‘Zoo’ electrifies daring concertgoer

If you’re planning on attending next year’s Electric Zoo Festival, please come prepared with raving shoes or dancing boots. If it’s anything like this year’s festival, it is going to be a loud, dusty, crowded and wildly good time.

This is certainly not an event for the timid or faint of heart. Hence the need for boots. Protection. Masks. Sunglasses. Anything at all to cover your body and orifices from the impregnable cloud of dust. And don’t forget your earplugs if you have qualms about losing your hearing.

If you are among the hardy chosen to withstand, then be prepared, for the brave shall be rewarded.

At this year’s Electric Zoo Festival, which took place over the Labor Day Weekend from September 4 – September 5, 66 acts performed on four stages to a sold-out audience of 50,000 attendees over the two days. The event brought festival-goers a total of 24 hours of live electronic music.

Erol Alkan played a great set on Saturday afternoon as the crowds were just beginning to settle into the festival atmosphere. His angular, almost robotic spinning techniques made his performance quite interesting to watch. Alkan’s Mafioso-looking, popped-collar, buttoned-to-the-top, slicked-to-the-side-hair backstage guests were of equal intrigue. His set on the Red Bull Riverside Stage was followed by two equally strong performances by Fake Blood and RUSKO.

RUSKO finished off at 7:15pm just in time for attendees to head over to the Main Stage for Major Lazer, the fictional Jamaican cartoon character fronting the musical collaborative between Diplo and Switch. (For those wanting to know more about the persona that is Major Lazer: his Twitter page describes him as once man, “now soldier of good, seeker of justice, enforcer of pain,” “half man, half lazer, and all warrior,” and the New Yorker profiled him as a “Jamaican commando who fought in the ‘secret Zombie War of 1984’ and lost both arms in combat” in the June 8, 2009 edition.) The duo provided an energetic yet low-key performance with reggae influences and live dancing, a perfect transition between the more relaxed day scene and livelier night. The Zoo grooved to their mashup of “Pon de Floor” and “WARP.”

As the lights dimmed, the graffiti-ed school bus outside the Sunday School Grove appeared in its true glow-in-the-dark colors and the GloGloves and LED hula hoops emerged, providing for some particularly galactic dance performances.

Crowds went wild to the Chemical Brothers, the last set of Saturday night, as a gigantic white church flared up on the screen, flashing into and out of existence to “Block Rockin’ Beats.”

On Sunday, DJ Mehdi, A-Trak and Bassnectar were highlights at the Red Bull Stage and Boys Noize was perhaps the biggest crowd pleaser on the Main Stage. Interestingly enough, Boys Noize made much greater use of their recent collaborations than Erol Alkan had the day before, playing the song “Lemonade” that they created together.

Following a preview interview with Axwell, WEEKEND finally did get the “Bromance” performance it had been waiting for — from Avicii, though, as opposed to Axwell.

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