A few weeks ago we stopped by the first annual Shaky Beats Music Festival to catch some of the most unique artists who are taking over today’s music industry. Some these artists include the likes of ODESZA, Tory Lanez, Big Gigantic, NAS, and Porter Robinson. This festival definitely changed our perspective on electronic music as hardly any heavy Dubstep and obnoxiously heavy bass music was played throughout the weekend. Ultimately, this caused us to appreciate other forms of electronic music in ways that we never thought was possible.
As far as the atmosphere goes, Centennial Olympic Park was definitely a wise choice as festival curators made sure the stages were far enough away from each other to not cause a sound clash, yet close enough to bounce around and catch one’s favorite artists who may have been playing at the same time, which is always a plus. Let’s go over some of the most entertaining and memorable acts of the weekend.
We studied up on this Bay Area based producer quite a bit before seeing him live for the first time at Shaky Beats. As my crew approached the Piedmont Stage, we could hear the smooth vibey sounds of ZHU blaring from the intense Piedmont stage sound system. He was accompanied by a live band which was a beautiful sight to see. Unlike most “DJs” who cycle through a playlist filled with 50 different artists, ZHU kept it original and played his own music throughout the entire set. Considering the man doesn’t perform live very often, keeping it all about his own music is definitely a smart move. For many people it was their first time experiencing ZHU in a live setting. Hearing a man who hides behind a hood and mask nail high pitch notes is definitely and ear opener. (Watch ZHU perform his reggae anthem As Crazy As It Is, below).
His performance was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. An assortment of blue, yellow and white lights flashed throughout the sky. You could feel the ambient vibes spreading throughout the entire park as large groups of festival goers flooded the Piedmont stage from every corner one could imagine. Once word got out that the mysterious masked singer and producer was finally on stage, people went nuts. It was great seeing thousands of people smile once ZHU played one of his most popular tracks known to millions as “Faded.” We all had a good time dancing to your chunes ZHU, thanks for keeping it real, can’t wait for the next one.
It had been a little under 6 months since we’ve seen the 23 year old Toronto native perform some of his hits on the big stage. The last time we saw the guy behind YouTube hit video, Say It in a live setting was at a small, yet sold out, 400 person show in Charlotte back in December at Tremont Music Hall, it’s last concert before closing down for good. Now we were seeing him perform in front of thousands of people in one of the biggest hip-hop capitals in the USA. While we haven’t been listening to Tory Lanez for the longest time, we’re definitely familiar and big fans of his live performance style, as he typically gets the crowd really involved and pulls some wild shit in the process; and we sure as hell couldn’t wait for him to hit the stage to do it once again.
While we don’t agree with singers playing the original tracks with the vocals included during a live set, Tory made up for it by pulling crazy stunts like standing on fans hands’ to sing and climbing a giant pole in the middle of the audience to grab everyone’s attention. Tory performed hit tracks like Diego, Traphouse and The Godfather, and before everyone knew it, he was flat on his back crowd surfing through the crowd while jamming out to Dr. Dre’s monumental track Xxplosive. Of course he performed his 2015 hit Say It, which has reached over 90,000,000 views on YouTube since its release in August. Atlanta responded extremely well to the Canadian singer; they liked his set so much that once it was over, the crowd was shouting for more, more, and more.
Tory Lanez is definitely a must see act at any music festival.
The time had finally come to catch DOTCOM play his… wait we meant to say Marsmhello. Don’t let us spoil the surprise, even though you all know who’s really behind the mask, the novelty is definitely still alive! Ever since Mr. Mello’s first performance at last year’s Hard Day of the Dead, we’ve been dying to see him play some hot shit live in a city closer to Charlotte. The moment finally came and things couldn’t have been better. As badly as we wanted to hear Mello play some of his originals like KnOw Me, Keep It MeLLo, and his newest track Alone, it was great hearing this mysterious DJs taste in music. He kept things fresh by playing different styles of electronic music bouncing around from songs like San Holo’s Can’t Forget You to Skrillex and Trollphace’s remix of Yogi’s anthem Burial. It was surreal hearing his remixes of Adele’s Hello, and Avicii’s Waiting for Love live.
Things got really crazy when Mello played the intro of Grove Street and smoothly brought out Brick Squad and ATL OG, Waka Flocka Flame to finish up his set and perform a few tracks together. It was really entertaining seeing Marshmello swag out on stage with Waka Flocka as the two were dancing side by side. They wrapped up their short set together with Turn Up God, and of course played Hard in the Paint at some point in their mini set. Thanks for the turn up sesh Mello, we’re wondering when he’ll make his way to North Carolina?
