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Chandler, Ariz. –  This past weekend, the 2018 spring-music merry-go-round kicked off in a big way with the 4th annual Phoenix Lights electronic dance music festival.

Produced by Relentless Beats, the UFO-themed event was held this past April 7-8 at a new venue – The Park at Wild Horse Pass in suburban Chandler – and it presented over 50 acts during the two-day festival. The show’s DJs and live artists included everyone from the locally loved to some of our bigger, international superstars – all gracing the Phoenix Lights stages with blazing beats in the desert heat.

Sure, the big acts offered what you may expect – crowd-pleasing sets from hitmaking DJ/producers like Martin Garrix and Diplo and big-hyping rappers like Gucci Mane and Travis Scott. They all officially killed it; however, let’s take a look at some of the other DJ/artists who were no less impressive.

Hot Drum: Joyryde dropped a scorching set.

Joyryde played an ass-kicking set, highlighted by his 2016 festival killer, “Hot Drum.” Of course, it’s a track that still has plenty of life – the only tune that shares such evergreen status in festival-land seems to be Zomboy’s “Like a Bitch.” Nonetheless, a scorching set… thumbs up.

South African duo Goldfish brought a jazz-influenced vibe, but one that was also plenty bouncy and groovy. Their thrilling set demonstrated a wicked combo of DJ prowess and live instrumentation, which included sax, keys and upright bass. They got the twilight-crowd moving with their own gems (“Talk to Me,” “One Million Views,” and “Games Continued”), as well as Chemical Surf & Vintage Culture’s sinful remake of Nina Simone’s classic “Feeling Good.” Soulful and sultry indeed.

As usual, Seven Lions was terrific. OK, so he may be far from “unknown,” but his set was refreshing diversion from the mainstream. While he dropped many of his better-known tracks (“Cold Hearted,” “Cusp,” “Worlds Apart” and, of course, “Don’t Leave” feat. Ellie Goulding), he infused his set with a noticeable dose of psy-trance. Highlights included “Adhana” by Vini Vici & Astrix, “Shatterpoint” from Trivecta, and “Mandala,” an Indian-inspired gem by The Blastboyz.

Christoph killed on the house-flavored stage with emotional, progressive gems (like his “Epoch” and “Arise” by Victor Ruiz & D-Nox) that kicked otherworldly, ethereal vibes. Chris Lake pumped up a Sunday-evening crowd with catchy house on the main stage. Highlights included some of his groovin’ jams like “Lose My Mind,” “Give Her Right Back” (feat. Dances With White Girls), “Nothing Better,” and a killer ID remix of Cevin Fisher’s “You Got Me Burning Up” (feat. Loleatta Holloway).

Hip-Swinging Beats: London ladies Eli & Fur.

Two groove-dropping ladies from London, Eli & Fur, threw down plenty of their deep-house ditties, which had plenty of the hips swaying in the desert daylight. Highlights included their own “White Sails” and “Wendy Legs,” as well as a chill Martin Roth remix of Jaytech’s “Moth.”

Deep & Dark: MK offers a groovy nightcap.

Last but most certainly not least… heavy-hitting house DJ/producer MK (aka Marc Kinchen) moved seamlessly between genres, but maintained his groove-laden trademark. He thrilled the groggy Sunday-night stragglers with many of his remixes, including cuts like “Disco Tits” by Tove Lo, “In The Night” by Claptone feat. Ben Duffy, “Fall Down” by Soldaro, plus the iconic “My Head Is a Jungle,” by Wanklemut & Emma Louise. A terrific way for us to close out the night.

Signing off from the desert… thanks Phoenix Lights and Relentless Beats for another solid festival experience.

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