After a year off from full-scale events, Relentless Beats has jumped right back into festival life. Decadence Arizona 2021 was an absolute SMASH HIT! From the music selection, the venue, logistics, and vibe, they really hit a home run. With 2021 being a rollercoaster that we are all ready to get off, Decadence was the perfect way to kiss it goodbye and prepare for a new year.
First, let’s chat logistics. It was cold and rainy both days, but that didn’t dampen the energy. Relentless Beats has truly grown over the past ten years and their new megastructure is clear evidence. The stage production was impressive and on par with what you would expect from some of the biggest festivals across the country. The main stage featured video screens that lined the length of the structure with lasers pouring out of every nook and cranny. I personally loved the subtle Relentless Beats emblem made out of spinning light bars. Decadence featured two stages, The Grand Palace and The Royal Ballroom, as well as a side stage that showcased a selection of up-and-coming artists. It’s always great to check out some new names that may be playing the main stage in a few short years. Relentless Beats also released some Weird and Wonderful characters to roam the festival grounds. Stilt walkers, acrobats, jugglers, and hoopers dazzled the crowd with their skills and energy! They brought an immersive layer to the festival experience that brought the atmosphere up a notch.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff, the music! The sample selection from all the artists was superb and gave a bit of something from each decade. Alesso started a Squid Games trend that popped up in several other sets throughout the festival. The haunting show theme was mixed beautifully across the genres and the crowd exploded with excitement every time it rolled through.
Alison Wonderland is an artist I was particularly hyped for. She came out hitting and shook the stage with her power. My favorite moment from her set was an emotional track being paired with the visual of Alison’s face, red and screaming. The raw power she pumps into her live music is infectious and exactly what I was craving from her. I was so sad to hear Alison had to cancel her New Year’s Eve performance due to potential covid exposure. I feel fortunate that we were treated to a powerful Alison Wonderland set on Day 1. Another unfortunate pandemic happening was DJ Diesel (aka Shaq) also being exposed to covid and canceling his appearance at Decadence. A big loss for all headbangers in attendance as Shaq is known for jumping in the crowd and going HAM with his fans. Thankfully BIJOU came in as a last-minute replacement and shook the mainstage for a second time that weekend.
Day 2 brought some incredible sets that I wasn’t prepared for. In true 2021 fashion, Destructo sampled Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and this vaccine queen deserved her moment of sunshine. Who knew this 1974 hit would find new life and turn the crown upside down. The sample selection just got better when Fisher took to the decks. This man has absolutely no limits and this makes for a hell of a party. A few specific samples that I loved from his set include “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” by Belinda Carlisle and “Saturday Night” by Whigfield. And of course, you know we were “Losing It” for a hot second there! I’ve seen Fisher a few times and he tends to do a slow build-up with lots of teases before jumping into this song. On New Year’s Eve, he gave us no preparation and dropped the track as a total surprise! The crowd went nuts and the energy went up a few notches instantly.
Dillon Francis is such a goober and there is no way you could stand still during one of his sets. In one swift motion, he took us from a dirty DNB remix of “Get Low”, over to “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys, and dropped us off with “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. I never knew boy band/DNB/Swedish pop was the combo I’ve been searching for my whole life. Dillon has always been the highlight of many lineups for me in the past and Decadence was no exception. He even took a moment for our beautiful and unproblematic icon, Betty White. Featuring the Golden Girls theme, Dillon made sure we danced and celebrated in her honor.
The real treat came when Sonny Fodera played a delicious set that was positively bursting with House energy. His remix of “Heatwave” by Glass Animals is my official theme song for all of 2022. This was the first time a few of my friends saw Sonny live and they were blown away. He brings bouncy beats and doesn’t remotely skimp on the heavy bass, a mixture I’ll never get enough of. House music has such a notable and infectious sound that welcomes all to throw their hands up and bounce right along.
Marshmello kept the party going as the new year began. This was about the time the rain really started to come down, but luckily he ensured the crowd stayed warm with regular pyrotechnics. Mixing smoothly from banger after banger, he kept the crowd on their toes the whole time. All of the classics were mixed in, with my favorite being “FRIENDS”. For the headbangers that were able to make it until the end of the festival, Excision was there to break some necks. His nasty drops and deep bass were the perfect way to end the first festival of the year.
I am so excited to have kicked off my year dancing and partying at Decadence! Relentless Beats has undeniably upped their production game. I can only imagine what they have up their sleeve as we look forward to 2022. With Decadence closing its doors for the year, we turn our sights to the skies and wait for the return of Crush in February and Phoenix Lights in April, and the brand new Body Language festival in March! I am positively craving more after the insane production level Relentless Beats doled out this New Year’s Eve.