Ryan Hunt

Excision Brings Headbanger Energy to Bass Canyon (DMNW Review)

After waiting all summer in anticipation, bassheads have finally gotten to experience the first edition of Bass Canyon. Taking place the weekend of August 25 at the Gorge Ampitheatre, Excision brought his Pk Sound System which peaks at 500,000 watts of sound, and he absolutely brought a new and awesome experience to the Pacific Northwest.

The 3-day event featured no overlaps because it was exclusive to the mainstage. Attendees of Bass Canyon were treated to exceptional weather all three days, featuring low 80s in the daytime and sweatshirt weather at night. Not to mention there was a short rainstorm that worked to get rid of forest fire smoke in the surrounding area.

Dance Music Northwest was lucky enough to be part of this inaugural experience, and we feel blessed. Take a look at our review of the weekend:

MUSIC

First and foremost, the music! Friday featured Excision doing his first of three sets for the weekend. To start, Al Ross b2b Dirt Monkey b2b Subtronics got the crowd moving. Next AFK b2b SVDDEN Death brought the heat to the Gorge with their VIP Edit of their track Bzzrk.

During Al Ross b2b Dirt Monkey b2b Subtronics the rails on the floor began to lose their foundation. The second rail completely broke and had to be emergency repaired in the middle of the show. Excision’s crew learned quickly from Day 1, though, and had an improved setup the next two days which greatly increased the safety of the the guests!

Black Tiger Sex Machine and Rusko did exceptional jobs preparing the crowd for the main event of the evening. When Excision took the stage on Friday it was a special moment. The energy in the crowd was through the roof; every person was giving 150%. In every direction there were smiles and bassfaces for miles.

Photo by Ryan Hunt

The lineup on Saturday was very different than Friday, because Excision planned to not play. To make up for his absence Excision brought in the All Stars of the bass music community. Saturday was an unforgettable experience. Sullivan King, an Apex collaborator woke the crowd up on Day 2. Saturday progressed to heavyweights such as Bro Safari, Herobust and Liquid Stranger.

The headliner, Zomboy, left the Gorge in ruins. Zomboy’s set was a celebration featuring many key moments. His set was a journey through sound and space, everyone was left flabbergasted. It was complete and utter (metaphorical) destruction.

A couple of times Zomboy decided to stop the music for some crowd theatrics. He created a large dance circle where attendees had a dance competition. Zomboy left the entire crowd running in circles when he decided to create a wall of death. Towards the end of his set he stopped the music one last time to thank someone he named, “Jeff,” aka Excision, for bringing bass music to thousands of listeners across the globe.

Sunday was the final day and was much calmer than previous days. Bassheads everywhere rested their sore necks by taking advantage of the grass hill. It may have been a relaxing day, but Excision played two sets on Sunday, a solo and a back to back with NGHTMRE.

Fueling the laid back vibes was Excision playing what he calls a “Detox set,” earlier in the day. His Detox set was down tempo and slower beats per minute, but with the heavy bass that all Excision fans love.

Dion Timmer, a three-song Apex collaborator played after Excision’s Detox set. He brought the crowd to life with a selection of bass music and melodic house. Excision stuck around on the stage for the first 10 minutes to hype Dion up and help him get comfortable. Shortly after Dion, Slander and Bear Grillz stretched the crowds necks out. We heard many of their traditional festival anthems with countless unreleased songs. Liquid Stranger mesmerized the crowd before Excision and NGHTMRE took the stage.

The headlining b2b of the weekend was astonishing. NGHTMRE took control of the decks for the majority of the set while Excision added in heavy layers of bass. The Gud Vibrations team reunited towards the end of the set when Slander joined the stage. Excision and NGHTMRE gave the crowd exactly what they needed, everyone was satisfied.

The energy of the weekend was through the roof. The performers of Bass Canyon have distinct styles and there was a lot of song variety in the 35+ sets.

Our top five sets for the weekend were:
1) Excision (solo friday)
2) Zomboy
3) Excision b2b NGHTMRE
4) Dion Timmer
5) 3-way tie between BTSM, Liquid Stranger and Bear Grillz

Festival Production: Vibes, Lines, Safety, and Cleanup

Everyone that we ran into was friendly, smiling and having fun. When dancing in the crowd we heard many people saying “excuse me.” There were also people who apologized for running into each other. People outside of the bass music community may have expected a destructive environment, but many people were happy to find out that the opposite was true.

The campgrounds opened at 4 p.m. on Thursday, and X’s team worked to get everyone into the campground in a quick and speedy manner. We reached our campsite after about 40 minutes, and on average the wait was as long as 80 minutes and as short as 5 for people arriving between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The lines were not an issue getting into the main venue for Bass Canyon. At most 1 hour during 5-6 p.m. and as short as 10 minutes later on. The Gorge staff used metal detectors to speed up the process. We faced no problems with the security team while they were nice and friendly to everyone. Excision worked with the venue on Saturday and Sunday to open the doors 90 minutes earlier. This helped to shorten the lines.

People in the NW Dance Music Community were iffy about Excision bringing in his own safety squad. Minutes into the festival our fears vanished when we learned it was well organized. Excision gathered five different volunteer teams. The most important were the Hydration Team and the Good Vibes team. The function of the Hydration team was to prevent people from getting sick by providing water and electrolytes to people. The Good Vibes team searched for people who were in danger and needed help (similar to Conscious Crew).

Photo by Ryan Hunt

Every person who sets foot in the Gorge recognizes its natural beauty. Excision recognized the need to preserve this natural landmark. He has been to The Gorge before as a performer and attendee, and he understands the pack it and and pack it out mentality. Excision’s team tasked with cleanup worked nonstop. Every morning sanitary services and trash cleanup employees cleaned and collected trash. For Saturday and Sunday the venue was spotless and cleaned to perfection.

Overall Impressions:

Excision and his team know what they are doing when it comes to running a festival. The sound system was pumping crystal clear sound waves. The order of the schedule and lineup helped to provide the best possible experience. Excision’s communication with The Gorge staff was splendid. He provided changes and updates when needed throughout the weekend.

It takes a lot of hard work to run a music festival smoothly, and Excision did everything right. Throughout the weekend we heard rumors about future Bass Canyon plans and making it a yearly event. If this rumor is true the staff at DMNW will be there for the second edition at The Gorge.

Did you attend Bass Canyon? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!