We knew we weren’t ready. We knew there was no way to prepare. Someone call a lawyer because Excision killed this fest.
When Excision first announced that he would be starting up his first and only music festival, bassheads around the world could only fathom what grimy sounds he would bring to the table. And when the lineup was finally posted, stacked with major names in dubstep and filthy bass like Datsik, Snails, Kill the Noise, Space Jesus, and so much more, we scrambled together our funds to buy tickets, headbanging all the way to the purchase confirmation web page.
I ended up arranging to go to the festival with a group of people I barely knew, which seems to be a common theme with me and festivals now. On Thursday, September 28th, I packed my bags and attempted to mentally and physically prepare myself for three days of 500,000 watts of bass.
We left at six in the morning on Friday, caravanning with two other cars behind us. An hour into the car ride, we reached a point where there was construction abruptly slowing down traffic. While the car I was in was able to stop suddenly, the last car in our chain hit our friend in the middle, causing her to spin out behind us. Her bumper fell off completely, and our other friend’s car was totaled. At this point, we were all convinced there was no way we’d be able to go to the festival we had been longing for. Instead of turning around and going home, we ended up buying $40 worth of duct tape and taping the shit out of this bumper, laughing the entire time. We dropped our friend’s totaled van off at the shop, managed to stuff all of our camping gear and all of our people into two cars, and continued our journey.
After making it through security with a duct-taped trunk and having a 15-minute panic sesh when one of our group’s members couldn’t find her ID to be admitted into the festival, we made it past the entry gates with no idea what to expect. Upon entering festival grounds, we were met with animatronic dinosaurs with names I couldn’t even attempt to pronounce, as well as people dressed as cavemen and even some people walking on stilts, looming behind trees and surprising those who walked by. Of the two stages, the Prehistoric Paradox stage was the most memorable, with two giant volcanos on either side of it, pillars of fire erupting from their cores in tune with the ground-rippling bass. Two life-size (or maybe extinct-size?) t-rex dinosaurs stood on either side, the lasers and lights reflecting off their scaled skin. Even with the complimentary earbuds, I could still hear the bass pulsing between my ears and behind my chest, vibrating my entire body.
Kill The Noise and 12th Planet murdered Friday night, incorporating snippets of hardcore metal like “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” and bringing out the angsty 13-year-old in all of us once more. Wooks dressed in onesies, harem pants, or “Anti-Riddim Riddim Club” T-shirts crawled from all over the grounds and flooded the Paradox stage when Excision’s first set of the weekend began. We all smiled in nerve-wracking anticipation when all the stage’s lights shone and he opened with the Jurassic Park theme song. I looked over at my newfound friends and complete strangers, our eyes wide. “Oh shit,” we said. That was all we were able to get out before Excision began. For that entire two hours, everyone in the crowd broke their necks and flung their limbs about in rhythm with the earthshaking bass drops he delivered. There was no “pacing yourself,” there were no rest stops, no intermissions to grab a turkey leg or frozen lemonade to recharge—we kept going despite our vertebrae wanting otherwise, ending the night by popping Tylenol to get us somewhat ready for the next day.
On Saturday, Snails and his funky visuals overtook the Paradox stage. His entire set could best be described as dripping, melting, distorted dubstep, not unlike his usual style. It was when Destroid, the Excision and Downlink collective, took the stage that things really started to get lit, for lack of a better word. All weekend, the two volcanos standing on either side of the Paradox stage were completely synced in their animations and explosions of fire. About half an hour through Destroid’s set, we watched as one of the volcanos looked as though it were burning down, completely in awe of the realistic animations Excision was able to come up with. It was only when we looked over at the other volcano and realized it wasn’t doing the same, that there was potentially something wrong. Suddenly, the music stopped and Excision’s gravelly voice took over the microphone, as smoke enveloped the stage and flooded to the sky. “Everyone, please back up a good 20 feet from the stage. Just back the fuck up.” With a fire truck wailing in the background, a giant group of us started to make our own beats, crudely beatboxing and wub-wub-wubbing to keep the party going. I smiled at these strangers next to me, in awe of how a crowd could keep positive even when the main stage had potential to be closed down for the night. Wooks can literally get down to anything at any time.
Eventually, Excision came back on the mic, announcing that the show was not over. Though Destroid literally destroyed the stage, they continued to deliver what we all came for. Zeds Dead, Downlink, and Trollphace and Protohype (who performed at the Cave of Souls stage) were several other memorable sets of the night, and even though temperatures reached 40 degrees at times, their filthy bass and dirty drops kept our bodies warm and our necks perpetually sore.
Waking up on Sunday was a mixed feeling of physical relief, overwhelming anticipation, and sadness. The entire weekend had brought us new friends from new places, as well as odd experiences that could only happen at Lost Lands, such as getting 30+ people to headbang around a Pringles, can and witnessing two guys dressed in inflatable t-rex suits to mock fight and break their necks together. Day 3 brought us Excision’s Detox set, which truly tested our necks’ limits. Dion Timmer followed with a mix of dubstep and filthy house, but nothing could prepare us for Space Jesus and Liquid Stranger, who took the stage with their exotic bass concoctions and trippy beats.
Because the majority of our group had seen Rezz previously, we decided to miss her set and head over to the Cave of Souls stage to see Barely Alive B2B Virtual Riot, following that with the one and only Illenium. Illenium brought to the table what none of the others could, and that was pure and utter emotional override. Sure, no one can hold a candle to the grime Excision brings to every live performance, but Illenium put every wook in their feels Sunday night, playing hits such as “Feel Good” and “Crawl Outta Love.” I smiled at strangers, I hugged my new friends and told them how much I loved them, and outstretched my hands to the sky and felt tears stream down my face. This was the moment I live for, the moment when everything is as it should be when music is swimming in my chest and ears and I have nothing but love surrounding me.
We ended the night with Excision B2B Datsik, which we left early from because the dull bodily aches we had ignored for the past two days had finally become too much to set aside. That night, we made it back to our campsite and snuggled under grass stained blankets, headbanging against our pillows to the music that we could still hear and laughing about the memories we made in just a matter of three days.
I’ve been to Lollapalooza, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and Bonnaroo, and I can honestly say that none of these festivals hold a candle to the flawless execution Excision brought, or the energy and positive mentality of every single person in the crowd. I can only imagine who or what Excision will bring to Thornville, Ohio next year, but in the meantime, I’m honored and extremely proud to have attended the first ever Lost Lands Music Festival. Now if anyone has a neck brace I can borrow for next year, let me know.