During the course of 2014, we made our way to a lot of music events and festivals. As the new year approached, we managed to make it out to one more in Ilsan — Playhouse Festival. A two-day, hybrid festival featuring hip-hop and EDM music, Playhouse turned out to be one of our favorite festivals of the year. While the crowd attendance was lower than we expected, the fans that turned up were passionate about the artists and the music. We appreciated the carefree nature of this particular crowd, which wasn’t afraid to dance and rage like nobody was watching.
While some may have been discouraged from attending the festival since it was on the outskirts of Seoul, as soon as we saw the EDM lineup (we’ll get to that in a moment), we knew that we had to make the journey to KINTEX. Upon entering the hall, we were actually overlooking the entire hall. To actually get down to the stage and various sponsor booths that were set up, we had to use an escalator. As far as stage setups go, Playhouse Festival was on par with the larger festivals. It may have even outshined a few of them. With pyrotechnics, CO2, confetti cannons, LED screens, and lights galore, fans were treated to a spectacular visual experience to complement the music. The speakers produced a really clean sound which is quite surprising due to the fact that the hall is a massive room for the sound to bounce around in. Kudos to the sound engineers!
Now let’s get to the good part — the artists. Since ElectRow primarily covers electronic music, we were there to see the EDM headliners — Vicetone, Borgore, Thomas Newson, Dzeko & Torres, and Tritonal. However, the rest of the acts that we caught at the festival were really good. For a winter festival, the EDM lineup of Playhouse Festival was actually insanely good. Two of the acts, Vicetone and Borgore, were listed in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs for 2014 and all five of the acts we were there to see have been responsible for some of this year’s best music. We were extremely fortunate to sit down and interview all five of the acts during the course of the festival, but we don’t want to spoil those for you, so for now, we’ll just focus on the performances.
Vicetone was the first from our list of “must-see” acts to take the stage. The Dutch duo responsible for the Ultra Musical Festival 2014 anthem, “United We Dance”, did an incredible job of playing to the Korean crowd and showcasing the sound that’s made them so popular. Their set was followed by Borgore, who delivered our favorite set of the night. Borgore’s “Gorestep” style, as he’s described it, was a nice contrast to Vicetone’s set. It’s also something we don’t hear enough of in South Korea. It was the type of music that had people dancing outside of their comfort zones — always a good thing. After his set, he jumped off stage to meet and greet fans. This was a nice touch and many excited fans walked away with a “selfie” taken with one of the top DJs in the world.
After Luney Tunez and SmithAgentSmith performed on the second night, it was time for one of EDM’s rising stars — Thomas Newson. It seems like every time we check the charts to see what music is doing well, we see this 20-year-old’s name on a track. Thomas delivered an exciting set that was full of energy and solid from start to finish. Dzeko & Torres took to the stage after him, and it was incredible to see these guys live after following their musical career. They are responsible for some of the hottest track’s in EDM and had just put out their 10 minute mix of 62 tracks from 2014 shortly before coming to play in South Korea. Living up to our expectations, Dzeko & Torres finished their set, which meant it was time for the final act we were there to see — Tritonal. Like the rest of these acts, Tritonal has their share of incredible music. In fact, we even saw what appeared to be handmade sign for their track “Anchor”. The fans were thrilled to see Tritonal and the duo seemed to be excited to see them. Out of all the DJs we’ve seen over the years, Tritonal might just be the happiest of them all. Their smiles and crowd interactions made them a joy to watch and a perfect way to end our Playhouse Festival experience.
Well there you have it — a weekend that we will never forget. Stay tuned for our interviews with Vicetone, Borgore, Thomas Newson, Dzeko & Torres, and Tritonal. Until then, you can check out our Playhouse Festival photo gallery here.