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I Can Give You House at Sensation Belgium 2012

This last Saturday your friends at I Can Give You House had the distinct pleasure of attending another chapter of the legendary Sensation Festival series in Belgium. The festival featured sets from some of the hottest acts in Electronic Dance Music right now, including Afrojack, Sander Van Doorn, Dada Life, Mark Knight, Daniel Sanchez and Juan Sanchez, and Sensation resident Mr. White. This was a special opportunity for us as we got to experience an event that has been a staple for Electronic music festivals in the last decade and a pivotal part in genre’s recent global popularity. We also excited to follow Sensation from Europe to the US as it makes it debut in the states this fall.

I arrived at Sensation ‘Innerspace’ just at the beginning of Daniel Sanchez and Juan Sanchez’s set just as the arena was beginning to fill up. I was immediately impressed by the production value of the festival and the décor that they used. In all of the major Dance Music festivals that I’ve been to in America I have not attended an event that was as much of an ‘experience’ as Sensation was. This remained constant throughout the evening as well; as each DJ started his set he was introduced more as another act of the performance than another set at the concert.  I got a vibe reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil – I was so into it. I was also really happy with the mix of people that came to Sensation that evening – it was a sweet blend of American tourists and European natives. It is awesome to see how strong the Sensation brand recognition is in the United States to be able to bring fans from overseas.

By 12:15 the arena was completely packed and ready for Mark Knight. I had eagerly awaited this Sensation not just because of the awesome nature of the festival itself, but also because of the fact that I have been a giant fan of Mark Knight and the entire Toolroom Knights family of artists for a while, and I had never had the chance to see him perform live before Sensation. Mark jumped right into a perfect mix for the venue – it was a cool mix of his classic, techier style, and a big room vibe. Mark dropped some of his own hits, including his massive remix of Florence and the Machine’s “You Got the Love.” He proceeded to drop some epic remixes of M83’s “Midnight City”and the timeless Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.” Mark also dropped Avicii’s “Levels” and Fedde Le Grand’s “Metrum,” both of which made the crowd go nuts.

As Mark Knight finished around 1:40 the energy level in the arena was through the roof, but when Afrojack took the stage the crowd only got crazier. The Dutch House legend moved right into Swedish House Mafia’s new single, “Greyhound,” and the people went off. I was stoked that he dropped this track; as this was the first time I had heard the song over a festival sound system. Afrojack moved into an hour and half set of some of his biggest hits and classic tracks, including “Take Over Control,” “Hello,” and his giant collab with Steve Aoki, “No Beef.” The set was certainly more commercial than I had heard him play in the past, but nonetheless the mix was flawless and Sensation’s show production worked perfectly with his music.

After Afrojack finished, Sander Van Doorn took the stage to deliver one of most high-energy sets I have ever seen him play. It has been interesting to see how his artistic style has grown in the recent past, and in looking at his set list I am really happy to see the modern big room Electro House influence he has been incorporating. Sander dropped tracks like his own, “Koko,” and other popular Progressive and Electro House hits like Axwell’s “In My Mind,” Hard Rock Sofa’s “Quasar,” and Tommy Trash’s “Cascade” which rocked the crowd. He also played quite a bit of Nicky Romero’s recent stuff, including his remix of “Hater’s Gonna Hate,” and his pounding “Generation 303.” My favorite part of Sander’s set though was definitely his bootleg of Sandro Silva & Quintino’s “Epic” and Example’s “Changed the Way You Kissed Me” – it worked so well.

By 4:45 the Sensation goers had been given an extremely high dose of arena House Music, but their enthusiasm definitely did not die as Dada Life got behind the decks. The crazy duo loaded their hour and a half set with the most high energy hits possible, including many of their own singles, such as “Happy Violence,” “White Noise Read Meat,” and “Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker,” and others. There was a brief moment when the sound cut out, around 5am, however they more than overcame this technical difficulty by dropping an acapella of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl,” screaming “this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S” over and over and into Swedish House Mafia and Knife Party’s “Antidote,” it was too cool. I was also pumped to hear some of my recent Electro House favorites, such as Bingo Players’ “L’Amour” and Tommy Trash’s remix of “Toulouse” by Nicky Romero. The Swedes finished their epic set with their new single, “Rollingstone T-Shirt” and it was a perfect way to end the night.

Having the honor to experience Sensation right now, as Electronic music is making a global takeover, was absolutely incredible. I could not have expected better from the festival or the artists themselves – both the artists’ mixes and the overall production value of the festival combined made Sensation Belgium 2012 an amazing time for all concert-goers. I could not be more excited to see Sensation continue to build its brand as it makes its way over to the US later in 2012!

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