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Sunny Days In Tampa: SMF ’16 Review


     Back in May we had the opportunity to experience our first music festival in Florida held in the sunny city of Tampa. The Raymond James Stadium known for its home team of the Tamba Bay Buccaneers was our humble domain for two days as the infamous Sunset Music Festival was set to take place on the 28th and 29th of May. Thousands of ravers from all over the world gather at Sunset to show their support towards their favorite artists dominating the rave scene. Throughout the weekend we had the chance to catch the likes of Seven Lions, Funtcase, Jauz, Claude Vonstroke, Mija, Zomboy, Borgore, and so many more talented artists. Check out the details below, we’ve got plenty to share.



     A while back we had the opportunity to see Arizona’s very own Mija play in Miami during a special event titled as the “Snailed It x OWSLA After Party” during Miami Music Week. Needless to say the show was absolutely lit. There were a least 15 notable DJs that could have each charged $20 at the door for their own show. Ever so gracefully Mija hopped up on stage with Valentino Khan, Getter and others and well, she did her thing. Her set was rapid, and intense to say the least. It was a big surprise to see her put together a full-on House Music set at Sunset. As you all know, Mija defies the definition of the word genre, because she loves all types of music.

     The Horizon Stage never looked so good once the OWSLA beauty hit the stage. She bounced around through a catalog of Deep/Tech House tracks that set a very relaxing vibe in the air. Mija’s House set was entertaining and quirky,the atmosphere was damn near perfect as practically everyone in the crowd was movin’ and groovin’ like we were in a real nightclub. We can’t wait for the day where we see Mija go B2B with Skrillex. We envy those LA and Vegas ravers who get that luxury all the time! Till next time Mija!


     There’s no doubting the production value that David Reed and Chad Cesneros put into their music. If you’ve been keeping up with the hottest tracks in Dance Music this year, you would know that the Austin based Electronic duo Tritonal are nothing short of masterminds. Have you heard that song where the chick goes, “I’d rather have one night, than nothing forever, yeah that would be alright with me, it’s now or neveeeer”? Yeah that’s Tritonal! The track is called Now Or Never and it sounds absolutely incredible live. The Eclipse Stage was littered with thousands of people filling up every possible angle to support the Texas duo. You could hear the masses echoing lyrics to Tritonal’s music in absolute excitement. The crowd went insane when they performed a new track called Getaway, the vibes were beautiful. The duo also performed a good amount of personal tracks like their hit Blackout and an incredible track called Lost.

     It could have been the visuals, it could’ve been the bass, or just the simple serenity that is Tritonal’s music that made us feel amazing. We could even include the fact that everyone in the crowd was smiling from cheek to cheek throughout the whole set making their performance flawless. If anyone was in a bad mood before walking into the vicinity of the Eclipse Stage, Tritonal’s infectious vibes changed their emotions quick! We look forward to the day we can see these guys throw down once again.


   We headed over to the main stage, also known as the Sunset Stage to catch the Las Vegas club animal & super producer, 3LAU throwing down. This guy is known for putting together mixes that can heal broken limbs, or make a crying baby shut up, 3LAU never seems to have a problem getting people on their feet to dance their hearts out, people simply love 3LAU. The sun was setting and we could hear more and more of the loud fist pumping dance music every step of the way.

     It wasn’t a long walk, and before we knew we had leftthe realms of Tampa, Florida and ended up in a new world, we were now in 3LAU’s House. When he wasn’t playing soothing jams like Is It Love3LAU was tearing down the haus with upbeat tracks like Tiesto’s Secrets, and self made records like HSTFU and the infamous hit We Came to Bang. The performance was extremely intense to say the least. The visual production and lazers were on point, and most importantly, the music selection was really entertaining. Thanks for the good times 3LAU.


    Where do we begin? While 3LAU wrapped his set up, the tension in the air got really thick as the crowd grew anxious as they impatiently waited for one of the hottest duos of the year to hit the Sunset Stage. Their song No Money has been performed by just about every dance music DJ you can think of. And if they haven’t played it, then they’re f**ckin up. Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw are two Swedish musicians who had a vision before creating the super duo known as Galantis. They wanted to make an impact in the music scene by showing the world their sound, and we believe they’re doing just that!

