After jumping through some hoops to acquire the HARD press pass, I finally parked near the LA State Historical Park and waded through the sea of people that was the raver task force and potential concert attendees. Before I could even enter the event, the first "did I just see that?" experience occurred, when a pedestrian was struck by a car.
The police were certainly out in full force; the city made it quite clear that they were going to amp up their police presence with the raver task force and not tolerate a lot of the shenanigans that were routine at EDC (i.e. teenagers doing ecstasy). As a result of concentrating police efforts on eradicating drugs from the concert going experience (has that ever worked?) the city's boys in blue just weren't patrolling street traffic. Maybe if the cops spent more time doing what they had done at EDC (direct traffic) and less time fulfilling the calling of the raver task force (make drug related arrests), the victim of this accident wouldn't have been carried away on a stretcher. While I understand the motives for the city to make a strong showing against underage drinking and drug consumption in light of the death at EDC, I'd prefer to see the city direct the resources toward a problem they can actually control (traffic congestion and pedestrian foot traffic) than one that they cannot (drug consumption).
Once I finally got inside the venue, I b-lined to the alcohol area because it had been a good two hour ordeal just to do the damn thing and I felt like celebrating. I drowned my sadness over missing The Twelves and Breakbot with a little bit of hoppy nectar and sought to find some good photo subjects and a good vantage point for Diplo.
The alcohol control was admittedly a lot more under control than it had been at EDC, so props to the HARD organizers for keeping the tweener set away from the booze for the most part. Inside the tent, I had the pleasure of bumping into some cats from the Jungle Riddim and Media Contender camp. We chopped it up while indulging in Diplo at the main stage - who was creating some impressively hard dubstep that I did not expect from him.
As the sun faded down, I thought it would be wise to see what was up at the dubstep stage. Meandering through the sea of candy flippers, girls in yeti boots, rolling rollers and teenagers womp stepping, I stumbled into John, better known as the rising star 12th Planet.
A Rolling Roller
12th Planet (yellow & black plaid)
After kicking it over some drinks with 12th, Benga and the entourage, and absorbing the electro-dub-compositions of Flying Lotus (his set was spectacular and J Dilla inspired), I felt a bit of a need to get my dance on. Luckily for me - this girl in the pink had the same idea and we battled (check out my dougie!).
After turning heads with wicked dancing in the alcohol tent, I ventured out to the teenage zone to see if I might have other challengers or another b-boy-esque cypher to join. With attendees focused on the LED screens and the headlining acts, I didn't find the competition I was looking for. But, I made a handful of new friends, saw some shining faces and ended the night with some fantastic music (Soulwax).
Can only hope the rest of the tour goes off as it did on Saturday and that the next HARD LA event has as interesting of a line-up...