New York City – More than 90,000 fans turned up to NYC’s Randall’s Island this past Sept. 1-3 to see dozens of DJs and electronic acts at Electric Zoo: The 6th Boro. The ninth-annual EDM mega-fest endured some rain on Saturday and plenty of mud on the closing Sunday, but plenty of the performances managed to transcend the elements. As always, DJ Times was there, taking notes.
Friday Highlights: Mainstage was the place to be on the opening day with Snails, Seven Lions, Galantis and DJ Snake lined up all in row. Snails attracted the day’s bassheads and he certainly game them a sub-stretching set. Seven Lions started off with “Where I Won’t Be Found” feat. NÉONHÈART. Later, the crowd erupted when the drop came of his mashup “Rush Over Me” vs. “Shatterpoint.”
Seven Lions’ energetic set came to an end way too quickly, but everyone was ready for Galantis. The Swedish duo opened with the intro edit of “Runaway (U&I)” and, once the lyrics came in, the whole crowd was singing along. Also, the place went plenty mad when they dropped 2015’s “Peanut Butter Jelly” – a crowd-pleasing set for sure.
Saturday Highlights: Mainstagers Illenium, Tritonal, Tchami, Zedd, Above & Beyond were the favorites of today. Illenium opened strong with his remixes of Kaskade’s “Disarm You” and The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” followed by originals “Afterlife,” “Crawl Outta Love,” and the unreleased “Where’d U Go,” which was accompanied by a pianist – talk about all the feels!
Tritonal’s set was typically fiery with energetic and athletic moments from the Texas trance duo. Though the heavens opened for Tchami’s set, the crowd remained captivated by his future-house stylings. Zedd is always a crowd favorite, so it was no shock that the place remained packed, even though the rain had picked up further. The crowd roared when he opened with “Beautiful Now” and plenty managed to stick out the wet set.
More from Saturday: At the Awakenings tent, local NYC fave Victor Calderone cruised thru the brisk afternoon with a rumbling set that had EZoo’s black-clad techno-heads grooving in unison. At the Hilltop stage, Kayzo raged with throbbing bass before the Houston-born DJ/producer eased up with some acoustic guitars and pleas for compassion and prayers for his storm-ravaged Texas city. At Riverside stage, Drezo kicked some quirky, buzzy, percolating grooves that had fans swaying and twerking in the crisp mid-day air.
Sunday Highlights: If you did not catch The Black Madonna’s exquisitely varied tech-house set at the Elrow-curated stage at Hilltop on Sunday, you missed out big time. Redecorated as a Bollywood theme, this stage was full of manic energy. At one point, mass amounts of inflatables were thrown into the crowd…. from large palm trees to small strawberries and green aliens, people went wild to gather them.
At the Awakenings tent, Finland’s Yotto cranked out propulsive and tweaky Anjunadeep grooves, ultimately finishing with a rousing remix of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax.” On Riverside, Sub Focus put forth some punishing, elastic, drum-n-bass rhythms that reeled and rocked like a rickety locomotive. Meanwhile, the masked Claptone turned the packed Hillside Arena into a pressurized madhouse with his whopping tech-house grooves. On the mainstage, NGHTMRE mixed up a raging menu of bass, trap and melodic EDM—plus a few classics like Skrillex’s 2011 remix of Benny Benassi’s “Cinema”—that had fans kicking up some mud.
Perhaps the best Sunday set (from an artistic standpoint) came from Henrik Schwarz, who played live at the Awakenings stage. The German DJ/producer offered a proper journey of deep-house grooves, sprinkled with sharp melodies and peppered with insistent techno tweakage. When he closed the 90-minute set with his trippy remix of J. Bernardt’s “Wicked Streets,” then Alvaro Albarran’s deep and hypnotically catchy “Dream It,” the tent full of devotees offered an extended hand.
Of course, Dixon, who followed in the Awakenings tent, didn’t disappoint either. Launching slowly into his trademark deep/dark groove, assembling his set element by element, the German DJ/producer ultimately hit the throttle with some rattling techno wreckage. On the Hilltop stage, De La Swing had the colorful Elrow tent shaking with a set of big, chuggy grooves… very old-school prog-house.
At Riverside stage, Slushii and Jauz delivered great performances. At the end of Slushii’s set, after closing with his “Closer” remix and “I Still Recall” with live vocals, he brought out birthday boy Jauz – and the whole crowd proceeded to sing happy birthday. As Jauz took the stage for his set, he brought Slushii back out, along with Crankdat, to help introduce their collaboration, “I Hold Still.” As his set got crazier and crazier, one Zoo attendee was seen dancing around the stage with a flamingo strapped to a whale. Another memorable Electric Zoo moment…
Stay tuned for Electric Zoo 2018, which will mark the festival’s 10th anniversary.