Continued from Electric Forest Festival, Day 2.
By Saturday morning, nearly all weather-related fears had been dissolved. More than 24 hours had passed with no precipitation and the sun was shining bright. The treacherous mud pits scattered across festival grounds were well on their way to drying up. It was time for the three S’s of festivaling to return: sunblock, skirts, and sunglasses.
The Electric Forest was laid back and lazy on Saturday afternoon. Easy-listening filled the concert grounds (Keller Williams, REO Speedwagon, The Ragbirds), but a lot of campers stayed home to relax and hide from the sun.
A seven-piece funk band named Lettuce played an evening show just before String Cheese’s Saturday night performance (the third and fourth of six sets over the course of the weekend). Lettuce, formed at the Berklee College of Music in Boston nearly 20 years ago, comes from a varied background of jazz influences across seven musicians. Even in the heat of a setting sun, the band played everything from hard, Primus-like funk to silky, emotive jazz and jam. Upon conclusion of their final song, the band thanked the crowd and added, “See you at Skrillex!”
The Forest Stage filled with ragers around 8 p.m. who had come to see SuperDre. The Michigan native was performing her second set of the weekend, this time in a better timeslot (not opposite Tiesto). The smaller, cozy stage was full and the people dancing were responsive to Super Dre’s rhythmic trance music. Half way through her set, a crowd-pleasing drop finally kicked things into gear and the audience got amped. SuperDre’s progressive, tribal beats paired with an odd, twilight ambience effectively transported us to a jungle-like atmosphere- including bizarre, neon colored wire art that hung in the tress above our heads and distant cries of forest play that echoed through the woods.
With so many contenders to choose from, it’s not often that I’m able to pick a favorite show at a music festival. But at The Electric Forest, it was hands down Big Gigantic. The Colorado-based livetronica duo played a 75-minute set, but the last 30 of them were scheduled opposite the all-mighty Bassnectar. This meant a tighter, more-dedicated crowd for the show’s closing, a sentiment I was happy to elect in lieu of an over-crowded field of Bass Heads . The “tronica” piece of the band comes from Dominic Lalli’s meticulous productions, while his own colorful saxophone jams and Jeremy Salken’s agile drumming complete the “live” portion. Crunchy dupstep is a plentiful, unmistakable characteristic of their sound but, perfectly balanced by live sax and drums, it’s just as accessible (and tolerable) to the jam community with underdeveloped robot ears.
If there’s any one main-stream electronic artist that I will shamelessly admit a fixation on, it’s Skrillex. Mimicking Wakarusa’s schedule, The Electric Forest gave the twenty-three year-old dubstep prodigy a post-Bassnectar, 2:15 a.m. set. The Tripolee Stage quickly filled in with ragers ready to get their womp on who danced with unmatchable vigor. Shoulder-to-shoulder and packed tighter than sardines, temperatures at ground level began to climb, so I made habit of raising my clenched fist into the air, if for no other reason than for much-needed reassurance that it wasn’t really as overwhelmingly hot as it felt in the sweaty mass of people.
12th Planet closed out a wicked night of music in the Wagon Wheel, that curiously out-of-place stage inside of a barn on the property's southeast end. In similar fashion to the mob of people migrating from Bassnectar to Skrillex, the same group of dubsteppers drifted together to the final performance of the night. I opted not go, completely drained from three days of rage and Skrill's banger of a set. Compacting myself inside of a hot, sticky, smelly barn for another hour was not high on my priority list and I turned in for the night.
One more day to go.
Continue to Electric Forest Festival, Day 4.