It is a fascinating thing that we can bring 2K musically like minded individuals together in some of the most majestic outdoor environments our province has to offer. For me, one of the most amazing things about festival season is the ability to dance with my friends, under the stars, to music I’m absolutely crazy about. This year, Bass Coast yet again refilled my quota and left me feeling blessed and incredibly appreciative of the bass community we have here in British Columbia.
Jess and I were excited to be included on Bass Coast’s media program for the second year in a row. While feeling quite prepared last year, the new location left us feeling a little unaware of exactly what to expect of this year’s festivities. After meeting in Merritt (I was traveling from the island and Jess from Nelson) we easily found the new site and were met with nothing but friendly faces and smiles as we went through the gates and drove through the grounds, where we set up in Camp A (right across from the Geodesic dome titled “Adventure Time”) Everyone we encountered, right from when we arrived to the moment we left, was all very knowledgeable and aware of the policies and procedures of the festival. There weren’t blank stares when volunteers were asked questions and it made for a very easy transition in/out of the festivals.
Having never attended the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, the grounds were completely new to us and it was quite enjoyable walking the grounds and discovering all the art installations throughout the site. The excess of space throughout the festival was a welcome change from the previous year, it certainly was a highlight of the event. Adequate flail space when dancing is a high priority for us here at Dub Selekta and Bass Coast delivered on that front.
Friday things got rolling for us in the Slay Bay (my fave visually appealing stage) with Alphabet’s Heaven. Kicking off his first Canadian appearance, it was great to see him banging out tracks on his MPC before Sam Demoe took over and moved things over into an hour of hyphy 4/4 sounds. We bounced around the stages taking in the sights and sounds but it wasn’t until Self Evident came on that I was sucked back into a particular stage. Already a big fan, he played his signature flossy, ghetto hip hop inspired style – leaving both Jess and I literally jumping for joy. Gun fingers in the air, shoulder shrugs and all that good stuff.
Taal Mala took over the Bassment stage after Self Evident and took things to a much darker, almost Neurofunk, sounding place. At that point it was some of the first DnB we’d throughout the weekend so was a nice change.
After Taal Mala we bounced between DJ Cure’s more animated, upbeat sounds at the Radio Stage and Goth Trad’s deeper dubstep at the Bassment stage. Having never seen Goth Trad, although been a longtime listener, it was great to finally have the chance to see him. I played the fangirl and spent some time chatting with him, as he’d decided to stay for the weekend.
Having heard plenty about Barisone, including kudos about his past performances, I was interested to see and hear him play. My exact memory of what he played is a bit foggy (he did play at 4am afterall) but I do remember dancing hard and a smile slapped on my face the entire time. Wrapping up Friday night was Kir Mokum, always delivering with his early morning drum and bass, who was one of the few artists I saw all weekend playing an all vinyl set. Unfortunately towards the end of his set the sound reverberations off the mountains began bouncing and I only wish there were more people to see him play to help absorb those weird sound bounces.
The majority of Saturday for me was spent by the river, absorbing the sweet sounds streaming down from the Slay Bay stage, as the LIGHTA! Crew hosted the annual Reggae Jam. I had indulged and enjoyed myself to excess on Friday so as a result was a little sluggish on Saturday. As the LIGHTA! Jam was a highlight of Bass Coast 2012, I was more than happy to spend some time just sitting by the river and taking in each LIGHTA! member’s take on a 20min reggae set. The Slay Bay area, positioned perfectly so you could float down the river listening to the sounds of whomever was playing the stage, maintained the Bass Coast feel that the Squamish location had instilled in many participants – myself included.
