Highs, lows of weekend's Electric Daisy Carnival


It was a daze of days.

We spent more than 20 hours at the Las Vegas Speedway this past weekend, taking in as much of the Electric Daisy Carnival as we could, becoming nocturnal over the course of three late nights and early mornings.

Here's what we took away from the dance music marathon this year:

■ The EDC has to get traffic issues under control.

On Friday, it took us 2½ hours to get out of the lot at the end of the night.

On Saturday and Sunday, it took us almost that long to get into the event.

Leaving EDC ultimately was a chaotic free-for-all, as there didn't seem to be anyone directing the flow of cars within the lot itself, resulting in huge bottlenecks with a mass of automobiles seven and eight vehicles wide trying to squeeze into two- and three-lane exits.

The result was confusion and gridlock. We've seen soccer riots that were better organized.

At the very least, EDC needs to staff the parking lots the entire show so that someone can ensure that departing the event is done in an orderly fashion.

Otherwise, there's going to be a repeat of this year's snarl, which, on Friday, was highlighted by lots of people urinating in public (male and female) and a long-haired dude in a British flag unitard frantically running circles around his ride while waving his arms in the air like he was trying to swat away a swarm of invisible bees.

■ The French make good cheese.

We're talking about David Guetta's Sunday night set, of course.

As Guetta told us in an interview before the EDC, with dance music exploding in terms of popularity, he feels a need to balance mainstream aspirations with the original, underground spirit of the scene.

Guetta did this well, blending Sia-sung dance floor Velveeta like "Titanium" and "Wild Ones" with an overdriven synth throb and a tireless pace, resulting in house music whose impact rivaled that of the bumper cars nearby.

■ Certain strains of dance music have become more metal than a lot of heavy metal.

Taking in the 1,000 beats-per-minute blitz of the Headhunterz, whose velocity rivaled that of "Scum"-era Napalm Death, the bass depth charges of Datsik, which roiled intestines like acid reflux in song form, and the vertebrae-abrading beats of the Noise Controllers was way more brutal than, say, your average Disturbed gig.

■ Coolest EDC stage set: Borgore.

The Israeli DJ-producer inhabited the facade of an ice cream truck, bookended by stripper poles, performing where treats are normally dispensed. His so-so set was an acquired taste, though, kind of like a battery-acid-flavored creamsicle.

■ Most frequent EDC utterance: "Sorry." Said every time you bumped into someone or vice versa, which happened about three times per breath in the vicinity of the packed stages. There are rugby scrums with less contact.

■ Line that could only be said at EDC: "Meet me at the giant mechanical octopus. It's by the Tilt-a-Whirl and the three-story daisy."

■ Leading EDC fashion accessory: anything the color of Don Johnson's wardrobe circa the first season of "Miami Vice."

Seriously, we hadn't seen that many confrontationally bright pastels since Wham was still making videos.

■ Bummer of the weekend: Richie Hawtin's Saturday night performance getting canceled because of high winds, which blew harder than said gusts.

■ EDC's 2012 co-MVPs: Steve Aoki and Martin Schulz, who kept the show going Saturday night.

The crowd could have grown restive when the music was stopped on the main stages because of inclement weather, nixing much-anticipated sets by Tiesto, Avicii (who came back Sunday) and others.

But then Schulz, who had already turned in one of EDC's best performances on the CircuitGrounds stage, returned for an impromptu set on one of the fest's roving arts carts, which culminated with inflatable rafts being tossed into the crowd for members of the audience to climb into and ride upon the outstretched arms of several thousand strong.

Then Aoki further upped energy levels, registering like an IV drip of Red Bull, kicking out hair flinging, rock-centered jams until the sun came up.

No one wanted the party to end, and because of these two, it didn't.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@review journal.com or 702-383-0476.

 

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