Simply put, this weekend was UNREAL. It began Thursday morning with a five-hour excursion from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, stopping only once for our precious In-N-Out. After finally touching down at our suite at the Mandalay Bay, we made it down the strip to the Hardrock Hotel to meet up with the rest of the Techi Team. What then ensued could only be described as a night of complete debauchery, leading into the next morning ready to head back to Mandalay Bay, where our good friends Gregory Sills and Peter Sims, together known as Fista Cuffs, played the topless pool party. Now that the darkness was approaching, it was time to call the limo and make our way to the main event – the one and only Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas. Continue on for a day by day recap of everything that went down at the Motorspeedway on this legendary weekend…
After waiting in brutal traffic for almost two full hours, the Techi team and I finally entered the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to spend what I would call one of the best nights of my life. After sprinting down the speedway’s stairs, we immediately ran over to the Kinetic Field to catch the last half hour of Knife Party’s set. I was a little bummed that we couldn’t make it the entire time, but it was still a great opening into the night. Seeing Knife Party was insane. Their notoriously quick transitions allowed for immensely huge tracks and countless wobbles to vibrate the tens of thousands of people who swarmed the main stage. I was amazed at not only the power of their set, but the energy buzzing throughout the entire crowd. Everybody was getting grimy and you could not help but get a little weird.
As Knife Party concluded their set, we stopped at the water refill station and headed over to the Cosmic Meadow to catch AN21 and Max Vangeli tear up the crowd. They both seemed to be having an amazing time on stage, and the crowd’s energy was similarly just as alive. I had never seen this duo before, so our crew made its way straight to the front and center. Their set was very progressive and the bass really took me by surprise. However, after we had only been there for about 30 minutes, they stepped off stage, making room for the one and only, Thomas Gold.
Thomas Gold easily had one of the most unique sets of the entire weekend. Not only did he come on stage, but so did an entire drum line wearing some awesomely stylish white overalls. For multiple tracks, he would mix a massively progressive build and upon the drop, the drum line would kick in, giving the set an entirely new feel. Each drummer was on point, and so was Thomas’ mixing. The track he played that stood out to me most was his classic hit, ‘Alive’. He had the entire crowd emotionally singing the well-known vocals and it provided a very unifying vibe. A little over halfway through his set, we decided that we would return to the Kinetic Field to catch some of another set by the world-renowned legend known as Sebastian Ingrosso.
As we arrived at the main stage, we could see the entire crowd raging like we had not seen all night. It was the first time that we had seen progressive house at the Kinetic Field, and needless to say, the place was going off. Ingrosso’s track choice consisted of progressive house bangers and sing-a-long vocals, but his ability to manipulate the music with effects and mixing skills completely set him apart. There is no reason anyone should skip out on an Ingrosso set, and his amazing DJ abilities once again proved his presence as one third of the game changing Swedish House Mafia. After what was one of the greatest house sets of the weekend, we took a peek at our watches and realized we only had a few minutes to make our way over to the Circuit Grounds in order to see our next scheduled artists.
The time was now 12:30am, so where else would we be besides front and center at the Circuit Grounds, ready to see the #5 DJs in the world, Above & Beyond. I had seen Above & Beyond before, but this set absolutely blew me away. There were people as far as I could see, and everyone was ready for some Group Therapy. The second they hopped on stage, the crowd went nuts. Their music was simply beautiful and the entire mass of people was caught in a trance obsession. The entire time I was there, I not only had my hands in the air but an ear-to-ear smile on my face. Towards the end of their set, one could see an unreal fireworks show to the left. The insane visuals along with some of the best music in the world really cooperated to make one of the top three sets of my entire weekend. Ending their set, Above & Beyond began to play their legendary track, ‘Sun and Moon’. At this point, the fireworks unfortunately seemed to overwhelm the music, and it led the crowd and performers to become visibly aggravated. However, they still built the track up and waited for the fireworks to stop before they relinquished the beautifully euphoric track. The entire stage lit up, and so did the faces of each and every person in the crowd; I could not count how many people I saw crying from overwhelming joy. So, I’d like to send a quick message to Above & Beyond or anyone else at Anjunabeats – if you are reading this, thank you for giving me some of the happiest two hours of my life.
