Exit Festival Serbia day 2: New Order, Luciano, Netsky & more [photo gallery + editorial]
I began my second night chilling to Hercules and Love Affair’s performance. Their three vocalists were awesome and put on a great performance for the crowd. Their down tempo disco, nu disco and old-school electro was good fun to groove to and although the crowd was pretty small (a few thousand people), everyone was really into them. It was hot as hell, so one of the females took off her dress and did her thing in mangled nylons and a bra. They ended with their biggest tune “Blind.” A good time was had by all.
Hercules and Love Affair played third on the main stage at 10:30pm Saturday and it was nowhere near as busy as it had been the night before. I heard more than a few people comment that Friday’s programming wasn’t as good as Thursday’s lineup. The truth was that there actually was nothing bad going on anywhere ever at Exit. Friday’s lineup just didn’t happen to have names as big as on Thursday, though the field in front of the main stage was completely full by midnight for New Order. And the field holds about 40,000 people.
It was the first time that New Order had ever played in Serbia, so for most people in the crowd, this was huge. “Sorry it took us 30 years to get here,” was lead singer Peter Hook’s apology as he stepped to the mic. But no one seemed to care because they probably had every single one of their Eastern European fans in attendance.
They pretty much rolled through their greatest hits collection and everyone sang along. While I think “Blue Monday” is one of the best songs ever, I was never a big fan, nor do I know much about the New Wave genre that they pretty much developed and defined. But I knew just about every one of their songs, and have always loved any of their remixed stuff. I recognized “True Faith” and “Bizarre Love Triangle,” and a few other tunes that I’ve enjoyed at 80s-themed parties and retro throwback jams. I didn’t stick around for Blue Monday, but I’m gonna guess that they probably ended with it and that everyone sang along and that a few people saw Jesus.
If you don’t know the tune, you need to familiarize yourself. It is a timeless banger.
I was feeling pretty mellow after Hercules and Love Affair, and New Order, though I was really looking forward to everything that came next. I was already feeling really tired, and just couldn’t find the physical energy to match my psychological excitement. Netsky and Dynamite MC completely changed all that.
At 2:00am on the main stage, there were only about a quarter of the people that had been there for New Order. But those that were left were an awesome reminder of why Drum n’ Bass is a fantastic genre, especially when done right. I hadn’t known much about Netsky, though I had been a fan of Dynamite MC since he was a part of Roni Size/Reprazent. With the explosion of Dubstep in the last couple of years, Drum n’ Bass hasn’t been as relevant as a genre. Netsky reminded everyone that the genre wasn’t dead, but just undergoing changes.
Dynamite MC was stellar. He’s incredibly engaging, and pulls out a mean freestyle when he’s not hyping the crowd with empty banter that is equally awesome. Netsky’s song selection was fun. Very very fun. He dropped grimy roller after grimy roller and had everyone moving, playing some really happy sounding melodic DnB. He had this awesome combination of filthy basslines, rolling drums, and bubbly melodies that was so incredibly fun to move to. Everyone in attendance seemed to think so as well, as it was by far the most energetic crowd yet at Exit with everyone going bananas.
While I wanted very badly to stay, Sneaky Sound System were on at the same time, and I figured that I’ll probably see Netsky in Canada sooner than I will Sneaky Sound System.
Sneaky Sound System are one of Australia’s hottest exports. They’re comprised of DJ Black Angus, who makes the beats, and Connie Mitchell, a fierce female vocalist who absolutely owned the joint that night. They’re basically a progressive house, electro and electro house act with a live singer, and it ads so much more to the performance having Connie sing their tracks live. They’ve done a track with Tiesto, have been remixed by Wolfgang Gartner and John Dahlback, and every single one of their tracks is fantastic. They are absolutely massive in Australia and truly deserve to be a household name in electronic music everywhere.
They played at 2:00am at the fairly small Elekrana stage to a full crowd of a couple thousand. We danced, we cheered, we bowed down. Connie’s vocals were incredible, programming was spot-on, and the stage was at one of the highest points of the fortress, which treated us to an incredible view of the city of Novi Sad below. There were a very large number of Aussies in attendance representing for the home team, with a big flag on a big stick just in case people weren’t sure. Some were obnoxious, some were cool, and most sang along with Connie’s every word. Their second last song was “I Will Be Here,” and they played the Wolfgang Garter version for extra awesomeness. It was my personal favourite performance of the night.
Listen to Sneaky Sound System. They’re bloody awesome.
After Sneaky Sound System, I was hurrying back to the Dance Arena to catch the second half of Reboot’s set…but I never made it. As I was passing the Reggae Stage, I heard some killer ragga jungle freestyling by a female MC. The actual billed performer was the DJ, Wenti Wadada from England, but the vocalist completely stole the show. She sang and rapped for a pretty small crowd of people mostly chilling in the grass, but she absolutely brought it. After going totally buckwild with her crazy ragga rapping, she slowed things down by singing a chill roots-reggae tune that she said “was #1 in Canada.” I stayed for one more track which was some more upbeat reggae with her singing again. Definitely a very cool discovery.
Homegirl, if you’re reading this, please tell us who you are. Would the real MC lady please stand up…
I ended the night dancing my ass off to Luciano in the Dance Arena. He played on four decks, using a Native Instruments S4 controller, and threw together an incredibly intricate and musically diverse tech-house set that had the place going off.
I arrived when it was still dark and watched the sunrise above the fortress walls, while dancing to rolling drum lines laced with occasional snippets of familiar vocals, like Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” and Les Rhymes Digitales’ “From Disco to Disco.” His flow was brilliant and the way he would slowly work in smaller percussive lines into his tunes was just so subtle and incredibly entrancing. I danced until my body was furious with me, having once again been starved for hours and not allowing myself any down time to rest. There were just too many amazing acts to see, and too much dancing to do. Food and sleep were a distant afterthought, but I left at around 6:00am, ate some delicious corn on the cob that I bought just outside of the fortress gates, and rushed home to host an afterparty.
Listen to the set live on Mixcloud: