Equinox Experience | Play Festival 2013 Review

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ALL WORDS BY TOM MEEK
ALL IMAGES BY BRENT PHOTOGRAPHY!

Having not attended an Equinox party since 2010 (which was their first outdoor) I was quite excited as to what was about to take place. Attending this year’s EQUINOX Experience was a lot like paying a TV licence, because it was the right thing to do, and getting to the venue was as easy as pie, although I’m still confused as to how easy pie really is.

The venue for Equinox is Goedgedaght farm in Malmesbury, The Farm of Dreams. With a shaded river snaking its way from the main stage, which was decorated with old-school arcade theme characters,  past all the stalls and right through to the second deep house stage.

After a quick trip around the venue I became aware of just how many activities Equinox had provided for the hordes of revellers. From mechanical surf board rides to jumping castles from ball-pits to tree-houses this party literally had it all, and on top of all the added extra’s the sound rig for the main floor was exceptionally crisp and punchy with insane levels of bass.

Anahata hit the decks first, easing the early birds into the party with an upbeat funky deep house set getting everyone shaking with anticipation for what this party had in store for them. Being deep house I didn’t expect many people to enjoy the set but I was completely and utterly wrong, with the punchiest bass I’ve heard I couldn’t help but jam along with the phat melodies.
Well-known local Dj Nick Grater was up next, shifting the music from deep-house into a more techno sound and finally around into slow thumping progressive, blowing people away with powerful breaks and hard kicks from the massive rig.

Phixius who won the Equinox New Guy Competition played an insane set getting the increasingly big crowd to bounce along to the progressive sounds of track such as Audiomatic and Phaxe – Pineapple x-press, Day Din – Zurich and the crowd pleaser Coming Soon – Chemistry (Fabio & moon remix).

https://soundcloud.com/youseffarrah99/chemistry-dj-fabio-moon-remix

We have here nitric acid, glycerine, and a special mixture of my own. A sample from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

34’ South was up next playing a minimal-tech-ish style of progressive with mental bass surging out of huge the array of bass bins that lined the front of the stage. By this time I was well into my groove having finished a good few papsak’s that were flying out of the bar at an astonishing rate

The night had arrived and so had Deadbeat FM, mixing over from 34’ South, with a smooth switch into a blend of well-known progressive tracks that were well received by the mob of ecstatic trance heads.

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By this time the main dance floor had filled up nicely and the crowd were lapping up the solid beats in a playful manner.
Contra which is EMP’s latest project followed up Deadbeat FM with his new night-time progressive sound. Being slightly harder than the progressive trance most of us are used to I thought it was a refreshing change and most of the tunes played are only a few months old.

Midnight hour had struck and with that came The Commercial Hippies. This globe-trotting duo act who part-own the well-established record label Nano Records, which has been pumping out solid releases by themselves and many other artists for almost 10 years.     They thrashed out some of their latest tunes such as “Cold Shoulders” a track which has one of the grungiest and filthiest bass lines I’ve ever heard and some really epic vocal samples. You can find this track on the EP “Hot Air”, the name of another one of the slamming tracks they played.

One of Cape Town’s newer acts Portal was turning knobs and turning heads controlling the funky bouncing beats keeping the crowd dancing into the early hours of the morning.
One of the tracks I most enjoyed was “Sancho Pancho – Freakin out” which will be released on Sancho Pancho‘s EP “Countdown” in the next week or so.

https://soundcloud.com/sanchopanchomusic/sancho-pancho-freakin-out-demo

Portal is becoming a big name in the scene after winning last years “Equinox New Guy” competition and played one of my most enjoyable sets of the night. Hailing from Jozi I think Portal has really sunk his teeth into the Cape Town scene over the last year.

https://soundcloud.com/portalpsy/portal-summerstomp-promo-dj

Rubix Qube burst out playing his unique twilight sound smashing the crowd in the face with heavy kicks and technical twists leading to the most intense breaks. With a super crisp and chunky drum beat, every note out of the rig sounded pitch-perfect and sounded as if it was made for that rig. Rubix Qube’s sound is something very special, with fast paced and well placed breaks it’s definitely not something to sleep through. I’ve always been a big fan of Rubix Qube’s style and originality and an even bigger fan of his track “Sneaky Snake Eyes” which he ended his set on.

http://www.last.fm/music/Rubix+Qube/_/Sneaky+Snake+Eyes

Next up we have Technicolor the duo act of Deliriant and Mad Piper playing their fresh    full-on style everyone loves. Technicolor’s music can only be described as well-structured full-on with both daytime and night time elements specific to the Mad Piper and Deliriant’s projects.
With fast paced energetic leads and technical percussion this duo got the crowd frothing.
I really enjoyed hearing the hit song “Chronic V.2” and couldn’t help but completely loose myself for the rest of their set.