After the conclusion of such an unbelievably emotional set, I double-checked the schedule to determine our next move. I then realized why nobody was leaving the crowd- Gareth Emery was next. Gareth jumped on stage with more swagger than I had ever seen any DJ do before. As he hit the decks in his ultra Euro white leather jacket, he opened with his brand new banger, ‘The Saga’. The bass at the stage truly took that track to a whole new level, and I couldn’t think of a better song to kick off his amazing set. Throughout his roughly 80-minute appearance, he seemed to know exactly what the crowd wanted to hear. He played an awesome trance remix to Martin Solveig’s ‘The Night Out’ that not only provided popular lyrics but a blanket of sincere euphoria. His entire set was full of bangers, but he did not keep it only trance. Gareth’s unbelievable DJ skills allowed him to play house bangers such as Dada Life’s ‘Kick Out The Epic Motherf**ker’, and ‘Greyhound’, by the Swedish House Mafia. Both tracks caught me completely off guard. Frankly speaking, Gareth Emery had the entire crowd in the palm of his hand, and I would venture to say that he played the best set I have ever seen in my life.
My watch now read 4:00am, and it was time to make our way to the Kinetic Field in order to see Bassjackers for a quick 30 minute set. As we walked up, I heard the distant bass of their notorious banger, ‘Mush Mush’. The track goes super hard, and I had a great time shuffling through the crowd to meet up with our friends. Next, I specifically remember hearing a great transition into Bingo Players’ ‘Rattle’. I must say, for only a quick 30 minute set, Bassjackers really knew how to throw down. The bass was huge towards the front of the crowd, and he had tens of thousands of people constantly jumping up and down. However, as much as I wanted to keep hearing these house bangers, the clock was approaching 4:30am.
It was now time for the legendary Fedde le Grand to take the stage. As he walked out, the crowd erupted, and we were all ready to hear the final set of the night (or morning?). He began very progressively and did a great job of keeping the crowd alive. The bass was pretty deep, the hands were in the air, and believe it or not, the sun was starting to come up. Last year at this time, I saw Sander Van Doorn, so I knew they were going to schedule somebody amazing. Fedde killed it. After a slower start he began playing some of the biggest house tracks of 2012. Fedde’s tracks always seem to have a certain cut in beat that pronounce his unique style, so hearing him live for the first time was an amazing experience. I could not have had a better Friday night.
After taking a short recovery nap and regaining momentum at a few pool parties, Day 2 of the festival had finally arrived. Learning from the first night, we chose to leave a bit earlier this time and take a back route that we had mapped out the night before, which ended up shaving well over an hour of travel time. We entered the festival at around 9:30 PM and the Speedway looked as alive as ever as we took the short walk down the stairs and into the chaos for what was sure to be an even better night than the last.
After a quick stop at the refill station we ran over to the Kinetic Field where we managed to catch the last few minutes of Nicky Romero as he was bringing a surely massive set to a close. The mood was set at the main stage: packed crowd with an abundance of energy, all eagerly awaiting for the next artist to take the stage. The next artist to play tonight was Martin Solveig, who I was particularly excited to see after watching him do back flips mid-set on the stage front trampoline last year. The crowd went wild as the young Frenchman appeared and took everyone by surprise by dropping Knife Party’s “Destroy Them With Lasers” over his signature track, “Ready 2 Go.” His set was by far one of the most diverse I have seen since Major Lazer last year; dropping everything from house, electro, dubstep, hip-hop, and rock. About mid-set Solveig unexpectedly dropped into Kayne and Jay-Z’s “Niggas In Paris” and the crowd exploded with excitement. Solveig ended the night with his hugely popular track “Hello,” leaving the entire crowd completely stunned from such a surprising set and beautifully setting the stage for Bassnectar.
Bassnectar was next up at the Kinetic Field, which took me by surprise, as I would have expected him at Basspod or Neon Garden. Although I enjoy Bassnectar, I did not enjoy him as much on the main stage; the natural vibe of the Kinetic Field was not well suited for constant grimy, bass-heavy drops in my opinion. Not only this, but being heavily reliant on the bass sound, it was hard for his set to be heard at full potential if you weren’t up in the front third of the crowd, as the bass would dissipate the further back you went, off-setting the song structure. However, despite these things there was no doubt that Bassnectar played the strong set that you would expect from the veteran and the crowd that chose to stay seemed to enjoy having their faces melted.