Speaking of North Carolina, this next artist is actually a native from our cozy little east coast state. Porter Robinson is a name that we’ve been hearing for years now. While conversations about him touring don’t come about as often as other artists, we still have a poster from and old Sugar Society show thrown at the Fillmore a few years back. We take pride in anyone that makes it in the music industry from our home state. He started off the evening by playing a crowd favorite off his debut album Worlds, known to many as Sad Machine. Another famous track that Porter decided to play for the crowd was his collaboration with Matt Zo called Easy. How did others react to Porter’s incredibly vivacious set? Some kids were having such a good time that they shouted out “This Is So Lit Fam!”
Throughout most of his set, Atlanta felt like it was slowly turning into modern day Japan. Maybe it was because of the visuals which carried heavy influences of anime, or the occasional random girl saying something in Japanese like the one on his track Flicker. It seemed like most of the crowd really enjoyed what they had to hear from Porter. Some aspects about his performance that made it “Live” included Porter’s use of a keyboard and live singing. Overall though, his visuals were top notch; there were some tigers boxing each other during one his tracks. However a lot of it made us feel like we were in a video game too.
We really got down when he played his remix of Nero’s Track The Thrill. We were actually having such a good time during his set that we shot hardly any footage. So here’s a great Youtube video uploaded by Flavian which shows clips of Porter’s dope set. It was great hearing him perform a few more tracks after an exceptional performance of his original 2012 mix known as Language. Thank you for bringing such great vibes to Atlanta, and for continuing to help grow North Carolina’s name in the electronic music industry, P.
We didn’t know what to expect from the Peachtree stage once time came around for international production duo ODESZA to perform what was going to be a spiritually enhancing 90 minute set. Joining them on stage was a full live band which included a horn section and guitarist; it really added a unique and unexpected element to their performance. It felt like when they got booked for this festival, Clay Knight and Harrison Mills looked at each other and said “We’re doing this shit man, we’re going all out for ATL.” And they did, they totally went the extra mile for their fans gathered in Atlanta to hear them jam live.
They went through a vast collection of different music, ranging from finely produced originals to equally mellow yet lively remixes of singles from artists like Zhu. Their version of the hit song produced by Bay Area mastermind Zhu called Faded was immaculate. The insane main stage speaker set up may have had something to do with the amazigness that was happening on stage. One of our preferred performances was when Odesza played an older release known as Sun Models. Orange bursts of light shot down from the projectors and illuminated the stage at the jump of every beat. If you’ve heard this track before, then you know why that performance was so special. We also really enjoyed hearing the guys tackle their song Koto in a live festival setting. It was truly unique and memorable to say the least.
When they played their remix of Hayden James’ single Something About You, the crowd flipped. But not as much as when they threw down on their original hit featuring Zyra, Say My Name. Lazers and insane visuals started flashing sporadically, it was an absolute sight to see. To everyone’s surprise, the drum line for the Atlanta Falcons came out on stage to join ODESZA in playing one of their most serene pieces, I Play You Listen. The way they played together was entirely too smooth. It was truly incredible being able to experience all the work that went into making that combination as successful as it was. The boys closed their set with a remix they made last year of Alex Adair’s track “Make Me Feel Better.” Needless to say, the entire set was incredible.
Quite possibly the only guy to play dirty Dubstep throughout the entire weekend. Nugz Bunny is an Atlanta producer and DJ who we knew little about until witnessing his insane set at Shaky Beats. It was early that Sunday afternoon, but yet somehow throughout the past two days there was a giant lack of intense, heavy bass music. So we were more than pleased with a 4’oclock dubstep set over nothing. Given that we didn’t bring enough spare batteries for the camera, we were limited to how much we could shoot. But don’t worry, the Nugz Bunny magic is better to witness in person, instead of a silly computer video. But we still managed to snag this fancy photo below.
Aside from playing a vast collection of old dubstep gems, along with new ones, Nugz played a lot of original music, like his song about 2 Chainz called TRU. We also got to hear his sick remix of Pretty Lights’ track Around the Block, that song gave us a break from all the headbanging, but soon enough Nugz Bunny was back on his Dubstep game as he played another original called Furious George, a deep dark beat that will have you cringing in your seat. One thing’s for sure, we totally had a blast catching Nugz Bunny live in his hometown.
