Blueprint’s annual Season’s Festival is back in Vancouver for it’s sixth year in a row after its debut in 2011. Friday night was day one of the main event at the Pacific Coliseum and it started off with a bass heavy bang, bringing along top-notch production. Local Vancouver DJ Ekali took the decks first around 7:25 as the tangibly energized crowd filed in; some in sleek black while others donned a rainbow assortment of neon colours and LED accessories. As the dance floor of the converted arena increased in raver density and the stands began to fill, Mija took the reins an hour later. After a breakthrough back-to-back sunrise set with Skrillex at Bonnaroo in 2014, Mija has been a rising star. It became clear as the set progressed why she drew so much attention back in 2014. With fast-paced beats, deep bass and pleasantly colourful visuals, Mija cranked up the crowds energy by another notch.
With a full crowd, electrified even in the short downtime between sets, UK DJ Mat Zo made his way on stage. In contrast Mija’s visual show, Zo chose to keep the screen display to a minimum and provide an overall simple but elegant light show, highlighting season’s characteristic triangular light setup. Performing just after the release of his new EP, Self Assemble, Zo had the crowd grooving to new tunes including the hit, Sinful (feat. I See MONSTAS) as well as old favourites like Easy (ft. Porter Robinson). Following Mat Zo’s enticingly danceable set, heavy-hitting rave favourite Knife Party kept the party going. As one member of the duo that is Knife Party took the stage, the energy in the Coliseum took off as ravers and more casual attendees alike prepared for some of that dubby head-banging. At this point I had made my way to the stands above stage right to have an elevated view of the show. The crowd was in full dance mode as Knife Party threw down the bass with songs like Fabsun’s Arc and Bonfire, bringing many up onto a neighbour’s shoulders.
After the high-speed, high-energy hour of Knife Party, there was a perceptible shift in the air as the crowd prepared for the journey that is Porter Robinson’s live show. After a 20-minute intermission to prepare the stage, the lights dimmed, the crowd bellowed “Porter!” and stoke was at its peak. Characteristic white lines and triangles on a black background filled the screen behind as a long shirted, longhaired (in a bun that is), Porter took his position behind the transparent acrylic table and after an enthusiastic greeting to his admirers, started to play the instantly recognizable keyboard tune of ‘Sad Machine’. Just before the second big drop in the song, there was technical issue with the audio. After a short 5-minute repair break, Porter returned to announce he could have continued playing with the issue, however he wanted his fans to have the truest experience possible. Pretty cool. The rest of the show went on without a hitch, and what a show it was. Porter delivered an adventure through music and visual, captivating those present with euphoric melodies and skull shattering drops. Video game like landscapes filled the screens as we followed the journey through a fantastic realm of castles and forests, a journey both light and dark. Sometimes you just wanted to sit and smile at the beauty, while other times you could not help but burst into dance with songs like Language and Spitfire.
Robinson’s stage presence is superb, feeding the crowd with positive vibes creating an intimate atmosphere that’s remembered long after the music has finished. Sticking with a set list mainly comprised of hit songs from his album, ‘Worlds’, Porter seems completely in his element when playing his music and presents a truly masterful handling in comprising the live experience. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll only want more. Thanks to Blueprint and the Pacific Coliseum for providing an unforgettable experience. Until next year!