Will David Guetta Spin The Fate of R&B?

It’s hard to tell where the crowd’s flickering lighters meet the beaming LED screens strung around Randall’s Island like Christmas trees on steroids. The sun has set on the former juvenile delinquent reform school site as David Guetta steps onto the main stage for his performance at New York’s enormous electronic music event, Electric Zoo. The 35,000 dance music devotees look like a sea of neon-clad ants from up here. One thing is clear: The scene is definitely a zoo, and the 44-year-old Frenchman is its ringleader.

The show has begun. Spasmodic lights begin to flash and flicker while Star Trek-esque synths pump from the speakers. Guetta drops the opening chords of Sia’s “Titanium (Alesso Remix)” before announcing his arrival to the Big Apple this morning from Ibiza, the island that’s home to his famed Fuck Me I’m Famous party that draws the likes of will.i.am and Diddy weekly. “New York!” he drags out. “Are you ready to party?!” On cue, the break beat drops and concertgoers collectively go ape shit as Guetta dances, flails and orchestrates in the DJ booth. He neither sings, raps, chants, nor ad-libs—yet the man puts on one hell of a show.

“It always means something special to me when I play in cities like New York or Chicago or Detroit because this is where [house] music was born even though it became more of a European thing later on,” says the tall, lumbering producer/DJ from beneath a mangled mane of blonde waves and a grin so wide it teeters on goofy. The one-hour set wrapped 20 minutes ago, and he’s now lounging lithely on the black leather couch in his trailer, wearing a crisp black T-shirt with an eagle screen-printed across. The peaceful energy Guetta exudes is contagious in a way that anyone—from within a room to an arena—can feel, part of why millions flock to see him nightly across the globe.


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Five Music Festivals That Will Keep New Yorkers At Home This Summer

With Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza both coming up in the next few months, we’re afraid that our festival budgets are already maxed-out. But we here at BlackBook think there’s plenty more fun to be had and jams to be shared, and there are plenty of local music festivals this summer that will help us beat the heat and save some cash. No airfare or accomodation fees? We’re there—we just need to know where to go! Here are five upcoming events that will keep us having fun at home.

GoogaMooga: May 19-20, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park

Headliners: The Roots, Holy Ghost!, Hall and Oates, Fitz & the Tantrums

Special features: Food, food, and more food, including Momofuku Milk Bar, Kutsher’s Tribeca, The Spotted Pig, Dinosaur BBQ, Mile End, Vinegar Hill House, DuMont Burger, and for those health-conscious festival goers, Juice Press! Additionally, the festival will have a wine tasting tent featuring over 100 wines from around the world and a beer tasting pavilion featuring over 30 different domestic and foreign draft beer makers.

The gist: Eating Momofuku crack pie and drinking artisanal beer to the tune of “Rich Girl” sounds like my idea of a perfect Saturday.


Camp Bisco
: July 12-14, Indian Lookout Country Club, Mariaville, NY

Headliners: The Disco Biscuits, Skrillex, Crystal Castles, Atmosphere

Special features: Camp Bisco will feature three days and nights of music on five stages. Boogie away to top international dance acts as well as in the silent disco, where listeners tune in on wireless headsets. And the most fun part? Camping! Pull up in your RV or pitch your tent, and enjoy the fresh air of the great outdoors. Buy a VIP ticket for access to a VIP lounge and showers, plush toilets, and complimentary massages! VIP Platinum ticketholders get extra perks including a backstage Surf and Turf with members of the Disco Biscuits and other artists. I’m sold.

The gist: Camping in the unsullied upstate air, upbeat dance tunes, plush toilets, showers, and MASSAGES! What else would I need!?


Catalpa
: July 28-29, Randall’s Island

Headliners: The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg, TV on the Radio, Girl Talk, Cold War Kids

Special features: A silent disco will also be featured at Catalpa (seeing a new trend here?) There is also an Ultimate VIP Cabana and Hot-Tub Package for a group of ten with bottle service and other special accommodations. Frisky’s Church of Sham Marriages is setting up a basecamp within Catalpa. Looking to get married during the festival…or at least fake-married?? This 60-foot inflatable church is available for all of you lovers out there to get hitched. Great way to test (read: scare) your boyfriends, ladies! Don’t worry: rings and veils are provided! There’s also a raggae stage procured by High Times Magazine, which is sure to provide chill vibes. 