Due to a previous Yellow Claw show we attended in Charlotte, which wasn’t really impressive, we were a little hesitant to stay at the Piedmont stage to catch Dutch production duo Yellow Claw perform a live set. While this time around, only half of the duo, Nils Rondhuis, and their hypeman MC Bizzey were around to perform. After clearing our heads of the last performance, it was time to let up and give Yellow Claw another chance. It’s easy to say that they were one of the most intense groups of the entire weekend, consistently playing banger after banger after banger.
They’re all about that tire screech trap music. It’s such an interesting sound; and of course it found its way on Yellow Claw’s opening track, known to many as the opener on their Mixtape #8, it’s called Action Claw, and it’s actually pretty good. As the beginning of the song played out, two guys dressed in almost all white outfits came out on stage and started dancing and turning the f*ck up. One thing that no one can take away from Yellow Claw is their ability to get their crowd really engaged with their performance. When Mc Bizzey isn’t yelling “It’s Mother-F*cking-Yelow-Claw,” some kind of twonky music is being blasted from their speakers as the Co2 cannons match the beat. It was nice hearing everyone sing the words to their collab with Flux Pavilion and vocalist Naaz, Catch Me. But not as much as when they dropped Wiwek and Skrillex’s track with Elliphant, Killa. Everybody loves hearing that one live.
Who could forget the unexpected but well thought out transition from their collab with Flosstradamus, Pillz, to the ever so popular remix of Moksi’s The Dopest by Cesqueax. Everyone’s hands flew up in the air as soon as that went down. Things got a little weird when they stopped their song with Diplo, LNY TNZ and Waka Flocka “Techno” and started yelling at everyone to get down, while proceeding to throw out insults like “If you got a tiny d*ck stand up, if your p*ssy smells like old milk, you can stand up, otherwise stay down” just to play some jump up song. While people tend to not like the times Yellow Claw gets rude on stage, it’s to be expected from them, it’s nothing new, and if you want to party with them, get ready to play by their rules. However they probably could have avoided stopping the music a second time to call out four people who weren’t jumping, and yelled “We ain’t got time for Fuckboiiiiis.” Whatever floats your boats guys.
At the end things got super trappy when Yellow Claw played their exit song, an insane, super loud track with Cesqueaux called Legends. Since their Shaky Beats performance, Yellow Claw has now become solely a two man troupe as MC Bizzey left the group to spend more time with his wife and young son. RIP 3-Person Yellow Claw. EDMCholo actually recorded the entire set, if you want to sit through the whole thing, or dance with your friends in your room and skip through the parts where Yellow Claw yells at you, then check out the video below.
Do you know what it’s like to catch an intimate Hip Hop set in New York back in the 90s? We don’t either, but one thing is for sure, Queens rapper, Nas gave an audience of at least 20,000 people the chance to live that old school fantasy. It was finally time to hear some of the best written verses in Hip Hop history live in Atlanta.
Something cool about the beats that Nas finds himself rapping on, is the unity of the instruments being used in the production, such a consistent use of horns, drums, and actual record scratching. He started his set with a really popular song off his album God’s Son called Get Down, which really set the mood for the evening. In other words chill vibes and dope rhymes. Following that was a very familiar track off his 1994 groundbreaking album Illmatic. But have you heard another one of NAS’ early hits called New York State of Mind? We sure hope so. Because if not, your life is about to change for the better.
What was even better that NYSOM performance was when NAS played his track with A.Z. Life’s a Bitch, which is a pretty universally relatable song with a very catchy chorus that everyone who listens to old school Hip Hop should recognize. It was hard to follow up the last few songs, but Nas managed to do so when he started performing Halftime, where his DJ was pausing and scratching the song at the perfect moments to create extra hype, it was truly incredible.
Strangely enough NAS decided to get the crowd rockin’ with the Eurythmic’s infamous single Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), where the performance turned into his rework of the song called Street Dreams, off his album It Was Written. The song itself is actually really inspiring. No one was complaining when he started speaking into the mic “Life, I wonder, Will it take me under, I don’t know.” Next thing Nas was performing If I Ruled The World in front of our eyes. He performed a lot of key songs that took his career to where it is today. One of them being a popular track off God’s Son called I Know I Can which delivers a really humbling and motivating message. The song focuses on using different piano keys which somehow give the lyrics a lot of meaning. Nasir Jones, “Nasty Nas, the Esco to Escobar.. Nastradmus..” Just like the name of his fourth album, Nas did a few lines of his song Nastradamus “I got a lot of names Ya’ll.” It was a short 30 second verse, but dope nonetheless. Other songs that Nas performed include Got Yourself A Gun, You Can Hate Me Now, Made You Look, One Love, and much, much more.
