HARD Summer Photos: Jack Black, Justin Bieber And Aliens
The dust has finally settled after two days of hardcore dancing at HARD Summer in Pomona over the weekend. Besides your usual raver outfits and pulsating EDM beats, the music festival had some surprises, including guest appearances from Justin Bieber and Jack Black.
While South African rap-rave trio, Die Antwoord, played an afternoon set—with Ninja popping up in a full Pikachu costume, Yolandi Visser with her trademark bizarre mullet and plenty of booty dancers wearing creepy masks—they brought Black on stage. He surprised guests first by wearing a gray sweats ensemble (mind you, it was 90 degrees out at the Pomona Fairplex that day), and danced his heart out on the stage. Then he gave a babbling speech—improvised, we're pretty sure—while I overheard everyone muttering in the crowd, "He's totally rolling on molly."
Jack Ü (AKA Diplo and Skrillex's super-group) closed out the festival on Sunday night with their explosive set, with Skrillex hanging off the rafters and singing solo on stage. But it was the special guests they brought on stage that made it even more memorable—like Bieber, 2 Chainz and Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge. I never thought I'd ever see Bieber perform in my life (not that I had been dying to), but I've got to say he can get a crowd to lose it as folks went wild when he got on stage, sung, and even did a dance routine with some back-up dancers.
Jack Ü definitely brought out way more special guests than DJ Mustard did, who billed himself as DJ Mustard and Friends on the lineup, but really, just showed up with rapper Kid Ink. Maybe "DJ Mustard and Friend" would've sufficed.
On the smaller stage, Chemical Brothers, like always, killed it with their Saturday set, where they even brought giant robots on stage shooting out lasers and lights. They're promoting their first studio album to come out since 2010, Born in the Echoes, and performed a mishmash setlist of old and new tracks. Their visuals, as their name suggests, were meant to trip out folks on acid with scary clown images and Suspira-like videos.
The lineup this year at HARD Summer had a pretty eclectic mix of music from different genres of EDM to R&B (The Weeknd) and hip hop—everyone from Schoolboy Q to Rae Sremmurd. French producer DJ Snake showed up as a surprise artist, and brought the house down in the most low-key way: by simply playing Oasis' "Wonderwall," with no added remix.
It seems like HARD is trying to distance themselves from rave culture since they don't allow kandi bracelets and plush animal backpacks at their events. Though they didn't bother to stop everyone wearing tutus and pasties, and bringing in white gloves with attached LED lights—perfect for giving light shows to ravers. I did notice, however, that there were a bunch of people wearing all black at this festival, a stark contrast to the pop of rainbow colors you normally see at EDM festivals, and girls sporting baseball jerseys (is that the new raver fashion trend?).
But try as they may, HARD can't seem to get completely stay away from drug culture: two teens died from suspected overdoses on Saturday.