Electric Forest: The Music

Even though Forest was far more magical and activity-filled than any other festival I’ve been to, the music still played a huge part in my experience. I saw a lot of music over the course of the 4 days, some acts more memorable than others. Here are the ones I can actually provide some sort of thoughtful(ish) feedback on:

Shpongle
This was actually a DJ set (and we all know how I feel about DJ sets). The DJ set wasn’t bad, but it was nothing like his typical psychedelic, sort of Middle Eastern sound. I was indifferent to it.

Odesza
I love these guys. Their tropical, ethereal songs are so peaceful yet catchy and I was really pumped for this set. This was my first time seeing them on a festival stage and I have to say, I prefer the more intimate shows a little more. Being up close to watch the live drumming is a huge element to the experience, in my opinion, and this was lost for me since we were so far back.

Flume
Flume is all the rage right now. I was really excited for this one, and while I definitely enjoyed it, it didn’t fully catch my attention. Like Odesza, I think he might be better suited to smaller stages.

Vibe Street
I had 5 opportunities to catch Vibe Street at Forest, which was awesome because he was one of my most anticipated shows. I only caught this one set, and it was as bluegrass-y and bass-y as I wanted it to be. I would have loved to see one of the late night sets with a more energetic audience (this one was at 2pm), or the Pretty Lights-themed silent disco set he did (the silent disco line was wayyy too long), but sadly those were not meant to be.

Lafa Taylor
We stumbled upon this by accident in the Forest’s awesome Hangar area, which was a covered stage surrounded by a henna artist, actual barber shop, and other fun and random activities. Hippie fests like Forest don’t typically get me in a hip hop kind of mood, but my whole group had a blast dancing to this guy’s beats. He played a lot of songs that I know weren’t his (a particularly awesome Polish Ambassador remix comes to mind), but I’m definitely interested to check him out further now. This song below is just one that randomly came up on YouTube.

Break Science
I love Break Science, even though I didn’t have a great time at the Borahm Lee show I went to a few months ago. Lee and super amazing drummer Adam Deitch gave the strangest Break Science show I’ve ever seen in that it, like a few of the acts I’ve mentioned already, sounded nothing like they usually do. This was a pure funk show, which makes sense because Deitch drums for a few funk bands, but Break Science is normally electro-hip hop. That being said, it was great because who doesn’t love good funk music? They did play one of my favorite songs (Brain Reaction) as their last one, and they also threw in Goin Down, though it absolutely cannot beat this Forest 2013 performance below because there was no Trombone Shorty and no Michal Menert going absolutely nuts.


The String Cheese Incident
Despite the fact that Forest is essentially Cheese’s festival, I mostly only saw them in passing during each of their sets during the weekend. They’re a jam band but from what I could tell, each song is completely different from the next and I’m sort of sad I didn’t catch more of them, especially because their Saturday set apparently involved blimps and a woman dangling from a balloon and some other weird stuff (see video). At one point we were walking by and the song playing sounded very country western, so I had my thumbs in my shorts waistband and was trying to do a fun “yeehaw” type Cowboy walk, and I Cowboyed right into a giant mud puddle. WOMP.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band
A New Orleans institution. How could you not love it? I’m not super into jazz and even I could tell that we were watching absolute legends perform. Between this and seeing Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett a few weeks ago, I’m having a really jazzy summer. And I’m digging it. Someone recommend me some more good jazz, pronto!

Lotus
Lotus was EVERYTHING. They’re part psychedelic, part jam band, part electronica. What I loved about this set is that I could sit for part of it (it was a loooong day) and stand for part of it and no matter what I did I was able to enjoy it. Sometimes you just don’t feel right sitting or standing at a particular show but Lotus was great no matter what.

Flux Pavilion
Flux was some of the first dubstep I ever got into, and this was the least dubstep-like of all his shows that I’ve seen (seriously, what is it about Forest that makes artists sound not like their usual selves?). I don’t remember now what kind of sound he switched it up with, but I do remember that it occasionally moved into something a little less intense than his standard. Which, again, was nice for occasionally sitting down and giving my legs a rest. This video is clearly not one of those more mellow moments.

Slow Magic
Slow Magic is just the best. THE BEST. He drums like a beast and his songs have such a cool, tribal vibe. Also, he wears a super dope tribal mask (you can see it in the video below) and if you want one for yourself you can buy it online for $40 and it apparently glows in the dark or something. I don’t own one because $40 is too much, but if you’d like to buy me one, my birthday is October 24th! My friend wants one too so maybe buy 2 so we can match? Thanks.

Lindsey Stirling
Lindsey is a little pixie Tinkerbell-esque fairy violin-playing dubstep lady. She dances while she plays and her stage presence is so adorable and bubbly. She played in a tent that was way too small for the audience so I couldn’t see anything which is really unfortunate. Still sounded great though.

Phantogram
Phantogram reminds me of why I should listen to more bands. Remember bands? They’re awesome. I had never seen these guys before but they are clearly made for big festival stages.

Matoma
Remember when I said tropical house is so hot right now? It is. This set was a little less tropical and a little more progressive than I anticipated, but it was one of my favorites of the weekend. My group stayed waaaaay in the back with miles of room to dance and basically just flailed around like fools. Then one of my friends decided she didn’t want to hold on to the giant tube of glowsticks she had anymore, so we made it a point to give them out to everyone who passed (or danced!) by. It was a lovely PLUR moment.

Bassnectar
If Forest belonged to any one artist, it would be Lorin. The bass drop (his symbol/logo) could be seen on every flag or article of clothing as far as the eye could see. I like him, but I don’t “worship at the alter at Bassnectar,” as I like to tell people. He brought it, though. I think I’ve described his music as “thick” a number of times on this blog and..I still feel that that is somehow the most accurate word for it.

Galactic with Macy Gray
Probably the most surprising set of the weekend. You remember Macy Gray, the one hit wonder with “I Try” from…15 years ago? I have no idea how she ended up fronting this funk band but it was incredible. She’s one of the best frontmen/women/people I’ve ever seen. She may have been very drunk, or possibly she’s just nuts. But she’s wonderful.

Goldfish
Everyone loves Goldfish. They are just so happy and jazzy and I don’t know how you combine house music with something that sounds like it should be at a swing dance party, but they do. They’re the best.

Gramatik
Best set of the weekend. Hands down. The only way this could have been better is if he did a badass mic drop at the end of it. Killed it. 23 Flavors isn’t even one of my super favorite songs of his, but it’s definitely one of my favs to see live. The bass on a giant sound system? Yes.

Big Gigantic
Second only to Gramatik. Easily my favorite set of theirs that I’ve ever seen, which was really refreshing in a time where I’m starting to feel like Big G live is getting a little repetitive for me (I’M SORRY BIG G, I STILL LOVE YOU GUYS THOUGH). The addition of The Motet, the funk band that Dom used to play for back in the day, really added something here. I only wish they had done their remix of RL Grime’s “Tell Me,” which my friends and I love.

Okay, now I’m depressed. This was such an amazing weekend and I don’t know that I’ll ever see that much awesome music in such a short period of time. Take me back!!

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6 thoughts on “Electric Forest: The Music

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