The gist of it: Snoops Dogg performing his seminal Doggystyle in its entirety, celebrating the sanctity of marriage, and cabanas with hot tubs, Catalpa will surely not disappoint.

 

Governors Ball Music Festival: June 23-24, Randall’s Island

Headliners: Beck, Passion Pit, Kid Cudi, Modest Mouse, Fiona Apple, Chromeo

Special features: An impressive roster of food offerings, which includes Luke’s Lobster, Asia Dog, The Taco Truck, Food Freak Grilled Cheese, and Hill Country. Lawn games include ping pong (presented by Spin New York), beer pong, bocce ball, and croquet. There will be a silent disco room (Yes, again!). VIP ticketholders will receive massage services, shaded seating, and more. The kicker? No overlapping sets! 

The gist: Eating Luke’s Lobster while getting a massage while playing beer pong whilst listening to Beck. I’m up for multitasking.

Electric Zoo: August 31-September 2, Randall’s Island

Headliners: Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Benny Benassi, Tiesto, David Guetta, Above and Beyond, A-Trak,

Specials features: Last year 85,000 people attended this special event and we are expecting a large turnout again! VIP passes include access to air-conditioned bathrooms, plush furniture, complimentary food, and an open bar. For all of you on a budget, Electric Zoo is offering a payment plan for ticket purchasers. You can now pay in installments over time. How thoughtful!

The gist: Three days of house music, electronic vibes, and thousands of festival-goers fist-pumping on Randall’s Island. Tiesto under the stars? And pay later? Done.

The Wackiest Wardrobes at Electric Zoo

We sent an intrepid photographer to Randall’s Island in New York City over the weekend for the titanic electronic music festival Electric Zoo. His mission: to capture the sometimes strange culture of EDM (electric dance music) and the even stranger outfits its denizens are known to wear. The results did not disappoint.

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DJ Joachim Garraud Is Bringing His ‘Invasion’ Set to Electric Zoo

While the multitudes scurry off to catch the last wisps of summer at places with Native American names, $50-a-pound potato salads, and bad traffic patterns, another horde will be cross-commuting to the city. These people are flocking to a near-Woodstockian dance event called Electric Zoo being held at Randall’s Island…you know, take a left at the Bronx. There are way too many acts to list and explain so I suggest visiting their site for information. The festival starts today, so check out when your favorite dance gods will be playing.

Here are a few names of the artists involved:

Tiësto, Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta, DJ Snoopadelic (Hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg), Moby, Tommy Lee & DJ Aero, Afrojack, MSTRKRFT, Benny Benassi,Joachim Garraud, Ferry Corsten, Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77, Carl Cox, Sander Van Doorn, Chromeo, John Digweed, Luciano, Victor Calderone, Crookers, Danny Tenaglia, Diplo, Dirty South, Plastikman, Richie Hawtin, 12th Planet, Josh Wink, The Martinez Brothers, Above & Beyond, Alesso, AN21 & Max Vangeli, Andy Moor, Arty, Gramatik, ATB (André Tanneberger), Nick Catchdubs, Bart B More, Fareoh, Beardyman, Big Gigantic, Guti, Boys Noize, Busy P, Calvin Harris, Felguk, Carl Craig,Infected Mushroom, Feed Me (British DJ Jon Gooch),Carte Blanche, Chris Liebing, Gareth Emery, Jack Beats, The M Machine, Martin Solvei, High Contrast, Super8 & Tab, Felix Cartal, Kid Sister,,Robbie Rivera, James Holden, Reboot, Daedelus (a.k.a. Alfred Weisberg-Roberts), Michael Woods, Datsik, Hardwell, Sidney Samson, Mat Zo, Guy Gerber, Joris Voorn & Nic Fanciulli, Dubfire, MiMOSA, EDX, Serge Devant, Markus Schulz, Fake Blood, Egyptrixx, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Excision, Steve Bug, Gabriel & Dresden, Gui Boratto,Ida Engberg, Skrillex, Jaytech, Super Mash Bros, John Dahlbäck, Loco Dice, Nicolas Jaar,Sub Focus, Nicole Moudaber, Porter Robinson, Rusko, SBTRKT,Sean Tyas & Simon Patterson,SebastiAn, Tiga, Umek, TOKiMONSTA

I’m sure there are many more, but you get the idea. One of the most intriguing performances will be the collaboration between Joachim Garraud and Perry Ferrell. I caught up with Joachim and asked him about this creative partnership and the festival. Is the word DJ becoming obsolete? No, I don’t think so. The scene has definitely seen a big influx of DJs in the past few years, and many are using lots of new technology where no discs are even involved anymore, but there is something special about having two tables (or in many cases now CDJs). DJs and dance music go hand in hand, so I don’t think the word will ever be obsolete.

