This year marked the sixth annual Decadence Arizona New Year’s celebration put on at Rawhide Town and Event Center by Relentless Beats. Following steady growth since the inception of this event, Decadence seemed to have grown beyond its control the previous year. The 2018 event, while it was the biggest they had ever thrown, had a slew of logistical issues that drastically impacted the experience of festival-goers. Thankfully, the Relentless Beats team took this as an important learning lesson and made huge changes for the 2019 event. This year we were met with an amazing layout that was similar to the 2017 Decadence New Year’s event. I was skeptical of the layout when the RB team released the event map, but it ended up being fantastic! In addition to the onsite changes, the decision was made to reduce capacity by 10k tickets and this proved to be a pivotal move. Everything was more compact than the previous year, which was worrisome, but that made it possible for me to hit every set for at least thirty minutes. Water was no issue, with minimal lines at the refill stations and at no point did I have to shuffle my way through a sardine-packed crowd. The reduced capacity made for a comfortable and robust experience! Even with the mainstages being very close to each other there was little to no sound bleed-over between the two. With preset walkways between the stages, there was a logical flow of foot traffic that everyone generally stuck to. We had tons of entrances and exits for the two mainstage areas and plenty of heaters available outside to relax. Overall, the RB team really killed it this year as far as logistics go.
There were three different stages to explore throughout the event. The Grand Pavillion, a huge heated event tent, served as the main stage. While there was still a dedicated VIP area in the tent, this was drastically reduced from the previous year in order to open up the dancefloor for GA attendees. The secondary stage was titled Royal Circus and was housed inside the warehouse, utilizing half of the available space. The other half of this space was filled with the Weird & Wonderful stage. This area offered a Silent Disco experience with three different channels to tune into. This was also where a wide range of dancers, performers, and circus artists shared their talents with the Decadence crowd.
Both days were exploding with insane talent, new music, and bass that shook my organs! On day one I made it just in time to catch AC Slater as he was pumping out massive party energy! He had a hard bounce feel to his set and I watched countless people march directly from the entrance gate into the Grand Pavillion. Following, there were opposing b2b sets going on at the same time. In the Grand Pavillion, you could have caught the Tchami x Malaa No Redemption set or you could have gone over to the Royal Circus and watched Dab the Sky with their love-filled Bass Music. Both were excellent choices as each duo served up what their fans were craving, including some new tracks mixed in!
A highlight from day one was the eclectic set Dillon Francis put on. He mixed a wide selection of samples from the Bloody Beatroots and Kaskade to ABBA and Queen. Dillon made sure there was a little something for everybody in his set! He played on the Grand Pavillion stage where ILLENIUM followed with his live ASCEND show. I couldn’t possibly describe it in a way that would do it justice. Everyone playing on stage was absolutely dripping with passion for the music they were performing. They started the set with their most memorable and emotion-evoking songs “Crawl Outta Love” and “Fractures”. I think this set may have been the highlight of my whole Decadence experience. If you have the opportunity to catch one of his ASCEND shows in 2020 I’d recommend snagging tickets ASAP because it was unreal!
Last, but not least, on my list of day one highlights is the Dubstep king himself, Skrillex. He was one of the headliners for last year’s Decadence and literally overflowed the main tent, making it difficult for everyone to enjoy his set. With this year’s logistical changes it was a different story. While he did pack the main tent, there was still room to lose your fucking mind to his crazy drops. Every direction you turned you were met with the stank face as everyone headbanged to the crazy drops Skrillex was hitting us with. My favorite part of the set was his version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” that smoothly transitioned into a wild bassline. Towards the end, he treated us to his classic remix of “Cinema” and the crowd ate it up!!
I have a feeling that after the RB team knocked it out of the park day one, local attendees started sharing their positive experiences with their friends. Just before the gates opened for day two the event completely sold out! This day was just as stacked as the previous. My night started with Zeds Dead and they laid down a set so heavy the speakers actually cut out. The duo showed they were true Bass experts as they paired their unique beats with a wonderful selection of their own music and samples. They dropped a remix of “Eleanor Rigby” that was a strange mix of haunting and headbanging and I LOVED it! Galantis followed Zeds Dead’s craziness with a live set. It was so much fun to watch the boys really go at it on the massive drum set they shared!
The midnight countdown was left in the hands of Joyryde and I found it lackluster. He was scheduled to start his set at 11:55 pm giving him five minutes to build up excitement leading into the new year. Unfortunately, he started a few minutes late and went right into it without the time required to hype up the crowd that packed the tent specifically for the countdown. What made this even more disappointing is that Joyryde was incredible live which left me wondering what kind of countdown he could have put on if he had the time. Finally, GRiZtronics, the current Bass hybrid project causing fans to go nuts came on stage to close out the event! Many of the other artists on the lineup had sampled their debut track “Griztronics” throughout the course of the event. Even the duo spliced in small cuts of their own song throughout much of their set. All the build-up was perfect when they finally dropped it and everyone went WILD! It was no surprise when the boys called for a moshpit and the crowd happily obliged. All in all, day two felt notably wilder than day one!
Even though the previous year was plagued with issues, Decadence Arizona and the Relentless Beats team pulled off a near-flawless event for 2019! My faith has been restored and it’s clear why Relentless Beats is becoming a major production name along the West Coast. Keep your eyes out this coming year for their signature events including Phoenix Lights Festival and Goldrush Festival.
*Featured Image Via Eric Valencia*