     As soon as the music started playing, one could instantly hear tens of thousands of fans screaming for joy. White lights flooded the stage as the two guys crept up behind the DJ booth and slowly started playing some random sounds and noises which led into Future Rave by Shapov. The familiar owl image associated with the duo appeared on the projector and started changing colors in the most random manner. We got down and funky to tracks like “Peanut, Butter, Jelly and “Firebird.” Galantis even dropped sick tracks like Curbi’s hit single “Rubber” and Ookay’s Remix of Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” We definitely threw down hard when they played Knife Party’s single “PLUR Police.” But of course, the most memorable part of their performance was hearing tens of thousands of ravers sing the chorus to “No Money” as Galantis’ stage production blew everyone to pieces. It was like something out of a movie. Great job Galantis! On to the next one!


    Even though we totally prefer the trigger heavy, gun firing, wobble stompin’ bass music scene, we’ve never actually seen one of the world’s Top 100 DJs, Hardwell, live in action before. We wanted to see what all the hype was about, and we finally had our chance to catch the 28 year old from Breda, Netherlands perform for the first time. We had to blend in somehow, so naturally, with the flare of our wrists, we did the typical Hardwell Fan maneuver — Pumping your fist vigorously in the air on and off for 60 uninterrupted minutes. Throughout the night Hardwell showed off his Mashup skills by cramming together several different tracks like Tighttraxx and ETC! ETC!’s collab Jungla with Drake’s hit One Dance for a spicy edit that had the crowd jumpin’. Hardwell dropped a new collab with Blasterjaxx called Going Crazy along with hits like Wake Up Call and a nasty remix of The Chainsmokers‘ single Don’t Let Me Down. Needless to say, Hardwell did not dissapoint. We look forward to the next time we see him at a festival!


     After a minor incident in Charlotte prevented us from seeing Seven Lions back in the Spring, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to see him close out the night in Tampa. While we expected a really mellow, calm, and laid back set, based off what we’ve heard about his live performances before, and the nature of his music, Seven Lions went completely off the chain and played a lot more heavy Bass music than we expected. We scurried over to catch the last Eclipse set of the night as the California producer shut down Tampa with an incredible set.

     Banger after banger, we couldn’t stop dancing to his prime music selection, as he played heavy tracks like Funtcase & Virtual Riot’s Borg, Wiwek & Skrillex with Killa, and so much more. He dropped Zomboy’s track Get With the Program and even Datsik and Soltan’s No Mind. But what’s a Seven Lions set without a few originals? Cusp, Don’t Leave, and Creation were a few of the self produced tracks that Seven Lions played throughout his set. We couldn’t have asked for a better closing headliner.


     While we spent most of our time at the main stage as well as the bass packed stage that was constantly packed throughout the 2 day jamboree, we headed over to the house and trance stage to catch a legend in the deep bass music scene, Claude Vonstroke. The Detroit born artist is known for his heavy involvement in the dance music scene as he started his own record label known as Dirtybird. Since its launch in 2005, Vonstroke has added an arsenal of producers to the label that truly dominate the dance music scene.

     Vonstroke performed several remixes including his rendition of Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money, which the crowd absolutely  got down to that one  While Vonstroke had countless of remixes under his belt, he also played many of his legendary originals that the crowd definitely recognized. You can see it in the way they move their feet. A few notable singles include his collab with Bootsy Collins, The Greasy Beat off his EP “Bird Brain” as well as another classic, Who’s Afraid of Detroit? VonStroke definitely kept us movin and groovin, but after a while we felt the need to go back to the Eclipse Stage to catch more of Seven Lions set since we mistakenly missed him in our hometown, Charlotte earlier this year.


   Waking up Sunday morning seemed to be a bigger task than we expected. After raging hard to some of the world’s greatest producers, we had to recover for the madness that was taking place on Day Two. If you compare the Day One and Day Two line ups, it’s obvious that most of the Bass Music artists were saved for Day Two. These include the likes of Funtcase, Bro Safari, Borgore, Zomboy, Snails, and Jauz. Let’s peep the craziness that went down on this glorious Sunday in good ol’ sunny Florida.


