EMAS Weekender: Touch Bass

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Another year, another sold out Belvoir. Boy oh boy. While awaiting the lineup drop, I honestly didn’t think it could manage to top last year. I’d heard rumours but dismissed them almost instantly. Surely Excision wouldn’t be coming back to little old Perth so soon……fuck.

In all honesty I almost burst when the lineup was finally announced. Excision was back!!! Not only that, but they were bringing the likes of Habstrakt, Getter, Godlands, and the home-grown heroes Slumberjack to what was certain to be a sold out crowd, and holy shit I couldn’t suppress my excitement.

Different year, same old story with the crowd. Clouds of vape smoke circling the air, the distant sounds of fresh 18-year olds trying to bum a dart. Oh, and fanny packs. Fanny packs everywhere. It was good to be back.

As I first made my way into the bowl, Sydney star Godlands was almost halfway through her set as the opener for the day, and man, I wish I’d been there for the start. She went surprisingly hard for the opener, throwing down some seriously heavy trap beats, and getting the early crowd moving effortlessly. You couldn’t help but jump around as she dropped tunes from the likes of RL Grime, What So Not and Boombox Cartel, as well as some brilliantly produced bootlegs. Even her own songs, which remind me of the heavy trap beats produced by RL, went off, most noteworthy being her heavy hitting tune ‘Hit Em Like This’. Safe to say that Godlands will certainly be welcome should she choose to make her way back to Perth again.

Next up was the bouncy trio by the name of Brohug, all the way from Sweden. Bouncy would by far be the most accurate description of their music as well, with a similar feel to the likes of Jauz and Joyryde. In all honesty their set didn’t stand out to me as anything special. Not to say it was bad, it just wasn’t anything that made me lose my mind. As the sun slowly started to fade towards the end of their set, the crowd got a brief preview of the lightshow we could be expected to see, and if I hadn’t already been buzzing for the likes of Habstrakt coming up next, seeing the lights appear definitely would have given me strength.

I was honestly very surprised Habstrakt came on as early as he did. If anything, I expected him to be just before Excision, so I was very surprised he was the third performer of the day. Regardless of his early spot, Habstrakt came out and absolutely blew it out of the water. His set was, in my opinion, the best of the day, although it wasn’t by a huge margin. If you thought Brohug made people bounce, then Habstrakt was on the brink of making them fly. He came in hard with his deep bassy music, and about 15 minutes into his set he dropped his huge collab with Skrillex, ‘Chicken Soup’, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone he didn’t pull out their phone to film it. After this, his set just seemed to get heavier and heavier, and I was very surprised to hear him start flawlessly mixing in some heavy dubstep and Riddim beats into his set. The more diverse it got, the wilder the crowd seemed to get. Even his backgrounds were fantastic. Incredibly detailed spirals and patterns twirled behind him throughout his set, and you couldn’t help but be mesmerised. I can safely say that he was the MVP of the night, at least in my own opinion.

Stepping up to the stage next, waving a huge ass flag with their name on it, were Perth favourites Slumberjack. Known for their mixture of smooth melody’s and bassy trap, Slumberjack have proved themselves to be a crowd pleaser in the past, selling out their own shows with ease. They started their set slowly, with long, smooth build ups leading into their signature drops. This seemed to be the formula for most of their set, long, smooth build ups, heavy drop, rinse and repeat. Not to say this was bad, it just seemed to dull the energy a bit, simply due to the fact that Habstrakt had been flat out for his entire hour, whereas Slumberjack opted for a slower approach. Personally, I would have swapped their positions on the lineup around for the sake of keeping the energy up, as the crowd did seem to dip. Their set was enjoyable, I just personally found their structure to get a bit redundant after a while. Their backgrounds were also very easy on the eyes, with smooth pink waterfalls and Egyptian themed Sphinx’s appearing behind them, enough to capture the crowd’s attention without fail.

Stepping up before the big man was Getter. He absolutely loves the shit out of Australia, he pops up here once every couple of months, and has proved to be quite a crowd favourite. Personally, I was sceptical of what to expect from Getter as he stepped up, as a few weeks ago, he opened up about how his passion for EDM has started to fade – it just isn’t what he wants to do anymore. Frankly, I’d been disappointed by him at Listen Out last year, and I just didn’t know what to expect from him this time around.
I can safely say, that he did a lot better than I expected. He opened his set with ‘Head Splitter’, and before long was throwing down some heavy tunes including ‘Rip n Dip’, ‘Biterz’ and everyone’s favourite, ‘Jotaro’, at which point I almost fell down the stairs from raging so hard. Despite popping off, the crowd seemed to be quite dead during Getter. Maybe everyone just wanted to hurry up and get to Excision, or maybe everyone was too cooked, but he was forced multiple times to yell out “Perth where the fuck you at”, to which he received almost no response. The only thing that seemed to bring the crowd back to life was
‘Teenage Dirtbag’, but not long after that, Getter left the stage looking very disgruntled.

FINALLY. It was time. Having seen the boss man at Metro City 2 years ago, I was immensely excited to see what had changed over that time. For those of you who somehow don’t know, Excision prides himself on making some fucking beautiful backgrounds, that sync perfectly with the music he plays in his sets. People don’t see Excision just for the music, they see it for the sensory overload that he brings with him.
He opened his set with an unreleased track, and the crowd was gifted with a huge crocodile submarine swimming through the water, then emerging to smash its arms down in sync with each of the heavy bass claps. Words honestly just cant describe the beauty that is Excision, you just had to be there.

In terms of music, he just pumps out banger after banger. His set saw the inclusion of some of his biggest tunes. ‘Harambe’, ‘Throwin Elbows’, ‘The Paradox’, newly released ‘Rumble’, and my absolute personal favourite ‘Drowning’, which honestly almost brought me to tears. His set was full of bass, heavy wubs and filthy Riddim, and despite playing to a relatively dead crowd, it didn’t make the experience less amazing.
What did make it less amazing, was the fact that the screen eventually shut down. Honestly, it was quite devastating. The technical team had been having issues with one side of the big screen all night, and of course, in the most typical fashion, the entire thing blew out with about 25 minutes left in Excisions set. 25 minutes with no backgrounds, it sucked. Don’t get me wrong he’s a fantastic DJ, but it just wasn’t the same. You could see the crowd lull, and he was obviously disappointed with what had happened, it was so unfortunate.
Putting this aside, Excision continued his set in style, and continued to drop banger after banger. ‘Robo Kitty’, his infamous Lost Lands 2017 mashup, and of course, ‘The Wonky Song’, the background for which was possibly the most aniticpated of the night. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nothing quite compares to hearing an entire crowd scream out the tune of a dubstep song, Monxx most definitely aced that one.
The thrill of seeing Excision once again stuck with me for the next few days, and I can safely say I’ll be anxiously awaiting his return.

Despite suffering from technical issues all night, Touch Bass this year was brilliant. The diverse range of acts meant everyone had something they could enjoy, and I don’t think anyone stepped out of Belvoir having had a bad time. I definitely can’t wait for next year.

Written by: Will Marsh

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