Now that we've finally recovered from our massive hangovers (and some serious dust winds) we've broken down the hottest acts of LA's biggest summer electronic music festival. An estimated 70,000 EDM fans flooded Chinatown and the Los Angeles State Historic Park for the sixth annual edition of HARD Summer. They came out in full force dressed to the nines with shirts, tattoos, logos and any other paraphernalia which idolizes their favorite artists. Yes the girls were adorned in little to no clothing with go-go like attire which includes flufflies and the tiniest bikini ever. Get over it already, it's part of the rave culture and as much as the HARD brand and their new Live Nation partners want to stem away from it, these are the fans from old generations to new who have helped cultivate the scene and pushed it to the forefront of mainstream music.
For every "raver" there were just as many hipsters, married couples, VIP bottle service types, bros and who ever else wanted to immerse themselves in the music that spreads far beyond the realms of the untz untz untz you hear on KIIS-FM. That's what makes EDM events unique and has had people of all walks of life enjoying them for decades. Despite the tragic death of one festival goer who fell into cardiac arrest on Saturday, the fest itself has managed to improv a lot from years passed. They also added carnival rides and bumped-up the production a bit as the brand is only continuing to grow and get better every year. So kudos Gary Richards, the festival founder. Instead of bitching about what we didn't like, we thought why not highlight some of the killer acts of the weekend. After all isn't it all about the music? (at least it used to be)
See also: Top Five EDM Shows in August
5. Claude VonStroke
On Sunday Dirtybird Records took the Underground Stage (as opposed to Coachella like we had predicted) with two hour to 90 minute sets. LA's Justin Jay, French Fries, J. Phlip, Breach (creator of the hit "Jack"), Eats Everything, Justin Martin and of course VonStroke were on tap for some bass thumbing goodness to help close out the fest. "Just because I sign a record doesn't really make them in the crew," shares VonStroke of his exclusive posse. "You have to do a few records, have the right attitude about life and fit in." Just like this elusive artist, the Dirtybird fans share a similar mindset as they sing along to lyrics like "make that booty clap" and party harder than some of dubstep's most notorious revelers. VonStroke's two-hour set was no exception; straying away from trends and sticking true to the Dirtybird vibe. The boss man laid it down properly for the deep house and tech house lovers.
Though the shitty sound system and early time slot didn't do the king of dark techno justice, his seductive mix of electronica and minimal sounds were like pure sex on a stick. As he chain smoked on stage the French producer had the small (for main stage numbers) crowd dancing in a trance the entire time as he dropped his hits like "Control Movement" and latest single "Pursuit." Did we hear snippets from his debut album on EMI Music France slated to be released in October? Who knows, but his live performance was a breath of fresh air at the HARD Stage. We just wish it was dark out so we could get freaky on the dance floor and lost with the futuristic visuals. Always bringing that dark tech dance music sound we can't wait for the Bromance Tour to come to LA with his partner in crime, Brodinski.
With such an incredibly stacked lineup, it was hard to decide who to see at each hour, but Flosstradamus made sure to get his fans to turn up at the HARDER Stage for their 90- minute set full of trap goodness spliced with the perfect mix of hip-hop. The ratchet kids were twerking away for the hoodie boyz; their moves displayed on the giant screen for all to see. The stench of weed blanketed the air all the way to the conveniently located beer garden. Though Josh Young and Curt Cameruci have been deejaying for over a decade, their careers have reached unprecedented heights with the insurgence of trap music and the community behind it as they continue to bring PLUR (peace, love, unity and respect) to the hood at EDM festivals all over the world.
There's a reason why the English brothers Guy (22) and Howard (19) Lawrence are the most blogged about artist in the world in 2013 so far. With the release of the their debut album Settle in June the duo are proving that you don't have to be a seasoned artist to be into nu-disco R&B inspired electronic beats. With the largest crowd at the tent all weekend they played almost the entire album including their hits "You & Me" and "White Noise." Redefining house music Disclosure was absolutely amazing, much like at this years Coachella. The only difference here? The people were really feeling the love out in the crowd making the little over an hour long set prefect. We even know fans that were so content they ended up selling their Sunday ticket after.
See also: HARD Summer 2013 Playlist
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1. Alex Metric
The most underrated artist and by far one of the best sets of the whole weekend though, goes to Alex Metric. Born Alex Drury, his roots come from the underground sounds of dance music with influences in everything from disco, funk, Chicago house and Detroit techno. The British artist has been producing and remixing artist like Depeche Mode, NERD and Bloc Party giving his synthpop feel to electronic music. Playing one of the most diverse and energetic sets, he left us drenched in sweat with curly hair (no twerking needed here). If you like artist like Fake Blood, Boys Noize and Crookers then you should definitely check out Alex Metric - especially in a festival setting. With vocally infused singles like "Safe With You" he sets that perfect groove to allow you to get lost in the music.