11 Must-See Streams From Quarantine So Far
Madeon turned his room into a hallucinogenic wonderland for Porter Robinson’s Secret Sky 2020
You’ve been stuck inside for months without end, and your summer festival season was cancelled. It’s shit being quarantined - but it doesn’t have to be.
Bring the party to your living room, start a dance-off in your kitchen and turn that hallway into a proper catwalk. Thanks to the wonders of livestream sets, the internet is a music festival in itself. Sure, you don’t want to waste your time on humdrum DJs and awkward acoustic performances, but that’s where we come in.
Festival Insider sifted through a ton of livestreams to find only the best, most energetic, visually-stunning presentations. Is this list exhaustive? Not entirely, but it will give you a full day’s worth of unparalleled digital programming.
Madeon - Secret Sky 2020 (Epilepsy Warning)
When French electro-pop producer Madeon created his 2019 sophomore album, he created a whole world. Good Faith is a hyper-saturated marriage of organic sounds and digital manipulation, brought to life in a series of psychedelic environments. The ultra-euphoric frenzy represents the high of truly recognizing and embracing the peaceful joy of a given moment, what Madeon calls a state of “hyper-reality.” It would be meditative if it wasn’t so explosive. Madeon was able to bring Good Faith to life on tour before quarantine started, but his set for Porter Robinson’s virtual Secret Sky festival is the best visual embodiment of his technicolor world. What starts off as a skinny DJ playing in his room quickly melts into a hallucinogenic journey the likes of which Hunter S. Thompson would envy. The set itself is 100 percent pure groovalicious funk, with a track list that boasts Player’s “Baby Come Back,” Daft Punk’s “Burnin’,” Diplo and Sidepiece’s “On My Mind,” Grimes’ “We Appreciate Power” and more. Of course, there’s tons of Madeon originals, edited and presented in ways you’ve never heard before. Tune in, turn on and drop out to this shit right here.
YehMe2 - Lollapalooza 2020
If you’re got a platform, use it. That’s YehMe2’s motto. The former Flosstradamus member has been doing the most with his quaranstreams, whether by taking time to educate the masses on trap music history or making a stand for human rights. He went all out for this year’s digital Lollapalooza. The Chicago native worked with a team of digital artists to craft a three-part virtual world, a kind of post-apocalyptic Chi complete with Black Lives Matter protests, clips of kids footworkin’ to “Sandstorm,” and tagged-up highway signs. The overt political messaging is powerful and evocative, soundtracked by a barrage of hard-hitting bass, head-bangin’ beats and dark yet joyful attitude. The set’s biggest moment comes about halfway through where YehMe2 play’s Houston Rapper Tobe Nwigwe’s stunning single “I Need You To,” which calls on authorities to arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor. The set is a thrilling reminder that music can be both fun and important.
Sophie - Heav3n Suspended 2020
What do you do when you’re supposed to play a charitable festival only to have the host party’s channel temporarily banned on Twitch? You post the full set on YouTube anyway and fill it with nothing but unheard originals! Scottish producer Sophie is a Grammy-nominated artist known for pushing the edge of club culture and pop appeal. The 20-minute mix is divinely textural, sexual and best enjoyed with headphones. You need to hear every mechanical pop and rich, buoyant blip. It’s fizzy, subtle, haunting, experimental techno set to hypnotizing “laser magic” by Pieterjan Ruysch. Give it the old planetarium experience, aka get high, turn off all the lights and watch it lying down. The original set was meant to be streamed as part of LA party Heav3n’s fundraiser for black trans and queer femmes, but you can still donate to the Blak Trans Lives Matter Youth Fund, the Marshall Johnson Institute, the NAACP, and the Black Cultural Archives.
Knower - Living Room Power Set 2020
Whoever said you need a green screen to make a sick livestream has clearly never seen this incredible 20-minute set from Knower. The LA band blew us away with this clever performance, originally aired as part of Secret Sky festival 2020. Singer Genevieve and multi-instrumentalist LC stand in oversized white t-shirts before a blank screen. They become the moving canvas for an overwhelming onslaught of projected delights. Dancing skeletons, vast interstellar space, cartoon pizza slices and geometric landscapes swallow and highlight the duo, augmenting the band’s frenzied, electro-jazz sound. The effect is inspired and mesmerizing, serving as a refreshing reminder that creativity can count more than expensive solutions.