     How can we put this in simple terms. FUNTCASE ABSOLUTELY MERKED FLORIDA. We were slightly overwhelmed with the intensity of his set. Every single clip, photo and tweet from relentless Funtcase fans don’t even come close to portraying the madness that went down that Saturday afternoon. The last time we had a chance to catch the OG UK Dubstep mongrel live in action was at the infamous Moonrise Music Festival in Baltimore, where Funty played a back to back set with Cookie Monsta and Doctor P. It was in fact the first b2b2b by the three Circus Records artists in the history of bass music. So we knew we were in for a good time.

    The masked legend started his set with his typical jungle theme intro that features a deep voice announcing the arrival of the one, and only Funtcase. Throughout the hour long set, he dropped singles such as Damien, Borg (the infamous collab with Virtual Riot), 50 Caliber, Neckbreaker with Dirtyphonics, and so much more. The visuals were top notch for the Bournemouth based producer, as a sketchy black and white logo of our hero flashed around from time to time, complemented by insane designs that we just weren’t quite ready for. We wish his set hadn’t been scheduled so early. But beggers can’t be choosers. While each of the guys mentioned above slayed their sets, it would have been nice to have placed Funtcase directly before Borgore, or at least a little later than 6 oclock, when it actually got dark.

Bro Safari

     The Festival organizers made a big move when they decided to follow up Funtcase with an impeccable set by one of the craziest producers in the industry, Bro Safari. His hype man stepped up on the stage and introduced the man of the hour to the hungry Tampa crowd. Within minutes Bro Safari was dropping fire tracks that lit up the crowd like a set of fireworks on the 4th of July. His single Snap put everyone in a dance-till-you-drop mood that lasted throughout the entire 60 minute set. Bro Safari played other well known songs like Guess Who by Loudpvck, 12th Planet, and Key!; Propaganda by DJ Snake was a definite must, and how can we forget his collab with Boombox Cartel, known to many as Flip.

     The energy was definitely there. I mean how can Bro Safari not have a good time performing songs like his collab with Boombox Cartel titled Flip? Or his collab with Queen City veteran Rell The Soundbender called Inferno? And how can we forget about his collab with Ufo! off his latest EP Burn The Block known simply as Burn The Block! One thing is for sure, Bro Safari + Florida Rave Scene = Insanity.

Missing Marshmello

      These things happen. It wasn’t expected, it wasn’t intended, but due to an incredibly entertaining Bro Safari set, we completely forgot that Marshmello was throwing down at the main stage. We did however manage to catch him playing his literal last song. At least we got this snazzy photo of Mr. Mello before he jumped off stage.1 RARE Mello


     Call him Frederick, Freddy, The Snail Master, he’ll probably respond to all three. It was finally time for one of Montreal’s most insane producers to step up to the stage and take over the mixer for an hour. We were now entering the underground realm that is Slug City, home of one of this planet’s most popular performers and producers, Snails. After saying hey to a few fans standing by the rail, Snails ran up on stage and greeted the crowd as he started off his set with a popular collab with funkmasters Big Gigantic known as Funk With Me. The crowd went absolutely nuts.

     But it wasn’t long before Snails started dropping those tire screeching, gun blaring hits that we all know and love. We’re not saying we predicted it but we had a big hunch that Fred was going to perform his infamous collab with Laxx known as LZRS, appropriately titled as it features some extremely intricate high frequency lazer sounds. He even took it to the next level by swaggin’ on stage to his highly popular track Frogbass. Left and ride kids and young adults alike were headbanging to the max because of Snails poisonous tunes. The truth is, Sunset Music Festival will never be the same unless they bring back Snails in 2017.


     You remember the days – The good ol’ days where your parents used to take you to some type of bounce-house play-place? That’s pretty much what the Raymond James Stadium felt like once Sam Vogel, mostly known as internationally renown producer Jauzhit the stage. The Los Angeles based shark lover turned bass head put together one of the most anticipating sets of the evening. His rapid success throughout the past few years has made him a common target for festival promoters all over the world. It was now Jauz’ time to shine at Sunset.

     Right as the sun began to drop out of the sky, Jauz started off the night with an original, and a true fan favorite called Deeper Love. He caught us off guard when he started playing his remix of ASAP Mob’s track Hella Hoes; but sooner than later, he used a smooth transition to turn the environment into a wobble zone once again. It seems like he’s a fan of the Bass House > Hip Hop > Bass House transition. The crowd reacted really well to a nasty remix of Major Lazer’s track Jah No Partial. Ghosts and Sharks  He even dropped a track off Heldeep Records by Chocolate Puma & Tommie Sunshine called, Scrub the Ground. To put it in the words of DJ Hanzell, Jauz went “Von deepah.”

