This year’s installment of HARD Haunted preserved the originality and vibe of the HARD brand while brining in some hot new flavor fresh on the Dance music scene.

The festival kicked off Friday the 28th with a great spread of artists including Electronic music legends such as Fatboy Slim, and rising Indie stars, such as Boys Noize Records’ own Housemeister. When I walked into the Expo Hall Friday I was greeted by the vocal and scratch sensation Gaslamp Killer. I hadn’t experienced Gaslamp’s live set until HARD this summer (2011), and it was great to hear more recent hard Hip Hop, and some Indie beats, including Siriusmo’s ‘High Together.’ Before Laidback Luke graced the stage, I had the opportunity of seeing a bit of SBTRKT’s set, and I loved the flavor SBTRKT brought to the festival early on in the night. Following some mellow beats came the onslaught of Dutch House music that is Laidback Luke. I’ve been in love with Luke’s sets over the past couple years, and it was a treat to hear him play everything from remixes of ‘Turbulence,’ to harder Moombahcore even.

After Laidback and Housemeister left the stages, 2ManyDJs came on for the most epic live performance I’ve seen by the Belgians to date. I’m always stoked to see these brothers play because of their musical ability to juxtapose rock classics with new age European Electro, and also because of how unique their live video mixing skills are. Early on in their set the petals on Mumbai Science’s Lotus EP cover unfolded, and later the baby on Nirvana’s Nevermind LP started swimming around the pool. After the Beligian brothers left the stage, British Dance legend Fatboy Slim took the stage to delivery one of the best DJ sets I’ve ever seen. Slim started with a clip of his hit ‘Praise You’ and rolled right into His Majesty Andre’s banger ‘Clubs.’ From there Fatboy took us on a trip through classics and many new Electro House tracks, including Moguai’s remix of ‘Yo Mama (Push the Tempo).’

Once Fatboy finished, HARD got wonky. Inside we heard the Dubstep onslaught of Zeds Dead (who were dressed as Jesus and Rabi). Zeds Dead dropped many of their hits and remixes, and some new fire in the Dubstep scene, such as Nero’s ‘Crush On You.’ After the duo finished inside, Rusko came on outside to throw down a set that rocked harder than his set at Haunted Mansion 2010, mixing together some older pre-complextro Dub, like ‘Meta Lick,’ and some brand spanking new tracks. On my way out of the festival, I had the pleasure of catching the end of Tiga’s set, hearing his recent banger ‘ZZafrika,’ as ZZT with Zombie Nation; perfect way to end the night.

Day Two of Haunted Mansion featured some of HARD’s favorites paired up with some of the Indie genre’s best new acts. After opening sets by the likes of Jack Master and Clockwork, Destructo took the decks to drop some Indie favorites, including tracks by DJ Antention and Destructo’s own ‘Technology.’ Then, T.E.E.D. came on the stage to bring one of the most memorable sets of the weekend. Dressed like a Dinosaur himself, Orlando (T.E.E.D.) captivated the audience with some of the hits of his last few EP’s, and some new picks off his album. The ambient yet hard dropping Electro of T.E.E.D. resonated too well with the LA crowd. Meanwhile, on the HARD stage Fake Blood brought some classic Blood Music flavor, with tracks like Menace’s ‘Hz and Tones,’ and the massive new ‘Moderate,’ by Indie Electro newcomer Attaque.

After Fake Blood, Skrillex took the Hard Stage to deliver arguably the most anticipated set of the festival. 2011 has been an amazing year for Sonny Moore, and his energy on stage Saturday was as strong as ever; treating the crowd to new picks including his remix of Sebastian’s ‘Love in Motion.’ While Skrillex was rocking it outside, one of HARD’s new favorite artists, Paul Chambers, was absolutely destroying the dance floor inside. I’m crazy for this Belgian, and I was stoked to hear him drop tracks like his remix of Sound of Stereo’s ‘Helium,’ and his bomb with Shinichi Osawa, ‘Singapore Swing.’

Following Skrillex and Paul Chambers, Major Lazer got behind the tables to drop the best set I’ve seen them spin since Hard Haunted Mansion 2009. It was great to hear tracks like their new ‘Original Don.’ Following Diplo and Switch’s set, Dubstep legends 12th Planet and Skream & Benga closed out the festival on the Harder Stage with some classic Wonk, while the best Belgian Electro – Rock act on the globe, Soulwax, brought LA’s some classic tunes.

 

This year’s Hard Haunted was the most successful yet and brought an awesome combination of new and old acts, it’s been amazing to see the festival grow so much over the past few years!