Funkadelphia had the pleasure of making our way into the Midwest, yet again, on a journey to one of the biggest names in festivals, Electric Forest. Into the beautiful woods of Rothbury, Michigan we traveled, to one of the most impressive displays of talent across a vast range of artistic mediums. Electric Forest is one of the most impressive displays of MUSIC, ART, and PERFORMANCE. There was so much to experience as soon as you took your first steps into the trees. There were a total of five official stages : Ranch Arena, Sherwood Court, Tripolee, Forest Stage, and The Observatory. Right when you entered the gates to the forest, Tripolee stage is the first thing that catches your eye and was home to most of the electronic acts over the weekend. Next, the Ranch Arena was a larger stage with a clearing right in front and some trees and vendors in the back. Deeper into the forest, we come across The Observatory. This stage was a fantastic display of artistic architecture that created plenty of elevated space to stand and sit in view of the stage. The Forest Stage is exactly what you’d expect, a stage surrounded by hammock-riddled tress deep in the Forest. Finally, you reach Sherwood Court, a very spacious clearing surrounded by more forest. Aside from the music. the Forest is home to live art at all times and locations, as well as lovely paintings, drawings, and splashes of other artistic displays hung pretty much anywhere there was space. The decorations in the Forest as well as the lights, sculptures, paintings, were all extraordinary works of art. During a stroll from stage to stage, you will certainly witness the performers that wander the forest every day, from mimes to clowns on stilts to Geisha’s. The attention to detail and dedication to staying in character caused these performers to appear so natural as if they were a part of the Forest themselves. Not to mention, the thousands of talented festival goers who perform their flow art, musical, and artistic talents just for their own pure enjoyment, and for the entertainment of their peers. Electric Forest truly is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people, and is an absolute must have on your festival resumé .
Cherub: Electric Forest certainly started off hot with the first act of the weekend: Cherub. We have had a chance to catch these guys at multiple festivals and they bring the heat every time. These guys are the new generation of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. This was definitely a great way to get the crowd amped up and ready for one crazy weekend.
Late Night Radio: Personally, this was the most anticipated set of the entire weekend and this kid absolutely exceeded our expectations. He packed the observatory stage to the brim. Late Night Radio easily had the highest fan turnout for any artist on that stage for the entire weekend. He started his set off with some hip-hip, which morphed it’s way into some groovy glitch, all while transitioning to and from some fantastic piano melodies. He managed to put on a wonderful performance all whilst dealing with the loss of his grandmother, who Alex had mentioned passed away a few weeks earlier as he played his remix of “Your Ghost” by Michael Menert. This was definitely a moving moment and Funkadelphia and our fans would like to extend our love to Alex and his family during this difficult time. We’re all with you man!
Glitch Mob: Regardless of musical taste, one should never miss an opportunity to see the Glitch Mob. During one of their performances, you absolutely get “mobbed” by pure talent and skill. The trio composed of Ooah, Boreta, and Edit absolutely destroyed it. Every part of their performance kept you interested and on your toes, although there were some points you just could not move due to their “WOAH” factor. The visuals, outstanding and complicated, yet simple in their own ways. From our location you couldn’t see much of the actual artists, but their silhouettes were in constant motion, violently beating that we would call “ear sex” music. We can say we certainly feel blessed to have caught such a rare set in such a breathtaking environment.
Zeds Dead: This duo has been around for a while now, and after their E Forest performance they have established that they are here to stay. Zeds Dead played a fantastic set and managed to intermingle their unique sound across multiple genres, seemingly without transition. First, there would be a classic dubstep feel, some old tracks with Omar Lynx, then into some fantastic drum & bass, and finally something gnarly to melt your face off. However, you couldn’t tell when the next track was coming, or what it would be, you just knew it was changing and you were excited to hear what was next. Their sound was also accompanied by some impressive lasers and visuals, unlike any previous ZD show to date. These old dogs definitely some new tricks up their sleeves, hopefully with plenty more to come.
