VIEW OUR PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT HERE.
Insomniac simply does not put on bad events. Last weekend Nocturnal Wonderland rose the bar once again for what a festival should be. The lighting decorations were significantly enhanced, the costumed performers were everywhere, and the art installations really stood out. One especially pretty sight had to have been how the colorful reflections in the water shimmered so beautifully around the fountain (see photo above). There was really only one issue that everyone keeps bringing up, and that was the noticeably diminished level of bass at the main tents. I have to admit it does raise some cause for concern seeing as they already had to stop using the mega structure due to the city’s beef with the volume level. Hopefully, though, with the amount of money that gets poured into the city when they do these events, they’ll be convinced to relax their noise restrictions; we’re crossing our fingers!
Friday brought a huge number of Above & Beyond fans for the all-star Group Therapy lineup; nearly everywhere you looked you’d see the Anjunabeats logo on a t-shirt, made of kandi, or even tattooed. Their stage opened with the solid Anjunadeep names Soundprank and Boom Jinx, before getting into some heavy hitters like So Cal locals Norin & Rad who got to unleash their latest beast Five Finger Death Punch in the enormous tent. Later we witnessed an outstanding set by Mat Zo with a sound very much his own and mashups that had everyone jumping. Finishing off the night with a two hour mix, Above & Beyond let loose their magic, with nearly everyone there singing their heart out (video below). At the bass stage, I was gripped by Excision’s pal Downlink who was downright brutal. I really enjoyed how he blasted the room with 4×4 beats at 140bpm before slamming down into some aggressive trap.
On Saturday, a few more stages opened up and there were probably about twice as many ravers. Holding true to their CEO’s statements at EDMbiz regarding bringing a wider variety of talent, this event did bring out many of the usual headliners but it also came with quite a few surprises like Neon Indian, Little Boots, and Orbital. Welcomed back by the audience, the buzz was really over the EDM pioneers behind Orbital who put on an incredibly diverse and nostalgic show that opened with their unforgettable classic Halcyon On + On. The crowd they brought out was quite interesting as well–a mix of older die hard fans, devoted Burning Man attendees, and a load of EDM newcomers eager to venture into its historic roots. As solid as the other acts were on the mainstage I have to give special credit to Deniz Koyu, who had everyone bouncing to his latest anthem with Wynter Gordon, Follow You. In a very short time, Deniz has built up an impressive rep with huge hits like Tung!, Bong, and his latest remix collab with Fedde le Grand, Zdarlight.
It was really tough to decide where to be on Saturday with so many great acts. Trance wise, Simon Patterson, W&W, and Myon & Shane 54 all delivered solid sets that continue to draw much praise. W&W went especially hard; their track Shotgun really supercharged the packed tent. Over at the Upside Down Room, Jamie Jones and Mark Knight brought some proper house music, but the highlight of this tent had to have been Gui Boratto. Cigarette in mouth and eyes only on the controls, he gave the impression that he didn’t see himself any more or less significant than anyone else in the room, and this really added some extra depth to his sets. For the festival’s epic closing, Dash Berlin and Sebastian Ingrosso both delivered some epic sets that had nearly everyone reaching for the stars. For the next Insomniac massive in California, be sure not to miss their Beyond Wonderland event in the bay area this weekend!