ENG – Rampage Open Air : an unforgettable success

It’s time to debrief Rampage Open Air 2022! The event, which took place at the Kristalpark in Lommel (Belgium), was very tiring but also gave us a lot of pleasure. Let’s have a look at these three days of butchery. 

THE ARRIVAL ON THE FESTIVAL

It is about 7 p.m. when we arrive on the wind farm. There is a queue of festival-goers, hungry of music, but as usual, the entrance remains rather fluid. 

Once our wristbands acquired, we go to put our bags in the camping. This one is quite small and overcrowded, unlike last year when there were two big camping areas separated by a bridge. Nevertheless, we found a place to settle down and the proximity of the stages is a considerable pro. Our stuff are unpacked, we just have to put some money on our cashless wristbands, – a new feature this year, much more practical for the festival and its attendants which has always worked with tokens – and off we go, Belgian beer in hand, to explore the stages! 

Our eyes widen and soak up the place that will welcome us for the next three nights. Our feet tread the central aisle, made of wooden slats, like a pontoon crossing the entire arena. In the middle, there is a watchtover look-alike with four high turrets in effigy of Rampage, a quite effective meeting spot. On the left there is the Storm stage (a black and white tent) which will host the Dubstep artists, on the right there is the Hummer stage, very eclectic and opened to the main aisle, and just after this one, there is the Moon on which we can enjoy the Drum and Bass. 

At the back, as if reigning over the festival, stands majestically the Dome stage, preceded by a skatepark, free attractions and the small 100% female Techno stage!

For this main stage, the means have been put at the level of lasers and light show. We took loads in our eyes! Now, it’s time to take you on board the different sets that have particularly caught our attention this weekend.

THE SETS

Samplifire & Ivory – Friday, Storm

With a greasy Dubstep opening, strong of determination and murderous, the French guys Ivory and Samplifire cut, as usual, the crowd in thin slices. The whole set is illustrated by visuals in rain of swords which fall on us, quite in correlation with the metallic and sharp sounds, spiking us on all sides. From the French shoutout illustrated by Gazo and Freeze Corleone’s « Drill FR 4 » to a return to Ivory’s early days under the Wizards crew, we totally validated this set! 

Gladde Paling – Friday, Tunnel

Almost unknown in France, the Dutch producer Gladde Paling, who hides under grotesque and humorous artworks, turned the Tunnel upside down and was obviously very much expected by our Belgian and Dutch friends. With a boosted Hyperbass and a jerky Drum and Bass, we appreciated at the beginning of the festival that an artist we didn’t know announced the color that hard. Perfect for the afters though ! 

Hukae b2b Killfeed – Friday, Storm

At the beginning of the evening, it is the English Hukae and the Belgian Killfeed (ex 5ohman) who confront each other in front of an already conquered public. An incredible atmosphere under the background of fat basses: between Heavy Dubstep and dynamic Riddim, we also had the right to a tribute to Avicii with his famous « Wake Me Up » tune, that the public was keen to shout at the top of their lungs. Between a few moshpits and streams of flying beers, the famous Hukae’s « Boingo » resounded throughout the festival. We salute the immense progress of these two young producers and this flawless set!

Spag Heddy – Friday, Storm

We were waiting for Spag Heddy‘s return with great impatience! For many of us, he is one of the first artists widely listened to at our early years (with Bear Grillz too) and the artist’s music sends us back a wave of nostalgia when heard again. The set is opening with the still unreleased SLANDER’s and Spag Heddy (ft Elle Vee) « Running To You (VIP)« . The Dutch producer has prepared us a good little mixture of Dubstep, in which he threw a remix of « Throwing Elbows » by Excision and Space Laces, as well as remixes of Decimal Bass and Eptic, sprinkled with some of his most famous tracks.

19825 – Friday, Tunnel

A newcomer in the Rampage line-up, and not the least. This young underground rapper from Antwerp (under the name of Rare Akuma) found himself closing the Tunnel on the first night: a splendid selecta, such as the enormous « Mercy » by Disgo and Yoked, which FuntCase played again the next day at the Storm stage. 19825 was a total master of crowd control, juggling between joyful Drum & Bass, deafening Jump Up and fat Dubstep. The icing on the cake: he ended his set with « Earthquake » by Labrinth remixed by Noisia, which reminds us of the beginnings of UKF Dubstep. A delicious treat!

