Warped Horizon Brings Bassheads to Atlanta for a New Year's Bash
As they did last year, several production teams got together to throw a massive pre- and post-party in conjunction with Bassnectar’s NYE event. Last year, the party was in Birmingham, and this year, Atlanta played host to thousands of bassheads, some experienced and some new to the scene. The Warped Horizon team were ambitious enough to take over a bowling alley/roller rink/arcade and convert it into a three-stage music venue with full production and Incendia domes outdoors.
There were vendors and live painters, and the laser tag arena, which already featured black lights, had been converted with the help of local artist Papa Bear into an art gallery full of psychedelic paintings and illustrations that glowed eerily under the blue-black light overhead. Sadly, I was only able to attend the second night of Warped Horizon’s two night run in Atlanta. Though I was disappointed to have missed the first, I couldn’t say no to performances by G Jones, Govinda, EPROM and the very special Esseks b2b Freddy Todd set.
I arrived early to catch Parrotice bringing in the new year with a set that bounced from deep dub to DnB, often in time with the gusts of cold wind that kept the audiences huddled under the flame of the Incendia domes. The wind was bitter, but everyone stuck it out, standing in tight groups of friendly strangers under the fire. Those who couldn’t handle the cold were able to browse the artist and vendor tables, where familiar names like Grassroots California were selling alongside artists like Morphis Art, who live-painted a breathtaking piece through the night.
As was the case last year, more folks attended the first night than the second, and while things did fill in towards the end of the night it was quite empty for the first half of the evening. It took most people a full two hours from the time Bassnectar stopped playing to arrive at the after-party. It made me wish I had been there for the first night, which was described to me as the “best event of 2017." Even for the second night, however, the lineups were strong for those who arrived early, but there weren’t many people to enjoy it until later in the night.
JuJu Beats continued to keep the frozen bassheads entertained outside until Organik threw down a massive set on the Untz Stage. He drove the PK Sound provided by Thazdope Records to the limit and the set sounded really nice and big as soon as I walked in the room. On the Portal stage, I got to see Peekaboo, whose production I very much enjoy, but who played an underwhelming set of hype EDM.
I quickly retreated to the bass cave that Organik was powering, seeing a bit of TLZMN’s set before hurrying off to Esseks b2b Freddy Todd. This was by far my most anticipated set of the weekend, and I wasn’t disappointed. Together they delivered one of the weirdest, funkiest, and heaviest sets I’ve heard in a while - balancing goofy fun against hard drops and big dance tunes. Both of these artists are fantastic solo performers, but their energy together was something special. I very much hope we see more of this b2b act this coming Summer.
Govinda (read our previous interview here) knew he was playing with G Jones in the next room over, so he threw down an absolute shredder of a set. I was blown away by the energy at some points, and while he still picked up the violin and moved things down into chill territory in a few places, he also put down some grinding dubstep and massive tribal trap tunes. Still, most folks were crammed into the next room for G Jones’ set. I’m a big fan and am happy to see him every chance I get, but after seeing his performance at Variety Playhouse (read my review of that night here), and hearing him on a festival stage at Imagine Festival (read that review here), this environment felt like a club in comparison. Despite some technical hitches, he gave an excellent performance and the energy in the room was still buzzing when EPROM and Joker took the stage.
Their set was experimental and heavy at times, while soothing and reflective at others. It was the sort of set that made sense to the last bassheads, those still standing as 5 am approached. I enjoyed another pass through the black light artwork display, took some snaps, and then took my time at the vendor tables before slowly making my way out. In the next room, Dorfex Bos was hammering away a rager of a set that kept people dancing while they coordinated their groups and summoned rides in the cold Atlanta night. It was an adventure getting home, but by the time I left I was tired, happy and optimistic about 2018.
Photos by Carlie Adair // Shots by Carl