It’s not just the electric energy that strikes you the second you’ve made it through security, or the three giant daisies that for the first time illuminate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, or the carnival rides that evoke those ecstatic, childlike laughs that drew an estimated 240,000 people to Electric Daisy Carnival, June 24-26. The force behind the lights, magic and P.L.U.R.—a raver term: Peace, Love, Unity, Respect—is of course, the electronic music. Here’s a rundown of Vegas Seven’s favorite EDC beats:
The Italian extraordinaire Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, a.k.a. Bloody Beetroots was joined by his Death Crew 77 to baptize fans into their Church of Noise. Dennis Lyxzén of legendary hard-core punk band Refused jumped onstage to rock the crowd to the Beetroots version of Refused’s “New Noise.”
Whether you experienced the kaleidoscopic effect of 3-D glasses or used other, ahem, methods to create your own personal light show, you could still experience “All of the Lights” when Laidback Luke incorporated his version of the famed Kanye West track during his soul-infused set.
Skrillex proved why, at just 23 years old, he is such a massive success, mashing up everything from his own tracks along with the Jackson 5 to Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” and a tribute to recently deceased Jackass star Ryan Dunn.
It didn’t matter how long lines were for the carnival rides because the music was a big enough distraction to make the time fly and, once finally strapped in, set a soundtrack to enhance the thrilling experience. Above & Beyond’s trance set was made all the more trance-y from the spinning swings.
Empire of the Sun’s synth-glam sound was matched with an animal inspired-futuristic David Bowie wardrobe and hypnotic visuals resulting in a unifying power swaying the audience that “they are the people that rule the world.”
Closing out Day Two, Boys Noize dropped his remix of Chemical Brothers’ “Swoon,” mashed with Boys Noize’ own “Yeah,” and the dance-your-ass-off jam of Feist’s “My Moon My Man” just as the sun began to rise.
Shit got bananas (“B-A-N-A-N-A-S”) when Dada Life shut down the festival in true Dada style, tossing humongous inflatable champagne bottles and bananas into the audience while banana-costumed dancers partied onstage, eating real bananas, to their remix of the popular Gwen Stefani song.
Electric Daisy Carnival may have been a music festival, but it was your eyes that did the work.
Giant, hulking stages rigged with lights so bright the people wearing sunglasses at 3 a.m. actually didn’t look stupid for a change. Costumes so bright they could glow—and did—with electroluminescent wire. But it wasn’t the visual overload that made you pay attention to your eyes. It was the heat. It was the way they dried to a ragged, broken-concrete finish just minutes after stepping into the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
That’s when you realized just how insidious the “no open bottles of eyedrops” policy was. Or the “no open Chapstick” policy. Or the “no outside beverages” policy. You’d have to buy them inside. Along with gum, cigarettes and water bottles to take advantage of the free refill stations. Not to mention Heineken Domes, the Marlboro smoking tent and concession guys shoving through the throbbing masses to hawk lemonade to parched dancers.
Surprise, ravers: You’re just a walking wad of dollar bills stuffed into fur boots.
That’s a bit unfair, of course. Insomniac isn’t running a charity, and glowing Ferris wheels don’t pay for themselves. Yet for a scene that grew out of grimy warehouses it was, if not surprising, at least noteworthy how commercial the whole affair was.
Doubly so considering the driving peace, love and unity ethos. It’s easy to see the Carnival crowd as a bunch of neo-hippies with better drugs and hotter clothes, but they have something else foreign to the Woodstock crowd: a clear demographic that was precisely marketed to.
Besides, there’s something kind of depressing about a lone, drained girl in sagging angel wings hunched over a desperate 2 a.m. Red Bull at the food court table.