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A look at the brand new Main Stage East

For complete photo albums, head to our Facebook page to check out Day 1 Photos | Day 2 Photos

Look, what happened this past weekend on Randall’s Island is a tragedy – there’s no way around it. It was a tragedy for a few reasons, mainly because two people died, but also because of the national coverage it received and how it negatively affects the dance music scene as a whole. Oh yeah, and also because it was the fifth year of Electric Zoo: an event people from around the country had been looking forward to all Summer and a milestone for its founders. Sunday was a highly anticipated day of the festival, featuring sets by some of dance music’s biggest DJs, a world-record twerk wall, a Dim Mak stage, and a Drumcode stage. But due to the “safety concerns” by Mayor Bloomberg and the city of New York, Day 3 was shutdown and EZoo5 came to an abrupt end. Sure, fans are getting a refund but that’s a huge letdown all around. I could sit here and tell you how people must educate themselves and look after one another, but that has already been shoved down your throats thanks to guys like Tommie Sunshine. While I side with guys like Sunshine, A-Trak, and Kaskade (click that link to check out their Ecstasy PSA) , I also think situations like recent “overdoses” and arrests in Boston are getting out of hand. But I’m not here to focus on that. I’m here to talk about the two days that DID make the beginning of EZoo5 an enjoyable time. (I’ll say, however, I am a bit surprised we haven’t received much of a statement from the founders of Electric Zoo… but that’s for another discussion.)

So, Electric Zoo was in its fifth year this past weekend. I had attended all but the first year, making this the fourth year in a row I’d be trekking to Randall’s Island NYC for Labor Day weekend (check out 2012 and 2011). Electric Zoo has always held a special place in my heart. It was my first music festival ever and it was what I consider my first real exposure to dance music. I let my friends, who later became the MMIBTY founding team, introduce me to DJs and music I’d never heard of, taking me around to different stages and giving me doses of “must-see” experiences. I’m talking about guys like Rusko, Wolfgang Gartner, Boys Noize, and Armin Van Buuren among others. Not a ton has changed about the festival over the years. Starting year 3 EZoo expanded to three days and more and more people started getting involved, up to 100,000 people last year. This year the biggest change with Electric Zoo was the addition of a second main stage (oxymoron?). The designs of Hilltop and Riverside changed. The Hilltop stage was placed in the middle of the tent while rotating 360 degrees. The Riverside stage was very long across the width of the tent, with an intricate stage design that went 3-D with each night’s closing performance. Sunday School Grove stayed exactly the same as last year, allowing fans of Deep House, Tech-House, and other Underground music to experience sets in front of a lit-up neon school bus.

click through to read the rest of my thoughts plus you can listen to my top-3 sets from the weekend!

Here’s what else changed. In years past, and with most festivals I’ve gone to, I found myself bopping around to different stages, rarely catching an entire set. Call it A.D.D., call it conflicting schedules, or call it different tastes among my friends. Either way, this year I spent a lot of time seeing a smaller amount of acts, thanks to my desire to stay for the duration of their time on stage. Sets I had circled over the two days included Dog Blood, Mat Zo, and A-Trak – all of which I saw entire sets of and all of which comprise my top-3 best sets from the weekend. I enjoyed catching partial sets by Fehrplay, John Digweed, Jack Beats, Gramatik, Brodinski vs. Gesaffelstein, and Above & Beyond (who I thought stole the show in 2012). Based on those artists, you’ll notice I spent very little time at the main stages. In fact, I didn’t see a single second of music at Main Stage East which was the new addition this year, located closer to Icahn Stadium.

Other thoughts: I personally didn’t notice much of a difference in the crowd this year now that it was 18+. I certainly noticed young (high school-aged) fans boppin’ around last year but I still noticed a fair amount of younger people this year. As for the music, I witnessed a few things I wasn’t a huge fan of. Alvin Risk’s set was not for me. While he is a diverse artist, the heavy Dubstep really wasn’t rubbing me the right way. Same goes with UZ, who I actually loved at Ultra, but I just wasn’t in the mood for at Zoo. Skream played a great set at the Fool’s Gold Clubhouse, full of Nu-Disco, Tech-House, and Deep House… basically all things that were funky. But what the FUCK was he doing with an MC? I normally can’t stand MCs to begin with, but to throw one over a set like this is just ridiculous… never again Skream! Lastly, I wish I had a chance to catch more of Danny Tenaglia because from what I heard his set was killer, and he closed with this.

After all was said and done this weekend, the first two days of Zoo were fun, but not the best festival experience I’ve ever had. The non-existent Day 3 was a huge let down and at this point it’s a question mark as to whether or not the Zoo will be in effect next year, though I really hope it is. Take a listen to my favorite three sets from the weekend, read about why they topped my list, and let us know your thoughts on Electric Zoo 2013!

