With humidity rising, so did anticipation of festivalgoers for mega-stars Saturday at Grand Rapids’ Breakaway, with Deadmau5’s alter-ego unleashing a ‘chest-crushing’ set at The Intersection’s after-party.
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Breakaway Music Festival’s 2023 edition quite literally became the party that never ends.
Thousands of eager festivalgoers packed Grand Rapids’ Belknap Park for much-anticipated Saturday headlining sets by legendary Canadian DJ Deadmau5 and North Carolina-based producer/singer Porter Robinson, who certainly amped-up an already amped-up audience.
But Day 2 carried over into the early morning hours of Day 3 with Deadmau5’s alter-ego TESTPILOT keeping the electronic music celebration going with a sold-out after-party set at The Intersection two miles away.
Local Spins writers Todd Ernst and Robert Novak provide their takes on Breakaway’s second day, with photo galleries and videos below. Check out Local Spins’ Day 1 coverage of Breakaway here: Tiesto, RL Grime spark potent, spirited blast at Grand Rapids’ Breakaway Festival.
Night Two of Breakaway welcomed fans with slightly warmer weather, which caused the vibe to be a smidge more festive than opening night.
When Deadmau5’s first proper beat hit on the main stage, the sound quality was just different, punchier even… where he took Breakaway on a journey of his old catalog, with some newer more underground material demonstrating his depth and nuance as a producer.
Following that, Porter Robinson showed some serious depth by weaving the original mixes of Daft Punk’s “One More Time,” The Prodigy’s “Firestarter” and Voodoo & Serrano’s “Blood is Pumpin’” into his high-energy style of mixing of his own original material.
Later that night, Deadmau5’s alter-ego TESTPILOT took the helm for a sold out performance at The Intersection, where in many ways he demonstrated that Breakaway was a bit of a warm-up for a chest-crushing techno set. Sure DM/TP is one of the biggest artists in the world, but this definitely reinforced the idea that there is a demand such as this in West Michigan.
Breakaway’s growing reputation means fans are traveling from across the region to experience the atmosphere of this Grand Rapids festival.
On Saturday, sisters Emily and Abby Johnson from Lapeer, Mich., made the 134-mile journey across the stage for their first Breakaway.
“A couple of our favorite artists are here so we had to come,” said Abby Johnson. Added Emily: “I’m really excited for Jessie Murph and Deadmau5.”
Which brings me to a couple of Day 2 highlights:
• Knock2 knocked out the crowd with monstrous bass and heavy grooves. His trap-inspired future house beats transformed Belknap Park into the biggest nightclub in Grand Rapids. With suspenseful rises and heart-pounding drops, there wasn’t a second that Knock2 allowed the crowd to stand still. Similar to the lyrics in Knock2’s final song of the night “Rock Ur World,” the Breakaway audience couldn’t get enough.
• With the crowd cheering long before Deadmau5 was even visible, the oft-times-masked DJ set foot onto the stage just as the sun was setting into the horizon. DeadMau5 performed a set filled with rhythmic pulsing and percussive flow. Mobs of fists were bumping and feet were jumping as the 42-year-old Canadian DJ played his signature progressive house music. If it weren’t for Porter Robinson’s upcoming set, attendees wouldn’t have let the man in the mask leave so easily.
PHOTO GALLERY: Breakaway Music Festival, Day 2
Photos by Anthony Norkus
PHOTO GALLERY: Breakaway Music Festival, Days 1 and 2
Photos by Eric Stoike
VIDEO: Deadmau5 at Breakaway Music Festival
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