« Everyone seemed so happy out here, you don’t get that in Los Angeles, trust me when I say that. Community here is much more passionnate and you can tell because of the energy of the people. In LA, lot of people just go to party to just hit the rail, but here they seem invested. It feels like they know the music on different levels. Plus, I haven’t played with Sweet Tooth since 3 years so it was really emotional, honestly I ended up crying. It was beautiful. First time in Europe, first Rampage. And I already hope I’ll come again. It’s crazy to think that we grew up watching Rampage and now we’re here, you know. » LEV3L (b2b Sweet Tooth)

Subfiltronik b2b Ayonikz b2b Akirah – Saturday, Storm

It was one of the most expected Dubstep sets of this weekend. First of all, Subfiltronik, one of the OG Riddim dons, starts the hostilities, with wonky and metallic tracks. Then comes the Dutchman Ayonikz, who speeds it up and propels the crowd with the Riddim classics that we no longer name, while waiting for the Scottish butcher, victim of a delayed plane. About 15 minutes before the end, Akirah finally shows up and reveals his part of the set: without any mercy, the crowd is devastated. A set that lives up to our expectations.

Panda Eyes b2b Nasko – Saturday, Storm

If it was initially planned that this B2B was cut into 30 minutes each, the two artists finally agreed that they would play side by side, mixing their tracks. They offered us a homogeneous set, alternating between melodic and salty Brostep drops. Panda Eyes threw a lot of unreleased tracks and we also heard his track « Always », released three weeks ago. The audience gave them a warm welcome, with applause at almost every end of the sound.

So Tuff So Cute (Mija & GG Magree) – Saturday, Dome

The two American stars presented their project which made sense during their set. An overexcited Drum & Bass and hectic exclusives, proudly carried by the two young ladies. From the classic « Hackers » by Metrik to the new and fearsome « Break Stuff » produced by So Tuff So Cute, this fiery duo showed that underneath their innocent looks, they were simply dangerous and ready to fight.

Fox Stevenson – Saturday, Dome

As usual, it’s a pleasure to hear Fox Stevenson who regales us with his music that never goes out of style and on which we take a huge pleasure to sing and dance. Smiles on our faces and a delighted crowd. We heard the inevitable « Take you down », his remix de « Gold Dust », as well as « Dreamland ». It’s that kind of moment where you take a time to breathe, look around and let out a sigh of satisfaction. We are at Rampage, we are alive and full of energy.

Hekler b2b Gravedgr – Saturday, Storm

We were expecting a butchery, the stage turned into a real slaughterhouse. Endless moshpits, with the two Americans in madness from their turntables: we alternate between big Hybrid and jerky Dubstep, a small soft touch in order to calm the crowd down, with a wink to « Blinding Lights » of The Weeknd and then a Hardcore sequence that was more than welcome! With a blinding light show, we took a good sound and muscle beating! 

Layz – Sunday, Storm

Full of energy and consistent, these are the words to describe the young American! A literally heavy set with its share of good mood. For her first time in Europe, Layz was able to fill the stage and its headbangers with her huge smile and her selection of Heavy Dubstep, with US Rap influences, the result was incredibly rhythmic and destructive. We can even say that we had a hard time to follow her energy! We will add that we are very happy to see a woman at the turntables for such a heavy set in the Dubstep scene, because the female gender is still under-represented. Well done Madame!

Versa – Sunday, Storm

Versa is now a master of Riddim with this well-executed set. In all honesty, if we were a little tired when we arrived at the festival, Oddprophet and Nosphere offered us the starters and Versa served us the main dish. The crowd was re-energized all of a sudden with an extremely fat Riddim proposition. We heard 3 edits of Excision, including « Throwing Elbows ». It is with pogos and sweat that the artist concludes his Sunday service and makes way for Caspa.

Caspa – Sunday, Storm

« My name is Caspa, this is Dubstep ». As what, there is nothing else to add to these few words pronounced by the London legend. Except that his set, filled with expected classics, regaled his fans of the first hour. Our only disappointment was that it was not very crowded, and yet Caspa delivered a set of full quality. An old school Dubstep linear and loaded with wobbles, where « My Pet Monster » or « Hot Head » made the most greedy Bass fans shiver. We simply tasted the lesson given by the pioneer of the genre!  

Leotrix b2b Hydraulix – Sunday, Storm

We were looking forward to the rising artist Leotrix, but we were slightly disappointed compared to his potential that we know well. He played a few tracks of his own -and his amazing VIP of « Music Sounds Better With You » from Stardust-, while Hydraulix was able to impose himself much more. We still enjoyed the set, during which they played an edit of the famous « Promises » of Skrillex and Nero. Also heard and acclaimed was the remix of « Tommy’s Theme » by the Noisia dads. We can’t wait to see the young producer at October’s Rampage Renegade where he’ll be playing alone this time, so he can prove himself.

Riot Ten – Sunday, Storm

Riot Ten on the decks, and it’s hard to get off the stage even if it’s just to get a drink or go to the bathroom. No: here, it is the butchery! We will have heard among others, a remix of the Vengaboys and their hit « Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom! » (yes it’s a long name), where we all took out our best dance steps before getting murdered, but also the famous « Pit Boss » signed Sullivan King and himself. Some Deep Dubstep drops were dropped and we also danced well on some tracks of the album « Hype Or Die: Nightmares ». A Sunday closing of all beauty, where we could sweat and let off steam until the last musical minute.