Mat Zo, Day 2, Hilltop Arena
Mat Zo was on my short bucket list of DJs I still hadn’t had a chance to see live. I’ve been a fan of the 23-year-old DJ/Producer for years, with his phenomenal productions and superb mixes/sets. I stayed for his entire set at Electric Zoo and I wasn’t let down. We got a healthy combination of heavy bangers and uplifting trance songs, with surprises worked all the way through. Zo is a rare DJ that creates unimaginable mashups and keeps them for his own use, never to be officially released. I’m so glad I got to witness the British DJ kill it live and I hope I get to again soon.

Watch the video of him taking stage

01. Pryda – Layers [PRYDA] w/ Dajae – Everyday My Life (Acappella)
02. Mat Zo – Bipolar [ANJUNABEATS] w/ Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit [DATA (MOS)]
03. Steve Aoki & Chris Lake & Tujamo – Boneless [DIM MAK] w/ Deadmau5 – Strobe [VIRGIN] w/ Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford – Sun & Moon (Acappella) [ANJUNABEATS]
04. Estiva – Dinodrums [ENHANCED]
05. Deadmau5 feat. Greta Svabo Bech – Raise Your Weapon (Madeon Extended Remix) [MAU5TRAP] w/ Wuki – Jolt [WARPATH]
06. Mat Zo feat. Chuck D – Pyramid Scheme (Club Mix) [ANJUNABEATS] w/ Above & Beyond – Walter White [ANJUNABEATS]
07. Wolfgang Gartner – Menage A Trois [ULTRA]
08. Arty & Mat Zo – Rebound [ANJUNABEATS]
09. Mikkas & Amba Shepherd – Finally (Botnek Remix) [STRICTLY]
10. Green Velvet – Flash (Nicky Romero Remix) [RELIEF]
11. Fedde Le Grand – Rockin’ N’ Rollin’ (Togglehead Remix) [FLAMINGO] w/ Tommy Trash – Monkey See Monkey Do (Tommy Trash Re-Edit) [MAU5TRAP] w/ Knife Party – EDM Death Machine [EARSTORM/BIG BEAT]
12. ID – ID w/ MRSA & Parallax – Recurring Dream (Mat Zo Remix) (Working Title)
13. Empire Of The Sun – Alive (Mat Zo Remix) [CAPITOL (EMI)] w/ Empire Of The Sun – Alive (Zedd Remix) [CAPITOL (EMI)]
14. Andrew Bayer – England [ANJUNADEEP (ANJUNABEATS)]
15. Wolfgang Gartner – Flexx [ULTRA]
16. The Prodigy – Breathe (Zeds Dead Remix) [XL] w/ Hardwell – Spaceman [REVEALED]
17. ID – ID w/ Zedd feat. Foxes – Clarity (Torro Torro Remix) [INTERSCOPE]
18. The Aston Shuffle vs. Tommy Trash – Sunrise (Won’t Get Lost) (Tommy Trash Version) [AXTONE] w/ ID – ID
19. Wolfgang Gartner – Nuke [ULTRA] w/ Chris Lake & Michael Woods – Black Thong [ULTRA]
20. ID – ID w/ Chris Lake & Marco Lys – La Tromba (Chris Lake & Nom De Strip Remix) [RISING]
21. Inpetto – Girls & Boys [DOORN (SPINNIN’)] w/ Benny Benassi pres. The Biz – Satisfaction (Dada Life Remix) [DATA (MOS)]
22. Carli – The Weekender [FOOL’S GOLD]
23. Porter Robinson & Mat Zo – Easy [MOS/ANJUNABEATS] w/ Firebeatz & Schella – Dear New York [SPINNIN’]

Dog Blood, Day 1, Riverside Tent (Boys Noize Stage)
Ever since the super-group of Dog Blood came out with their first EP I was on board. Skrillex and Boys Noize separately are genius producer/DJs and what they do when they come together is like no other dance music artist out there. Their sets are unique and packed full of energy, spanning the world of Dupstep, Trap, Electro-House, funk, and everything in between. The mixing is on par and perfect for the A.D.D. fan. Their set to close out the Riverside tent on Day 1 was exactly what the doctor ordered and I can say with confidence they stole the day on Friday.

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Watch a little sit down, stand up