Zoogma: Plenty of people seem to be wondering, what in the world is a Zoogma? Well I’ll tell you that Zoogma is a fantastic live group that demonstrates a wonderfully unique blend of instrumental and electronic sound. They incorporate some very sexy, yet still very metal, guitar riffs with a heavy melodic groove. A great daytime set to start day number two.
Papadosio: Always a pleasure when Papadosio comes to play. We got to see them in somewhat of a different setting than last year at Wakarusa. Instead of at night under a tent (with a fantastic light show), we got the chance to see them during the sunlight and out in the open air. Their performances are always very ethereal and uplifting, you will always walk away from a Papadosio set with a smile on your face, and a brighter outlook on the rest of your day.
Dirtyphonics: Electric Forest was fortunate enough to be blessed with all four members of the group for their set over the weekend. Always a pleasure to hear the full ensemble of any musical group, but especially when their bringing the house down with bone-crushing filth. This set was much more reflective of the group’s hardcore grimy flavor than what we witnessed at the Electric Factory when they opened for Excision.
I Am Legion: This group consists of filthy producer Noisia and hip-hip artists the Foreign Beggars. Both parties have fantastic stage presence. One of the most difficult, yet most satisfying, mix of genres to perform is hip-hop alongside dubstep. When it can be done properly, for example Figure and CasOne, Terravita, and Zeds Dead with Omar Lynx, it can truly be impressive. I Am Legion has certainly begun to work it’s way into that group with this performance. It never seemed like the lyrics overpowered the sound, or vice versa, at any time. The two blended together for a wonderful harmony of in your face lyricism and face-melting electronic heaviness.
12th Planet: After listening to his EDC set, we were very excited to see what 12th Planet had in store for the forest. This dude brought the forest to the ground. He just continued to drop nonstop bombs over and over. He just kept hitting us with gnarly, filthy, twisted drops that he would just continue to pummel into us before transitioning into another track or just straight to a new drop. Dubstep is clearly not dead, 12th Planet is making sure of it.
Andy C: The Drum & Bass scene doesn’t get as much love in the states as it does over in the UK, but it absolutely should and Andy C came over to the Forest to show us why. A pioneer in the drum & bass genre, sometimes referred to as the “Armin Van Buren of Drum & Bass,” Andy C. Played an extremely energetic set. Obviously, the set consisted mostly of D&B, but he certainly was able to blend in some trap and heavy dub. This made for an extremely diverse set that maintained the perfect level of intensity fused with melody and groove.
Excision: The man himself, Excision closed out the Tripolli stage on the second night of the forest. We had already had our ears blasted by a handful of heavy sets but there was still one to top them all. He came, he saw, and he blasted my brain open through the eardrums. He threw down a tremendously heavy set with plenty of heavy Excision flavored hardstyle with beat breaks into trap or filthy dubstep. He even managed to throw in Funkadelphia favorite Figure’s new “Cowabunga” track (Out Now!).
Muzzy: First act of the day we caught on Saturday is the talented Muzzy, he delivered some funky bass music on the Observatory stage. A great hybrid act of instrumental and electronic sound as Muzzy accompanies his production with live guitar. He played a wonderful blend of genres including his own Soul-Hop, and maintained a high energy level that kept the crowd moving.
Emancipator Ensemble: The Ensemble brought on the good vibes Saturday afternoon. The combination of sounds between violin, bass, and drums added to the already fantastic electronic phenomena, Doug aka Emancipator, come together to make for a quite euphoric experience. Each member has their own distinct sound but they compliment each other greatly as a whole unit.
Fungineers: Definitely the most interestingly unique performance of the weekend goes to The Fungineers. This was just some good, solid, fun led by part unicorn, part monkey, all puppet DJ. We are then introduced to a slew of characters, some puppets and some costumes, as well as some glitch-style beat-boxing funk music that made everybody groove. This cast was already capable of producing good music, but they decided they wanted to do something a little different that certainly makes them stand out among the rest.