What will the audience experience at this year’s Electric Zoo show and do you actually know details or is the performance elastic? For my audience, I can say for sure that they will experience my live Invasion show on both auditory and visual levels. We’ve worked very hard on making the Invasion experience a show to remember, and crowds have loved it from the Coachella Music Festival in California to the Exit Festival in Serbia. There will be lots of great music, great visuals, and even some live keytar!

Does Perry small talk with you? Perry and I have been friends for quite a while now, so yes, you could definitely say that we’ve had small talk. Recently, Perry and I have spent a lot of time in the studio working on 11 tracks that will be released this fall, and we’ve had a great time putting it all together.

What is the difference, as you see it, between a U.S. audience and elsewhere? The U.S. crowd is great, especially at festivals. There’s so much energy and love for the music, so it’s always fun to play in America. It’s great to see that the U.S. is accepting and embracing dance music and dance music culture so much more now. There is a real excitement that can be felt at these shows.

Perry comes from a sort of rock background but has always been into electronic stuff. Where do the different genres converge and where does the music grow or go? Yes, Perry definitely has a love for rock and electronic music. It seems that dance music can come together with many other genres and create very special sounds that hadn’t really been explored all that much in the past. It was great to team up with Perry because we could combine his rock expertise and my techno/electro/pop background to make something very special. He’s a very creative guy so it was inspiring to see what he was interested in and then produce music that we both felt had a bit of each of us in it.

Tell me about your reasons for participating in Electric Zoo. Electric Zoo is an amazing festival and I love playing in New York. Last year was such a great time when I played so I had to come back again with the Invasion set this year!

Animals Unleashed: Electric Zoo’s Executive Producers Laura De Palma & Mike Bindra

“Hurricane Irene has definitely changed the schedule up, but we’re on track and ready to open the doors as planned, bigger and better than ever,” says Laura De Palma, co-Executive Producer of Made Event with business partner and husband of eight years Mike Bindra. This year, not even the threat of Hurricane Irene could stop the duo from finalizing their plans for the third installment of Electric Zoo, the ginormous three-day electronic music extravaganza that will take over Randall’s Island beginning on Friday.

