By Ryan Hayes
For the second year in a row Lululemon's Seawheeze half marathon brought world class dance music headliners to their Sunset Music Festival. Following in last year's footsteps, the event itself ran like a well oiled machine; clean, fast, efficient, with a stellar audience.
Big Wild opened the musical portion of the night with a bliss'ed out set dripping in chill vibes—perfectly setting the tone for sunset and paving the way for Kaskade's diverse offering. The audience, including many marathon runners who were unfamiliar with his catalogue, were drawn in by the live elements of his performance. Standouts included When I Get There, and 6's to 9's. It was the perfect example of why festivals are so important to the health and growth of a musical community. Big Wild definitely walked away with new fans.
As darkness set in Kaskade set out to regal fans and newcomers alike with and hour and a half set split between two worlds. Beginning with an extended intro edit of Fun Kaskade ran through big room cuts of his classics, and a large portion of Redux 003; strung together by the occasional inclusion of mainstream anthems like Journey's Don't Stop Believin' . While the internet has recently made its disdain for the widespread acceptance of Kaskade's Redux sound crystal clear...times change...audiences evolve...and house music is now king.
As far as Kaskade is concerned, this shouldn't be a surprise. Released in 2015, fan favourites, Never Sleep Alone and Us (among others) have been low-key paving the way for old school leaning house vibes to penetrate large scale festival audiences. Tight and Fun both recently got official releases on Kaskade's latest Redux offering when they just as easily could have been released on one of his mainline albums. The transformation is complete. The two worlds have officially blended. This is who Kaskade is now. If you are attending a Kaskade festival set you will hear a little bit of everything; traditional festival bangers, dingy club beats (Dancin'), downtempo melancholia (On Your Mind), self indulgent remixes (2nd Street), and modern Redux anthems (More).
Kaskade's set at Sunset Festival marked the prominence and staying power of a true legacy artist. Sure a set at Shambhala will tend towards the more house'y side of things, and a Redux branded show will drop the big room aspect altogether—but for the majority of his audience Kaskade now represents a diverse array of music faithfully chronicling his evolution over the past two decades.
After a second year of dance music heat Sunset Festival is fast becoming a staple for Vancouver EDM fans. Here's to hoping next year continues the trend.