- 20 Jun 22
Higher Vision's one day electronic festival returned to Navan, Co. Meath on Saturday, creating a space for electronic music enthusiasts to co-exist in spiritual harmony.
The atmosphere at Navan Racecourse was still charged with electricity from Offica’s midday set by the time I stepped onto the sun-soaked festival grounds. Attendees were the picture of elation, basking in the light blessed from the sky and joyful over the return of live electronic music.
Irish DJ duo Belters Only, made one by pals Bissett and Robbie G, heightened the feel-good factor for the sun-dazed main stage crowd. They brought the night to life with adored bangers, chief among them ‘Make Me Feel Good', their breakthrough hit and the perfect summer soundtrack. The dance hitmakers, who originally came together during the pandemic, displayed a mutual air of gratitude, making an invisible but nonetheless powerful connection between the crowd and the stage platform. They became one with the audience through music that made being alive in that moment feel both magnificent and surreal.
A melodic, house-driven set from Belfast’s Ejeca kept the euphoric buzz of Belters Only’s energised sonics going. House keys, electric jabs and bouncy beats entranced festival goers, as the crowd bunched up to make room for more arrivals. The nostalgic tone of Ejeca’s signature sound was heartwarmingly sweet – a sea of bodies swayed to ‘It’s Fine’ and made waves during ‘Won’t Beat Me'.
The smaller Local Vision stage created a free space for festival-goers to chill out between main stage favourites and have a chance to hear from native up-and-comers. Dublin DJ Tamisya spun an eccentric hour-long set, attracting an intimate crowd who were either dancing or basking serenely in the soundscape she was spinning, while Versatile geared up to take the main stage.
This Dublin rap duo clearly know their own crowd. Casper and Eskimo stepped into MC mode supported by their DJ and a cluster of backup dancers. They turned up the volume from minute one, opening with the racy shock rap tune ‘Kylie’s Cocktail Bar'. Their lyrics are a confection of inflammatory declarations on songs like ‘We Sell Brown', though – as an American recently arrived in Ireland – it’s hard to deny them an acute self-awareness. “I’m a scumbag, yeah, I know I’m in the wrong,” Casper confessed on the track, before playing a game of lyrical tag with the audience, who sang back every line the MCs dished out.
Eskimo caught a white cowboy hat from the crowd and planted it on his head as Casper’s shirt went flying into the frenzied expanse of fans. Their thirst was quenched with ‘Prefontaine’ – a blatantly offensive compilation of targeted insults that absolutely no one in the crowd seemed offended by, as they chanted along to every loaded lyric. Standing on stage speakers all the better to bask in the adulation, ‘Ketamine’ ended Versatile’s sixty minutes of breathless manoeuvres.
It’s impossible to fully know what you’re going to get from a deadmau5 set, and the Canadian dj/producer’s headline performance on this occasion was no exception. Cheers erupted at the first sighting of his iconic LED mouse helmet, only growing in volume when the first heavy notes of ‘Sometimes Things Get, Whatever'. On ‘My Pet Coelacanth', pulsating technicolour sound transitioned into entrancing melody for the now jam-packed audience to sway to, complemented by intense arpeggios and warped synths that sent goosebumps across my skin. His set hit a truly transcendent note with ‘Avaritia,’ which provided a soundscape of funky beats and buzzing reverberations that sent the main stage audience into dancing delirium.
You got the impression of Deadmau5 as a free agent, pulling unexpected tracks out of his endless discography bag and ceaselessly surprising everyone in the crowd. A heavy hook on the snare-induced ‘FML’ transported us into a sky-high realm. We came back down for ‘Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff,’ an electronic mixtape overflowing with personality. The grounds seemed to shake with the power of the track’s dense use of subwoofer, synth pads filling in the gaps in the melodic bassline and setting a moderate, feel-good pace.
The night hit its peak with the progressive build-up of ‘Maths,’ a centred mix that shed layers of synthesised sound, opening up the atmosphere, and producing a shared sense of elation. Deadmau5’s final act came at the track’s climax – reverb and percussion circled back to its initial drumming beat and all at once it made completely satisfying sonic sense, celebrated by the crowd’s hysteric cheers.
As the masses queued up for taxis after Deadmau5’s finale, our ears continued to ring with the after-sounds of a sensational one-day festival. Higher Vision created a space for electronic music enthusiasts of varied textures and tastes to coexist in spiritual harmony. We were singing its praises on the journey home from Navan long after the close of the night, proving that soul-stirring music is forever. Deadmau5 lives.