Nestled in the rugged rolling hills of central Oregon, the White River Canyon Ranch exhibits a multitude of pleasing environmental attributes that make for an extended period of outdoor living that’s absolutely pleasing. Having been raged ragged by the winds and dust of Symbiosis, a night of extreme cold at Sonic Bloom, and the blistering 105 degree days at Cognitive Awakening, this rage journalist and crew was due for a weekend of titty weather, and we all got it.
Mountaintops of jagged buttes, sun gleamed by day and laser riddled by night, overlooked rolling grassy hills and bubbling mountain springs. Scrubby oaks and young conifers offered the early-comers areas of shade during the day, and a constant subtle breeze flowed through the valley. The well-crafted super pimp splash pool constantly cycled clean water from the mountain spring providing a super dank venue that included a Funktion One sound system, a revolving cast of unlisted DJ’s like MartyParty and AnTeNae for example, and just enough nudity to keep everyone feeling like they were in the music video for Jay Z’s Big Pimpin’ (our camp’s theme song for the weekend).
WTF was an idealic adult playground with many interactive art installations and climbing structures that make you feel very kid like, something I feel has immense social benefits to adults who can be so stressed by daily life. Weird Times Comix, a brain candy conglomerate of Gabe Shaughnessy and Dan Cohen, gave lend to their hi-tech gadgetry for iPad controlled message posting and a digitized South Park style animated mama, who mimics your dance moves in real time.
True tripper hilarity and an unexpected time-consuming stop between stages and group rally meet-ups. The grounds were full of cool things to get distracted by, and I personally let my inner youth come to life as I set land speed records on the Slip and Slide, using the exercise to jostle theeffects of some “got you stuck, mo’ fucker” cubensis we had scarfed down earlier in the day. (Nothing like a good sweat and a giggle to jostle you from the grips of sluggish shroom trip.)
There was an amazing display of art and clothing vendors at WTFaunkstival?! The psycho-activated barn at the WTF Epicenter provided a great bizarre-like center for heady threads, while visually providing a paradoxical collaboration of rustic rural tradition and futuristic psychedelia. This combination was especially notable in the splash pool, where it was pointed out to me that the land owner was strippin’ off the Wranglers and cowboy boots to splash about with some gracious nude sexytime festy mamas. Word is the WTF crew signed on for a three-year contract at the venue, and based on the owner’s inaugural experience, we know it will be well received each year to come.
The Effin Stage, home to a fully assembled, full volume Funktion One set up, was atop a hill at the center of the grounds. While ascending to Effin, with the hookah lounge to the left and Slip and Slide to the right, the seismic activity tickled one’s feet and anticipation alike. The shell-like amphitheater style structures truly allowed head users to feel the full force of the Funktions, and we were quick to fulfill the requirements of our tradition of a few sessions of head rattling mexican bouncing bumps off the full throttled subwoofer.
Here are some top notable acts that we got down to with vigor on the top of the hill:
Scuba: UK dubstep and two-step legend Scuba was of one of the lineup all-stars that made me say, “aw damn we are def’ doing this wtfonxstival shenanigans for sure!” Equipped with a gang of the illest 2-step and garage laced CD’s, this mix master displayed a get down to business attitude on stage, with an occasional pause to smile, as he commenced to mix, banger after banger, pushing the physical limits of ex-athelete to the max. A 5 or less second kiss of headphone to ear was all he needed to get the next tune synched perfectly. His precise and calculated EQ work amazed me as he wove the various elements of his selections in a surgical fashion. A real G on the decks. Despite not playing any of the slow and low Dubs that he is famous for, this set proved to be a top notch display of an international legend. (B.I.G.’s Juicy was a great nostalgic finale for a very appreciative, hippie-gangsta crowd.)
Laura Low: Head spun and overwhelmed, my brother Langston Ques and I found ourselves a bit tipsy, if not hammered drunk, after our one time media OMG (VIP) experience, equipped with unlimited free G and JT’s and convo’s with interesting festival elites. (Open bar all weekend?! The OMG experience is worth it, if you’re ballin’ enuff.) We stood located directly between the WTF stage, with Bonobo and our whole crew, and the Effin Stage with Laura Low…both stages in ear shot. “Find the homies or get gangster?” I ask Langston, who was perticulary shnkock fockered at the time. We give a sympathetic look and both start a guilt driven saunter towards the OMG passless crew, just as Trick Daddy’s voice came booming over a ground shaking 808 kick. With a “fuggit” and a scream, we reverse course and strut up the hill TUFF for one of our favorite sets of the weekend. DJ Laura, one half of the LowRIDAZ and PussyMonster, is one gangsta biatch!! A myriad of Chopped Crunk, Trip Hop and something I would call Progressive Trap filled her set to the brim with heavy hitting kicks that pop’d n’ lock’d our shakras and hood ass hip hop remixes that pleased the wiggers within. Though I missed LowRIDAZ’s set due to an acid induced hodgepodgery of time, I am happy to say I was able to strut, shoulder brush, and go ape shit titty to 90% of Low Laura’s set donning a viking helmet and creepy old man rubber mask, much to the fright of a few of the hundreds in attendance.
