Thursday, June 23, 2011 | 3:51 a.m.
Las Vegas Weekly's coverage
Robin Leach's Vegas DeLuxe
- Check out VegasDeLuxe.com for more celebrity and arts and entertainment coverage.
By Anisa Buttar
All varities of electronic dance music from minimalist trance to throbbing hardstyle will be heard on six stages over three nights at Las Vegas’ first Electric Daisy Carnival Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Billed as the largest dance music festival in North America, the eclectic international lineup includes top mainstream artists, underground icons, up-and-coming stars and Tiesto, David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia as the headliners.
Tiesto’s legacy in electronic dance music continues to grow, and the recent surge in the genre’s popularity has helped cement his reign as The King of Trance. His tours and hits, including “Traffic” and “Elements of Life,” have made Tiesto a household name among the genre's fans across the globe. Tiesto’s latest release in April, Club Life: Volume One Las Vegas, is a mix of his favorite tracks to drop during his shows at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. His yearlong residency at The Joint comes to an end Dec. 29.
Guetta has been playing dance shows in France since the early 1980s, but his collaborations in recent years with top pop and hip hop artists including Lil’ Wayne, Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Snoop Dogg have catapulted him into the mainstream. “When Love Takes Over” with Kelly Rowland and “Sexy Bitch” with Akon are just two of his inescapable club hits.
Steve Angello, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia all ranked in the Top 20 in DJ Magazine’s Top 100 list in 2010. The power trio’s 2010 debut album Until One was well received, and collaborations with Tinie Tempah on “Miami 2 Ibiza” and Pharrell on “One (Your Name)” propelled it further. Judging from their epic Masquerade Motel performance at The Joint on Halloween, the super Swedes will not disappoint at the festival.
The weekend's versatile lineup includes artists from Australia, the U.K., Germany, Sweden, Israel and the land where beat-makers are born, The Netherlands. The Swedes are taking over The Kinetic Field (main stage) Sunday night, with young prodigies Alesso, 18, and Avicii, 21, joining current masters and headliners SHM.
Germany’s Boys Noize is a rare treat, as he plays more festival dates than clubs. This pioneer of melting electro founded Boys Noize Records at 23, released two full-length albums (with a third on the way) and produced many successful artists in the acid house scene such as D.I.M. & TAI and Shadow Dancer. His live performance is the Boys Noize experience.
The growing popularity of bass- and drum-heavy dubstep has broken boundaries, as Sub Focus and Bass Nectar headline the second largest stage (Cosmic Meadow) Friday and Saturday, respectively. Bass heads will be running between The Neon Garden and Bass Pod on Saturday, as both stages boast incredible lineups. Musical wiz kid Skrillex, beat heavy Bart B More and rock-inspired MSTRKRFT join Feed Me, Jack Beats and Porter Robinson for a deep-bass experience at The Neon Garden. English Dub step dominator Rusko will be shaking the Bass Pod with 12th Planet, L.A.’s Bare, Evol Intent and Zed’s Dead.
Insomniac Events provides festivalgoers with a full carnival experience, including free rides, costumed performers and, for the first time, a roller coaster. Patrons who purchased official Insomniac water bottles have access to free refills all weekend.
Two unique acts are Israel’s Infected Mushroom and Bloody Beetroots’ Death Crew 77 from Italy, as they feature live instruments. Infected Mushroom has been creating their experimental, acid trance sound since 1995, and their live set usually includes live guitar, keyboard and drum set. DJ duo The Bloody Beetroots added a live drummer to their sets in 2010. Reaching back to their punk roots, the duo leaves the tables for guitar and keyboard to rock out as alter ego Death Crew 77.
Fans of harder, industrial-style sounds should check out Green Velvet and Bunny of Rabbit in the Moon. Curtis Jones (Green Velvet) dropped out of a master’s program in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois to pursue his hobby full time in 1991. His hits include 1995’s “Flash” and the cautionary anthem “La La Land.”
Rabbit in the Moon’s infamous performances include elaborate stage productions, costumes, guest artists, chainsaws and fire. Bunny’s DJ set at the Cosmic Meadow on Sunday is sure to bring an onslaught of brooding, dark house.
Las Vegas has been fortunate to host some of the most exclusive residencies and names worldwide in 2011, and many are appearing at the Electronic Daisy Carnival. Tiesto, Benny Benassi, Steve Aoki, Dirty South, new Grammy winner Afrojack, Chuckie, Skrillex and Calvin Harris are a few EDC artists who have been rocking The Strip this spring.
Scottish producer and singer Harris said he enjoys his time in Las Vegas and is excited to show his fans “a bigger show” with his festival set. “I love Vegas, and the Encore in particular is a great place to play and hang out,” Harris said. “I think EDC will go down amazingly well in Vegas. There is a real love of electronic music in the city that will only continue to grow.”
Grammy Award-winning Italian producer Benassi is a recognized name in contemporary dance. He created the electronic classic “Satisfaction” (among countless others) and has played all major festivals, including Ultra and Creamfields. Benassi, an EDC staple, is looking forward to playing the large festival in Las Vegas for the first time. “I imagine a breathtaking desert backdrop, and at night the temperatures should be perfect,” he said. “You know, people know how to have a good time in Vegas!”
EDM icon Richie Hawtin is bringing his audio-visual experience to EDC as Plastikman Live on Friday and as himself Saturday. With only a handful of U.S. dates this year, including Coachella and Movement in Detroit, Hawtin is hauling the full Plastikman production for his first visit to Las Vegas.
“We think the EDC crowd is in for two very special shows because I’m coming with my whole team,” Hawtin said. “I’ll be doing the whole visual Hawtin DJ set, which is me, my lighting guys and my visual guy, Ali Demirel.”
Hawtin has been influential in the evolution of live dance music shows since the early 1990s in Detroit. The independent producer co-founded Plus 8 Records in 1990 and has made invaluable contributions to EDM, including developing Traktor DJ software and being a founding father of dance music mega-retailer Beatport. Synchronizing minimal trance, stunning visuals and cutting-edge technology, this set, years in the making, is a must-see.
“The Plastikman show is something I would say is more intense, more cerebral and even more of a deeper audiovisual experience,” he said of his two sets. “I think both of them are going to be something probably quite unlike everything else. We use the same technology, we have lights, we have visuals, we have music, but we’ve spent the last 10 years developing this idea, this language that we’re doing.”
Hawtin hopes people will view his shows as a glimpse into the future of live electronic dance music. “I think people won’t expect a show, they will expect an experience. That is what we’re here to deliver,” Hawtin said.
Audience involvement is key to Hawtin: Concertgoers with iPhones are able to interact with his set on many levels. “There’s a direct interaction and connection during the show between me and the fans ranging from people watching live video streams on their iPhones from my stage performance to actually allowing people with iPhones to interact with my computers to play samples,” he said. “Interacting, bridging the gap between audience and performer and tying it all together. It’s about creating the best possible technologically intertwined experience that one can have. That’s where we think things are going.
“There’s a live readout on your iPhones of what’s happening on my computer systems and also a moment where we take what’s happening on the LED displays, the actual visuals you’re watching, and give another version of it on the iPhones. We turn the iPhone into the performance.”
Legends of EDM join the current elite of all genres for Las Vegas’ maiden electronic music festival. Even with such an impressive lineup, this event is as much about the experience as it is the music -- it’s what attracts more and more devoted fans every year.
Keep checking back to VegasDeLuxe.com and LasVegasSun.com for EDC coverage all weekend long, and check out our colleagues’ extensive and outstanding preview work, which includes EDC’s full lineup, at LasVegasWeekly.com.