Hijinx: The Music

It’s only  been 2 weeks since I attended the first-ever (hopefully of many??) Hijinx Festival but it already feels light years away. As a two-day event with only one stage, there were fewer acts on the lineup than most festivals but I still managed to catch some really amazing sets. Here are some highlights!

RL Grime
Somehow it had been, I think, 4 of 5 years since I last saw RL Grime, on a random Tuesday evening at Webster Hall. The Hijinx set was just incredible and really demonstrated to me that while some artists shine in intimate venues, others are meant to be seen on a giant stage with a massive sound system. The combination of dark sound and high energy is an experience best shared with thousands of other people at once.

Big Gigantic, GRiZ
These artists didn’t even play on the same day of the festival, but I’m lumping them together because there was a common theme here – artists who normally play funk music who didn’t play that much funk music.

This was my only Big G show of the year, so I was pretty amped to get to squeeze in this set from one of my favs before the close of 2018. Somehow, though, it fell flat for me. There’s a joyfulness in their shows that I was missing because they focused a lot on creating heavier, bass-filled sounds over dancey sax music, which is where they excel.  I didn’t dislike it but it was forgettable.

GRiZ’s set was similar – my only one of the year, and he leaned towards more generic, crowd-pleasing bass. I thought this was much more successful than Big Gigantic’s set, at least, and still really enjoyed it, but I wanted to hear the GRiZ songs I know and love and he didn’t play that many songs that I recognized. Both artists played this song below, though, which was a highlight both times.

Bassnectar
This was the best Nectar set I’ve seen in probably 3 years. It was really vibey which I loved, although Bassnectar diehards probably wanted more of the headbangy stuff that’s sort of his signature. A few people mentioned that, with a huge New Year’s Eve show coming up right after Hijinx, he was holding back and saving some of his most intense tracks for NYE, which was perfectly fine with me.

Illenium
I don’t know much about Illenium but this set was exactly what I was expected to be – kind of light, fun, musical tracks with just a touch of thickness thrown in to get the crowd going. I can’t name a single song of his but I would absolutely see him again.

Odesza
Odesza just gets better and better for me every time. They’ve played “Loyal” a lot at their shows over the years, but it was never officially released until September so a lot of mystery surrounded it for years. A brooding and intense highlight in an otherwise ethereal discography, “Loyal” always serves as a climax of any live set they throw it in. I was eagerly awaiting this song at Hijinx, and they did not disappoint. A perfect way to close both the festival and the year.

2019 festival lineups are already dropping, so while I won’t be attending any fests for awhile, the planning is already very much underway!

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