Superlatives from a day spent at the Gorge for the EDM festival Beyond Wonderland

click to enlarge Superlatives from a day spent at the Gorge for the EDM festival Beyond Wonderland
Samantha Wohlfeil photo
Deorro was a hit on the first day of Beyond Wonderland.

We here at the Inlander contain multitudes.

Take for example our resident electronic dance music expert.

Despite being the obvious guess, it's not our music editor Seth. In fact, he'd never attended an EDM festival.

No, our in-house EDM fiend is actually our news editor Samantha, who is a veteran of the annual Gorge dance music fests (and is even traveling next month to attend Shambhala, Canada's top EDM gathering).

With their contrasting levels of expertise, the pair traveled to last weekend's Beyond Wonderland festival at the Gorge to take in Saturday's action and share superlatives from what they saw.

BEST NAME
Rude Flamingo

I mean, come on. How great a name is Rude Flamingo?! Bonus points because the name actually matched the sound more than the loads of EDM acts who just seem like a collection of Boggle letters. The LA DJ duo gained a spot on the main stage by winning a contest, but totally felt like they belonged with their "nu disco" mixes that felt like a throwback dance party highlighting top tier '70s disco and '80s dance pop sounds. (SS)

BEST GROUP THEME
The Chefs

We saw a lot of themed outfits: a bunch of bananas, cheerleaders, and of course, as in years past, many, many groups of cows. The group of guys dressed in chef hats and aprons was probably my favorite, but with their flag incongruously reading "Happy Birthday," I couldn't help but feel like there was a missed connection when I later saw a "Let Him Cook" flag. (SW)

HARDEST FASHION CHOICE TO GET USED TO
No Ifs, Ands, But Plenty of...

I was fully aware it would be the case, but having never been to an EDM fest in the flesh it was still mind-boggling the amount of outfits that eschew... ummm... derriere coverage. We can just say the day was more cheeky than all prior days in my life combined. (SS)

BEST REPRESENTATION
¡Viva Deorro!

Mexican-American DJ Deorro had the main stage crowd in a frenzy near sundown with his array of Spanish language-leaning tracks, and it's clear that his people showed up for the set with at least eight full-size Mexican flags flying proudly in the pit. (In a funny contrast, most of the USA flags that could be seen throughout the day had K-pop stars plastered across the center.) (SS)

BEST SPORTS FIT
Quackster of the Court

With their light breathability, sports jerseys are always a safe fashion choice for dudes at any genre of outdoor music fest. At Beyond there were plenty of obvious ones (Mariners, Kobe Bryant, etc.) and a couple excellent niche ones (a Miami Heat alternative Miami Vice Dwyane Wade fit the EDM aesthetic). But look, you just aren't gonna beat the guy who had a Daffy Duck Space Jam Tune Squad jersey. Speaking of which... (SS)

BEST USE OF SOMEBODY ELSE'S SONG
Marten Hørger - "Space Jam"

Clearly things were more than a bit Looney at Beyond, because in addition to the fits, this German DJ had the crowd singing along to a dope remix of the theme song from the 1995 film that has a soft spot in the hearts of many a millennial. (SS)

Deorro - "Wonderwall" & Crankdat - "Turn Down for What"

When you gather a bunch of DJs together for a festival, you're going to hear remixes on remixes on remixes. While there were plenty of shoutouts to other EDM artists — Kayzo did a pretty great remix of "Satisfaction" by Benny Benassi — there were also a ton of pop culture hits mixed in with the untz untz untz of a bass beat. I particularly liked how Deorro was able to take "Wonderwall" and mix it into a Mexican mariachi dance jam. And later on, Crankdat played a super fun mix of "Turn Down for What." (SW)

BEST TOTEM / FLAG
Street Sign & Flaming Elmo

Of the totems (signs on poles that groups bring to make it easier for their friends to find them in the crowd) that are OK to describe in this paper (there were many hilarious but wildly inappropriate options this year), for me it was a tie between "Ravers at Play" — a modified version of one of those little green person-shaped signs that people put out on the street to signal kids are around — and one of the fancy new hologram totems that, among other things, displayed the GIF of Elmo with his hands up while flames crackle in the background. Runner-up goes to the gigantic cup of noodles. (SW)

I Don't Know Why We're Yelling!

As far as simple, funny, accurate and to-the-point flags go, it was pretty hard to top the one with an image of Steve Carell's Brick Tamland from Anchorman with "LOUD NOISES" on it. (SS)

WORST SET
Kayzo

The only set on Saturday that was actively bad was the mainstage outing from Kayzo. He was clearly trying to be an edgy rock-centric DJ, even bringing a live drummer and guitarist on stage. But the live instruments were mixed so far back that they did not pop at all (it seemed half the time the guitar sounds were just Kayzo's tracks, not the actual guitarist). It all felt like forced hollow aggression that would appeal to Barstool bros who feel insecure dancing to actual dance music. And Kayzo's abominable remix of Creed's "Higher"? Gouge-your-ears-out level garbage. (SS)

BEST "PROPOSAL"
Falling ZYN Love

It's not totally unusual for EDM-loving couples to get engaged at Beyond. But we were witness to a different type of proposal, when a guy in hi-vis yellow got on one knee at Marten Hørger to cheekily crack open his Zyn canister and offer one of the nicotine pouches to his buddy, who gladly said yes. (SW)

MOST OVERPRICED FOOD
Corn Dog

Look, we all know how bad the price gouging is at music festivals. But even if I had been lost wandering in a desert for days and emerged to find only The Corn Dog Company's food truck, I still think I'd further my malnutrition over paying 14 @!#?$%& dollars for a corn dog. (SS)

BEST NATURAL AESTHETIC
Of the Trees

Of the Trees played at 11:30 pm on the bass stage, and if you were able to stand to the left side of the audience, the full moon was perfectly framed by the stage scaffolding. It was an on-the-nose callout from Mother Nature for an artist whose most popular tracks are named things like "The Owl Song," "Spanish Moss" and "Harvest." (SW)

BEST JOB AT THE FESTIVAL
ASL Interpreter

Among those working the event, the best gig hands down (or up?) appeared to be the American Sign Language interpreter. Stationed at the front of the pit for Mellodeath, they basically got to dance to the beat because the closing set was light on lyrics. (SW)

BEST SET
Alison Wonderland

The reason I finally took the plunge to go out for a day of Beyond was because there was at least one artist on the lineup that I already adored in Alison Wonderland. After seeing her headline before at Red Rocks, it was a blast hearing how she adapted her style — more melodic than most and sampling her own singing voice — for the masses at the Gorge. As is her mantra, she once again f—ed everyone up on a spiritual level. (SS) ♦

Music in Manito @ Manito Park

Tue., July 16, 7-9 p.m. and Wed., July 17, 7-9 p.m.
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Seth Sommerfeld

Seth Sommerfeld is the Music Editor for The Inlander, and an alumnus of Gonzaga University and Syracuse University. He has written for The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Fox Sports, SPIN, Collider, and many other outlets. He also hosts the podcast, Everyone is Wrong...

Samantha Wohlfeil

Samantha Wohlfeil is the News Editor and covers the environment, rural communities and cultural issues for the Inlander. She's been with the paper since 2017.