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The most surprising sets of Paradiso 2019

It’s always easy to be impressed by the usual excellence from big artists at Paradiso. But these five sets truly blew us away this year.

Klingande Paradiso 2019
Klingande at Paradiso 2019. (Dance Music NW photo)

Paradiso often plays home to some of the biggest artists the electronic dance music scene has to offer, having featured headliners like Skrillex, Above & Beyond, Armin van Buuren, Kaskade, and more. But at least for us, it’s the hidden gems of the festival that are often what leave the most lasting impression.

That said, we were absolutely blown away by a quintet of performances we simply did not see coming. To start…

Klingande, Digital Oasis on Friday

Klingande entered the scene during the peak of the tropical house fad, alongside such artists as Thomas Jack, Kygo, Matoma, and more. But in the years since — and as tropical house slowly blended into a smattering of other genres — the French DJ has evolved his sound.

Klingande

Klingande brought the party and then some as the sun went down Friday night. (Dance Music NW photo)

Never was that more evident when the sun began to set Friday night, and Klingande took the stage at the Digital Oasis during golden hour.  Throughout his set, he expertly blended house melodies, shades of disco, and live instrumental performances from guest musicians. All told, it was made for a set that paired perfectly with yet another stunning sunset at the Gorge, and one we won’t soon forget. 

Zhu, Main Stage on Friday

At this point in his already-illustrious career, Zhu’s music is well-known both in and outside of the world of EDM. That being so, there’s often an expectation for mainstage sets that DJ’s will stick strictly to high-energy pop tunes. That wasn’t the case for Zhu on Friday night at Paradiso, and in the end, the refreshingly unique approach delivered in spades.

Zhu spent much of his set diving into the deeper end of the musical pond, at times even scraping the outer, techier edges of the spectrum. Well-known hits like Faded still got played out, but the vibes were decidedly dark and grimy, making for a bold statement of a mainstage set.

Goldfish, Digital Oasis on Saturday

Not even overheated equipment could stop the funky beats during Goldfish’s Saturday Paradiso performance.

The duo out of Cape Town is no stranger to large festivals, having played everywhere from Glastonbury to Ultra Miami. Nevertheless, they had yet to make their mark on the Northwest until this last weekend, and boy did they ever do just that.

A deep appreciation for the dance music of yore was felt throughout their set, playing out samples and tunes dating all the way back to the heyday of disco and soul. And after a brief bout of technical difficulties briefly stopped the party, the conclusion from most in attendance was that Goldfish had truly cemented themselves as Northwest favorites.

1788-L, The Wreckage on Saturday

The Northwest is famously bass-friendly, and this year’s Wreckage Stage was no exception. With a lineup full of bass music’s biggest names, picking one artist that stood above the rest is difficult. That is, until 1788-L took the stage Saturday evening.

The enigmatic newcomer exploded onto the scene back in 2018, and has since made himself into a household name. Some have likened his heavy, mid-tempo sound to superstars like Rezz, but truthfully, his style largely defies genres. That was more than evident for his turn at the Wreckage at Paradiso, where he mixed gorgeous vocals with dark, wobbly mid-tempo beats. If Paradiso is any indication, his meteoric rise isn’t likely to end any time soon.

Kaskade, Main Stage on Saturday

Kaskade closing out the main stage at Paradiso 2019 (Dance Music NW Photo)

At this point, no one’s surprised when Kaskade delivers yet another breathtaking performance, and it’s even less surprising when he delivers — like he always has — at the Gorge. What was more surprising was the musical direction he took as he closed out the weekend on Saturday night.

Rather than simply leaning on straight plays of his well-known hits, Kaskade dove in on a collection of understated, dark remixes, mashups, and flips. Intermingled were recognizable vocals from classics like Angel On My Shoulder and Atmosphere, expertly woven into 90 minutes of pure, main stage perfection.

When it was all said and done, it was a weekend spent with some eye-opening performances from all involved, and marked by artists that successfully etched themselves into the pantheon of true Paradiso greats.

 

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Written By

Pop culture junkie, dinosaur enthusiast, and proud Managing Editor. While an avowed basshead, has been known to be ever-so-slightly trance-curious under the right circumstances.

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