As a special surprise, Nas saved a song written by another notorious New York rapper from back in the day for the end of his performance. While he may no longer be with us, his music and name will live on for as long as hip hop music stays alive. Listen to Nas perform Juicy by Biggie Smalls below. Thank you for the great show, Nas.
It was time to get groovy and shake that booty. Those are the words we choose to use when talking about one of the most funkified production duos in the world. Straight out of Colorado, these guys, Big Gigantic, always come through with fire music. We saw them back in 2012 during an unforgettable Lollapalooza experience where they played in front of a mere 2000 people. Now they had a least 25, maybe even 30,000 people dancing to their music in Atlanta. Big G got the night going with their track The Little Things featuring Angela McCluskey.
If we thought Nas used a lot of horns in his music, these guys take brass instruments to a whole other level. They played Party Favor’s rendition of Let Me Clear My Throat by DJ Kool which was beyond LIT. After that sick old skool Hip Hop remix, they played an original called Get on Up. Everywhere you turned your head people were shaking uncontrollably, it was definitely a sight to see on the last night of Shaky Beats. Whenever Dominic Lalli wasn’t playing the Saxophone, he and the other half of Big Gigantic, Jeremy Salken threw down on the drum pads to match up whatever beat they were playing at the time. While at times they played some ratchet turn-the-f*ck-up bass music like Getter’s Rip N Dip and Flosstradamus’ Soundclash, they mainly stuck to playing funky jazz inspired electronic tracks.
To nobody’s expectations, Big G brought out half of groundbreaking ATL Hip Hop group Outkast; the one and only Big Boi. After getting the crowd hyped up, the funky 1980 sounding beat for Shutterbug went off, and suddenly as Jeremy was doin’ his thing on the drums, Big Boi was rapping up a storm. Shutterbug was cool and all, but hearing half of Outkast perform The Way You Move was absolutely incredible, and very surreal. Big Boi was extremely entertaining and his appearance made that set a million times more special.
The level of twerkocity increased 10fold when Big G dropped their addicting collab with Snails, Funk With Me. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves, the music was just so damn good we couldn’t stop shaking it either. Soon enough we found ourselves listening to their collab with the Sax master GRiZ called Good Times Roll. This is a great song to play while crusin’ down the interstate, let alone hearing it live in action. Even though GRiZ wasn’t there, the performance was still beyond special.
Our favorite visuals from the entire set had to be during their track Touch The Sky, which basically displayed an animated trippy wonderland filled with strange creatures and designs that stole all of our attention from anything else that was going on at that moment. This little pink guy was just strollin’ around, walking past all the bubble shaped trees as the orange sky vibrated in the background. Next thing we knew, Carnage was out on stage with Big G asking the crowd if they’ve ever heard their collab track. Basically on this track, Carnage completely deviates from any sort of festival trap sounds that he’s usually known for. This edit of Zac Samuel’s original I’ll Be Pushing On was pretty insane live. Once it was over, everyone in the crowd started getting ratchet again to those sick Big G funkadelic jams. Big Gigantic you were killer; we can’t wait till the next time.
Aside from all the great musicians, there were many other aspects of the festival that we really appreciated. For starters, any time that Heineken sets up their graffiti pyramid at a festival, you know it’s going to be a good time. It’s so neat seeing everyone’s art work displayed on that pyramid which also serves as a bar, and mini DJ stage, and lots and lots of Heineken.
There were an incredible amount of vendors lined up in the park which gave festy goers the perfect opportunity to shop around for their favorite festival gear and glow items. Redbull even set up a really nice tent near the Peachtree stage which provided an awesome spot to chill throughout the course of the weekend. Most importantly though, was the Samsung Galaxy tent, where Samsung users were given the opportunity to win a swag bag which carried a T-Shirt, towel, New Era dad cap, a bandanna, and best of all, a sweet portable charger. Overall, we had a blast at the first edition of Shaky Beats music festival. All we ask is that next year the festival brings more Dubstep and Drum N’ Bass to the scene.
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