Blue Sky Black Death: We managed to catch the duo out of Seattle, Blue Sky Black Death, as one of the last sets of Saturday night. These two put on an amazing downtempo set that consisted of some really smooth melodies and very intimate vibes. With plenty of places to sit and relax at the Observatory Stage, you could get up and groove or kick back and relax after a long hard day of festing, and let their sound surround you.
STS9: We couldn’t think of a better way to end the day than a wonderful Sound Tribe set at the spacious and comfortable Sherwood Stage. It was a cool night, with just a sprinkle of rain here and there (nothing like the storm that got their sets cut short at Wakarusa 2013). The night was perfect for relaxing on a blanket in the grass or getting up and grooving to the sound. We all miss Murph, however Alana Rocklin is a wonderful addition to the already stellar group. All members were in sync and put together a fantastic set.
SURPRISE SET OF THE WEEKEND!
We thought the night was over, but oh we we wrong. As we made our way towards the forest exit, we stumbled across the Globe Theater, an enclosed unofficial stage made entirely out of trash. Once inside, we were blessed by the greatness that is Happy Happy James. This dude was throwing down some funky psychedelic bass music mixed with a twist of 1920’s swing. So glad we managed to catch this guys set that we only heard about through word of mouth. You can never be sure what you’re in for whenever you enter the Forest.
Cosby Sweater: Everybody is human right? Well unfortunately so are we, and we accidentally missed Cosby’s set at Electric Forest. We made up for though, don’t worry! We were able to catch Cosby Sweater, with Joel from Umphreys Mcgee, at the Miramar Theater in lovely Milwaukee, Wisconsin the Monday night right after the Forest. These guys had a long weekend, but that did not stop them from jamming out hard on a Monday night for a crowd of unfortunates who could not make it to the forest, as well as some dedicated Forest survivors.
K Theory: It took until the last day, but somebody finally took advantage of the prime location of the Tripoli stage. K Theory made it very clear, vocally and through the music, that we didn’t need to walk any further into the forest to have a good time. They brought people coming right in the gate right to the front of their stage with some trapstep and hip-hop that always included some heavy bass. Like I Am Legion, K Theory is another impressive up and coming blend of hip-hop and EDM.
Matt & Kim: This was definitely another one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend, and they were more than anyone could have expected, unless you’ve had the pleasure of seeing them before of course. This dynamite duo brought those who were sitting back in the shade onto their feet and into the Sunday sun. These two are energetic, raunchy, and a ton of fun. Their set includes their own original music mixed with some crowd favorites that help bring the party. The two lovers kill it on their respected instruments, as well as get down on stage and interact with the crowd. Some groups are crowd pleasers, but these two make the crowd feel like a part of their show, pointing out specific people in the crowd and interacting with them. This creates a one of a kind performance that every fan will be sure to remember.
Seven Lions: This Seven Lions set was one of the most impressive DJ sets of the weekend. This dude went anywhere from house music to outrageously filthy drumstep throughout the entire set. There was no telling from one second to the next what genre the next track would be until BOOM, he slams it right in your face. I couldn’t keep my body from dancing, no matter what genre. This was an absolutely amazing and talented performance.
Manic Menert: Finally, to close out an amazing festival experience, we got a chance to catch the very first installment of Manic Menert. This tag team companionship consists of Manic Focus and Michael Menert. If you hadn’t already guessed, it was exactly as awesome as you would’ve thought. Hopefully, next time we can see em on a larger stage, but these two still threw down with some great chemistry. We even had the pleasure of experiencing the rap talents of Menert, which were just as impressive as his electronic production skills. These two certainly were a sight to see, as well as a wonder to hear, and we certainly hope these two tag team more sets in the near future.
At a festival the caliber of Electric Forest, there is so much to see and do, but so little time. While we covered so much, there was still plenty more to witness. Therefore, we have yet another reason to attend as many times as we can and experience a little bit more each time. See everybody next year!