Katy Perry - Tomorrowland Around the World 2020
DIY projections are dope, but if you’re gonna go all-out, do it like Tomorrowland. The Belgian festival is used to big things, regularly booking more than 100 international superstar DJs, rappers and pop acts. When quarantine meant the world couldn’t travel to Tomorrowland, Tomorrowland decided it would come to the world. One of the first festivals to try a ticketed system, fans paid about $12 to $20 for the chance to stream original, digital content all weekend long. By converting existing digital stage schemes into three-dimensional virtual worlds, Tomorrowland was able to capture the feeling of an over-the-top live experience, placing real DJs and performers into the set via green screen. The most captivating of all was a pregnant Katy Perry who danced alongside a costumed band. The “California Girl” topped her set with a spirited rendition of “Firework.” The finale came with an incredible pyrotechnic display so lifelike, you can almost feel the heat on your cheeks.
DJ Destructo - Sunrise Desert Sermon 2020
Gary Richards has been a leading figure of the US dance scene for decades. He was co-founder of Electric Daisy Carnival, founder of HARD events and Holy Ship, and currently heads up his latest venture All My Friends and its flagship Friendship festival cruise. The DJ, producer, promoter and label exec got his electro start in the ‘90s playing sunrise sets to early-morning ravers in Los Angeles. The tradition continues on his cruises and lives in quarantine times, the most astounding of which was recently recorded live in the California desert. For nearly three hours, the family man builds a red and bluesy groove from house records, Led Zeppelin wails and tech-laced bumps. The higher the sun, the heavier the beats, all while the majestic scene flashes feasts for the eyes.
Justin Martin - Movement 2020
Talk about a performance that’s out of this world. That’s a corny joke, but Dirtybird favorite Justin Martin did think outside the box to create a one-of-a-kind love letter to Detroit. Motor City is the birthplace of techno, and for more than 15 years, it has celebrated that heritage with the legendary Movement music festival. We couldn’t go to Detroit’s Hart Plaza, so Martin took us there, turning his green screen DJ booth into a cartoon UFO as it “flew” over the festival’s downtown home. It’s quirky, inventive and heartwarming, and while we can’t find any footage of the full set, this 5-minute clip on Facebook is impressive enough to include.
TT The Artist - Virtual Maryland Film Festival 2020 After Party
If you miss sweating and dancing until your limbs give out, Baltimore Club Queen TT The Artist is your answer. This set might be a quick 15 minutes, but it packs as much back-breaking energy and booty bouncin’ attitude as a full night at the club. B-more is the style on display, and TT’s colorful cast of dancers to brings an energy so live, it rips through your screen and pulls you off the couch. If you aren’t up on your feet twerking, voguing and jumping across the floor before this thing hits the eight minute mark, you aren’t just tired of quarantine, you’re clinically deceased.
DJ Craze - Moombahton Massive 2020
We have to start off with a big shout out to Dave Nada for giving birth to moombahton as a genre. He’s the reigning king of Moombahton Massive, and he gave an incredible performance alongside the master Tittsworth, but for the purposes of our list, we wanna highlight DJ Craze, because really, what’s a list of must-see sets without some world-champion turntablism? The three-time DMC winner keeps it picante with barely a moment to breathe. The psychedelic background is dope, but keep your eyes on Craze’s hands. You might learn a trick or two before the 20-minute set is over. Just kidding, these aren’t the kind of moves you can learn via osmosis, but you will remember what real DJing is all about.
Alison Wonderland - Lollapalooza 2020
Quarantine gives some artists space to explore. Australian talent Alison Wonderland is as much a singer-songwriter as she is a DJ-producer, and while fans love her for it, she hardly steps outside the booth. When it came time to record a set for Lollapalooza, she grabbed opportunity by the lapl and prepared a live performance that’s anything but stripped. Vocoders, synths, live drums and guitars beget an passionate 20 minutes. Clever fans spotted Wonderland friend and collaborator Chet Porter on the kit. The quick selection includes fan-favorite original “Run,” previously unheard new single “Bad Things,” and a swirling cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm.” It’s an inspiring set for any creative who yearns to break outside the box, and it’s just plain fun to watch.
San Holo - Secret Sky 2020
We end our list with a very zen moment indeed. It’s one more from Robinson’s Secret Sky fest, but this is unlike any live performance you’re likely to see again. San Holo exists at the corner of organic prog rock and future bass electro-pop. He’s got his own taste and style, and even his own language with fans. They’re all about “staying vibrant” and keeping stock of their vibrancy “percentage.” The Dutch performer welcomes intimacy and conjures a sort of magic with this set, performing his music live while sitting cross legged and lighting tea candles all around an empty warehouse. It’s subtle and enthralling, mysterious and magical. When it’s all finished, the camera pans back to show what all those candles were doing. You’ll have to watch to find out, but do enjoy the live guitar playing and see where the music takes you.
Didn’t see your favorite set on the list? Maybe we missed it. We wanna see!