Last year I went to Lightning in a Bottle for the first time (alone, met up with a few friends but went stag the majority of the time), and before the second day had finished had fallen head over heels in love with it. Leaving the festival last year I felt a level of rejuvenation and excessive amount of happiness that I had never before experienced from past festivals I had attended. It took me about a month to realize it, but LIB had become my new favorite festival. So naturally, I told everybody; my friends, my family, my classmates, even my teachers! My closest friends all believed me so much that it was decided months ago that we would all attend LIB together the next year, and that’s exactly what we did.
Coming to LIB for my second year I was even more excited knowing that I’d be surrounded by closest acquaintances. But I wasn’t so excited for myself, I was more so thrilled to see how much they would all love it, and just as suspected, they all fell head over heels in love with LIB as well…
Lightning in a Bottle 2016, being in its 11th year of existence, absolutely blew me away yet again. It’s not the lineup or the stage production that makes Lightning in a Bottle the happiest place on Earth, but the people that inhabit it. Never have I been to a festival where the attendees are more friendly, caring, and welcoming to everyone around them than those who come to LIB. From the moment I arrived, there was this enormous sense of togetherness and unity coupled with an overwhelming amount of happiness that flooded throughout the campgrounds all weekend long.
One of my favorite things about LIB is the beautifully wacky fashion sense that has become such a prominent part of the festival’s being. For years now one of my main mottos in life has been “weird is good”. Well at LIB people couldn’t agree more. It is this weirdness that helps me to feel so at home when I’m at LIB. I had the immense pleasure of meeting a multitude of beautiful souls throughout the weekend. Here’s some pictures I captured to show just a few of them:
Returning to Lake San Antonio in Bradley, California, LIB’s 2016 lineup boasted some of its biggest acts to date. Headliners like Chet Faker and Grimes topped the list of what turned out to be a far more instrumentally influenced lineup than the previous year. The Lightning Stage played host to all the festival’s headliners; artists like Jamie XX and Moderat. As usual, the Woogie got down to some of house music’s most talented and legendary players, such as Guy Gerber. But being a writer/photographer at The Electronic Current who’s weekly post is titled Filthy Friday, I could not deny the inner force that constantly pulled me towards the bass blasting Thunder stage.
This is where I watched all of my favorite sets of the weekend. Where I laughed and smiled and hugged more than any of place all weekend. And this is where I left my heart until next Memorial Day Weekend. My heart belongs and forever lays at the Thunder Stage. The incredible beauty of this magnificent stage also plays a huge role in festival attendees’ health and safety during the day light hours of the festival with its large colorful tapestries. At night, a flurry of just the right amount of lasers, smoke machines and LED’s turn the cave like stage into what feels like a time locked sensory overload capsule for drunk, sober, and wired bass heads. The vast majority of my favorite sets from the weekend were performed on this stage, and next I will depict of a few of my favorites in chronological order.
The first musical artist I saw on Friday was the hybrid-trap producing LIB freshman, Ekali. This Vancouver native has been tearing up festivals all around the country so far this year, including an incredible set at Coachella in April where he destroyed the DoLaB stage. After listening to his Coachella set a few times coming into LIB, my excitement for his performance was boiling over, and oh boy did he deliver! Nathan Shaw, stage name Ekali, absolutely crushed his debut LIB performance, dropping all sorts of bass music heaters one after another. Trap, future bass, and even dubstep, he was really all over the place, but constantly stayed in the realm of all things heavy! Much to my satisfaction, I noticed that he played at least three RL Grime tracks, and also mixed in the new Infuze edit of the classic Baauer “Roll Up” remix for Flosstradamus. In all, it was the perfect way to start a weekend of head banging and hoof pounding at the glorious Thunder Stage.
Before LIB, I had been dying to see Mija for what felt like years and years. I had been at a few festivals where I had the opportunity to see her, but never ended up making it happen. This made me even more thrilled knowing that at LIB 2016 I would finally be able to see my favorite female DJ/producer. This outrageously talented Owsla artist has made a name for herself by performing extremely diverse sets; sets ranging all over the musical spectrum. From dubstep and house, to metal and reggae, I have never heard a more tastefully assorted electronic set in my entire life. Coupled with her outrageously cute smile, and the easily visible passion she poured into her set, Mija’s set was another one of my favorites for the weekend.
Coming into LIB I didn’t know too many Space Jesus songs, nor had I ever really seen his name on many festivals I’d been to. But as a steady member of the Basshead Community, I knew his early afternoon set was not one that I could miss. Playing an assortment of some of the gooiest, grimiest and downright filthiest dubstep I have ever heard, Jasha Tull showed me a side of bass music I had never before experienced in a live setting. Throughout his set Tull was consistently moving around on stage, head banging and rocking along with his music. And despite the scorching heat, almost the entire audience reciprocated; participating in that ancient and sacred ritual we call dancing. Space Jesus really had that crowd feeling spiritual.
G Jones b2b Minnesota
Later that night, my favorite set of the weekend took place. Having just seen them perform a b2b set in Santa Cruz a few months back, I didn’t expect to be wowed too much by G Jones and Minnesota. I kind of expected to hear the same set once over. Wow did they prove me wrong. As a glorious two headed musical monster, the two of them slayed the Thunder Stage together, shaking the Earth with electrocuting bass music, then quickly soothing our souls with some sweet, sweet harmonic synths. Back and forth, back and forth it went throughout the entire set. G Jones focusing on the heavier side, and Minnesota representing the more melodic bass-music.
Though I am still unsure if it was planned or not, towards the very end of the set, a couple dozen people flooded the stage, turning it from a concert into a party . Artists, photographers and groupies alike. Immediately thereafter, madness ensued. The crowd erupted with excitement. This is a moment I will never forget.
After their headlining set, a few friends of mine conveyed to me whispers they had heard of a secret G Jones and Minnesota afterhours set hidden somewhere in one the campsites. In spite of the hallucinogens, and two previous days of mind melting sun, we managed to find our way to a tiny tent in Bass Camp, just big enough to fit three normal sized cars, or perhaps a small boat. We stumbled into what would be the most intimate set I had ever witnessed in my life. When we arrived around 2:30am, Space Jesus was spinning, as if he had never stopped earlier the previous day. After a while, G Jones and Minnesota jumped on the decks, mixing beats for no more than about thirty of us bass hungry festies until about 4am. It was truly a night to remember.
Nearly my entire campsite and I were most excited for this Oakland based duo coming into the weekend. The unique and intriguing musical style that Dimond Saints produces is captured perfectly in the masks that they wear on stage. With their matching black hoodies, they looked like two aliens impersonating human beings, trying to communicate with us through the only media they knew we can understand, bass music. Featuring three special guests, a seven piece live instrument set up and a horn section to top it off, Dimond Saints really pulled out all the stops on this show. The insane amount of energy they poured out through the crowd was unlike anything I had felt all weekend. When it ended, all I could do was stand there, babbling and begging for more.
Ugh. Is it LIB 2017 yet?