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Bruce came up next with his high energy psychedelic style being amplified by the rising of the sun providing the crowd with mottled light and plenty of energy to stomp throughout the day. Playing his mash up of psychedelic and high energy bangers really got the crowd hyped up, as if they weren’t amped enough already.

Static Flow swapped over from Bruce for the first of the proper daytime sets playing from 06:30 – 08:00. At this point people were waking themselves up with quick splashes in the river and plenty to eat from the mass of gourmet food stalls set up along the river banks. Static Flow is no stranger to the music and festival scene, having played overseas in countries such as Sweden and Great Britain and honing his talent as a psy producer. He has learnt this skill alongside his friend Nate Raubenheimer one of the biggest South African producers who we know as Protoculture.

I think Static Flow did an insane job of getting the crowd ready for Dapanji’s set with a solid transition into daytime beats.
Ranji kicked of the Dapanji set with a massive mix up of his most well known and loved tracks. Having seen Dapanji before I thought I knew what to expect from this Israeli act
but these Israeli’s always come with a few new tricks and tracks up their sleeves such as the crowd pleasing song aptly named “Cracking Skulls” which I have always regarded as one of my favourite tracks by this fast, super energetic artist. Dapanji being thought of as semi commercial by most in the SA trance scene played a few snippets of remixed commercial tracks such as iSquare and Come Alive which the crowd couldn’t help but loose themselves to the catchy dub infused hi-tech psytrance being blasted out of the monster rig.

https://soundcloud.com/dapanji/dapanji-vs-blastoyz-come-alive

At this stage the crowd was pretty much out of control jumping and bouncing around with only one care in the world, and that was to dance and dance as hard as physically possible.

D-Sciple was at the controls next controlling the deep progressive rhythms with the utmost precision. Heavy drops and flowing bass-hits were the call of the day and D-sciple really delivered the crowd exactly what they needed, some grooving prog to get the day off to a good start.
D-Sciple who opened for local legend Gandalf, played one of the most epic and captivating psychedelic mixes the crowd could have asked for kicking the dance floor into overdrive.

With his magical psy powers Gandalf stirred the decks, concocting a deadly mix of daytime prog. He had the crowd under his spell and seemed to be pulling their stings like only Gandalf the Grey could.

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Stereotype the fresh duo act by Mark Valsecchi and Byron Kleb (Lilphil) kept the crowd buzzing in the midday sun playing a lot of incredible tracks for the prog-hungry stompers. With the bar now open people crowded to get refreshments and play some Metal Slug, against the bar security whilst waiting for their drinks.

Sad Paradise which is James Copeland’s psy tech project took over from Stereotype, with his impeccable skill and comfort behind the decks Sad Paradise aka Broken Toy (amongst other aliases) blended a mixture of funky uplifting sounds that most people have said was their favourite set of the party and I couldn’t agree more as he really does put together a flawless set.

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Aviation who is the second international artist from Israel took control of the crowd with his potent mix of unusual sounding progressive.
Playing a reggae style song called “This is dub” really got the crowd into a great headspace for some afternoon jamming. Aviation’s sound is quite unlike most of the progressive we hear at our parties but the crowd adapted to it well and I found myself jamming in a treehouse for most of his set.

https://soundcloud.com/aviationavi/aviation-this-is-dub-1

Everyone’s favourite party-ending artist Headroom was up next with his playful bouncy beats. Headroom has really made a name for himself locally and internationally with songs such as “3-4 to the floor”, “Artelligent” and “I don’t Tech No for an Answer”.
Watching Headroom and his patented fist pumping dance is an amazing experience as you can really see his love and energy going into every track he mixes.

By this time everyone seemed to think Headroom was the last artist, but they couldn’t have been more wrong, with a surprise set by Ranji from Dapanji suddenly blasting out of the rig people couldn’t help but stay for another hour dancing to this super sneaky set.
“Ranji”  the self-titled project formed by Ranji from Dapanji ended the party off with a mix of tracks from his new project and remix’s of his other project Class A.

Personally I don’t think anything bad could have been said about this party. Equinox have really shown us how a festival should be and I’m pretty sure future festivals are going to try and pick up on some of the epic-ness that Equinox Experience Play Festival 2013 had on show.

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2 Comments

  1. Ryan says:

    Amazing review Tom. Really captured every moment and love your writing style.
    Thank you for this great review!

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