Claude Von Stroke: SF legend CVS was the festival’s grand finale of the weekend and the 1.5 hour set gave us all every opportunity to leave it all on the dance floor. (I can definitely attribute a few blisters under my Twin Peak Edition Jordan’s to the Don of dirty birdedness.) 4 CDJ’s and a nonstop grin gave the crowd a work out as he pumped out the 128 riddims of his signature style: heavy driving 4×4 kicks, weird, almost non rhythmic high end sound effects and tightly wound hesitant drops that keep you treading water on the floor in anticipation. New sonic elements would be brought in and fazed out for a tease, only to be brought back with full force as long as ten minutes later. Tempos would move up to 174 for a handful of NASTY Drum n’ Bass slaughter session breakdowns, only to settle back to the familiar 128 with grace (an untrained ear would have missed it if not for the DnB slap to the face). This man is one of the most badass DJ’s there is… period. I was glad I was able to save my last remaining m and c all day on sunday in order to give proper dance feedback to the legendary creator of Dirty Bird Records.
Other notables include:
Eprom, who emitted some truly AWESOME sounds from the pro grade UK amplificationators. His tracks are unique, even obscure, but the sounds that he would sludge through the drivers were face contorting to say the least and what stick in my mind most. Ill-esha combined the beauty of her sexified vocal chords and the full power of her funktion 1-nified bass lines to create a rather pamp nasty powder palm bag slappin atmosphere. (see WTF Youtube Video)
Smokey and The Bandit, who changed their name mid set to Pyramids, provided the awesome Slip n’ Slide soundtrack of Drumstep and face melter dubs as I finagled myself from the grips of the goomz.
Nasty Nasty got “weird in the paint” on “strong acid” and Sinjin Hawke‘s unique mpc style beatmaker hip hop influenced bass music was a pleasant surprise. (If you’re not up on Sinjin Hawke… get up.)
To add one bit of negativity, after all I am a hater, Marty Party gets more and more disappointing and almost comical every time. His over exaggerated mannerisms I used to enjoy now have me clowning him, and his prewarped ableton sets fraught with moments of silence and cheesy, played-the-fuck-out Missy Elliot “hollers” got me moving further and further from respecting his sound and steez.
The WTF Stage had the appearance of a traditional portable mainstage installation with stupid-big suspended arched stacks on either side and a solid row of subs lining the floor in front of the pit. During the hottest part of the day, the lack of shade made this a destination only for the truly motivated, however the large capabilities of the sound system allowed good waves to travel into the many shaded areas near by.
Top WTF stage artists include:
Big Gigantic: A real crowd favorite, this Colorado duo is known to throw down HARD, and that’s just what they did on Friday night. Drummer Jeremy Salken is a madman on the skins. With space goggles secure, he kept up the rhythm in style while Dominic Lalli controlled track selections, accompanying with the sax like a twisted Lisa Simpson on Ebombs. The electro house and face melter dubs they play, Big G remixes or originals, can be a little much on the high end for me at times (Shrillex steez), but the crowd energy and lighting of a Big G show allows easy neglect of petty genre related issues whilst getting the fox down. The classic Notorious Thug remix is my fav if I had to choose and guaranteed to make the crowd lose their shit. The DnB they throw down is always much appreciated and is where Jeremy really shines.
Ghost Land Observatory: “C’mon Oregon, I don’t know about you but I came to Fucking Rage!!” Lead singer Dude belted out at one point before a grand finale in his high pitched hair metal’esque voice… I’m pretty sure the thousands in attendance came to do the very same thing. Equipped with a cape and a multitude of digital and analog synths and keyboards, other dude would whirl build ups of their signature indie-infused electronica and electro house, while main dude would vigorously criss cross the stage, engaging the crowd in what reminded me of the way Moby performs on stage. Despite their auditory steez not quite being on par with what my ears search for, although well produced and really fun to dance to, these guys got the visual aspect of the show down. The lasers, doot… the lasers!!! When the Ghostland light shows get going, hold on to your jaw, as it might trip you up while your dancing as it slams to the dirt. So impressive was this lower atmospheric coordinated ballet of light, haze, and LSD that we found a nice spot off to the side. Our grassy platform slightly elevated above the dancing mob gave us the perfect vantage point for the remaining 20 minutes of the set, where little was said more than “damn” several times, and the occasional head shaking grumbles of over stimulation.
Doplar 9000 weather fronts and DMT dust clouds could be tracked over continental backdrop of 8 bit planetary forms… My good friend Ian saw his life within the panning and twisted bands of visible light, allowing an invisible glimpse into his own unknown, forcing him to temporarily forget who he was and where he was at. Awesome.
Other WTF notables include:
Beats Antique who pulled out all stops in their circus-like act involving bass, worldly instrumentation, dance, and a bit of tom foolery. Although I am a big fan I have recently found myself a bit burned out on them and usually go find out something unfamiliar during their sets, though lucky for us Langston Ques was able to score some good video.
Lafa Taylor was one midday heat act that got some people moving out into the sunshine. This multitalented producer and lyricist is always a treat and I wish I got to catch more than just his last couple tracks. Look him up if you ain’t on it yet. Kid’s got crazy talent and has a lot of fun on stage, and can be seen frequently partying with festival goers in the general admission areas.
The LOL Stage was only visited by our crew once, and not for long. Too Tall Paul was hilarious, his quirky folky remixes of pop were well made and entertaining, but at that time we were definitely trying to start up our own hijinks elsewhere. Though it was not used by us often, there were tons of comfortable shaded chill areas and covered beds to hang out on, and provided and excellent space even when there was no music.
Mad Love From Dyaphonoyze….