Early into Bassnectar’s set, my group and I decided it was time to hit the refill station before heading over to Neon Garden to see the legendary Feed Me. The chorus of “Green Bottle” could be heard as we approached the stage and I immediately noticed the infamous teeth flashing in the distance. We made our way to the front of the massive crowd in order to fully enjoy the bass-heavy set that was sure to ensue. Feed Me, as usual, did not disappoint. The heavy drops filled the stage area and he managed to maintain a high level of energy throughout the duration of his set. One of the peak moments of the set came as he dropped “One Click Headshot” and had the entire crowd, including myself, screaming “HEADSHOT” right before the grimy, whining bass kicked and the entire crowd began bouncing in unison. Once again Feed Me had, in my opinion, one of the best sets of the night and was definitely top five in 2012.
Near the end of Feed Me’s set we began noticing that it had gotten much chillier and the winds had begun to pick up. We decided to head back over to the main stage to catch Calvin Harris for a few minutes before the highly anticipated Armin Van Buuren took to the Circuit Grounds at 1 AM. Calvin had a good set, playing all of his most popular songs, but we were slightly disappointed that he chose not to sing anything live; his press-play set was not what we had expected from the singer. It didn’t seem to matter, however, as the energy of the crowd was just the same. His set choice was extremely impressive, starting off with “Spaceman” and keeping a high energy level throughout. As he dropped “Bounce,” everyone (especially the female audience) filled in the lyrics themselves. The set was cut short, however, at about 12:30 AM. Just as we were leaving to make our way to Tommy Trash, the music cut out and we over heard Calvin announce that the stage was deemed unsafe and everyone must clear out. Winds had picked up to a gusty 40+ mph, threatening the integrity of the stages and other structures throughout the carnival.
Fans were asked to move to the stands along the outside of the Speedway before being asked to leave entirely around 1 AM. The scene was depressing; massive, empty stages littered with trash and no music as the techi crew scrambled to secure whatever they could before the wind could knock it down. The Wide Awake Art Car headed to the grass area of the Speedway where many disgruntled, yet hopeful fans sat in hopes that the wind would die down enough to continue. The music blasting from the cars along with various entertainers tried to keep the festival goers entertained, which worked only for a short time before everyone slowly trickled out in hopes that the final day would make up for the loss of this one.
After a night of heavy winds and disappointed fans, the head-honchos over at Insomniac knew that the third and final day of EDC had to be nothing short of spectacular. Just like the previous two nights, Sunday’s lineup was far beyond stacked as Morgan Page, Arty, CAZZETTE, and Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano kicked off the now infamous Kinetic Field. The energy really hit a new level, however, as Chuckie took the stage at 9:40. The legendary Dutchman infused his hit tracks with superb timing to provide the crowd with an unmatched mixing display that caught everyone off guard.
Before we knew it, the Basspod was featuring Delta Heavy and Dirtyphonics – two of the hardest hitting Dubstep acts that the weekend would provide. Two hours of that heavy bass required a transition into a mellower atmosphere, and who better to provide it than Armin van Buuren? The man has been a front-runner for Trance and the entire EDM industry since the beginning of his career and has continued to take it places that otherwise seemed intangible. After observing mere moments of his set, it was clear why. Armin brings all of his love and passion to the table with every set and shares it with the crowd in what can only be described as an emotional experience. After soaking in all that was Armin, another legend was next on our list – Carl Cox. Cox’s unique techno sound has given him a seemingly cult-following of diehard fans; and I now see why. His sets truly are one of a kind with a constant powerful bassline that pumps as the crowd chanted, “Work”, to the beat.
As our time with the legends wielded down, we headed back to the Kinetic Field to finish off the epic weekend with America’s own favorite rising star, Porter Robinson. This 19-year-old prodigy held the stage presence of a seasoned vet and had no problem absolutely destroying a crowd of over 50,000 raging fans. Porter infused much of his own music with only the hardest hitting tracks; like those from Knife Party. “Internet Friends” was played more than a fair amount throughout the weekend, but none of them sent the crowd into a frenzy compared to when Porter dropped it Sunday night.
Dada Life and Funkagenda followed on the Kinetic Field and we headed back to The Strip with smiles on our faces and an unmatched sense of satisfaction. But have no fear boys and girls, it is only a mere year away until we get to leave planet Earth in sore through the sky yet again.
Written By: Friday – Jake Glazer, Saturday – Parker Ashley, Sunday – Gabe Stansbury