Here it is – my first rave for 2012 and one of the best parties all year! After thinking I was going to miss out, I scored tickets at the last minute, and was totally psyched to be heading back to the Gelredome again. It is such a great venue with huge crowds and a great setup. I had really high expectations after Qlimax last year and the lineup was amazing. All my fave artists, playing together in groups, plus four live sets. Keen does not even begin to describe my excitement that day.
We arrives at the Gelredome, headed straight to VIP, and got straight in thanks to no line. We headed right to the lockers, donned my fluffies and candy, grabbed some merch, and got ready to party. Unfortunately, the set up was different to Qlimax, so the entire upper level was general admission. This meant we had no private bathrooms or bars, so we went early and decided it wasn’t worth going again that night, or we’d risk missing all the fun. We headed inside to see the setup that awaited. We went straight to the VIP viewing deck, which thankfully did have its own bar, to take some shots of the stage and the crowd that was pouring in.
DJ Beholder was having a baby, so DJ Balistic filled in to open the night. We caught the very end of his set as we entered the hall. The stage was set up with a large pod in the centre above the decks with hard bass written on it, that displayed images of the djs playing throughout the night, with a large ring of lights above it. There were two giant display pillars on either side, that projected an amazing range of patterns and pictures and dominated the stage. There were banks of lights all around the stage, and further down the hall to light up the crowd. The B2S symbol was lit up at the back of the room, and there were square lantern shaped light columns hanging from the roof throughout the room.
We watched the intro to Team Yellow from the viewing deck, with the voice over unlocking sound modules and releasing the colour code into cylinders. I love the colour coded teams theme for the event, and the whole room lit up yellow as the cylinders were filled with yellow liquid displays as numbers flashed on the display screens and the lanterns lit up around the room. The DJs were announced and their pictures flashed up on the columns as fireworks shot out of the stage and were released from the lanterns in the ceiling, dropping down toward the mass of people below. I was really looking forward to seeing Brennan Heart, Toneshifterz & Wildstylez playing together. I think what makes Hard Bass such a unique and incredible event is seeing these DJs play together, sharing their love of the music with each other and the crowd. Individually they are all fantastic DJs, but together they play at a whole new level. I was not disappointed.
After the intro, we quickly headed to the front and centre to really be a part of it all. The crowd had started off a little quiet, since the room was only half full at the start of their set, but it didn’t take long to get everyone going. Wildstylez opened with Back 2 Basics, which was a perfect start to the night. These guys dropped so many popular tunes, one after another with seamless mixes as always, that really got the crowd pumping. They played so many of my favourite tracks that I cannot possibly list them all. Some highlights were definitely Wildstylez – I See Stars, which had everyone singing along, flowing into Code Black vs. Toneshifterz ft. S-Dee – Get Your Hands Up & Party Down (Mashup) which got everyone clapping their hands and starting to dance hard. Brennan Heart followed with the Hard Bass Tool that really got us all bouncing. Everyone loves Noisecontrollers – So High, and Jaydee got everyone started singing their ‘doo-doos’ and ‘bap-bas’. It was thrilling to see all the DJs singing and fist-pumping, batting their hands along with the beat. Sometimes I swear they were having more fun than the crowd.
It was great to hear Code Black & Wasted Penguinz – Activated, one of my favourite new tracks, and MC DV8 really came into his own, getting the crowd to sing along to Zany Feat. MC DV8 – Break Away (Wildstylez Remix?) and Running Late (Brennan Heart & Code Black MF Earthquake Rawmix / Original Mix). Headhunterz & Wildstylez Vs. Noisecontrollers – Tonight (Alpha² Remix) got the whole crowd jumping as one, moving their hands back and forth in time with the music. I have seen DJs overuse this move with the crowd throughout the last year, but in this track it was perfect, and they thankfully only did it a couple of times throughout the night. They finished with Toneshifterz – Elektro Shock Your Mind (Mashup), Brennan Heart – Just As Easy & Reputation Game & ? (Mashup), Brennan Heart & Wildstylez – Lose My Mind (Dub Edit) which are all great tracks to sing along to, especially with all these DJs playing together on stage at the same time, and the surprise they had in store for us. As the set was coming to a close, Brennan Heart grabbed the mike to announce that Mr Just as Easy himself was making an appearance to sing. Although we were a bit out of time with the music, we had a great time singing along to Just as Easy and Lose My Mind, one of the biggest tracks of 2011. All of the DJs and MCs were going crazy, nearly jumping off the stage, dancing on the decks, hugging each other and fist-pumping like mad. It is so great to see their camaraderie and love for the music, celebrating the success of their tunes with the whole crowd and each other.
