The Filthiest Most Unforgettable Sets at Lost Lands 2021
The fourth annual Lost Lands music festival, founded by Canadian dubstep legend Excision, featured over 160 artists over the Sept 24-26 weekend. In its biggest and nastiest year to date (not just talking about the mud), the bass community raged out their pent-up pandemic energy.
Lost Lands is where headbangers call home. It is an intense yet wholesome experience for anybody who likes weird people and loves loud shit. Located in Legend Valley, an hour east of Columbus, OH, it’s a place where dinosaurs roam, and people swear by the unspoken rules of PLUR. As I enter the gates with my wristbands (one is a rave-friendly indicator for proof of vaccination), I walk through merch booths towards a hill of hammocks. Drug and meme-themed totems guide the way to friends: a smiling caveman passes me, holding a pole that reads “legalize tree stars.”
Among some of the top-billed names are underrated favorites that live rent-free in the hearts and minds of headbangers. Here’s our list of sets you’ll want to revisit (at least until Lost Lands 2022 and Excision’s next festival Paradise Blue in Cancun). These moments are what made Lost Lands wonky and welcoming.
SVDDEN DEATH presents: VOYD
VOYD encapsulated the most unique sound design and soul-disturbing dubstep in existence. It’s insufficient to call SVDDEN DEATH’s project dance music; it is a submission into darkness. The audiovisual experience of VOYD was one of the highest anticipated in the festival circuit since its debut in 2019, and did not disappoint. In this antlered alter ego, SVDDEN DEATH performed a skull-busting set that punctures expectations of bass music forever. The majority of the set consists exclusively of live IDs, the very reason this is a must-see for yourself.
Seldom will you see as much hugging and headbanging than at a SLANDER show. The LA duo’s penchant for melodic bass undulates between breaking the rail and breaking our hearts. It made for an emotional rollercoaster Saturday night but they were surely cathartic, happy tears. After back-to-back sob-worthy drops near the end, everyone in the crowd had their arm around a friend or rave bae. They finished with two unreleased tracks, “Walk On Water (Love Is Gone Pt. 2)” featuring RØRY & Dylan Matthew and a soon-to-come collab with MARAUDA, “Suffer (feat. Elle Vee)”. SLANDER has been a must-see since closing out Lost Lands 2019. Because of their ravishing hits, we all felt Superhuman again.
Lucii’s music is devastatingly beautiful, and she knows exactly when to turn up the heat. With her bewitching live vocals and spacey production, Lucii’s set during Sunday’s golden hour was mesmerizing. “I was feeling myself the day I recorded these visuals,” she tweeted afterward. She had the crowd weak in the knees, and Lucii happily took pictures with swooning fans.
Lucii has steadily released singles since first appearing at Lost Lands 2019, and her recent collaboration “All My Thoughts” with Dion Timmer is a certified bop.
While Lucii took on the Prehistoric Evolution mainstage with her spellbinding set, Level Up threw down at Wompy Woods. Lost Lands featured more fresh faces and female producers this year that dominated every stage. Lucii’s Metamorphosis set proves that the voices representing bass music are evolving in the right direction, and the women playing Lost Lands deserve to be uplifted. This year’s diversity also shone through with enthralling headliners such as Jessica Audiffred, Sippy, Lizzy Jane, Jeanie, Vampa, and Zìa.
Shaquille O'Neal, aka DJ Diesel’s foray into dubstep in 2015 propelled the former basketball star’s popularity to new heights. He’s entered the moshpit before but never have we seen Shaq attempt to crowd surf. Fans commented days later about needing to still recover from the wildest moshpit the festival saw all wookend. We thank all the pit warriors for their service.
DJ Diesel’s flashy, meme-filled visuals let us watch him literally push the bad vibes and negativity away. His presence created the irresistible hype and shock factor that not even the most brazen neck breakers could handle.
Subtronic’s weed-infused wubs and chromatic cyclops alias were the keys to making the crowd light up. The filthy Philadelphia-based DJ and producer dropped a slew of brand new IDs. He played VIP versions of collabs including, “Gravity” with SLANDER and JT Roach, “Take Flight” with Sullivan King, and “Bunker Buster” with the bass god himself, Excision. Last year, “Griztronics” was the most iconic track of Lost Lands, and its success threw the collaborators into this year’s top timeslots. If there were any more lasers, our retinas would have probably burned, so it’s fair to say that Subtronics was absolutely bonkers.
Excision’s Throwback Set
Lost Lands wouldn’t be complete without Excision playing three of his own sets. The first night he spun two hours of straight bangers, and on Sunday, the Excision Detox set was a relatively chill interlude before one more night of annihilation.
Excision’s curation of the fourth annual lineup sent waves of nostalgia for previous editions, his previous collaborators, and other massive names in bass music. Standing back at the sound booth with a group of longtime Excision fans, they tell me this is the best spot for the gigantic mainstage. “Everyone and anyone is welcome,” says raver Ben Pflefka, with a sharp ‘X’ tattooed across his back, “as long as you bring good vibes.”
The all-original set of Excision’s earliest tracks was the perfect ending for longtime listeners. Fireworks shoot into the sky and illuminate thousands of awestruck faces, while eardrums pound during faves like “Home,” “Raise Your Fist” and “Throwin’ Elbows.”
2021 saw the addition of the Subsidia stage, showcasing the incoming generation of dubstep producers on X’s label. Lost Lands is the ultimate reminder of why many of us fell in love with this thunderous genre, and it was worth the wait.