Deep Tropics has been nothing short of wonderfully fun and homey feeling, incredibly representative of the Nashville music scene. Where they lacked in size with some limitations as a small city festival, they made up for it all with the quality, face-melting sound system and high-energy DJ sets. This day was fun, groovy, and full of surprising bass. The crowd, decked out in tropical attire, were such good sports, clapping and cheering after every stellar set, giving credit where credit is due, the Nashville way. It was such a wholesome experience, and I can’t wait for Day 2!
Here’s our recap…
Unique characteristics of the Deep Tropics experience include the Surfclub Sound System, the Tranquil Temple Sound System, the r.Cup stations to maintain a zero waste festival, creative vendors, a mini petting zoo with four goats, a live painting mural wall on point on the tropical theme, and Perfect Planet Hemp Co. handing out CBD doobies all day. The Surfclub Sound System bumping tunes all day during the skate demo, the Tranquil Temple with a stacked schedule of vinyasa flows, meditations, ambient downtempo DJ sets, and workshops on incredibly interesting topics like erotic intelligence!
The main stage was a bit delayed in getting set up and ready to go, so I started my day of music listening at the smaller stage, the Waveclub Sound System. This mini stage is a vibe for sure. The speakers are stacked to look like white and teal bookshelves splatter painted orange to match the tropical festival color scheme, with a Deep Tropics tapestry posted up left of the stage to bring it all together. Hard geometric diamond shapes sported the visuals in front and behind the DJ stand, which juxtaposed against the wavy decorations made for a super cool and unique side stage. Goodlook opened the Waveclub up and couldn’t have been a more fitting DJ to do so with a fun, fresh, sexy, summery, and dancey set.
Making my way over to catch the back half of Teebs’ set at the main stage, I admired Deep Tropic’s green effort with the compost/recycling and reusable cup stations along the paths all the way back to the Perfect Planet Amphitheatre. This was the only downtempo set I heard all day, so I’m really glad I got to hear some of it to warm me up for the rest of the day of crazy upbeat house and bass music. Teebs had such a wonderfully humbling presence. He played a few new unreleased tracks at the end of his set, including a heartfelt song for his daughter full of warm chords in a synth voice and delicate sound sample melodies, and a song sounding like harp madness over an old-school, fuzzy mixtape sounding beat. Teebs’ music is very refreshing, so definitely check him out! He’s a part of the more atmospheric part of the Brainfeeder collective, along with Flying Lotus and Samiyam.
People really started pouring in during Amtrac’s set. Between dope remixes of Jungle Boogie and September, everyone was dancing in Hawaiian shirts like it was a big beach party! This really got the crowd riled up for Walker & Royce on the big stage as well. Not a soul in the crowd wasn’t having fun dancing to their lighthearted tracks. I stopped over at the Waveclub stage to check out the Boom Bap for a bit, and they had a decent crowd bopping around for them. They were just playing bops and having a good time, keeping the energy fresh through the halfway slump point of the fest.
Keys N Krates marked the obvious transition on the lineup from dancy, groovy house to deep bass house, as they encapsulated all sounds between. They played plenty of feel-good, wavy tunes like their predecessors on the main stage, but they sure brought the bass. Their drummer was rocking out and getting dirty with the sample pads and bass sounds. The rest of the night, the bass coming out of those speakers was absurdly ill.
Cashmere Cat fucked me up. His bass was so intense it knocked me over and I could feel it in my bones. I never realized how hard Cashmere Cat goes during his live sets! It was amazing. He’d play the absolute bangers he’s put out with hit artists all fun and dancey, then completely fuck them up with crazy bass wubs and scratchy sounds. It was beginning to get dark during his set, so every time the bright lights and lasers would pause for a moment, you’d realize it was still a bit light outside and remember you were in an amphitheatre in the middle of Nashville, rather than deep in a pit of tropical, thunderous bass. Cashmere Cat was is so energetic and silly. He kept playing like he was scratching his keys like a kitty!
Lane 8, to me, feels like the 80’s music of EDM, and I mean that in the best way possible. His set was a lot of fun and dancey, still with a solid bass presence. I needed a breather at this time to get a break from the bass rattling my bones and to prepare for Bonobo, so I meandered over to the Waveclub again to catch a bit of DJ Bowie’s set. As a returning artist to Deep Tropics, it was to be expected that he had a steady vibe going. I also stopped in at the Tranquil Temple to meditate on some Waterchill to get my head right before Bonobo. His beautiful, dope, ambient beats were a perfect soundscape while chilling in a hammock and watching the wavy, cloud visuals and rainbow beam light show. I don’t typically enjoy “silent discos,” but whatever this would be considered was exactly what I needed.
I have nothing to say about Bonobo except that his set was perfect. I was nervous about hearing a DJ set versus a live band set, because I enjoy his music so much that I didn’t want it to be replaced with pure house music. Little did I know that Bonobo is the King of house and his set was the literal definition of “deep tropics.” He started with Bambro Koyo Ganda in a mystical, echoey, smokey kind of way leading into the first “drop.” It had the crowd going wild! We all turned into monkeys wiggling and jumping and giggling around each other. He played five original tracks right off the bat, threw in his new tracks “Linked” and “Ibrik,” which were really cool to hear live, and he even threw in OG track “Cirrus.” The smile on my face stretched from ear to ear and I never stopped dancing my heart out the entire duration of his set. Thank you so much for that rejuvenating set, Si!
- Article written by Cassandra McLaughlin
- Photos taken by Elena Lin