the Temple was filled wall to wall with seated individuals waiting on Chet like they were waiting on a TED talk, but after a few minutes of swirling sounds around by twisting nobs, the beat dropped and no one was sitting anymore.
I first discovered the jazzy inclinations a few months prior to LIB 2015, and one of the first things I thought upon leaving was “Elderbrook needs to play here”. Well in 2016 he did, and even though he cut his set short by 20 minutes, the 30 minutes he played before were just as funky as ever.
7. Flow Toys Cart
Flow toys may be omnipresent at festivals like this but not every festival is blessed with the Flow Toys cart a.k.a. a mobile cart that is pushed around from stage to stage to give people the opportunity to try new light-up toys while they enjoy the party. Seriously it can’t be beat.
Four Tet is my favorite electronic musician of all time, and the Woogie is one of my favorite places ever to experience house music, but there was still a part of me that was most excited about seeing &ME. Don’t get me wrong I loved Four Tet’s set (see below) but after seeing &ME at the Dirtybird Campout last year two things became apparent. 1. This guy’s a monster, and 2. his style is perfect for the Woogie. This year the DJ wasn’t standing within a tree so it was quite the primitive setting as I expected, but &ME’s flare for eerie percussive techno was still a match made in heaven for the trippy trees of the Woogie. Plus, &ME was so about the Woogie I saw him partying in there with everyone for Four Tet’s slot.
9. Four Tet
Maybe I didn’t mention that Four Tet is my favorite electronic musician of all time? Well he is. The thing about a Four Tet DJ set though is that he is not a house DJ like pretty much everyone else booked at the Woogie. He has produced exquisite house, techno, and IDM tracks throughout his career of nearly 20 years, but his discography extends very far beyond that. When I saw him at the Shrine a few weeks earlier he would play house, then 70’s funk, then some hip-hop, there really wasn’t any kind of restriction on what he felt like playing. Because of this I was interested to see how he would adapt his style to the Woogie. As expected, he adapted it perfectly. Taking his unique style and flavor that is present in all his music, he blessed the Woogie with some of the (for lack of a better word) coolest music I have ever heard complete with a jazz piano break. Let’s just say when I turned my phone on Monday night and read his tweets I wasn’t surprised that he was absolutely loving LIB while he was there. Plus he gave me a high five on the bridge.