On Friday, September 28th, cars swamped the streets and lots, paving the way for the opening day of 2019’s Goldrush festival. Security and staff were efficient in managing the lines, and everyone seemed to get in without issue. Held at Chandler’s Rawhide Western Town & Event center, Goldrush was a surreal experience of raving in a country-themed dream.
We walked atop of gravel to enter the festival—a mini, old western village—to see the walkway lined with themed buildings like the Rawhide jail, the Six Gun Theatre, a shooting gallery, and a photo emporium. Large accessories like a ‘horse’-drawn carriage, and a long train that lit up next to the main stage, attracted all festival attendees, hopping onto each possible opportunity to snag the prime photos. With 5 stages, including a silent disco, the lineup was stacked. To the right of the entryway was the Hideout, a smaller stage lined with some seating. One of our Glasse photographers, Bernard Smith, and I, were running from stage to stage to see as many artists as we possibly could.
Blossom was the first artist at the Golden Gorge main stage, followed by PAZ, BIJOU, and Gareth Emery, before TroyBoi, Adventure Club, and ZHU as the closing artist. PAZ had some silly taco-kitty visuals, and the crowd danced along with the artists’ booming range of electronic music, and again later in the night when PAZ played for a second time, at the silent disco. BIJOU played a lot of deep house, with a drizzle of techno. I was in the back of the audience for this set—back there, everyone was getting down and shuffling with BIJOU’s beats and the lasers beaming above their heads. He brought out Dr. Fresch, who played the Golden Gorge the next day. BIJOU’s visuals had me giggling—all kinds of shapes with arms and legs were dancing across the screen, including the outline of sliced bread!
If you walked from the Golden Gorge to Pioneer Peak, you passed the Wagon Wheel stage. The Wagon Wheel was in the midst of food trucks and picnic tables, making it the perfect spot to take a break without leaving the sounds of the festival, or dance near the stage with a bit more open space. My personal favorite performances for those walk-by chill sessions on Friday were SAAS and Social.
At Pioneer Peak, Shlump played a lot of space bass—that weird, wonky, alien-sounding bass music everybody loves to wobble to. Shlump had the audience either slumped back, shaking or dancing in other forms, with the space vibes. Boogie T was the perfect artist to follow, bringing his usual funk-bass, with even heavier sounds than I’ve seen him deliver in the past. He played some of his classic crowd favorites, including “Raven Master,” “Flava,” and “Reminisce.”
Staying at the Pioneer Peak stage, Getter brought in some of his original forceful baselines, while staying true to his evolution towards melodic pulses and hypnotic hip-hop picks. He had a wobbly remix of Travis Scott’s “Goosebumps,” and a bouncier remix of Savage’s “Swing.” Getter truly delivered the ideal musical content for an all-inclusive, wildin’ audience during his set, before Zomboy closed out Pioneer Peak on Friday night.
Let’s go back to the Golden Gorge stage for TroyBoi’s set. This was hands down my favorite set of the Friday lineup. At the front of the stage and near the rail, I was in the ideal spot for dancing along with the British DJ’s iconic groove tones, and viewing spell-binding visuals on the screen.
As I’m sure the crowd collectively hoped he would, TroyBoi played some staples, like “PAPI CHULO,” “What You Know,” and his Billie Eilish remix, “MyBoi.” During “Do You?” between the neon shapes and metallic orb images, TroyBoi had the Soundcloud optic of the track, allowing comments from the streaming platform to pop up throughout the track duration, showcasing how deeply his fans treasure his craft. He played a remix of A$AP Ferg’s “Work,” and lastly “ili,” accompanied by a burst of falling confetti. And just like that, his set was complete.
Following TroyBoi was the Canadian EDM pair, Adventure Club. These guys have been around since 2011; Needless to say they delivered polished EDM and thick dubstep for Goldrush attendees to enjoy. I always feel the energetically charged audience when performers sample classic tunes, so one of my favorite moments was the entire crowd singing along to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” before Adventure Club slapped some bass into it.
Not to mention the Golden Gorge stage had fire bursts, confetti cannons, and an absurd amount of lasers and light beams. Adventure Club had the crowd fanatically dancing and banging along to every single track they played, including a remix sampling The 1975, and their original track featuring Yuna, “Gold.”
Sonic conceptualist ZHU began his performance with a guitarist and saxophonist on either side of him. Amongst ZHU’s groovy sounds, the bass was so heavy that I could seriously feel my biceps shaking. He addressed the crowd, “You know why I came here tonight? To take you on a journey,” and slipped into illuminating vocals.
There was a solo moment for each instrumentalist to showcase their talents between guitar and saxophone, and ZHU had his own pianist brief. He played a teasing portion of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” before leading the final performance into the 2018 fan favorite, “My Life,” with Tame Impala.
The first day of Goldrush was magically diverse, a realistic yet fictitious experience of raving in a Western town. Check out our Day 2 review for a rundown of Saturday’s experience—including performances from Blunts & Blondes, DJ DIESEL (AKA Shaquille O’Neal), Ghastly, and Alison Wonderland—as well as a closer look into the bonus additions within the Rawhide Western Town.
Written by Stephanie Regan
Photo Gallery from Bernard Smith