(4 / 5)
Calvin Harris, Zedd, KSHMR, Yung Bae, Snakehips, Generik and more succeed at mesmerizing the crowd at BITEC’s electronic music festival
It may have been a music festival with one stage, but the chilled industrial venue allowed an openness that allowed the crowd freedom and an accessibility to the surrounding space. Those in costume stood out easily and set a sci-fi fantasy feel. The guy in the teddy bear suit had pastel bracelets stacked on his wrists, a woman wore a clear rain poncho trailed in lights, and an older woman rocked an oversized bedazzled jersey as a dress!
Friday night’s headliners were Generik and Calvin Harris, Saturday night’s included KSHMR and Zedd, and Sunday night wrapped up with Perto, Yung Bae, Snakehips, and Skrillex.
As a massive Florence and the Machine fan myself, I was surprised to hear Calvin Harris perform at least three of the Florence Welch remixes. I couldn’t help but gleam with respect at the connection the DJ must have to the singer’s music, and I found these vocals as well as others like Rihanna’s, added soul to the electronic music. I found all of the DJ’s had different styles of visuals, and Calvin’s differed by featuring images of cells and the brain that gave the music this same depth. As I stood in the front row, I could physically feel my body vibrating to the pulse of the music as our heartbeats synchronized and everything at once came together.
KSHMR’s visuals were quite different than Calvin’s and seemed to transform the venue into a cinema between songs. It had a storyline and an intensity that matched the vibe of the music and pulled everyone towards the stage.
The most playful of the festival definitely goes to Zedd. This classically trained musician and DJ turned heads. He used various techniques when transitioning between songs. One that baffled me the most, was the abrupt stopping of the fast-paced “Starving” before opening slowly and regrowing the energy in the following song. Acoustic piano chords in Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” exuded a surprisingly raw emotion that shifted the mood once again. Sometimes he would loop a beat continuously and you’d have no idea what was coming next. Was he going to boost the tempo? Was he going to play a crowd favorite? I already felt like I was on a roller coaster even before the “Beautiful Now” visuals appeared, which looked as if we were moving on a 3D ride through bright blue vines. This song would not get out of my head for days!
A young DJ/producer from Sydney by the name of Perto impressed me the most. His style and aesthetic were more geared toward the hip hop world of music and the energy he generated to the crowd was unlike any other performer.
Yung Bae’s funkier and seemingly simpler style made for a more relaxed and groovy feel, making us all feel as if we’d stepped into a time machine. There was more sampling of brass and string instruments as well as the remixed throwbacks such as Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September”. There was an overall lighter and happy-go-lucky feel among the crowd.
Snakehips use of Post Malone’s “Wow” was absolutely genius. Though I’ve heard this song hundreds of times, it went on unrecognized for a few seconds. Once I suddenly distinguished the melody, I witnessed the cleverness of this duo and how they could transform one of the most popular songs of 2018, and this spoke for the rest of their set as well. This moment was one of my favorites.
On Sunday night, as the crowd grew to its biggest size of the entire festival, the excitement grew and the bass was cranked up for Skrillex. Even near the back of the crowd, I could feel the bass resonating through my body. His signature three vertical stripes were visible for most of the set and as he played on and the crowd’s support for him become more apparent, I started to feel like it was more of a cult symbol than anything. He was the only DJ to feature the live crowd on the big screen as well!
During his “Summer” remix, he paused the music for a second to change the lyrics as he shouted, “We fell in love with the Bangkok crowd”. Fans were pleased that he stayed true to his roots sticking to his classic dub step style, mixing and overlapping popular melodies over one another to create something of his own. At one point he started with a slow pulse with which he slowly increased the tempo beat by beat, this got the crowd going and all of our hearts pumping. After performing “Bangarang”, the festival came to a close, he stood up on the DJ stand and waved the flag of Thailand while a police siren wailed on.
Thanks again to 808 Festival for the experience!
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