This past weekend the second annual Electric Zoo was held on Randall’s Island in NYC. Even though New York City, or America, may not be known for its electronic festivals, the Zoo is proving to be a contender with the Creamfields and Berlin Love Parades of the world. A whopping 25,000 people came out to four stages of electro, house, dubstep, and trance.
The main stage was graced by Benny Benassi, Dirty South and Major Lazer on Day 1, with brought upbeat sets while the sun set on New York. The scene was wild with Major Lazer (sans Skream) bringing both dancing babies and overly-sexualized dancers on stage while Diplo switched between 90s dance, and reggae. Later in the night Chemical Brothers closed with insane visuals for all the trippers and it got so loud that they blew the speakers at the end of the night.
Day 2 on the main stage killed me. A line up of Laidback Luke, Moby, and then Boys Noize was the best non-Radiohead thing I’ve ever experienced. I had low to no expectations on Moby and he killed it. I almost fainted when he kept dropping RAVE IS KING. Boys Noize came on next and played an upbeat, nonstop mix of his songs eclectic stuff, ending with a mix of his new song Yeah and My Moon, My Man. The sun had set and people were moving freakishly fast.
The Hilltop Arena had a sick line up both days, but unfortunately the sound quality was terrible. The bass was too loud in the middle of the crowd, and the only good spot was the back left speaker, but it was still almost unlistenable. I still caught sets for Afrojack, Avicii, Axwell, Cosmic Gate, Steve Aoki, and Wolfgang Gartner, but it couldn’t have been nearly as good as it should have been. Aoki did his normal song and dance: screaming during Warp, popping champagne, jumping into the crowd, but the sound, so bad.
Red Bull Arena was a gem with amazing sound and the tent was always packed to the brim. We saw the 9 foot tall Pretty Lights, Erol Alkan, A-trak dropping Drake “Over” and “24 Hour Champagne Diet” on Day 2 and the crowd went wild. Bassnectar’s closing set had booming bass but was so packed, most likely due to the terrible sound situation at Aoki and the pathetic light display Van Buuren had going on the main stage, so I went to my holy place.
The underrated Sunday School Grove was a tent entwined with trees and flashing lights turned out to be my favorite stage in the end, with dead serious speaker volume and more of a progressive house vibe. The first night Richie Hawtin closed there and the second night John Digweed brought his skill. This tent was filled ravers you would never want to talk to, but if the speakers are that loud, you have to.
Now that it’s over and I’ve wiped the seven layers of dirt from my skin, I don’t know what I have coming up next as touchdown in Miami for WMC is so far away. At least Gossip Girl is back.