So with that great start to the night, we waited for The Pitcher‘s live set. I have really enjoyed watching him play last year, I don’t think I’ve seen any other DJ who loves the music as much as him. He always plays with a huge smile on his face, bap-baaing along to every beat, and has released some great tracks in the last year. He opened with The Pitcher – I Just Can’t Stop (2012 Re-Amp)
02. The Pitcher Feat. Slim Shore – This Is Who We Are (Hard Bass Edit/Re-Amp) which was a brilliant opening to continue the whole crowd singing along, and jumped up on the decks to guide the crowd along. He was playing from decks set further back and higher up on the stage and must have had a great view of the whole room from up there. In the middle of his set, he played The Pitcher & Slim Shore – I’m Alive (Hard Bass Outro Edit) and The Pitcher Feat. Szen – Let It Rain (Original Mix), two of his latest tracks that I totally love, followed by The Pitcher – Ain’t Nobody (Re-Amp), another great track to sing and dance to. He finished with The Pitcher – Kick It To The Bone (Hard Bass Edit). It was really cool to hear him play some more raw sounds that I hadn’t heard much of from him before. This was a great build up to Team Red.
Again the voice over announced they were downloading sound and unlocking the colour red, lighting up the whole stage and columns with a red glow. The columns lit up with a red, bloood-like liquid filling them, and the lasers made their first appearance. More fireworks shot across the stage from left to right and back again. Coone & Deepack & Luna with D-Block & S-te-Fan were announced, with their pictures displayed on the columns, as they jumped out from behind the decks. D-Block and S-te-Fan stayed on the stage although they were playing a live set later, supporting the others and enjoying the atmosphere. They opened with Team Red – The Final Curtain Intro which was a weird, badly sung version of Frank Sinatra’s My Way. Gratefully, it was over quickly and led into Josh & Wesz – DSTRCTN (ZR’Z CN’T TCH THS DT)
and Coone Feat. Nikkita – Big Bad Monstah (Qlimax DJ Tool), one of Coone’s best songs. I love this mix from Qlimax, it really adds to the original with a harder kick and the intro including wolf sounds to create atmosphere. The crowd went wild, singing along to the melody as loud as they could, when they dropped Code Black – Red Planet (Original Mix), one of the best new tracks out. It was awesome to see them play E-Force & Luna – Evolved, Coone – Beat On My Drum, and Frontliner & Deepack – Move 2 Thiz (Original Mix). They were all so full of joy, nearly bouncing higher than the decks as they got the crowd moving with their own sounds. The room was now packed and the room went off when they played Crypsis – Gangsta Shit. They finished with Zany & Ran-D Feat. Nikkita – Son Of Torture (Original Mix), which was a fantastic end to the set with a song that everyone always goes mental to. I was surprised they played it, since Ran-D was playing later, but still really glad they did, as the crowd was screaming along.
Next up was D-Block & S-te-Fan Live and I was so excited to see them. They have so many brilliant songs, and they are the only DJs I hadn’t seen live yet since arriving in Holland, but they blew my mind at Magic City in Australia in 2011. They started with D-Block & S-te-Fan – Loopmachine (Hard Bass Edit),Take Me There and D-Block & S-te-Fan Vs. Deepack – The Dream Goes On (Hard Bass Edit). These were all great tracks to keep the crowd amped up and continue the excitement from the previous sets. I loved D-Block & S-te-Fan – Rockin Ur Mind (Hard Bass Edit) and D-Block & S-te-Fan Vs. Nero – Promises (Bootleg), singing along at the top of my lungs with the rest of crowd. It was really starting to warm up in the pit, especially with the flame throwers on stage going off regularly. Luckily we had positioned ourselves directly under one of the giant lanterns on the roof, which occasionally let out huge jets of cool air directly down onto us. This was such a relief and gave us the air we needed to keep on going. They finished with D-Block & S-te-Fan Feat. MC Villain – Sound Of Thunder (Hard Bass Edit), Our Music, and D-Block & S-te-Fan & Zatox – Madhouse (Hard Bass Edit), really going out with a bang. I couldn’t believe how quickly time was flying, especially with the short live sets at the end of each team, and couldn’t wait for the next line-up.
