Lights All Night 2012 Lineup *Event Review* Lights All Night | Dec. 29 31 | Fair Park, TX

This review is a bit overdue; between planning our showcase at SXSW this year and commitment to school it took a while to recollect all the memories from the madness that was Lights All Night.  The festival’s second year at Fair Park was probably the proudest moment in EDM history for Texas. The three day festival pushed the limits on the length of any festival held in Texas giving attendees 8 hours of music for three days straight; definitely an improvement over most shows held in the Lone Star State. A lot of people were very unhappy that the festival began at 4 p.m. and ended at midnight each night because, like with any massive, the festival-goers demand a non-stop party. When you have a three day festival it’s almost expected; however, the blame need not be placed on the festival organizers at all. The city of Dallas has tried to push “raves” and EDM shows of any kind out of its city especially since the fiasco that took place at the 2011 EDC Dallas that left dozens of people injured and one teenager dead. Naturally, the only way they can curb the demand of the people was to enforce sound code violations on the festival in the name of residents in the area. It was an unfortunate situation, but after three days I can confidently say everyone including the festival-goers got over it pretty quick because the quality of production was top-notch. I would like to thank David at MotorMouth Media for this opportunity and Highland Promotions and MCP Presents for putting on one hell of a show for Dallas!

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I got there just in time to see Zedd at the main stage. As always, he did not disappoint and his set brought a lot of energy to the crowd when things were just starting up. His ability to move from song to song is incredible all the while feeling the crowd out like he could read minds. I had a little time to check out the setup on the main stage and the amount of sound power they had there easily could pop an eardrum if you got too close. The sound quality and visual production was incredible and on par with the Sahara tent at Coachella, I would say. Soon after, we headed to the Hanger Stage to see Feed Me live. I think as soon as the set started I could already feel the crowd anticipating “One Click Headshot” and when it happened the place went off. The set-up on the Hanger stage was just about proper because it was enclosed inside a building as opposed to the main stage under a massive tent. Things were getting a little warm in there and Feed Me feeding the crowd fire didn’t exactly help.

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Afterwards, I found myself at Avicii and watching a lot of visual set-ups that looked all to familiar. The crowd loved every song he played and were hanging off his next move; however, I’ve seen Avicii do a lot better and I wouldn’t say it was his best set, but you can’t argue with a crowd-pleaser! I caught a little bit of Markus Schulz’s set and I have to say that he always finds a way to make all of his sets seamless. I’m not too familiar with a lot of trance, but his selection seemed to hit with the audience pretty well. In general, the  energy for his set was quite disappointing; there should have been so many more people there to see him. Things started getting really crazy when Tiesto came on; at that point, Markus Schulz was pretty much completely empty. I caught a few minutes of Cookie Monsta and what I saw was inappropriate stage placement because they tore the room they were in completely up and I can only imagine what they would have done if they had been put on the main stage. Flux Pavillion absolutely destroyed the Hanger stage. His set was so good there are almost no words to describe it because you just had to be there to experience it. Hearing my favorite song of 2012 “Spend It” by Mayhem and Antiserum on that quality of system made my night and that was only one of three.

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Day 2

I started off Day 2 with Adventure Club and I knew that I was in for a show, but they blew my mind. I went from hearing dubstep to hearing them drop “Control Movement” by Gesaffelstein and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier than to see people from my home state grooving to my favorite artist from Paris. I saw proof that ravers here have the ability to appreciate quality music even though they’ve never heard it before. The entire set from Adventure Club was just a party and my second day was already off to an amazing start. I ended up staying for Tommy Trash and was not as impressed with his set as I was when I saw him in LA for HARD Day of the Dead. He gave the crowd what they wanted including some of his new stuff of the Tuna Melt EP with A-Trak. I caught a little bit of Bingo Players and they were smashing their set as they always do.

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I made sure to head back to the main stage to hear as much of A-Trak as possible and of course I wasn’t disappointed. He showed up with Donnis and rocked that tent for the entire hour and fifteen minutes. He played everything from trap to electro to any variety of bass music dance-floor destroyers, one after another. He has probably the sickest drop for his Fool’s Gold label and I honestly can say I’ve never gone so crazy just hearing a drop. I ended with Zeds Dead and Alesso and after A-Trak I was just trying to pretend like I was still excited. Zeds Dead didn’t make it hard because they always throw down monster sets. Alesso’s set was pretty generic in all honesty; he played his hits “Pressure” and “Calling” and I just lost interest. I caught enough of Bassnectar to confirm that he kept it as filthy as possible and probably the best light show of the festival next to Ghostland on day 3.

Day 3

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Out of all the newest talent at the festival, Baauer has been my absolute favorite for quite some time. He absolutely knows how to blend hip-hop and EDM to the most perfect degree it makes me wonder what my life would be like without him around. He played all of his usual bangers; “Harlem Shake” made the crowd go nuts and everyone there was anticipating it the whole performance. The highlight for me was when he played “Swing” by Savage and I was walking to the VIP entrance to show my wristband to the security guard to find him standing on top of the divider to see who the hell would play such a thing here. I think it really surprised people how well hip-hop and EDM just go together so well considering most of the artists including Baauer grew up when rap and hip-hop dominated popular culture much like the way EDM is now. I caught Sander Van Doorn who both delivered an energetic performance, but I was just killing time until my first Ghostland Observatory performance. They absolutely destroyed the main stage and it was by far the best live performance of the 3 days; they added lasers and visuals to an already packed stage to make the experience unreal. Diplo pumped the crowd up as we started approaching midnight and everyone was starting to feel the New Years vibes in addition to the excitement from the festival; you could tell because things got progressively more rowdy until the expected “Express Yourself” moment showcasing Dallas’ finest talent so to speak. Axwell was exciting as expected and topped off an incredible 3 days of music; the crowd was unbelievably happy to bring the new year in with him. Surprisingly, they ended the night with a short encore going until 12:15 and then as goers exited the grounds they got a small firework show.

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All in all, it was a great festival; me and my photographer, Claude, had a great time and the festival did a great job of making sure they accommodated the media when security starting enforcing their own agenda on the third night. Highland Promotions and MCP Presents have improved their festival and anyone looking for a reason to head to the Lone Star State, Lights All Night in 2013/2014 is it!


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