Labor Day is fast approaching, and with it comes New York’s premier electronic music festival, Electric Zoo. Made Event’s young festival is only in its fourth year, but the talent is incredible, the venue improves every year, and the dance-crazed fanbase is multiplying. For part one of our preview, we’ll check out two very different and very wild stages that will call Randall’s Island home over Labor Day Weekend.
The first day starts with a bang at the Hilltop as progressive godfathers Above & Beyond plan a Group Therapy session. New Yorker Zack Roth gets opening honors with his dark brand of prog house, a perfect segue into Anjunadeep mainstays Jaytech and Andrew Bayer. Rising stars give way to legends; the block of Gabriel & Dresden and Ferry Corsten is extremely impressive for long-time fans of progressive house and trance. Finally the curators themselves, Above & Beyond, headline the Hilltop on Friday with their signature soul-melting sound.
Progressive turns to electro on day two of the Zoo as newcomers DallasK and Mord Fustang will have fans jumping to early sets that will surely be genre-bending. The lineup then gets massive, with international stars Martin Solveig, Wolfgang Gartner, and Benny Benassi ready to blow the roof off this tent. But what’s intriguing on this day is the addition of polarizing dubstep wildman Rusko–his set on the main stage last year was a bit mellow, but that can be attributed to the bright, outdoor setting. You can be certain that in a huge enclosed tent as day turns to night, this crazy Brit will have the crowd dancing and freaking at his usual breakneck pace.
Dubstep seems a logical progression after that cheeky special guest spot and day three at the Hilltop Arena delivers in the form of melodic 140BPMers Adventure Club and Mt. Eden. Electric Zoo does a great job of joining the new with the old, as pioneers Z-Trip and Andy C are going to school the young crowd on the origins of breakbeat. Live band EOTO will be a nice change of pace in the middle of the lineup but things will get mental soon after with Flux Pavilion & Doctor P followed by Excision. The three producers are known for destroying dance floors with bruising bass, so expect a killer block of monster dubstep.
SUNDAY SCHOOL GROVE
What started as a Miami institution of techno, minimal, and deep house has extended its reach to New York City. Made Event always keeps their infamous Sunday School lineup fresh and 2012 is no exception. On Friday the tent transforms into a circus when Luciano’s crew of Vagabundos takes over with a collection of stars rarely seen statewide. Watch as Mendo ignites the dance floor, marvel as Frivolous plays with knives (literally), and groove as Argy gets deep and eclectic. The Frankfurt tag team of Robert Dietz and Reboot own the next three hours with an infectious sound that’s been taking Ibiza by storm, followed by the Cadenza maestro himself. Luciano’s legendary sets are a can’t-miss affair and this headlining spot should be no different.
Day two keeps the tech house fire burning as local favorites Sleepy & Boo open up for a fresh selection of acclaimed DJ’s. Dirtybird head honcho Claude VonStroke is a favorite everywhere he plays with intelligently funky sets that don’t know the meaning of genre. Get techier still with rising star Maya Jane Coles, then let Paco Osuna plunge you into the depths of techno darkness before the most anticipated set of the day by Sasha. The DJ hero is known for taking the dance floor on a melodic journey and the sunset is the perfect time for a trip. Chris Liebing will follow up with a brutal, take-no-prisoners techno set of massive proportions.
Sunday sees a shift in the curriculum as techno and electro collide to create an enthralling lineup. A disco-tinged Boysnoize Records takeover with Djedjotronic and Strip Steve transitions to full-on Circoloco mode with Better Lost Than Stupid, the must-see triumvirate of Martin Buttrich, Davide Squillace, and Matthias Tanzmann. The tent is also host to an inspiring live set by Apparat and deep melodies courtesy of Dixon. At dusk this stage gets very interesting; electro beast Boys Noize rumbles through the traditional techno lineup. Will his set build on the electronic sounds he’s known for, or will he steer us in a direction more closely related to his work on Cocoon Recordings? Finally the festival comes to a close with driving, dark beats from techno ambassador Marco Carola.
Only two stages in and already there’s something here for everyone. Next week we share with you the Riverside and Main Stages at Electric Zoo. For now, dive into the lineup and check out the below video for an epic recap of last year’s event.