In fact, it seems like the undercurrents of heat and fervor left by the storm only intensified the air of electricity the event’s producers strive to create at Randall’s Island, as DJ’s from all over the world (think: Tiesto, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren) gear up to sonically dazzle crowds with their bass, beats, and cross-fading. This is the duo’s third go at putting on New York’s biggest electronic music festival, adding, aptly, a third day to this weekend’s head-nodding, lights-pulsing, electro pandemonium. That’s an extra 12 hours of festivities, which run from 11am to 11pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Electric Zoo is the culmination of De Palma and Bindra’s longtime extracurricular paramour: electronic music. “We got together in the early 90’s when the underground house scene was at its pinnacle in New York,” says De Palma. “There was barely a Saturday night back then when we wouldn’t make it to the Sound Factory dance floor, or end up at Save the Robots in the wee hours. We have been business partners for a decade, and have envisioned doing a premier electronic music festival in NYC for years.” This year, their vision has come to fruition (and then some!) — they are expecting a sellout at 35,000 attendees per day. Does this mass outpouring of fans flocking to Randall’s Island mean that the once-obscure genre has become fully mainstream? “It’s exciting and almost surreal to someone who’s been plugging away in this underground culture for over 20 years,” says Bindra. “I never thought it would get this big. I think the Internet has been the real driver of this.” De Palma adds, “It feels like EDM (Electronic Dance Music) has hit the mainstream already. It’s exciting to be part of the force that’s pushing it forward. I agree that the Internet has been the major driver. It’s turned the concept of ‘mainstream’ on its head. It’s not about a major label deciding what gets out there, and subsequently what’s hot anymore – because it’s all out there.” The New York-based electro aficionados certainly have stamina and passion, two essential attributes necessary to survive an undertaking of this magnitude. “I first got into electronic music in 1987 in Costa Brava, Spain,” says Bindra. “I was 17-years-old, and used to dress up like Don Jonson and go out to discotheques every night for three weeks straight during August.” As for his partner in crime, De Palma says, “I remember the first house record I ever heard – distinctly. It was Marshall Jefferson’s “Move Your Body” and I was in High School on vacation with my parents. It was like nothing I’d ever heard before and I was instantly hooked.” So the rest is history? Not exactly. “We never stop. We spend all year thinking, dreaming, planning,” says Bindra. “Yes, it’s a year’s worth of planning and then some,” agrees De Palma. “For us, every detail is as important as the next, from the acts, to the production, to the festival grounds, to the food. Each year it’s important for us to top what we’ve done the previous year.” This year’s Electronic Zoo headliners are Tiësto, David Guetta, and Armin van Buuren, with performances by a veritable melting pot of veteran DJ’s such as Danny Tenaglia, Diplo, Carl Cox, John Digweed, Moby, Kid Sister, Chromeo, Tommy Lee (yes, Motley Crue’s drummer) with DJ Aero, and DJ Snoopadellic (the infamous rapper Snoop Dogg’s turntable-thrusting alter ego, in case you were wondering). “Every year we try to amplify the good and turn down the not so good. So this year, expect bigger and better tents, stages and production. You’ll find better food, nicer VIP, and less dust. There are also more bathrooms, and entry to the festival will be quicker and easier as well,” says Bindra. When it comes to choosing the lineup, De Palma has only one simple rule: “We give the people what they want!” Should you see a sleepy-eyed man leaning back and stealing an adoring gaze at the festivities on Randall’s Island this weekend, it just might be Bindra, who says, “If we’re lucky we get to feel like proud parents, just enjoy our festival and take in as many acts as possible. We really get off on seeing the fans having a great time so that is what we try and do during the festival.” If you’re heading to the grounds to partake in the Zoo, don’t forget a protective metal rod — this pair agrees the event is going to be “electric, baby!” You’ve been warned.

Photo Credit: Bennett Sell-Kline for ElectricZooFestival.com

Our Man in Miami: Battling the Banal with Bassnectar

For such a riotous soundslinger, Lorin Ashton is a relatively laid-back cat. He’s not all mellow, mind you—far from it. But the man known as Bassnectar is pretty much low-key. Offstage, anyway. Perhaps it’s his San Francisco heritage, or maybe he’s just cool like that. Whatever it is, his confidence—and his keen—comes naturally, and without any of the affectations you find in most 21st century pop phenomenons. Make no mistake: Bassnectar is an unequivocal electronic music phenomenon. When Ashton hit Miami last year, he brought down the walls at White Room; last Friday night he did likewise at The Fillmore Gleason, a joint that’s nearly 10 times the size. Really. And if that doesn’t signal a certain phenomenal popularity, well, then there’s no such thing. I had the distinct pleasure not just of catching the first three songs in his slam-happy set from the pit, but I got to get with him backstage before the onslaught even began.

This summer, in addition to Outside Lands, you staged at Burning Man, Electric Zoo, and Nocturnal—first time for all three? Thirteenth year for Burning Man, first time for Electric Zoo, and first time for Nocturnal, too, but we had rocked with them at various places on the West Coast before this.

It’s the Electric Daisy folks, right? Yeah.

Thirteen years at Burning Man—that’s some run. Did you do something special to mark the occasion? Not special in a good way. It was only 20 hours, basically. I’ve kind of outgrown it—no disrespect—but it was sick in ’97. It’s now 2010 and I’m like ‘oh, yeah, it’s cool…”

How many people? Sixty thousand, I think. So it’s about the same size [as recent years], and they’re keeping it cool. Anything you’re really familiar with you can kinda roll your eyes at, but actually leaving prematurely like that did give me a deep moment of gratitude. It’s an impeccably amazing experience, to build a city like that in the middle of the desert…

How long does it last, a week? Yeah, 10 days if you’re hardcore.

What’s the longest you’ve ever stayed? I think eight days.

Eight days?! Did you spin every night? Back then I used to do five sets a night.

