Saturday, June 25, 2011 | 1:26 p.m.
Electric Daisy Carnival
- Counterfeit wristband operation found at EDC (6-25-2011)
- EDC Day 1 photos: Manufactured Superstars, Wolfgang Gartner, Richie Hawtin, Tiesto (6-25-2011)
- 21 arrests for first day of EDC (6-25-2011)
- Celebrating freedom through the fantastic at Electric Daisy Carnival (6-25-2011)
- ‘So far, so good’ at Electric Daisy Carnival, Metro Police say (6-24-2011)
Las Vegas Weekly coverage
Beyond the Sun
Fireworks popped at 2 a.m., the time they would have closed the doors on last year’s Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles. After moving to Las Vegas following the controversial ecstasy death of a teenage girl there, EDC might have found its spiritual home.
Half-dressed women floated rhythmically into the wee hours and last-call time for LA was just a starting pistol here. The party that put raves back on the map of controversy also seemed to be quite at home in the desert heat of the night. If electronic dance music needs the a.m. for its DNA, Vegas has revealed itself as a long lost mitochondrial homeland.
Some folks prefer to call this three-day mega-rave a “massive.” That’ll work. We were told at least 70,000 people showed up for day one. Them’s Coachella numbers.
It was hard to find printed schedules for the 40-plus DJ appearances Friday night at EDC at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but it was fun letting your ears figure it out for themselves.
Roger Sanchez, a larger-than-life club hero from New York, wowed the Circuit Ground stage with his dizzy, circular tribal house.
In the Neon Garden, DJ Vice, an LA hip-hop radio DJ and Vegas resident, played trance-pop (really). There’s nary a stronger sign of dance music’s cultural ascension in America. Ten years ago hip-hop DJs (Premier, et. al.) ruled pop and rap. Now hip-hoppers like Vice and will.i.am are looking for turntable time so they can play up-tempo club music.
Maybe they want to be Tiësto, the trance spinner who appeared to singlehandedly ring more than 75,000-plus people out to the desert for his Day 1 performance at Coachella in 2010. At EDC they shouted “Tee-est-oh, Tee-est-oh,” before the Dutchman appeared on the main Kinetic Field stage.
You could call Tiësto a candy-raver’s wet dream, what with his epic builds and syrupy arpeggios. But the man we once called Cheesesto (well, maybe not just once) found his cajones in Vegas this year and displayed a dark style of house and trance long revered in Berlin and Ibiza.
The DJ has for more than five years attempted to strain the glow sticks out of his own vocal-house artist albums. And, onstage, Tiësto was keeping his BPMs at a civilized 132. You could say the spinner appropriated an aesthetic much more urgent and contemporary than trance’s. He now owns more macabre grooves, and he threw down crisp, dirty tracks. The crowd responded with organized waves of hand raising.
We were pleasantly surprised to hear Tiësto play Chicago house icon Green Velvet’s “Flash.” We even heard a few break-beats.
The whole of the Motor Speedway seemed transfixed by the man from the Netherlands, and as Swedish House Mafia member Steve Angello came on next he started to lose the crowd. Impressively, he brought them back with a momentous version (his own, no doubt) of Adele’s chart-topping “Rolling in the Deep.” We spied a few revelers heading away who stopped, pivoted and marched back toward the stage.
From there on it was all monster chords and melodic bliss for Angello.
We find it a little ironic that Tiësto is now playing house while a contemporary house don like Angello—the personification of house music’s “comeback,” played the most ecstatic, trance-like set of the evening.
Over at the Cosmic Meadow there was no doubt about where Detroit-adjacent techno legend Richie Hawtin was coming from. He wanted that bass in your face.
Performing under his Plastikman guise, Hawtin rinsed out flurries of low-frequency “minimal” (dance music without the fuss of vocals or obvious melody) that lubricated the floor as well as any Rick Ross joint could have.
Hawtin performed from behind a semicircular graphic screen that blasted a heartbeat of EKG-like light waves. His iPhone app kept pace by giving users track names and cryptic umbers. Hawtin’s set, sizzling with angry percussion, was fresher than anything we heard at EDC Friday. Ironically, it harkened back to his early ’90s sounds.
But we also have to give love to Röyksopp. The act performed its public-radio pop with a troupe of Blue Man Group-like dancers covered in metallic bodysuits. Glitter blasted the crowd and we thought, How Vegas is that?
LA Weekly’s Dennis Romero, a veteran dance music writer who covered EDC LA 2010 and its aftermath, will provide exclusive coverage of EDC Las Vegas throughout its three nights for Las Vegas Weekly, a sister publication of the Las Vegas Sun.