     Things got firey hot when Jauz started dropping big names like Eptic, Laxx and Doctor P. After playing a remix of Hostilehe switched everything up by throwing on his remix of the infamous video game League of Legends called Welcome to Planet Urf. Filthy is an understatement. We can’t wait until our next Jauz encounter!


     Goodness gracious where do we begin with this one. If you guys have been in the scene for a while, then you know the importance that British producer Zomboy plays in the Bass music community. A true OG to say the least. The lad ran up on stage sporting his usual black t-shirt with shorts get up. He went from 0-100 when he started off his set with the most popular single off his recent Neon Grave EP known as Like A Bitch. When he unleashed his remix of The Chainsmokers‘ single Don’t Let Me Down, we saw the crowd have a slight panic attack, since it’s pretty much the most badass remix of the song to date.

     Throughout his set we heard too many incredible, recognizable tracks, such as his hit Lights Out and one of our favorites, Back Once Again. Transitions were flawless as always, Zomboy always knows how to put 100% energy in his performances. We even heard hot singles like Terror Squad, Outbreak, and most importantly, Belly in the Beast, which took the crowd’s breath away. We can’t wait until the next time we see Josh Mellody perform.

The Chainsmokers

      It was a short lived experience, but phenomenal nonetheless. Last year The Chainsmokers actually came to the Fillmore in Charlotte for an unforgettable almost sold-out experience. They’re extremely active on and off the stage, they’re engaging, putting %200 percent energy into their live set, and best of all, their visual productions are top-notch.

      A few tracks that we can remember hearing were Carnage, Timmy Trumpet, and KSHMR’s track Toca, their original collab with Charlee called Inside Out, and Closer with Halsey. The set flowed smoothly. They even performed a really unique version of Coldplay’s infamous track Yellow. We even heard a remix of DJ Snake’s Propaganda and one of our favorite producers, Datsik, with his Armani Reign collab Let Em Know. These guys had some of the most exciting visuals we saw throughout the weekend. The energy was explosive. The Chainsmokers are a must see act on any occasion.

Jack Ü

      Unbelievable. Extraordinary. Fan-Freakin-Tastic, Lit, these are a few words that we can use to describe the world renowned duo comprised of super producer Diplo, and CDJ master Skrillex, together known as Jack Ü. The opening part of the set was an absolute tease. Darkness took over the stage as a quiet, melodic sound poured through the state of the art sound system at the main stage. To our surprise it built up to their hit single Take Ü There which quickly led into 50 Cents anthem In Da Club. It felt like a movie finally seeing Skrillex live, let alone in a sea of thousands of happy-go-lucky ravers.

     Their visuals were incredibly entertaining. Pink lights trailed behind a cloud of smoke as a big familiar looking Ü took over the stage background. Diplo and Skrillex would exchange turns bouncing on and off the DJ booth to entertain their fans. They played several familiar songs like their 2 Chainz collab, Febreeze, Jungle Bae, Killa, and so many more self produced bangers. We even heard songs by artists like Barely Alive, GTA, RL Grime, Nas, Megalodon, among plenty of other talented musicians. We really hope we can see Jack Ü live again one day.


What better way to finish off the weekend than with an exceedingly ratchet set by the one and only Borgore? This man is the reason we got into Bass music to begin with, so we knew the only possible way to finish off SMF 2016 was with a Borgore set. We heard a lot of popular songs such as Slushii’s remix of Uber Everywhere, which is actually how he got his set started. He dropped a nasty Must Die remix of Laxx’s single Brainbug, along with other singles like Lunchbox by Valentino Khan and Herobust’s Smother Shit. As far as music that he produced, Borgore played singles like Forbes, Blast Ya, a collab with Dotcom called Nope, among several other great tracks. Until next time Borgore! Check out this awesome video shot by user Trancenectar.

     We had an incredible time at Sunset Music Festival. The vibes were intriguing, and the set up was really beautiful. Hopefully fate will bring us to Tampa in the future to throw down with Florida’s finest once again.

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 Thanks For Stopping By!

–   Zyven

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