Was it set up in camps then, too? Yeah, it’s its own kinda anarchy. But I was playing CDs so it was really easy to just rock it.

Is this your first time back to Miami since White Room? We did Ultra last year too.

I missed that. But the White Room show was sick. I had a blast. Right on. It’s great to take 1100 people and put ‘em in a 300 person room.

Well, word-of-mouth from that show is still strong. I just left Vagabond and everybody’s telling me they’d be here if it wasn’t sold out. And I get to The Fillmore and it is almost sold out. Congrats! Thanks. The last three nights we did Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tallahassee, all sold out, all places I’ve never been. It’s just blowing my mind. I did this NWA song and the kids from FSU started doing their tomahawk chant—it was amazing!

What? A tomahawk chant to “Fuck tha Police”? Yeah, it was kinda strange, but they were all so into it…

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That was your first time in North Florida? Yeah, I’d never been there before in my life.

Now you’re back in Miami. What do you think of The Fillmore? I walked in and it was just jaw-dropping.

You know this is Jackie Gleason’s old place? Oh, really?

Yeah, built for him in the ‘60s. I actually saw my first concert here, The Jackson 5. Wow! That’s amazing.

Speaking of shows, Massive Attack is coming next month with Thievery Corporation. You recently released a remix of Massive Attack’s “Rising Sun.” How’d that come about? That was totally unofficial. I’d been doing that with that song for like 10 years and finally I said, “fuck it, let’s just put it out.”

I wanna get the chronology of your other releases straight. You’ve got the IDJ Mixtape That was a podcast that came out in January. Since then we’ve had the Timestretch EP, a buncha bootlegs—Seek & Destroy, the Massive Attack, the next one is a Deftones remix—and then we’ve got another EP called Wildstyle coming out in a month or so. Actually, the first track I’m opening with tonight is off that and it’s something I’ve never played live before.

This might be a moot question, but if you had a dream remix, what band, what song would you do? It’s hard to pinpoint it down to just one song, but the one I always put off is The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” That’s something I’ve been thinking about remixing since the mid ‘90s, even before I knew how to remix.

What happened? The things you really wanna do, you wanna take your time doing.

What about a dream accomplice? I’m actually getting to interview Noam Chomsky.

Really? Yeah, I’m really excited. It’s for a movie my friend’s doing about the tunnels they’ve dug in the Gaza Strip.

How did that happen? The director knows my music and my politics, and I’ve sampled Noam Chomsky a lot, and she just came along and made my day.

Before we go, here’s a quote of mine from a preview of last year’s White Room show: “If Adbusters made music or Negativland veered more toward the dance floor, the result might come off booming like Bassnectar.” Agree? Wow, that’s amazing. I do agree, mostly because I’m so committed to speaking my mind and encouraging other people to do so too. But I have become genuinely less political, probably in the last two years. I mean, the Bush Administration—Cheney, Halliburton, McCain—all of that made me so angry that I actually wanted to rise up against it. I’m not fooled, I know Obama is just as much of a problem, and the whole government, corporate mess is a problem, but I’m not as antagonized by it. Frankly I feel more humanistic. They’ve got the good cop/bad cop, and when the bad cop’s in I’m like “fuck you, government!” And when the good cop’s in it’s more “I know you’re a cop, but I’ll trust you.”

For now. Yeah, for now.

Electric Zoo Festival Rocks Labor Day Weekend with Sold-out Crowds

This past Labor Day weekend, a daily (on both Saturday and Sunday) sold out-crowd of 25,000 electronic dance music fans decamped to Randall’s Island to enjoy the beats of the world’s best house, trance, techno, electro-groove, break-beat and drum and bass DJs. From 11am to 11pm, nearly 70 acts delivered stellar beats to the eclectic attendees. Organizers Made Events recognized the potential for chaos that such an expansive lineup would bring, and to accommodate committed fans, they offered a “make your own schedule” application on its website. “It was easy! I could sample the artists’ sounds and with a few clicks design a hit-list that catered to my taste and told me where to go,” said one reveler.

