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Six things we learned at HARD Summer Day 2

Following Saturday’s blowout with Disclosure and TNGHT among the buzzworthy acts, HARD Summer bounced back from a tragic incident to finish strong. Festivalgoers banded together Sunday to make for a memorable end to the weekend.

With a wide assortment of styles at the ready – a trap-and-moombahton heavy HARDER Stage, the Parisian-inspired Ed Banger Records Stage and dirtybird’s Underground Stage, in addition to the Main Stage’s offerings – there truly was a sound for everyone. While the dirtybird crew and Gesaffelstein unleashed lesser-known gems, festival staples like Baauer and Dillon Francis were on hand to deliver the hits. Here are six things we took away from HARD Summer day two:

The turn up is real

While “the quack is back” in the case of disco duo Duck Sauce, it’s also undeniable that the trap turn up is very real. We’ve watched trap’s ascension into the limelight over the last year or two, and it’s not going anywhere in the near future. Meshing electronic music styles with hip-hop influences, trap is festival-ready party music, delivered by a growing stable of creative artists.

Among the DJs leading the charge is Chicago duo Flosstradamus. Playing to a packed HARDER stage, Floss (Josh Young and Curt Cameruci) blazed through nearly 50 tracks from the likes of UZ, Bro Safari, RL Grime and Salva, as well as their own stand-out cut “2NITE,” featuring hardstyle heroes Headhunterz and Noisecontrollers.

Dillon Francis picked up where Floss left off, doing a high-energy moombahton number on the crowd. In typically quirky Francis fashion, massive cat blow-up dolls, emblazoned with the word “FUCK” across them, complimented his feline-inspired stage visuals. He went on to wish Cameruci from Flosstradamus a happy birthday, singing something along the lines of, “Happy birthday dear Curt, happy birthday dear Curt. If we don’t turn up, your birthday sucks.” And when Francis played Major Lazer’s “Get Free,” it was game, set, match.

Empire of The Sun and Zedd are Main Stage superstars

Aussie duo Empire of The Sun have written some of the most cosmic and singable anthems in recent years, and are currently rocking dance floors and radio airwaves alike with the single “Alive.” After watching the group close out their performance with the track and always-loveable lead singer Luke Steele at the helm in his whimsical, futuristic costuming, 24-year old wunderkind Zedd took to the decks, dropping his powerful remix of the same track. He went on to play big tunes from the catalogs of Swedish House Mafia and Krewella, along with his own powerful electro beats. With respect to a live show and DJ act, Empire of The Sun and Zedd have rightfully assumed positions on dance music’s A-squad.

The louder, the better

Well-executed logistics generally made for a smooth-sailin’ festival experience. However, attendees were disappointed by the insufficient volume coming from the mega-speakers. The sound wasn’t quite loud enough on the Main Stage, particularly during live vocal sets (Empire of the Sun and Disclosure included). On the other hand, Los Angeles was granted with a festival right in the heart of the city, so we assume noise ordinances came into play.

Gesaffelstein does it right

When Gesaffelstein meshed techno breaks with his signature electro tones, the Ed Banger denizen reminded fans what HARD is all about: a fresh take on electronic dance music. Festivalgoers were not the only ones amped on the laid-back Frenchman’s sound, as he’s an an industry favorite as well. We ran into Skrillex’s manager Tim Smith, and learned that he, too, was on his way to check out the set. Once Gesaffelstein’s remix of “Shockwave” by The Hacker hit, with its vocals looping for almost ten minutes, it was the suited-up DJ’s time to shine.

Claude VonStroke has wicked taste

We could talk for days about the music on Claude VonStroke’s dirtybird label: The sound is imaginative and relentless, with filthy basslines that will keep you moving for hours on end. The San Francisco visionary put together a killer line-up for his stage, including right-hand men Justin Martin and Eats Everything, as well as Breach, J. Philip and French Fries.

During Breach’s set, a volcano – and the crowd – erupted when he hit the vocals of “Jack”, easily one of the most enthralling underground tunes of the year. Justin Martin dropping VonStroke and DJ Nehpets’ “Lay It Down” was another savory moment. VonStroke and his crew have the seasoned ears and skills it takes for dirtybird to be a global name in dance music.

Justice wasn’t the Justice we know and love

We made it back over to the Ed Banger Records stage, harboring high hopes for Justice’s live antics to finish off the evening right. Our expectations weren’t quite met; perhaps as a result of the smaller-sized, more intimate stage, Justice’s performance was more DJ set than live show. Soulful records like Junior Senior’s late ‘90s hit “Move Your Feet” indeed had people moving, just not as much one would expect with Justice behind the decks.

Stay tuned to inthemix for exclusive interviews from HARD Summer.