Saturday, March 24th, HARD fest returned to New York City with an absolutely massive lineup of producers, many of whom flew up to NYC in betweeen or right before their set at Ultra Music Festival in Miami. With an all-star cast of world renowned producers, including 16bit, Kill The Noise, Jack Beats (premiering their new live setup), and of course, the biggest emergence in electro at the moment, Knife Party, this party was guaranteed to be a banger from the second the lineup was posted. Returning once again to Terminal 5 (formerly known as Exit), this time the line started to build up a full two hours before doors. Everyone, from the ravers in their spirit hoods to the bros in their backwards wide-brimmed hats couldn’t wait to hit the dance floor and rage the night away.After waiting on line to check my bag (which is mandatory, but they at least let you bring it in), me and my friends joined the crowd on the first floor in time to catch the second half of 16bit’s absolutely mind-blowing dubstep set. He played all of his biggest productions, including his Machine Gun remix, while alternating with some other assured bombs by major artists; in particular, Noisia’s remix of the Labrinth track “Earthquake” brought the crowd, which was growing by the minute, into an undeniable frenzy. When 16bit finished his unique set, the crowd showed its appreciation with a massive round of screaming and applause. Soon, however, all was forgotten when electro/dubstep diety Kill The Noise took to the stage.Coming of his recent release of his Kill Kill Kill EP, Kill The Noise has become one of the front runners in EDM with a sound blending influences of dubstep, electro, and metal. I was looking forward to seeing this guy as much as Knife Party, and the man DID NOT DISAPPOINT. He threw down a ridiculous set, touching on many different genres and styles ranging from Skrillex (Breakin’ a Sweat) to Madeon (Raise Your Weapon remix). He also spun a great selection of his own tunes, including his remix of metal band Five Finger Death Punch and closed his set with his MASSIVE collaboration with moombahton frontrunner Dillon Francis, Dill The Noise. I could go on and on about how great this man’s performance was, but you’ll just have to see for yourself. Even though he was opening for both Jack Beats and Knife Party, his set was, in my humble opinion, nearly as good as Knife Party’s (and that’s quite a statement, considering the quality of their set; more on that later).Next up was Jack Beats, a production duo made up of Niall Ferguson (of Plus One fame) and Beni G from The Mixologists. As the only headliners that I hadn’t really heard of, I was very interested to see what these guys had in store to warm us up for the big dogs. Hint, hint, it was awesome. They touched on a plentiful variation of genres, including the just about mandatory electro, dubstep, and moombahton. Laying down some funky, wobbly, yet beautifully simple beats, Jack Beats brought the crowd on a passionate journey through the neverending fields of electronic music. I can’t find much info on their live performance since this show was the first one with that particular setup, but it seemed as though the two guys were doing a good bit of live editing up on the stage, but it was hard to keep track through the swaying and movement of the entire crowd. Even though I hadn’t heard of these two before today, I immediately downloaded as much of their stuff as I could get my hands on when I got home; these two are no joke, and although they are already pretty big judging from their Soundcloud and Facebook following, its clear that they will only be going forward from here.

Before we know what hit us, Knife Party was ready to go to work. Consisting of Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen, two of the three members of drum n bass megagroup Pendulum, Knife Party emerged recently to a massive following after the free release of their “100% No Modern Talking” EP. With a style ranging from dubstep to electro to moombahton, Following up some short techinical difficulties, which resulted in a tequila shot contest up on stage between a bunch of the producers and Example (who was there for no reason whatsoever), but soon enough Knife Party turned up the volume and went to work on an absolute monster of a set. The great thing about seeing these guys live is that they have a VIP (Variance in Production) for nearly all of their released tracks, including Internet Friends and their Crush on You remix, which gives their set a new element that you’ll only experience live. The duo also played at least two different versions of their collaboration with Swedish House Mafia, “Antidote”. They then went on to show the crowd what to look for in the future of Knife Party, playing unreleased tracks such as Centipede and their moombahton collaboration with Mistajam, “Until They Kick Us Out.” The best part of the night, however, was definitely when Knife Party cut out the volume during their Save the World remix and had the ENTIRE crowd singing along at the top of their lungs. When the beat dropped, it was like a bomb went off in the club; EVERYONE was moving, from the top of the building to the absolute front of the massive crowd. Theres no feeling like singing along with hundreds of people to your favorite tunes, and this was no exception.

All in all, this performance…no, EXPERIENCE was hands down my favorite show of the year so far. With major shows like Electric Daisy Carnival: New York and Camp Bisco just around the corner, I quite literally cannot wait to see every last one of these DJ’s and producers for a second time. Remember to check out the sampling of music from each artist below, and check out their Facebook pages as well. Finally, support the artists; whether you buy your music or not, GET OUT AND SEE THE ARTISTS LIVE. I promise you, it will change your life. Until next time, rage on! Check out their set from Ultra Music Festival below.

Written By Zachary DiLuzio