As I had started to notice on day 1, Electric Zoo was not your average festival. It was my first time on Randall’s Island and I knew I couldn’t miss Hardwell’s set. Not soon after Nicky Romero finished on the main stage, a long majestic beat started emanating from the speakers. The regal-sounding track sped up, and suddenly Hardwell emerged from behind the decks saluting the crowd. The track was “Spaceman” — and Hardwell was letting the crowd know that he was ready to go.
Soon enough, we were hearing Hardwell’s mashup with “I Need A Miracle.” The crowd was loving the start — even more than the cool misters being wielded by the dancing security guards. Things slowed down into “Sillhouettes,” an unusual track for Hardwell, until we realized it was actually Disco Fries remix, which absolutely goes off. Hardwell faded into “Spectrum,” arguably one of the most played tracks at this year’s Electric Zoo.
“Spaceman’s Miracle” – Hardwell Mashup
He then got on a steady Beatport section which was incredibly effective. “Mini-Cinema,” “One More Drumfail,” and Jordy Dazz’s remix of “Hearts” with Ryan Tedder’s “Calling Vocal” all got played. There was a slight lull before Hardwell came back with a mix between “Zero 76” which set the crowd off with vocals from “The Island” and Tommy Trash’s brilliantly hard mix of “Ladi Dadi”.
“Hearts” (Jordy Dazz Remix) – Dave Silcox
If there was one trend with this Electric Zoo, it’s that DJs were more willing to change things up. Of course, there were some who simply played the favorites, but we all enjoyed being introduced to some new music and having a hard time IDing tracks. We think we heard the upcoming Tiesto & Hardwell collaboration with the working title “Party Hard.” We hear this could be the successor to “Zero 76” and it definitely has a different but epic feel.
Things got a little weird (in a good way) with the Hardwell mashup “Scary Monsters and Kangaroos” which got the fans going again. Hardwell was throwing a ton of material at the crowd and everyone seemed to be having a blast. “Ni**as in Satisfaction” became played out a while ago and “Million Atoms to Apologize” is starting to follow the same path, but Hardwell dug into his bootleg pack back catalog to remind people of one of his biggest skills.
“Who’s Ready For iRok” – Hardwell Mashup
There was a huge eruption for “How We Do,” and he followed with “Whose Ready for iRok,” and Steve Aoki’s super fun remix of “Pursuit of Happiness.” “Kick out the Epic Motherfucker” has also become an anthem, as well as the track it lead into, “Rage Valley.” While some DJs prefer to end on a softer note, Hardwell wanted to leave the crowd hanging as he dropped Porter Robinson’s 2 minute electro bootie of “Bass Cannon.” He was clearly trying to destroy the mainstage as the sun set.
Hardwell’s set was packed with tons of bootlegs and new tracks, catering to the New York main stage crowd like a veteran. He played multiple IDs that kept the crowd energized, and tons of electro — a signature of most main stages these days. He so expertly uses his bootlegs to become not just another producer, but we wish he would spice up his sets with more new ones and less of the ones we know. Hardwell clearly understands the art of DJing, and even though he’s been at it for ten years already, we’re looking forward to the next ten even more.