Hedex b2b Turno & MC Skywalker – Sunday, Moon

Another highly anticipated set this weekend: it was Hedex associated with Turno, who were in charge of destroying the audience one last time, and we can easily say that it’s done. The Moon, which is the smallest of the main stages, was completely overloaded and overflowed on all sides! Violently rocked by MC Skywalker‘s gimmicks, the crowd sat down and then jumped up to the rhythm of a crazy triple drop. An absolutely magical atmosphere, which almost brought tears to our eyes, as this was the very last major set of the festival. The crowd is asking for more and more, the artists are on the stage to commune together, while the audience is shouting « One More Tune ». And (perfectly) cut!

WHERE’S THE AFTER PARTY? AND OTHER ACTIVITIES 

After the concerts, we had the nice experience of putting on some headphones and being able to choose the musical genre we like: the Silent Disco After Party concept seduced the most music-hungry and the night owls, but the price (10€ per night) of the latter surely slowed down the others. There weren’t many people in the small open-air arena dedicated to this special party, probably also due to the fact that many festival-goers had to buy a camping pass to be able to enjoy it. 

In terms of music, a nice and numerous set of artists who had made the stages move a little bit earlier, also gathered on top of an English-style bus, which thus overhung the public (we saw FuntCase or Riot Ten, Macky Gee or Andromedik). The headset, quite simple to use, allowed us to enjoy a unique and very personal experience for some! A very friendly and particular moment, a bar was also at our disposal and the security at the entrance was very pleasant and patient. However, the red headphones team (Drum and Bass) and the green one (Dubstep) were separated by this famous bus, and each public was mechanically going to place itself under the artist who played, a little disappointing on this side there.

For those who wanted to switch from sound to image, an open-air cinema was set up, near the bar of the campsite. Pulp Fiction on the first night, Madagascar at the very end, an interesting concept to enrich one’s culture and make new friends! 

And for those who didn’t know about the afters mentioned above, or who simply didn’t want to go, there was still a great atmosphere in the campsite! Under the four orange and pink tents spread out in the camp, the afters were going well. The festival-goers came equipped with speakers and improvised themselves as DJs, so that the nights would last forever.

In the early mornings, we had the right to a sport session of the most rhythmic kind, with an animator who probably woke up the majority of the campsite. That is to say, after endless afters in the corners dedicated to barbecues, the awakening was very hard for everyone. An b(r)ass band also took care of getting a lucky sleeper out of his tent – waking up a lot of festival-goers in the process. We applaud the gesture, because it was really funny (but we are also very happy not to have been woken up).

Later, we could enjoy the free access pool and get rewarded by some camping exclusive sets (by Murdock for example, or the Lyon based FFD – Fédération Française de Dubstep) and vice versa, please name a better warm up than this!

WHAT WE OBSERVED 

Several artists such as Leotrix, Imanu or Oddprophet have extremely adjusted their sets according to Rampage, which may have disappointed some of us because we didn’t get to hear some of their most expected tracks, but we still really appreciated the energy thrown by them. After all, the fact that they adapted their set according to the festival they are playing for obviously shows that they are invested in meeting expectations! 

About the most heard sounds of the festival, there are « Sientelo » from Camo & Krooked and Mefjus (with the famous « Aguila del moooonte »), the classic « Shellshock » from Noisia and « Gold Dust » from DJ Fresh.

The 100% techno and female scene aroused our curiosity, and the energy deployed by the Belgian locals did not disappoint! The sets were very eclectic and they knew how to hype the passage dedicated to the scenes. We hope to see more of them next year!

The shower cost 5€ this year, so we can, without a bad pun intended, qualify it as cold. And yet, this one was hot, a little bit unsettling considering the outside temperature. We would have preferred it were included directly in the price of the campsite. We never waited at the toilets, everything was extremely fluid, whether for the entries or the exits. As for the food, its cost was a little expensive but the choice was quite large. Also, the truck dedicated to camping stuff saved many (for those who forgot their blankets) people and the volunteers and employees of the festival were all fabulously welcoming!

Splendid weather accompanied us for these three days of butchery and Saturday evening, we were honored to witness a sunset all in reddish-orange nuances, for a music rise which beats. Unlike the very first edition of the festival, the weather was on our side, with a sunny sky sprinkled with a few appreciable clouds to limit the stifling heat. 

So, it is with very heavy legs and a full heart that we came back from this summer and outdoor edition of Rampage. The Belgian festival has clearly exceeded our expectations and has established itself as a powerful and unavoidable underdog of the international electronic scene. Thank you Rampage Open Air and see you next summer!

Full sets : Rampage Open Air 2022 | Full Sets – YouTube

Credits : Rampage Open Air, Marine Rolland (co-redacted), Bloempot Media, B2 Photography, Dick Rennings

BASS IS LIFE, BASS FOR LIFE

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