There were four different stages at Electric Zoo, each boasting their own sets, intelligent lighting and effects, and featuring a varied line-up of similarly-grouped dance music types. The enormous main stage hosted the headliners, from ATB, Benny Benassi and The Chemical Brothers on Saturday, to Moby and Armin van Buuren on Sunday. The large hilltop venue seemed to focus on progressive trance, electro dance and melodic house, and starred killer acts like Kaskade, Markus Schulz, Steve Aoki and Above & Beyond. Under the Red Bull Music Academy riverside stage, talent hovered around hip hop, electro and big beat, including DJ Mehdi, Fake Blood and Diplo. The final venue dished out retro Detroit beats, techno and progressive house from the likes of Victor Calderone and John Digweed.

Attendees at Electric Zoo ran the gamut. There were crazed Europeans on holiday, hardcore ravers dancing the Hakken, euphoric go-go girls, pot-smoking indie scenesters, hula-hooping hippies, bridge and tunnel types, jocks, and even die-hards with toddlers in strollers. The diverse and lively hoards certainly reflected the variety and far-reaching appeal that electronic dance music still holds today.

Trance hero Markus Schulz was an early Saturday highlight with his commendable set on the hilltop area. Schulz spun a set that showcased his knack for blending multi-layered, uplifting beats. The audience had been aptly warmed-up thanks to a blistering effort by Gareth Emery, whose hit “Citadel” was sampled on numerous other sets throughout the weekend. Tracks from Schulz’s recently released Do you dream? also rang throughout his gig. When Schulz integrated a smooth remix of “Without You Near,” it was easy to realize why he’s America’s number one Trance DJ.

The main stage was packed for ATB’s 4pm start time. André Tanneberger (ATB), known for his first single “9PM (Till I Come),” of which he teased his fans with throughout the set, before unloading it towards the end, proved he can mix more than just Balearic vocals and ambient symphonic beats. He delivered a rockin’ remix of “Ecstasy” and Robin’s “Dancing on My Own,” both receiving roaring cheers and skywards hand pumps. Another mega-hit on his playlist was Sol Noir’s “Superstring,” which had to be the most sampled song the entire weekend, firmly establishing itself as an electronic dance anthem.

Those who could tear their bodies away from ATB’s addictive set made sure to check out the legendary Pete Tong at the hilltop tent. Tong was a perfect segue from afternoon into evening, with his calming Ibiza beats and funky house, keeping it somewhere between 140 and 119 bmp.

A surprise knock-out was Fake Blood (Theo Keating), the mysterious electro star whose identity was under wraps until 2009. The scene at the Red Bull tent got rowdy when Keating dropped the masterful Armand Van Helden’s “I Want Your Soul” remix. Fake Blood attracted a massive and diverse audience that was keen on his blend of hip hop, electro and dance-house.

Back on the main stage was Dirty South, who has been nominated for a Grammy award and catapulted to main-stream fame with hugely successful remixes for Britney Spears, U2, Snoop Dogg, Depeche Mode and David Guetta. Memorable tracks from his line-up included a subtle version of Evermore’s “It’s Too Late.” Dirty South’s diverse offerings of dance, indie-rock, hip hop and house had the entire main stage area in the air. When the clock struck 7, Major Lazer (producers Diplo and Switch) took over the reigns for a dynamic rock/rap heavy set that forged the atmosphere into fiery dancehall chaos.

Back on the hilltop was perhaps Saturday’s best set, Kaskade, who after a very successful year on the charts has garnered a colossal fan base. The hilltop could barely withstand the throngs that whistled and shrieked, as he ignited a frenzy by starting with an epic version of “Angel on My Shoulders.” Song after song, Kaskade kept the energy up and didn’t fail his followers by omitting his hits. “When my friend told me she was going to this thing called Electric Zoo, I hadn’t even heard about it,” someone in the crowd confessed. “Then she said Kaskade was playing and I bought my tickets on my iPhone that minute.” The consensus is in: Next year, put Kaskade on the main stage—he deserves it.

As the night matured, Grammy winner Benny Benassi took to the main stage for a pulsating set including a rendition of “Satisfaction,” and hits from Madonna, Kelis, Shakira and Sneaky Sound System. When asked how Electric Zoo compared to other festivals he’s done, Benassi replied, “It’s up there with the great festivals but it has an added plus—it’s in New York City. I love this town!”

Closing the 12-hour marathon were crowd-drawing The Chemical Brothers, who just released their seventh studio album, Further, this summer. The group naturally featured some of their new beats, which seem to be more melodic and danceable—a welcome progression. It was a phenomenal close to a gorgeous day, filled with extraordinary talent, exhilarating consumption, and exhausting dance moves. Those not rendered complete zombies headed to Pacha for headlining sets by Sharam and Robbie Rivera.