Team Green was on next and their intro was spectacular. The columns lit up with eerie lines of green and all the lasers flashed momentarily. The voice over announced maximum frequency, then a circular pattern of light moved from the centre of the stage outwards, as the lasers came into full effect, counting up to 8000 cycles per minute, with the whirring noise building as the lasers circled faster and became brighter and more intense. Finally, the columns filled with green liquid and Headhunterz & Zatox & Psyko Punkz were announced. I was really looking forward to this set, as I listen to Hard With Style every month, and it has been inspiring to see Headhunterz develop into the artist he wants to be, culminating in his tribute to Skyrim, Dragonborn, which I couldn’t wait to hear live. Zatox had an epic set at Qlimax, and his anthem was one of the best tracks released last year, and Psyko Punkz are always fun to watch, with such high energy and many classic sounds.
They opened with Headhunterz – Eternalize (Hard Bass 2012 Anthem) which we had all been waiting to hear. This is such a fantastic anthem with its unique sounds and crazy builds, and the whole crowd was amped, singing along to the melody as loud as they could. He of course followed with Dragonborn, and it was a pleasure to see his face light up as the crowd sang along. Zatox followed with No Way Back (Qlimax Anthem 2011) which I can never get tired of, then Psyko Punkz played DJ Isaac – On The Edge (Psyko Punkz Remix), which really got the whole crowd moving. In the middle they played Psyko Punkz – Beyond Belief (Official Reverze Anthem 2012), Psyko Soldier and Headhunterz vs. Psyko Punkz – Disrespect. It was definitely a highlight of the night to see Headhunterz and Psyko Punkz at the front of the stage singing along, play fighting and shooting each other. The beats kept building and getting more intense, working the crowd into a frenzy. Finally, they finished with Psyko Punkz – Pull Your Strings (2010 Remix), Tatanka & Zatox Pres. Wild Motherfuckers – Hard Bass,
and Headhunterz – Headshot. With the lasers going wild and fireworks and cold air shooting out of the lanterns into the crowd again, it was a really exciting end.
Next up was Frontliner Live to finish off Team Green. He opened with Frontliner – Dreamdust, clapping his hands in time with the crowd. I love watching everyone’s hands shoot up into the air to this song, many moving their fingers along with the melody like a conductor. He also played Technoboy – Rage (Frontliner Remix), one of the best songs this year. Seriously, it’s just brilliant. He also played You Want It and Whatever! which are great tracks to dance hard to. The lasers were really being used to their full effect now, rotating around the room and flashing different colours, and the pillars and stage displayed a series of moving dots, making the whole stage come alive. He finished with Discorecord and Extreme Loudnezz with the whole room fist-pumping and going wild. There were more strobe flashes and then it was over.
Team Blue were up next, promising to be one of the best sets of the night. As the announcer spoke, flames and fireworks shot across the stage and the lasers and banks of lights swirled across the crowd. The DJs appeared and bounced up before the crowd, opening with Frequencerz – Bitch that tore the house down. It was fantastic to see them all playing their own songs live, coming out to the front of the stage to amp the crowd up and nearly jumping off the stage with passion. They dropped Chris One – Recruit, The R3belz – Armageddon, and B-Front & Digital Punk – For The Girls. Every track was full of energy and the stage display was amazing with backlighting, spotlights and lasers combining to create an enigmatic show. They finished with Chris One – Psycho, B-Front & Frontliner – Magic (Original Mix), and The R3bels – Pattern 2, some really banging songs that everyone was jumping, fist-pumping and hakking to. It was the perfect finish to an epic set.
Finally, the night was drawing to a close, but the final set promised to be a special one. It was the A² Records Allstars Live (Alpha Twins, E-Force, Ran-D & Adaro) with MC Tha Syndrome announcing them. The lasers shone blue and the cylinders glowed, then the final performance began. They started with Headhunterz & Wildstylez Vs. Noisecontrollers – Tonight (Alpha² Remix), which we had already heard, but seemed harder the second time around. You just have to move to this phenomenal tune. MC Tha Syndrome really pumped up the crowd throughout the set, and the energy was higher than any other point, even though we’d been dancing all night long. Next was Artic – F#ck The Fake Shit (Adaro Remix), Ran-D Vs. Villain – X (XXlerator Anthem), which brought back so many memories. Every time I have seen Ran-D, Adaro or Gunz 4 Hire last year they have been outstanding, and one of the best sets of the night. Hard Bass was no exception, this was by far my favourite set, it was out of control! Gunz 4 Hire Feat. Ellie – Sorrow and E-Force & Frequencerz – Attention went off with the whole crowd thrashing and pumping. They finished with Gunz 4 Hire – Kings Of The Underground and A² Records Allstars – The Resistance which had everyone going mental. It was fantastic to end with a track they had all worked on together, and was a fitting representation of the collaboration of all the artists to create such an incredible event.
Out of all the events I have been to, this would definitely be one of the best. If you have never been before, do yourself a favour and get to Hard Bass 2013. I know I will.