LIB Showcases New Talent: 9 Best Sets from Lightning in a Bottle
Burning Man's little cousin is growing up fast. This year's installment of The Do Lab's Lightning in a Bottle featured major headliners, bigger sound systems, and a lot more people: all atop a sprawling terrain of dusty, rolling hills. The massive new site provided a sanctuary for a small city of artists and musicians; evenly situated in between the Bay Area and LA this year, the location resulted in a affectionate fusion of the two vastly different cultures. LIB moved North and with that its culture shifted demonstrably from the fashion show that is LA's Coachella to the free-spirited moonfest that is the Playa. Did I mention it was dusty?
With main stage sound staying on until 2 in the morning, artists were afforded extended sets - every Woogie Stage artist from morning to night got two hours to control the dancefloor. This is especially unique in an era where headliners are held to 60-90 minute sets at most festivals, limiting them to a series of hits. In a chat with Adventure Clubat Coachella, they talked about how they wished they could use part of their set to experiment. Robot Heart enthusiasts were happy to see that Lee Burridge got the 3 hours that he truly thrives in. After 2am brought a Silent Disco and some wonderful Drift and Ditch sunrise sets from the likes of Desert Dwellers and Random Rab. The Do Lab's commitment to fusing art, community, and music provided morning yoga sets at the Temple of Consciousness to wake up the body and spirit after long nights of dancing.
The stages were monuments this year. The peaks of the Lightning Stage towered over the edge of a hillside overlooking a dancefloor with a spectacular view of the sunset amidst the mountain range. The dust-coated Bamboo Stage was a haze of funky dancing that resembled a tribe of monkeys celebrating the construction of their bamboo castle. Lasers stretched out across the dance floor resembling a fireworks show in the trees. Always a fan favorite, the Woogie stage provided a late night hotspot for getting down. Draped in multicolored fabrics and swirling lasers, the kaleidoscopic tree house that has long been a symbol of The Do Lab's visual creativity boasted a powerful yet crispy Pure Groove sound system that's premiering at its first major American festival.
Check out our favorite moments through photographs here.
Friday Night at the Bamboo Stage brought a bittersweet set from Ryan Hemsworth. From his dreamy rainy-day EP Still Awake to working with Oakland rapper 100s, Hemsworth shows incredible versitility. His melancholy bedroom melodies fall into a similar mood as Cyril Hahn's misty Say My Name remix or Cashmere Cat's Secrets + Lies. In fact, Cashmere closed down the same stage Saturday night (read on to hear more about that). Hemsworth's low rumbling bass and 808-reminiscent rhythms draw clear inspiration from '90s hip-hop, but the mood is despondent rather than swaggering.
Few things are better than climbing into a treehouse and listening to Dirtybird all afternoon. The Woogie dancefloor Saturday afternoon was packed as misters sprayed down the dust and heat as the sun began to dip over Lightning Stage in the distance. Fusing tech house and greasy beats, Phlip's unique twist on the Dirtybird sound has been developing tremendously over the last few years. The crowd wished her a very happy birthday.
Sunday's sunset brought Chet Faker at the Lightning Stage. His debut album Built on Glass just dropped last month to incredible success. As the golden light of the magic hour fell across the dancefloor he crooned the infectious "1998," to the swaying crowd. Sweater Beats sat backstage listening in and far in the back of the dancefloor a gathering of people sat on the hill to watch the sun dip below the mountains.
The Polish Ambassador knows how to put on a show. Kicking off the festival friday afternoon, a crew of jumpsuit-clad dancers spun around on stage with grins as David mixed Too $hort with his eclectic trip-hop. There was an irresistible connection between the dancers on stage and the audience. The bubbling happiness mixed with the actual bubbles floating over the crowd.
The Dirtybird King threw down on Woogie's rumbling speakers to close out Friday night. Midnight to late provided a colorful cocktail of dancers as the bearded giant dropped tracks from his latest album Urban Animal, Justin Martin's Ghettos & Gardens, and a collection of tracks from his travels to Berlin and beyond.
The Bamboo Stage Saturday night hosted an incredible lineup that began with GoldRush. As the sun went down and the lights went up, people kicked and spun in the dust to complex and funky beats. He's a pleasure to watch perform, animated in his golden hood and while flicking knobs and faders. The last time I saw him he was setting off flamethrowers from the cockpit of a crashed airplane, its 100 ft wingspan filled with speakers and the cockpit cut open to reveal a row of Pioneer CDJs. His live sets involve him bouncing and grinding to the music as he moans rap lyrics over glitchy, bass-heavy beats.
Twinkling melodies, 2 Chainz, and future bass all come together for the orchestral experience that is a Cashmere Cat set. His music transcends dancefloor vibration to an exquisite mix of emotional pleasure and cerebral expression. Anyone who has spent some time behind decks will be entranced by his use of scintillating notes over heavy Oakland hip-hop. Just listen to these tracks.
The biggest surprise of LIB was the fervor of Tokimonsta's set. Late Sunday night, she threw down a mix that drew on every influence imaginable: from Schoolboy Q to Marvin Gay to Chris Malinchak she mastered the decks for what seemed like an endless blend of pop culture references and passionate samples. We're going to be seeing a lot more of this woman: do not miss her next time she comes through your city.
#1: What So Not
The icing on the cake following Tokimonsta Sunday night was a heavy, sexy jungle vibe from Emoh of What So Not. Together with Flume he's been producing some huge hits lately: but beyond the Jaguar trap song and "Tell Me" with RL Grime, this duo have been rising to the forefront of the Australian wave. Sporting a funky mohawk and bathed in pink and purple lights, Emoh whipped the crowd into a frenzy as lasers split the rising blend of dust and fog into rainbow clouds.
See you on the dancefloor,
Notes and assistance provided by Aya Cataldo