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Arizona’s Goldrush Festival, Day 2: Comedy, Bass, and Shaquille O’Neal

With a ready understanding of what to expect at Goldrush 2019, festival goers geared up with more glitter, returning totems, and fresh batteries for all flow toys, ready to head into the second day at Rawhide Western Town & Event Center. Lines were shorter—as they usually are on the second day of a festival—and now everyone knew exactly just where to run if they needed to head to a restroom between or during a set.

Lance Fairchild, Chuurch, Ekonovah, and Vayne were the opening artists amongst 4 of 5 stages, setting a smooth beginning for day 2. Bernard Smith and I were back, heading to the Golden Gorge to see the performance from Chet Porter. The artist made use of the horizontal lasers and lights lining the interior of the stage, going along with his electronically based rhythms. Dr. Fresch came next, opening with a guaranteed crowd pleaser—a remix of “Griztronics”—and followed with a deep, fast bass.

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Of course we ran over to the Pioneer Peak stage to bass-feed our ears with Blunts & Blondes. Without disappointment, formally known Michael Gurd sent a phenomenal cocktail of bass, hip-hop, and Rastafarian elements out into the crowd throughout his one-hour set. He complimented the audience’s energy during a “Woo Boost” remix, then transitioned his set with a revamp of Supertramp’s “Logical Song.” As usual, Blunts & Blondes brought the rhythmic bass. Sheck Wes was next at Pioneer Peak, then Trippie Redd, Barely Alive, before Funtcase closed out the stage on Saturday Night.

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Back at the Golden Gorge, Ghastly played a unique blend of house, trap, and dubstep, making use of the fire blasts throughout the duration of his set. He was one of many to sample “Cinema,” and of course the crowd went wild when he played his original track “LSD.” I personally loved the supporting visuals of lizards groovin’ across the stage, and I would swear that he sampled some Wii Mii music.

The proceeding performance was Oliver Heldens, a house DJ from the Netherlands. Perfected house hits burst from the stage, enticing dancing throughout the entire audience.  Heldens featured Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” before starting his original music back up, bound to get everyone to get into the Karaoke mood.

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The Wagon Wheel stage had many hidden gems throughout the weekend. Saturday’s most notable: Triggabyte, Smeared Lipstick Crew, and Nastyhumanz. The Hideout, the stage by the entryway, was the spacious place to be, with a wide subgenre-variety of performances throughout the night, including Ekonovah, Kyle Watson, Destructo, and more.

We quickly got over to the Hideout, the stage by the entryway, for Kyle Watson’s set. Heavy on the house music, the South African DJ provided deep house music for shuffling, and holy flow toys! This set was one of my favorites. Being at the furthest end from the Golden Gorge and with multiple seating options around, the Hideout had a spacious yet condensed audience. You know how you go to a festival and the back is kind of the place to be if you really want to freely do your thing without bumping into anyone? This entire crowd was like that. Look in any direction to see a hula hooper, somebody spinning, gloving, or shuffling. Kyle Watson’s music was perfect for this scene. He contrasted the Western Saloon with an innovative house set.

Like most festivals, Rawhide was lined with food trucks and vendor booths. Because of the venue’s setting, some vendors were placed inside Western town additions. When you walked into the photo emporium, instead of a photo booth, you got rave wear galore. Rather than live action performances at the Six Gun Theatre, Goldrush was blessed with stand-up comedians. Aside from shopping or eating, stand-up comedy is a brilliant addition to a festival. If you’re in search of a place to take a load off those feet, need to give your ears a break from the forte of the music, or just seeking a laugh, the Six Gun Theatre was the place to be. Bring food, drinks, friends and family, and sit amongst fellow attendees to giggle between sets.

Back over at the Golden Gorge, Shaquille O’Neal was about to take the stage as DJ Diesel. Just minutes before his set, people around me were talking non-stop about their high expectations from the next set. As DJ Diesel walked onto the stage, there was a man dressed and introduced as “dubstep Jesus,” who danced along on stage with Shaq’s first drop.

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With a wingspan that took up almost half of the DJ stand, DJ Diesel pumped his fists along with the bass. The electronic music was supported by iconic visuals of the MBA player holding a basketball between electric fingertips, transformed into staggering flashes of light on the screen. Within this set, there was a bit of everything—trap, hip-hop, dubstep, and a sprinkle of trance.

DJ Diesel sampled a plethora of classics, including KASKADE’s “Every time We Touch,” Jason Derulo’s “Watcha Say,” Halsey’s “Without Me,” and San Holo’s “Light.” There was a steady balance of all genres. When he played “Africa” by Toto, the entire audience swayed and sang along, wrapping their arms around surrounding people, and the most wholesome Shaq moment was set deep into our memories.

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Australian export Alison Wonderland closed out the Golden Gorge on Saturday night, bringing her recognizable, righteous vibrations to the finality of Goldrush festival. This woman knows how to to hype up a crowd with original musical self-expression. She played the hit track “I Want U” in the beginning of her set, as well as one of her first remixes featuring one of Kendrick Lamar’s most popular tracks, “HUMBLE.” The Australian icon kept the crowd captivated, bringing guests on stage to assist her performance. Trippie Redd came out for their collaboration, “High,” as well as Chet Porter later in the night.

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Red laser beams shot from the stage as the festival attendees sang along to arguably, her most iconic song: “Church.” Keeping with the pure energy Goldrush festival had omitted all weekend, the female icon gave a little speech prior to playing “TIME.” “I want you guys to feel free. Dance how you want, dress how you want…” Alison Wonderland constantly exudes positive vibrations, preaching inclusivity. The performance became a sacred experience—the crowd filled with love, whirling and belting out the lyrics.

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She remixed Daft Punk’s “Harder Better Faster Stronger,” after playing her original track “Easy,” featuring self images on the monitor behind her. Alison Wonderland’s final song, “Run,” was accompanied by the innovative lights and fire blasts we had seen all weekend at the Golden Gorge. The final Goldrush Golden Gorge performance was iconic to say the least, including an Anchor Man bit (Will Ferrell playing the flute), solo dancing from Alison Wonderland herself, and a confetti blast like none other—one week later and the glitter bits continue to reflect off my boots.

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The two-day Goldrush festival was packed with artists of all sub-genres of EDM, and additions that fully completed the Western theme. Click here to read all about the first day, and here for an exlusive interview with forward house DJ, Kyle Watson. See you next year, Goldrush!

 

 

Written by Stephanie Regan

Gallery from Bernard Smith

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