  1. Dog Blood – Middle Finger 2
  2. Dog Blood – Middle Finger (The M Machine Remix)
  3. Dog Blood – Disco Dog Track
  4. John Dahlback – Pressure
  5. Sander van Doorn – Joyenergizer
  6. Boys Noize – Starwin
  7. Skrillex & Damian Marley – Make It Bun Dem (Alvin Risk Remix)
  8. Destructo – Higher
  9. Destructo – Higher (Tommy Trash Remix)
  10. The Prodigy – Breathe
    w/ Tiesto – Chasing Summers (Quintino & R3hab Remix)
  11. Dog Blood – Get Mad
  12. Sluggers – Rollex
  13. Knife Party – Power Glove
  14. Tracques – Click Track
  15. Dog Blood – ID
  16. Dog Blood – Chella Ride
  17. David Heartbreak & Simon Sayz – Acid Youths
  18. Plastik Funk & Tujamo – Who
  19. Boys Noize – Excuse Me
  20. Skrillex – Lion Roar Trap
  21. A$AP Rocky feat. Skrillex – Wild For The Night (Dog Blood Remix)
  22. A$AP Rocky ft. Skrillex & Birdy Nam Nam – Wild For The Night
  23. Boys Noize – Go Hard
  24. Skrillex feat. Alvin Risk – Try It Out
  25. Space Laces & Bro Safari – Fang Banger
  26. Kanye West – New Slaves (DJ Snake Remix)
  27. Kill The Noise – Rockers (Bro Safari & UFO! Remix)
  28. ID – ID
  29. Yellow Claw – Kaolo
  30. Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness (Dog Blood Edit)
  31. TC – Get Down Low
  32. Boys Noize – Push Em Up
  33. Skrillex – ID (Feat. Ragga Twins)
  34. Skrillex feat. Sirah – Kyoto (VIP)
  35. Dog Blood – Shred Or Die (Kill Em With The Beat)
  36. Skrillex & Boys Noize pres. Dog Blood – Next Order
  37. Dog Blood – ID

A-Trak, Day 2, Riverside Tent (Fools Gold Clubhouse)
A-Trak is a master of his craft, everyone in the dance music world knows that. He’s a rare DJ who combines turntablism with awesome song selections, ranging from funky Disco House to heavy Electro and all the Trap and Hip-Hop in between. I’ve seen A-Trak many times and he never, EVER disappoints. Every set is unique, every set features scratching that makes me say “holy shit!” and overall the Canadian knows how to rock a crowd. A-Trak’s set was in 3-D and left me craving more after his 90 minutes were over.

01. ID – ID
02. A-Trak feat. Oliver – Disco Nap [FOOL’S GOLD] w/ De La Soul feat. Redman – Oooh! (Acappella)
03. Carli – Rhythm Doctor [FOOL’S GOLD] w/ 2 Chainz feat. Kanye West – Birthday Song (Acappella)
04. Merk & Kremont & Paris & Simo – Tundra [FLAMINGO]
05. Tommy Trash & A-Trak – Tuna Melt [FOOL’S GOLD] w/ Tag Team – Whoomp! (There It Is) (Acappella)
06. Maurizio Gubellini & Nari & Milani feat. Nicci – Vago [SPINNIN’]
07. ID – ID w/ Garmiani – Behind You (Rumble) [DIM MAK]
08. Boys Noize – Excuse Me [BOYSNOIZE]
09. Florian Picasso – Artemis [ONES TO WATCH (MIXMASH)]
10. Duck Sauce – It’s You (DJ Snake Remix) [3BEAT]
11. Pink Is Punk & Benny Benassi – Perfect Storm (Clockwork Remix) [ULTRA]
12. Tracques – Click Track w/ Estelle feat. Kardinal Offishall – Freak (Acappella)
13. Bingo Players – Devotion [SNEAKERZ (SPINNIN’)]
14. Duck Sauce – Big Bad Wolf
15. Duck Sauce – Big Bad Wolf (Dada Life Remix) [BIG BEAT]
16. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (Kid Kamillion Trap Edit) [FOOL’S GOLD]
17. Gent & Jawns – Turnup [FREE TRACK]
18. ID – ID
19. ID – ID
20. Roscoe Dash & Soulja Boy – All The Way Turnt Up
21. Dillon Francis – Bootleg Fireworks (The Rebirth) [FLY EYE]
22. Kanye West – New Slaves (DJ Snake Remix) [FREE TRACK]
23. ID – ID
24. Migos feat. Drake – Versace
25. ID – ID
26. French Montana – Ain’t Worried Bout Nothing
27. Pelari – Cango [MUSICAL FREEDOM] w/ Jay-Z – Tom Ford
28. GTA & Diplo – Boy Oh Boy [FREE TRACK]
29. DVBBS & Borgeous – Tsunami [DOORN (SPINNIN’)]
30. ID – ID
31. ID – ID
32. Norman Doray – Filtre [LE7ELS]
33. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers – Get Lucky (LifeLike Remix) [COLUMBIA (SONY)]
34. Martin Solveig – The Night Out (A-Trak Remix) [MIXTURE]
35. Incredible Bongo Band – Apache
36. ID – ID
37. Kanye West – On Sight
38. ID – ID
39. DJ Snake feat. Alesia – Bird Machine [MAD DECENT]
40. ID – ID
41. ID – ID
42. Tristan Garner – Molotov [XTRALIFE]
43. Paris Blohm – Free Fall [OXYGEN (SPINNIN’)]
44. Madeon – Technicolor [POPCULTUR]
45. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix) [FOOL’S GOLD]