Before The Knocks even took the stage, they already had one major thing going for them – they weren’t the Ying Yang Twins. Last year, the aforementioned rap duo played their few hits before the shorter twin decided to peace out and the taller twin sort of rapped over 30-second snippets of Top 40s, trying to promote yingyangtwinsradio.com (I’m guessing it just plays “Salt Shaker” on a loop). Though they haven’t been relevant since I was in seventh grade, the name recognition factor was there with Ying Yang Twins, while I’m sure that 90 percent of the audience had absolutely no clue who The Knocks were before Beta Beach. Frankly, I’m sure most of the audience was in a mindset where it could have been Insane Clown Posse up there and they wouldn’t have cared. Regardless, The Knocks were the perfect group for Beta Beach. Their upbeat electro-pop is so darn groovy that it even makes kids like me want to get out there and move. Their song “Something I Can Dance To” pretty much epitomizes the essence of Beta Beach because, at the end of the day, if the music is danceable, everyone is going home (or heading to the Jug) happy.
The festivities started with T3RROR, a DJ who essentially provided some background music while people were mobbing the beer tent at the start of the night. His set wasn’t really memorable (don’t read too much into that), but I don’t recall being put off by anything he was spinning either, which is more than you can say for most openers. If you recall, last year’s opener was some kid who was rapping about how women only liked him for his car, and I could see why, even if it was a 1996 Dodge Neon.
Toward the end of T3RROR’s set, the inevitable migration toward the stage took place. Sidenote: don’t wait for everybody to rush up to the stage, head up a little early and you can easily grab a spot in the front. If you don’t mind the classic ringing ears the next day, it’s a much more enjoyable experience because you have the prime real estate and, even more importantly, something to lean against. If you take nothing else away from this piece, it’s easy to get up to the front and it’s absolutely the play to make.
Getting back to the action, The Knocks took the stage without much delay and got right to it. A duo from New York City, they started their career doing mainly production work and remixes and in the last few years, they’ve started doing their own original stuff. They’ve started to build a little momentum of late, being featured in a couple of Chiddy Bang songs, having a song in a Corona Light commercial and opening for Ellie Goulding (that girl who sings “Lights,” the song that has been remixed by 53,847 people and counting) on her current U.S. tour. They only have a couple EPs and singles at this point, but pretty much everything they’ve put out has been very strong and it came across well on Saturday night. They gave enthusiastic renditions of songs like “Make It Better,” “Blackout” and set-closer “Dancing With the DJ” throughout an energetic, though brief, set. It’s unlikely that you’ll be telling your grandkids that you saw The Knocks live back in the day, but they showcased some serious potential and had the crowd moving throughout their whole set.
Though The Knocks brought it, you could tell that to most in attendance they were just enjoyable background music. Ultimately, that’s what you expect at an event that’s as much a party as a concert. Beta Beach elegantly toes the line between the two. Even though it was a classic 45 degree night in Hamilton and people were wearing jackets instead of pinnies, Beta Beach was everything it should be: a wonderful excuse to get out your dancing shoes, get rowdy and smack the heck out of incoming beach balls.
Contact Pete Koehler at [email protected]