What do you think of when you see the words “trance music”? Do you think about one of its’ many sub-genres (psy, tech, uplifting, etc.)? Do you think about a particular artist? Armin van Buuren? John O’Callaghan? What about the production element of trance events? Talking lasers, pulsating bass, etc.?
What we know as trance music is defined by many things. Last weekend, at Bliss Presents: Paul van Dyk, we went on a journey through this complex, yet beautiful, genre of electronic dance music and came out having an experience we soon won’t forget.
Bliss 2018: Big Changes
Since it’s debut two years ago, USC Events’ Bliss has become the largest trance music massive not only in Seattle, but the Pacific Northwest in its entirety. With lineups that rival powerhouse trance festivals Dreamstate and Transmission, along with world class production, Bliss has become a can’t miss event for trance lovers in our region, and beyond!
This year’s Bliss featured a number of changes, which, ultimately, worked for the better. The first big changes was the date. The previous editions of Bliss were held during the month of May. This year, it got pushed back to November – many doubting it would happen at all. That was, until, USC dropped a lineup out of the blue early last month.
The second big change: location. Instead of returning to the cavernous WaMu Theater, like years prior, Bliss found a new home at the smaller Showbox SoDo. With the Showbox being half the size of WaMu, Bliss ‘18 offered a more intimate affair. Smaller crowd, complete with all the lasers, strobes, stage dancers, and all giant balloons you can handle. While we love WaMu, the Showbox felt like an appropriate venue for Bliss and we hope it stays that way for years to come.
The Musical Journey
Paul van Dyk was advertised as the big headliner, but he wasn’t alone. This year’s Bliss lineup featured some trance heavyweights, and some Seattle hometown flavor, all of whom performing unique sets that, combined, took fans on a journey through the trance music genre.
We arrived in time to catch emerging Seattle trance duo Dimibo throwing down an uptempo, psychaledic set. Following was the degenerate Sean Tyas, who delivered his signature tech sound with some uplifting spins.
Standerwick raised the energy to 100 with a wildly fun set complete with hard-hitting edits of trance classics like Faithless’ Insomnia, and The Killers’ Mr. Brightside. He concluded with what might be his most career defining track, Saving Light, featuring Haliene and Gareth Emery. Fans sang along word-for-word, as the lasers danced above their heads.
In Awe of a Legend
Paul van Dyk. What can you say about the guy? He just delivers. After performing a sunset set at Paradiso over the Summer, the trance legend made his Pacific Northwest return as part of his current Music Rescues Me tour.
Opening with Mission Control, one of the tracks off his upcoming Music Rescues Me album, the German DJ/Producer of more than 20 years played a mix of new, and classic PVD material using a complete live set up, featuring a keyboard, and other gadgets we can’t name. The man had a concrete focus as he crafted one track, after the other, while engaging the crowd with hand clapping and jumps during big drops. He never said anything on a microphone, but it was easy to tell he was having as much fun as those in attendance.
Paul van Dyk (Photo: Stanley Sutton/DMNW)
Van Dyk closed with a live piano keyboard rendition of the Music Rescues Me album’s namesake track. The crowd, and the lasers, stood in complete silence as PVD delivered a smooth serenade in what has become one of the most beautiful performances we’ve seen all year. We don’t know what it’s like to see Beethoven live, the dude is long dead, but we can only imagine it’s like seeing PVD playing the piano: you have to see, and feel that magic, for yourself.
What Will The Future Hold?
Who knows if Bliss will return next year as a massive. We thought it wouldn’t happen this year! The change from large venue, to a smaller one, was a home run. We felt we were really able to connect with fellow trance lovers, the music, and the performers. Many hugs were shared last weekend, between fans, and strangers.
Despite a diverse crowd, one in which we saw a raving Santa, and Excision “I’m a Fucking Headbanger” shirts, Bliss made us feel like we were apart of one big, loving trance family. A family where we really cared for one another. In a season of thanks, last weekend was an experience we’re very grateful for.
What did/didn’t you like about Bliss Presents: Paul van Dyk? Let us know on Facebook or Social Media!
Get all the latest Pacific Northwest nightlife news, directly to your inbox.