The masses stumbled back onto Randall’s Island early Sunday to hear the likes of Grum (fresh off the success of his hit “Runway”) on the main stage. By mid-afternoon, loyal fans of trance masters Cosmic Gate (Nic Chagall and Bossi) had schlepped back—moderately recuperated—to get their groove on at the hilltop, before the duo jetted off to Texas for the Nocturnal Festival. The pair worked in full-throttle mix of sacred trance songs and a version of their smash “I See You” from James Horner’s Avatar.

Laidback Luke certainly flexed his muscles by throwing out vocal remixes from The Ting Tings, David Guetta and Moby, as well as his new record “Till Tonight” from his own label Mixmash Records. A ten-thousand-strong mob boogied to his beats the entire way, until Moby took center stage in a rare live DJ set. Moby’s set traced back to his 80’s New York house and hip-hop roots, as well as techno (including his floor-filler “Go”) and revamped gospel tunes. A highlight was when he stood atop his huge turntable—hands in the air—guiding his fans through the movements, and backed by LED screens bearing his name.

But it was Above & Beyond’s sensational playlist that stole the show on Sunday. An awesome remix of Oceanlabs’ “On a Good Day” had nearly everyone singing along. Having earned mainstream praise for their Trance Around the World radio show, Above & Beyond drew vibrant and devoted spectators from start to finish. Member Jono Grant commented, “The satellite radios and podcasts have been good for dance music and certainly our careers. We can reach more people and expand electronic dance music’s fan base.” Tunes from their Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep labels (widely recognized as a premier platform in trance and progressive house) were widely sampled. “This year is a big year for us with the new Anjunabeats series. [Our beat] tempo has slowed down a bit, more groove!” explained Jono. Judging by the engaged swarm that packed their hilltop appearance, Above & Beyond has hit the big leagues.

Dutchman Sander van Doorn followed Above & Beyond with his technically ingenious take on trance, remixing tracks from Sia, The Killers, Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode. Van Doorn is an electronic dance festival veteran, with top billings at Creamfields, Mysteryland, Dance Valley and EDC. He fed the mob exactly what it craved—like a pro—as the sun set.

In the final hours of Electric Zoo 2010, most made their way back to the main stage, while thousands of other enthusiasts held-out for popular gigs from Steven Aoki, John Digweed, Victor Calderone and Diplo elsewhere. Fedde Le Grand took over the main stage at precisely 7:50pm, unloading an energy-pumping round of his shiny dance smashes “Put Your Hands Up For Detroit,” “Let Me Think About It,” “The Creeps,” “Back & Forth,” and remixes of Sharam, Moby, Will.i.am, Madonna and Eric E. When it came time for the Emperor of Trance, Armin van Buuren, to take over, even the crowd had separation anxiety.

That is until the hazers began misting, high-powered lasers beamed, and moving lights were on full-blast, and van Buuren began to dominate the main stage in a way only the world’s number one DJ could. LEDs spelled out “TRANCE” in larger-than-life letters behind the artist, as he spun symphonic synthetic beats, with string orchestral notes and seemingly operatic vocals. When asked why he decided to headline Electric Zoo for the second year in a row, van Buuren said that “The market in the US for me is huge! I sell more here in New York and LA than anywhere else. I’ve done some really successful shows. People remember under the Brooklyn Bridge, at the Roxy, Pacha, Roseland Ballroom—I’ve been everywhere.”

Next week van Buuren releases his fourth artist album, Mirage, followed by a massive North American tour, confirming he has no plans of putting on the brakes. Indeed, it was a superb end to a stellar Labor Day weekend. Following the van Buuren set, Moby hosted a surprise after-party at Pacha alongside Guy Gerber.

In closing, van Buuren said it best: “I’ve been working with Mike Bindra [and Laura De Palma, the couple behind Made Events] that put on Electric Zoo, for a while. They were guests at my wedding. I’m just so thrilled that Mike is doing well, because New York deserves a festival like this. It’s kinda of bizarre that it took so long to have a festival such as this and there is a big demand for [it]. They sold something like 27,000 tickets. We want it. It shows the popularity of electronic music.” He’s all too right.