“This is the first of its kind. It’ll be epic”
In a brief exclamation, Steve Aoki – famed, American electro house musician – captured the essence of the Identity music festival. Identity, dubbed as the first electronic traveling festival, strived to do exactly as the name implied: place a new identity on electronic music.
In the last few years, house music has exploded onto the mainstream music scene and hasn’t lost momentum since. An offspring of the electronic movement – reaching back the to the early 20th century – the genre typically adds a poppy twist to beat and sound-heavy technology-based music, making it that much more appealing to the masses. That appeal has bred a new generation of talent in the industry, often making it difficult to keep up with the influx of new music. Identity set out to harness this movement and show that it's here to stay.
The music kicked off at 1:00 PM and initiated what would be a gluttony of lights, movements and beats for the next 10 hours. Aptly titled, the Advent Stage was the first to light up with underground DJs such as Datsik, La Riots and White Shadow. Tucked in the concession lowlands, the Advent staged was positioned perfectly to entice the here-for-the-party concertgoers away from the main event – facilitating for a more intimate experience for those there for the headliners: Avicii, Rusko and Kaskade. Not to be dismissed, however, the Advent stage was no sham. Los Angeles natives Daniel LeDisko and Jon Pegnato (LA Riots) played dueling DJs meshing electric beats over commercial samples. The climax of which came with the performance of That’s Not My Name, an energetic and fresh remix sampling of the peppy, cheer-like lyrics from The Ting Tings original piece. The LA Riots weren’t the only ones bring down the house. DJ White Shadow surprised listeners with a new Kickdrum remix that was slow in the build-up but after a minute, the entire crowd was pulsing with each beat of the kickdrum.
The concert’s star-filled lineup was hardly its best quality. The 360 degree experience – music and stages wherever you turned – ensured that you would not leave without being thoroughly housed. Set in the picturesque backdrop of the rolling hills in Bristow, Virginia the concert provided a flawless juxtaposition of technology with nature. The weather also seemed to be in harmony with the show. Scattered lightening cracked in sync with rhythmic beats almost better than the programmed lasers emanating from the main stage.
After indulging in the DJ remix scene, I turned 90 degrees and made my way to this Skullcandy Main Stage that was to be featuring Avicii, Rusko and Kaskade. One after another. Opening with Don’t Give Up On Us, Avicii had the crowd at hello. The newly released track hooked the audience and Avicii never let up. We Faded Into Darkness, were Blessed, and elevated to new Levels in the matter of minutes. With an outpouring of his top hits, one would’ve thought he’d lose the crowd’s interest. But with Adrain Lux and Pendulum, he kept the crowd swinging with every note.
Swinging, that is, right through the WOMP that is Rusko (dubstep king) and into Kaskade – the identity of Identity. Releasing Turn It Down, still his most popular song to date, elevated the concert to a new high that was more euphoric than the MDMA being passed around. A high that never left until the stage was shut down. After Raining, a no-brainer inclusion given the weather, and the Dada Life remix — a head-banger with a melodic hook — the audience had beat the beat up so much, they lost the battle. I threw my back out and couldn’t walk straight for three days.
Epic? House will live on.