ZoukOut returned to the sandy shores of Siloso beach in Sentosa for its 13th edition, giving party goers and EDM enthusiasts two days of electronic music ecstasy. The festival that took place from the 13th – 14th of December featured renowned international artistes from around the globe including NERVO (Aus), Afrojack (USA), Alesso (Swe), Zedd (Ger), Martin Solveig (Fra), and Dash Berlin (Ned) amongst others.
My eyes were clearly set on the gigs at the Moon Stage as I arrived at the event on Day 1 prepared for some bass thumping mayhem. The Siloso sands were pretty barren at 10pm as I made my way round exploring the area before making it in time to catch Sweden’s Otto Knows close his set with Million Voices and Alesso’s remix of If I Lose Myself.
Otto handed the reins over to Miriam and Olivia of NERVO, arguably the hottest twins in the electronic music scene at the moment. Riding off the high that Otto ended his set with, NERVO continued the upbeat tempos with an early drop of W&W’s banger, The Code before shifting gears to a few of their productions including You’re Gonna Love Again and Hold On. Midway through their set, the sisters also dropped the vocal version of Revolution, the thumping track in collaboration with R3hab and Ummet Ozcan of which the music video had just been released last week.
Crowds began to gather in time for NERVO’s closing of another original, Reason, after which the decks cooled down for Afrojack’s usual hype building opening featuring the visual work of his creative team. He opened up by telling the crowd that he had been in the studio for the past two months working on his production and all I could think of was what others sorts of concoctions he came up with with Paris Hilton…. ANYWAY, on to Afrojack’s set – he dropped several crowd favorites including Rasputin, In My Mind, Cannonball, and I Could Be The One before pulling a bunch of bikini clad ravers up on stage to dance and add to the visual feast. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Wrecking Ball, I thoroughly enjoyed the medley of Peanuts and Reload.
A sizable crowd amassed by the time the clock struck 2, including a die-hard fan sporting a sign that said ‘Jahan, You Make Me Feel Alive!’. Yep, it was time for one of the biggest names in the scene at the moment to hit the stage: Krewella. The Chicago based trio delivered a familiar rage inducing hour and a half set with live vocals from the Yousaf sisters, opening with the energetic tune of Live For The Night before dropping almost every tune from their latest album, Get Wet. While it was a pity that the mic system wasn’t the best (including what presumably was a malfunction with Yasmine’s), the mobs of Krew in attendance had a blast towards the end with a sing-along of Enjoy The Ride and their hit single, Alive.
One of electronic music’s oldest names was tasked to close the night and Ferry Corsten lived up to it, switching gears from Krewella’s headbanging pace to the slightly more soothing tunes of trance and a tinge of house. Having grown up with vocal trance, it was a moment of euphoria when Not Coming Down was played; I’m sure the alcohol and endorphin fueled ones would concur.
Day 2 was blessed with some showers earlier in the day, which provided a cooler atmosphere for what looked like an almost doubled attendance. While I was bellowing the fact that I wasn’t able to catch Madeon who had just finished his set some 400 kilometres away, the Moon Stage picked off where Ferry left off as I arrived at the beginning of Danny Avila’s high energy set, playing some typical festival tunes including Get Loose, Animals, and Alive. If I had one gripe about Danny’s choice of mixes, it would be the incessant use of ‘put your hands up’ and ‘jump’ vocal bits in his mixes that EDM has been known to be stereotyped with lately. I did, however, find his mash-up of Countdown vs Unison pretty pleasing. His closing tune, Live For The Night aptly set the mood for the rest of dusk.
Probably the only other artiste apart from Krewella whose tracks have been constantly making the radio airwaves, Zedd came on to a roaring crowd with a big drop of Spectrum before kicking it up to his popular collaboration with Hayley Williams, Stay The Night, and his Grammy nominated Clarity which I would say is a frontrunner for the title. The classically trained musician closed his appearance with his remix of Empire of the Sun’s Alive and revelers were treated to a visual spectacle of fireworks that lasted what felt like 10 minutes.
By the time Martin Solveig came on, I made a move to quench my thirst as well as check out Solomun for a bit at the Star Stage. I returned in time for Martin’s mash-up of Californication Reloaded (is there ever anything that doesn’t go with Reload?!) before he concluded with a round of the infectious Hey Now.
Cue the star of this year’s ZoukOut and another DJ/producer who is in the running for a Grammy award, Alesso, who jumped onto the decks with Years and followed the tempo with a slew of how he made his mark in the industry – his melodic remixes. Alesso’s transitions were silky smooth and got me pumped throughout the ninety minutes he was on, given the number of vocal tracks he played. Special credits to his light team as well who made it seem like Buzz Aldrin would’ve seen a spark from the moon if it was some forty years ago.
The baton was then handed over to Dash Berlin, a personality known for his capability to entertain a crowd and entertain he did til the break of dawn with an arsenal of originals and remixes. Any two feet left standing on the sands of Siloso were last witnessed crooning to tracks such as Jar Of Hearts, Never Cry Again, and The Island, amongst others.
I made my way out midway through thoroughly exhausted from the hours of raging and raving with barely an iota of energy left in the tank. Props to the ZoukOut team for another successful edition of Singapore’s largest beach festival. While I’m certain many are still recuperating from the epicness that the festival wrought onto them, the big question on everyone’s minds remain, “how will they top it next year?”