5 Must-See Artists at Beyond Wonderland 2012
By Scott Butterworth
Music is in the air this month as March is the official start of festival season! Austin has South By Southwest, Miami has Ultra and Winter Music Conference, and Los Angeles Electronic Dance Music (EDM) promoter Insomniac brings us it's third installment of Beyond Wonderland to Southern California. Insomniac has made a name for itself throughout the world for curating some of the most successful and sought out festivals by audiences and artists equally, right in our own back yard. This time they get a little help, as three current national/international tours converge on the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino this Saturday, each curating one of the festivals five stages.
Armin Van Buuren's "A State Of Trance 550":
Armin Van Buuren; Gareth Emery; Arty, Aly & Fila, etc.
- Celebrating the 550th episode of his A State Of Trance worldwide radio show, Armin curate a stage of Trance music's freshest talent.
Netsky, High Contrast, Camo & Krooked
- UK Drum & Bass label, Hospital Records, brings its top talent across the pond to take over the festivals Drum & Bass/Dubstep/Bass stage
Dim Mak's "Deadmeat Tour":
Steve Aoki, AutoErotique, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Felix Cartel, etc.
Steve Aoki and his label Dim Mak bring their arsenal of electro party anthems.
If you're still planning your day and looking for suggestions, "I got 5 on it".
5 must-see artists at this year's festival below!
And a view inside the "Wonderland" of last year's festival...
1) Magnetic Man:
Skream, Benga, and Artwork -- three of the most prolific producers/DJ's from UK Dubstep's "Mecca", Croydon, England -- have been the leading pioneers and innovators of the genre since the early 2000's (yep...dubstep has been around that long). Each has commanded audiences at clubs and dubstep events around the world in their own right, and in the late 00's they joined forces to create Magnetic Man, evolving their sound into an amalgamation of the vibrant UK Bass and rave music scenes, landing them on main stages and headlining slots across the world in 2011. But until now, their ONLY US performance has been at Coachella 2011, making their set at Beyond Wonderland 2012 my #1 must see act.
At age 19, Arty released his first single in 2009. In three short years he's been featured on Armin Van Buuren's highly influential A State Of Trance 2010 album, signed to Above & Beyond's prestigious Anjunabeats label, selected to record an Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1, and his remix of Ferry Corsten's "Punk" might have been the most highly spun song in sets this past year among Trance music's biggest name DJs. Now he's 22 and touring wordwide alongside Armin Van Buuren in the A State Of Trance 500 World Tour. And to think I was going to college at age 22......if I knew then, what I know now!
3) Andy C: Alive :
Andy C has been at the reigns of Drum & Bass longer than most current ravers have been alive, as a pioneering DJ and label head of internationally renowned Ram Records. He crosses the pond to make the rounds at festivals and the club circuit semi-regularly, but his appearance at Beyond Wonderland will be the US premiere of his brand new "Live" show dubbed Andy C: Alive. What is the difference between a "DJ set" and "Live set" in the EDM world, you ask? Well that answer could require it's own separate blog post, but rest assured you're not going to want to miss this!! Just prepare yourself for a full audio visual stage production/show/experience.....a la Daft Punk's pyramid or Deadmau5's cube.
4) John O'Callaghan:
O'Callaghan is Ireland's biggest export in the dance music world in recent years, possibly ever, (unless you're counting that phase U2 went through in the 90's...but we don't speak of that anymore). For god's sake, Saturday is St. Patrick's Day, how could I not name him a "must see"! But his Irish roots are the least of what makes him a standout this St. Paddy's day. His endless DJing schedule and consistent production/remixing output reserve him a spot at the table of Trance music's elite. And his new remix of fellow Beyond Wonderland performer, Gareth Emery, will keep him in the spotlight throughout 2012. Expect to hear this track on every festival main stage for at least the next 12 months.
As one of the youngest and newest members of the UK's legendary Drum & Bass label, Hospital Records (High Contrast, Danny Byrd, London Elektricity), Belgian DJ Netsky personifies the new school of Liquid Drum & Bass. In fact, if I had to compare him to an actual liquid, I would say he is the "KY Jelly" of Liquid D&B....no matter how high the energy, it doesn't get any smoother.....and when he's around, it's impossible not to have fun.