We Go Hardest at Hard Day of the Dead 2015

Author : Jennifer Liu
November 04, 2015

We Go Hardest at Hard Day of the Dead 2015


For one, I think I should be the poster child for Hard’s “We go HARD” campaign. Hard Day of the Dead 2015 wasn’t just two days of dancing at a festival, it was complete and utter nonsensical raging to banging electronic music across the board. While the crowd is less than ideal, it’s the insane lineup and variety that keeps bringing me back for the sake of music.

After the deaths of two girls at Hard Summer this year, Day of the Dead was restricted to 21+ with capacity capped at 40,000 in addition to a media blackout and limited circulation of press passes. All five of the stages were indoors this time due to issues with sound complaints from the city and from attendees regarding the outdoor Hard and Harder stages at Summer. In my opinion, these changes made Day of the Dead much better with the exception of massive security presence. Though getting in was an immense hassle, no deaths were reported at the Halloween event, which should be a primary focus for media outlets. Free parking was a plus.

12193464_10153302670893920_139392404646898873_nA majority of Day 1 was spent at the Underground Stage, where All Gone Pete Tong and company reigned the decks with enough acid house, tech house, and techno to go around. We started the evening with a banging spacey set by Jackmaster, the Glaswegian DJ that graduated from spinning funky disco to blasting us through a galactic voyage with the heaviest dub techno of the day. We left for the Strobe Stage to catch all of Bonobo’s fun and beautifully tribal tech set after momentarily chilling to XXYYXX who finished his set with About You. JETS was a little too slow compared to where my brain was so we returned to the Underground and grooved the rest of the night to Luciano and Pete Tong. Luciano played the standard 130 bpm Detroit techno shebang and Mr. Tong surprised us by bringing out Barnt’s Chappell at the peak of his set and fazing out Day 1 with classic house anthems to a ridiculously trippy backdrop of strobing LED stars.

12191870_10153304854153920_5906110816895433361_nNow Day 2… Day 2 was la crème de la crème. We started the day off with a live performance by Club Cheval at the Hard Haunted Mansion. The French guys dropped their best group hits like Discipline and From The Basement To The Roof as well as some of their individual pieces like Panteros666’s Baby F-16 and Sam Tiba’s Sunshine Pulse. Of course we returned to the Underground, spending the next couple of hours to tech house bangers by Lee Foss and an amazing dark techno set by Kölsch, who kicked off vibes with Jimmy Edgar’s shiny new Let Me Tell You.

10984146_10153304851563920_509745489436606946_nBut in the spirit of a true fan, I gathered my crew to rally for Gesaffelstein even if it meant sitting through the most ratchet crowd at Asap Ferg. We lay low to the side of the stage until the crowd began to dissipate after the rapper’s set, then in divide-and-conquer fashion we made it front and center ahead of the predicted massive wall of people. To see Mike Levy once more, adding another notch to my belt of shows over the last four years, is always a true privilege. Gesaffelstein threw down the most mind-blowing, intense DJ set of Hard Day of the Dead starting strong with his renowned Pursuit track to ignite the primal fire of musical ecstasy. He dropped several of his best tracks mixed in with some filthy electro and techno: his remixes of Justice’s Helix, Zombie Zombie’s Rocket Number 9, Crackboy’s Something For Your Mind, The Hacker’s Shockwave, and original tracks including Control Movement, Viol, Hate or Glory, OPRHellifornia with parts of the new Maryland soundtrack mixed in between.

Overall, Hard Day of the Dead has its issues to work out regarding safety measures and logistics, but the music is consistently solid. The sound quality was tuned far better during Day 2, a lesson learned after the audio disasters at Summer. In retrospect I could not have asked for a better Halloween weekend, because we go HARD!