Electric Zoo’s yearly two-day electro music festival has come and gone, leaving tens of thousands of electronic music fans exhausted but still wanting more. The performers of Saturday and Sunday’s lineup divided their talents among four venues, each more-or-less tailored to a particular genre of music. The DA crew has done the dirty work for you (and believe us, we won’t be using these shoes ever again), following the best acts so you don’t miss a beat.
The Chemical Brothers
One of the closing acts, the Chemical Brothers strayed a bit from their signature big beat sound and sported a crossover techno/big-beat set that really got people dancing. Their visual effects team did a great job, with deep, trippy screens and lasers that pierced the skies for what looked to be an eternity.
Playing on the main stage, ATB delivered a solid set that lived up to his reputation. He teased the crowd more than a few times by dropping in just a second or two of “9pm (Till I Come)” seamlessly between songs – and that semi-sadistic smile on his face confirmed that he knew what he was doing. People were loving it.
Both DA favorite and industrious producer/remixer, the Dirty Dutchman Chuckie absolutely tore the roof off the Hilltop Arena. From the opening chant of “The C, the H, The U, The C, The K, The I, The E,” every single Zoo-goer in that tent knew they were in for a treat. The transition into the Chris Moody remix of Justice & Simian’s “We Are Your Friends” was maniacal. Modjo got some throwback love with an a cappella mashup of “Lady” and some dirty Dutch. A spectacular set.
Dutch this, Swedish that! Germany’s answer to house put on one hell of a set. Almost every track he dropped was welcomed by a roaring cheer. Technically he was breathtaking and proved once again why he is the future of electronic music.
Whenever you see a DJ bust out a keytar, you know shit’s going down. And that said shit is going to be epic. DJs tend to favor roller coaster sets that showcase a definite coming up and down, but Garraud’s mix grabbed partiers by the throat and threatened to never let go.
He sent shock waves at Coachella, leaving critics and concert-goers alike in state of euphoria. In no way could he repeat that kind of acclaim, right? Well folks he did. While nowhere near as popular as some of his peers, his universally appealing sound had the Hilltop tent full for the entire set.
Richie Hawtin, aka Plastikman, needs no introduction when it comes to techno. A musician adept at twisting techno’s mechanized rhythms into something deeper, tribal, and infinitely more organic, all who saw him play at this year’s Electric Zoo were witnesses to something great.
Though maybe not as big a name as the other headliners, Fake Blood did his thing and did it well. For a preview, check out the DA posting of “I Think I Like It“.
Everyone and their mother dropped Swedish House Mafia’s “One” on Saturday, but only one person did it in manner that sent thousands into a frenzy. Amazed by the energy he himself manifested, Axwell suggested he change the name of the trio’s recent track to “Ibiza 2 New York.”
Not really sure what happened to Benassi this time. The majority of the set lacked energy, limping its way to its own conclusion. A high point was the dropping of his recent “Spaceship”.
Major Lazer were good, but a bit lazy. They’ve put on better shows in the past, and for anybody who saw them at HARD NYC in April of this year, the lack of more dancers and Chinese dragons was apparent. “Pon de Floor” got the crowd hopping, only to have the energy toned down a bit with some rap music, like Mims’ “This is Why I’m Hot”.
Still a relative baby in the music festival community, Electric Zoo wasn’t without its hiccups. Most notable was Benny Benassi’s CDJ malfunction and the Chemical Brother’s unintentional 5 minutes of silence.
Holy sinus congestion! As if dancing and partying for 12 hours wasn’t hard enough, the whirling dust clouds that tormented Randall’s Island ensured you went home battered. I understand this summer has been one of the driest in New York history, but come on! Have they never heard of a sprinkler system? Hurricane Earl didn’t help the situation either. Its gusty winds helped irritate everyone, including the DJs.