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Electric Zoo Recap and Review!


In Electric Zoo’s fourth year of existence, it was definitely the largest yet. With an expected 90,000 fans this year, everything was in place for New York’s largest festival. First thing I noticed when I went stage to stage was the increase in production value. The LED screens were 5x bigger, more lights, bigger speakers, and more artists. FestivalZoo was there all 3 days to capture every moment.

Friday (Aug 31st) was a perfect day to start the Labor Day weekend festival. Packed with three labeled stages (Group Therapy, Fool’s Gold, and Vagabundos) and a heavy lineup on main stage, there was almost too much to see with too little time. I made my way to the Group Therapy Hilltop arena to seek Zack Roth and Jaytech, which put on a great show early in the day. Then I moved to Fool’s Gold at Riverside and saw replacement Aarab Musik who absolutely killed it. He was added the night before because of an artist illness and let me say, I was thoroughly impressed along with the rest of the crowd. Towards mid-afternoon I made it to the behemoth main stage where Alvin Risk was on. His set was epic. He dropped his new single “Psychotic” along with many other heavy bangers and bootlegs that had the crowd jumping off their feet. He was followed by: Netsky, Hardwell, Nicky Romero, and Laidback Luke all at main stage, which was a day in itself. I managed to make it to front row for Romero and Laidback Luke and it was nuts. Crowd energy was insane and every DJ had a read on the crowd and knew exactly what to play and how to play it. David Guetta headlined that night and it was another Guetta show. Full of his mainstream works with Top 40 stars along with a few surprising house beats. He teased NYC with unreleased bootlegs and songs and yet again, a few days after Zoo, he announced his “Nothing but the Beat 2.0” album, which is open for pre order now. After day 1 it seemed hard to top.

Saturday (Sept. 1st) was another day full of perfect weather and amazing artists. I started my day off by seeing Nervo on main stage and they were amazing. They were one of my two sleepers for the weekend and they thoroughly impressed me. They had the crowd into it and threw in a little surprise by brining Hook n’ Sling on stage to help them play their new song “Reason” which was a huge hit with the crowd. After Nervo was Bingo Players; which I expected a lot from. To say the least, I was raging the whole time. It was such a high-energy set and they dropped a few ID songs and remixes, which fired up the crowd. I stayed the next two sets to see Sander Van Doorn and Dada Life play. Sander dropped a very electro oriented set with a lot of hard driving synths and saws which was something new compared to his past sets which incorporated a lot of his trance and progressive house songs. Dada put on a set with synced lights to the songs. You knew it was a pre done set, which to some might have been disappointing but at the same time it was Classic Dada – just overall impressive. To finish out the day I stopped by to see 12th Planet and Datsik. Their sets were absolutely filthy. That stage was going nuts with the huge drops and deep womps they put on. At Hilltop Rusko and Wolfgang Garter killed it. Rusko was so animated on stage it was hard not to rage even if you didn’t like the music. Wolfgang had an awesome electro set that was a great way to close the night out. Day 2 was epic and the best day was yet to come.

Sunday (Sept. 2nd) I don’t know if it was possible to put anymore big name artists all in one day. Electric Zoo managed to get big main stage artists along with two tents full of heavy dubstep and electro. Not only that, but Skrillex bumped Tiesto off the headlining spot for the night. Just goes to show how much dubstep has taken America off its feet. At main stage I saw 3lau perform and it was great to see such a large crowd for the young up and coming producer. His fan support was there to jump at every beat. I managed to see Paper Diamond and was not too impressed and then Adventure Club which was crazy. Their set was unlike any I’ve seen before by the young duo. Keep an eye out for them in the future. I then made it back to main stage to see my sleeper of the weekend, W&W. They blew me away. If you had to listen to one set over the weekend I would pick between theirs and Porter Robinsons. W&W absolutely smashed the crowd and as the set went on the crowd only got bigger. They dropped some heavy electro and bootlegs that could melt your face. I can’t wait to see where these guys go in the future; Big things. Dash Berlin was after and his set was pure gold. His stage presence and amazing set made him a clear front-runner for headlining next year if he choses to come back. And then comes the highly anticipated set by Porter Robinson. There was a lot of hype and criticism regarding whether he could handle the main stage. After seeing him front row last year at EZOO I had no doubt he would blow the crowd away. Two songs into the set, you were hooked. He dropped the nastiest, filthiest, dirtiest bootlegs and remixes I’ve ever heard. Every song he played was bootlegged or remixed by himself. The drops were absolutely insane and the crowd was crazy. When I left the stage, the crowd was backed up to the Riverside tent just to see him. He needs to headline next year. I made my way to Zedds set at Riverside. He was stuck performing against Porter, Knife Party, and Flux Pavillion & Doctor P; that’s a tough spot to be in. To my surprise along with his (read my exclusive FestivalZoo interview with him here), the tent was overflowing and the crowd was crazy for Zedd. Playing on his 23rd birthday he had the crowd going nuts with songs that he had never played before. His after party at Roseland Ballroom was regarded as the best Electric Zoo after party loaded with Hardwell, Treasure Fingers, Bart B More, and Skrillex even made a little debut. Knife Party and Excision both had epic sets. Finally, you close out the weekend with Tiesto, Bloody Beetroots, and Skrillex. Timed perfectly so you could see all three in succession. Tiesto drew everyone, I mean everyone. Getting in an out of the main stage area was nearly impossible because so many people wanted to get front row for Tiesto. His set was phenomenal as always. Great stage production and great song selection from the master. Bloody Beetroots was absolutely mental (sorry Seb). If you can ever get a chance to see them do a live DJ set please make the effort to do so. This was the third time I’ve seen them and their set has been different and better every time. Finally you had Skrillex with his mother ship stage that draws the masses. To my surprise, people were leaving Skrillex to go see Diplo who was putting on an acrobatic performance next door at Riverside. Doing backflips off his table and dropping some insane songs, his tent was overflowing with people and energy. It just seemed to me that Skrillex maybe needed to mix up his set or his amount of spice. People are being drawn to the live, reckless, risky, and fun sets of those like Diplo’s and Rusko. Something maybe for the big headliners to look at as the progression of Djing continues in the US and worldwide.

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