Well, Day 2 of Snowball Music Festival 2013 did a hell of a lot more than live up to Day 1. After a day full of trap, drum and bass, dub, and Pretty Lights, the only question I have is: Why isn’t this festival sold out? Here’s a summary of the day’s events.
Luminox was scheduled to start at 3, but ran into some trouble. After about 20 minutes, a local group called “Gangsters on Acid” came out and rapped over EDM, which was basically my cue to check out the heat lounge and live ice sculptures. Festivals are completely different than concerts in that they offer an experience that goes far beyond the music, and SnowBall is no different. Solid vibes throughout. I got back to the Groove Tent, Luminox’s stage, to see that the technical difficulties had been solved. It was hard to form an opinion of his set. It was pretty on/off, with one solid track followed by a merely so-so one, and little continuity. Some highlights were a remix of Original Don, Bauuer’s ‘Higher,’ and ‘I Run This.’
Run DMT was up next, and he was incredible. The crowd went wild as he opened with his remix of ‘Jah No Partial,’ followed by DnB. Working his way through several genres seamlessly, his set brought up memories of Minnesota, a very filthy Minnesota. Heavy hip-hop influences could be felt throughout, in the best possible way. After dropping tracks from Dirtyphonics, Dillon Francis, and of course originals like ‘Drop Top,’ he went into a terrific trap section. It was perfectly ridiculous, as trap should be. My favorite part of the set came when he dropped DJ Sneak’s ‘Bird Machine,’ possibly one of the weirdest songs out there. It was probably one of my favorite sets of the festival thus far. Run DMT is definitely a name to watch in the coming years.
We now had a bit of time before Shlohmo‘s set, so we caught the end of Mo’ Rockin, who played some very chill, layered trap. The tent quickly filled up for Shlohmo, and he opened up with his unique brand of electronic hip-hop. It was one of the smoothest sets I’ve seen, with seamless transitions taking the crowd through glitch, trap, and even deep house. He really got the crowd moving with a remix of RL Grime, then dropped Bauuer and an RL Grime original back-to-back. Shlohmo was the perfect performer, humble and grateful throughout. He closed things off with RL Grime’s ‘Mercy’ remix, ending one of the best-flowing sets of the night.
TEED was up next in the groove tent, for good reason. He played an incredible set of groovy deep house that not only got the crowd moving from side to side, but up and down on the icy floor. Singing, and playing the keyboard while DJ’ing, Orlando Higginbottom had incredible stage presence, reinforced by two dancers clad in black and wearing dino tails. Playing hits like ‘Garden’ ‘Household Goods,’ and ‘Tapes and Money,’ TEED was far and away the best deep house act I’ve seen. By the end, the crowd was off of its feet, and Datsik was up next.
Datsik has come a long way in the past couple of years, and at SnowBall, it showed. He took the stage with the swagger of a headliner, and dropped some serious bass on a crowd thirsty for something edgy. Opening up with some new tracks, then dropping a massive trap/dub remix of ‘Animale,’ he transformed the entire tent into a giant ‘friendly’ moshpit, with everyone jumping around. Probably 75% of his set was trap, which was a bit overkill, but it really didn’t matter in the end, it was so good. Besides, the bass was so heavy that most of the dub sounded like trap anyway. Some highlights included Datsik and Bassnectar’s ‘Yes,’ ‘Firepower,’ and the trap remix of ‘Swagger.’ He also surprised me by dropping SBTRKT’s ‘Wildfire,’ which fit in surprisingly well. All in all, his set gave Day 2 the kick it needed. I took off 40 minutes in to head to Pretty Lights.
I’m going to start this section with a disclaimer: Pretty Lights is my favorite artist. That being said, I’m pretty sure the entire crowd would agree with the statement that his set was out of this world. Opening up with a new track before heading into the DnB drop of “A Million Tomorrows,” Pretty Lights proved why he’s blown up this year. I saw him in September, and just in that short span his live show has improved incredibly. With a monster light show, perfectly EQ’d speakers, and vibes that only PLM can bring, Derek Vincent Smith had the crowd in the palms of his hands. His shows are like no other EDM act: instead of focusing on transitions and trying to build energy by slowly increasing BPM throughout, he focuses on the tracks themselves, often playing songs all the way through. He opened with DnB, then went into dubstep, electrofunk, and hip-hop. Normally, this would be backwards, but due to the incredible, warm synths and what can only be described as PL vibes, his set just kept going higher and higher. He played at least 6 tracks of his upcoming album, and judging by those tracks, it’ll be his best yet. Some highlights from his set were ‘I Can See It In Your Face,’ ‘Sunday School,’ ‘Finally Moving,’ and ‘Hot Like Sauce.’ He dropped ‘I Know The Truth’ while fireworks exploded above in the night sky, lighting up the snow-covered mountains (it had snowed that morning). Then, ending it “with some love,” PL let ‘We Must Go On’ play out, thanking the crowd. It was the perfect end to day 2, and set a ridiculous standard for STS9 tonight.
To summarize: SnowBall continued to top all expectations. Why this festival doesn’t sell out in days, or hours, I have no idea. Day 3 is up next, and after the first two days, greatness is expected.
Here’s a fan-submitted video of STS9 performing at Snowball 2013!