Most of the day on Saturday was spent avoiding the rain and thunder the plagued most of the afternoon. Freak thunderstorms brought out an absolutely beautiful double rainbow and magnificent pink sky shortly after the zebra flash mob, as organized by the lovely ladies of Mousai. The rain meant that I didn’t get to make as many acts as I’d initially intended to (waterproofing our camp was a top priority) but I was able to catch SHAHDJ’s Willisist as he played a signature series of premier drum and bass. Already having posted his Bass Coast set online, we’ve included a copy above for you to either relive or indulge for the first time. While each artist I saw on Saturday played an amazing set, I can easily say that the highlight of the night (and one of the entire festival) was Om Unit’s set at the Radio Stage. Having been a big fan of Om Unit previous, I was interested to see whether his festival set would differ from past club sets and what he’d dish out on the rainy/drizzling Saturday night. Playing everything from new tracks from his forthcoming release via Metalheadz to some through backs like Ulysses, he navigated through his spacious Juke/Jungle stylings in addition bouncing between other genres like hip hop vibes. Dancing in the rain with a crew of some of my best friends as Om Unit played in the background will be a memory I won’t soon forget!
While it’s incredibly hard to fill the shoes of someone like Om Unit, Westerley finished off our Saturday evening with a nice dose of deep, dub’ed out dubstep sounds (which you can listen to below.) Big lumbering beats and luscious basslines, Westerley had me dancing until I literally could no longer move my legs; bed time soon followed.
Sunday at festivals always brings on this “need-to-get-in-as-much-as-I-can-today” thinking for me and Sunday at Bass Coast this year was no exception. While the rain came down hard on Saturday afternoon, Sunday cleared enough for Jess and I to make the sets of That African (who played out some sexy, dub’ed out sounds), the Philthkids (with a electric charged ghetto house set) as well as J.F.Killah who played an hour blending the best in deep dub sounds, drum and bass with trap/hip hop seamlessly mixed in. Numerous times I tried to go and feed myself only to run back to the stage with the drop of each new track.
The rest of the evening was spent stage jumping as we tried to take in as many acts as we could including JETS (which was good but didn’t quite do it for me), LWSD (who was debuting some brand new DnB sounds when I found his set) and finally ending at the Bassment stage to see Bass Coast’s own Andrea Librarian play. Absolutely smashing the sounds with her style, Librarian’s set is another that I won’t ever forget. Numerous times throughout her set the crowd erupted into shouts and cheers of pure joy for the lady who brings some much musical joy into each of our lives. The best part of her set was the end when Michael Red got on the mic and inducted Librarian as an official member of the LIGHTA! crew! Such a magical moment, those who witness would agree.
After Librarian it was Daega Sound to infuse the evening with some low end vibes. Always a pleasure to see, I absorbed as much of their set as I could before making my way over to the Slay Bay to catch one of the own Vancouver Island acts; Rhythmicon. One of the original sub|division members (and a key player in Victoria’s bass scene), Rhythmicon played a phenomenal set complete with speed garage, trap, juke and other big bass filled sounds. You can listen to his entire set via his soundcloud or through the link below:
But one of the big highlights of the evening for me was Machinedrum; someone I have always had a musical soft spot for. Never one to disappoint he finished the evening on Bassment stage, even playing an extended set long after the stage was supposed to shut down. If you have never had the chance to see Machinedrum, it’d highly recommend you check him out if you get the chance. No one set is like the last, no genre is off limits. Wrapping up BassCoast Sunday for me was Michael Red at the Slay Bay – who is always an early hours musical pleasure. There are certain artists that I especially love enjoying during the wee hours as the sun is coming up and Michael Red is one of them. It was the perfect end of a magical weekend at Bass Coast, surrounded by my bass family.
In short Bass Coast 2013 was incredible, unbelievable, stunning and enchanting. The new location served this year extremely well and coming together with some of the most creatively talented individuals in one of the most beautiful places on earth is something I’m very honoured to be a part of. I want to specifically thank Andrea and Liz for having Dub Selekta out again this year. Kudos to Paul Brooks, Vasho Pekar, Ryan Mitchell, Jess Smith and all the others who helped out with media this year. And a special big ups to the BC Bass family who makes events like these possible.