10 Can't-Miss Acts at Something Wicked 2015
Houston's annual Halloween-themed festival combines more than 40 international acts along with insane fan costumes and elaborate stage setups to make it one of the premier EDM events of the year. However, this weekend's weather forecast is threatening to ruin some costumes and affect some production elements. According to the official Something Wicked website, the festival is still on as scheduled. Organizers say they are working with the National Weather Service to monitor the forecast and keep attendees safe and informed.
Whatever happens, follow the social-media accounts of Something Wicked, Disco Donnie Presents or Nightculture for updates. Hopefully, the results aren't the same as they were for Something Wonderful, the springtime sister event held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas that was canceled because of severe weather.
ABOVE & BEYOND
10:30 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage
If you are unfamiliar with Above & Beyond’s music, look up their weekly podcast, Group Therapy, and get a taste. It’s classic trance, and a very large number of episodes are archived on almost any music platform, including Soundcloud. Their live show was described to me by a fellow TomorrowWorld attendee as being “spiritual.” The trio was named to Pete Tong’s Hall of Fame and has been featured numerous times on BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix. Even though the progressive trance icons stopped in Houston on their “We Are All We Need” tour back in March, that’s no reason to deprive yourself of the experience of witnessing Above & Beyond outdoors. (JACK GORMAN)
ADAM BEYER & IDA ENGBERG
7 p.m. Sunday, Beatport Stage
This power couple will break out a three-hour B2B set on Sunday night on the Beatport Stage, so if you plan on seeing the whole thing, know that it will conflict with both sets by Steve Aoki and Jack U. And be forewarned: If you think you're going to start here and then split to a different stage, it will be very difficult to pull away if you let yourself go in their continuous techno grooves. The set will pass by in no time at all, and three hours will have gone by and all you will have to show for it is several pounds of water loss from straight dancing. Not only do they put on a good set, they have good hearts, too. Engberg spearheaded Techno for Humanity, a charity event to raise funds and aid the Syrian refugee crisis that was held in Antwerp, Belgium, last month. (JACK GORMAN)
6:50 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage
Seeing Benny Benassi live is kind of like the concert-goers' equivalent of purchasing a record for "cataloging" purposes: If you like EDM, part of you feels like you just need to do this "because." So for those attending Something Wicked who have loved EDM for years, seeing Benassi is kind of a must. Unless, of course, they've already seen Benassi, in which case they may not care either way; also "because." Face it — Benassi is a big reason that half these DJs wanted to get started, and half the reason tons of these festers even knew what "EDM" was back in the day when the mainstream still called it "club" music. Who doesn't love "Satisfaction"? "Cinema"? Even if these aren't played during his set, it's almost a sure bet that SOMEONE playing this weekend is going to sample one or both, if not play the whole track. Shit, pretty sure Major Lazer just played "Satisfaction" at this past FPSF. Point being, once Benassi steps onstage, the audience will realize they know way more of his music than they ever suspected. (SELENA DIERINGER)
6 p.m. Sunday, Mystic Meadows Stage
After Cash Cash put on one of the best performances of Something Wicked 2014, 2015's festers will surely want to catch this New Jersey trio take the stage again this Sunday. If the set is even half as fun as last year's, no one will be disappointed...that is, as long as they love radio-ready, pop EDM. The key to this year's set will be to bring something even more than before: This year hasn't exactly been full of new releases from these dudes, and if Cash Cash aces this set without simply replicating last year, it could really legitimize the group in the eyes of Texas EDM fans. Here's hoping they come with tons of new housey tricks and treats for this year's fest. Check out the new, über-poppy "Devil" for a sneak peek at what we might expect. (SELENA DIERINGER)
9:30 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage
Whether it's the whistling of “Bird Machine,” the thumping beats of “Turn Down for What” or one of the big hits of the summer in “Lean On,” expect DJ Snake to have the crowd moving on Saturday night; the production that has come to be known as one of Something Wicked’s strengths will be on full display here. Snake has just dropped his new single, “Middle,” and announced that his full album could be released on Interscope Records as soon as this winter. If the rainy weather forecast comes to fruition, it will be interesting to see if he will persuade the crowd to crouch down on the ground as he has at other festivals. But…“You Know You Like It.” (JACK GORMAN)
5:30 p.m. Sunday, Beatport Stage
For an EDM act to say they were influenced by Kraftwerk is like a rock band saying they were influenced by The Beatles and Led Zeppelin — cliché, anyone? What's different about Green Velvet is that the influence is strongly evident in the sound. Directly mathematic and scientific in nature, Curtis Jones's more recent work is like a sound study for those who truly love techno and minimal house. Fest-goers who are more about the music and less about the furry scene will want to dive head-first into this set, which is scheduled to run a full 90 minutes. Be ready to get entranced. (SELENA DIERINGER)
8:15 p.m. Saturday, Beatport Stage
Mija's high-energy sets are full of dope music; that is the best way to describe it. She is a rising star and will only get bigger. Signed to the Skrillex-founded OWSLA label, she is recently back in the United States after touring several countries in the Asia-Pacific and a few stops through Canada. It’s nice to see that she finally has a set for a later time so more fans can be exposed to her. I haven’t seen that she has had a set after sundown at any festival so far. Don’t expect one thing from her…expect everything from her. She will deliver. Simply put, Mija is badass. Check her out. (JACK GORMAN)
8:30 p.m. Saturday, Bass Crypt
After a year of festival-hopping, Seven Lions managed to release two EPs, The Throes of Winter and Summer of the Occult. The latter's Halloween-ready "Cusp" is sure to be a huge track at this year's Something Wicked. A Seven Lions set has a little something for everyone: dubstep, but not too bro-y where someone might get white-boy aggro and punch someone in the face; trance, but not so sleepy that half the audience will be totally zonked out and drooling; and, most important, a fantastical blending of tempos that keeps the audience engaged and dancing without hyperventilating. With a year's worth of pleasing crowds and a ton of new material to keep it going, this is a don't-miss set. (SELENA DIERINGER)
5:15 p.m. Sunday, Main Stage
Hey, everybody likes an underdog. Everyone loves a comeback kid! Therefore, best wishes to Slander, who was by far one of the most disorganized and nonsensical performances of 2014's Something Wicked. A late-afternoon spot on this year's main stage? Well, that is...interesting! Not to slander Slander, but last year's set wasn't exactly moving. This year, let's hope they can prove their space on the lineup and present something that's far less maddening. Here's to hoping; their SoundCloud is showcasing some significantly more interesting and thoughtful music (check out "Love Again" and "Power" for two very different sides of this coin) that promote the potential for a really great show. We are crossing our fingers, Slander. Make us proud! (SELENA DIERINGER)
10:45 p.m. Saturday, Beatport Stage
Another Parisian must-see (DJ Snake also hails from the French capital) is Tchami, originator of the relatively new "future house" genre, a mesh of deep house and electro. Don't expect to hear huge build-up and epic drops; it’s not that style. The singles "After Life" or "Shot Caller" offer a good feel for Tchami as his bassline grabs ahold of you. Also, if you see anyone dressed as a priest walking around the grounds this weekend, it may just be "The Preacher of Basslines" himself, as he often performs in clergy gear. (JACK GORMAN)
See somethingwicked.com for ticket information and everything else.
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