It’s an impenetrably dense forest of light, sound and dancing fruit.
You’ll need more than a few bread crumbs to navigate your way through the Electric Daisy Carnival, and this is where we come in.
The annual three-day deluge of superstar DJs, flame-belching art installation pieces and dudes dressed in banana costumes (more on them later), returns to Las Vegas this weekend with more than 200 scheduled acts.
So, where to begin?
With these 10 performances that you don’t want to miss:
Richie Hawtin: Hawtin was the MVP of EDC 2011, thrilling with an incredible Plastikman performance on the fest’s first night and then returning the next evening for another set of maximum minimalism. I remember getting a kick out of watching the scantily clad EDC dancers onstage trying to bust moves to Hawtin’s angular, asymmetrical techno, which is constantly swerving in new directions. Be careful if you attempt to do the same — easy to blow out a knee.
Dada Life: “They don’t care about genres. They don’t care about smartness,” reads Dada Life’s bio on the EDC website. “Dada Life just want to make you jump up and down. Then make you crash into a wall with a smile on your face.” Yeah, pretty much. If you don’t have a good time in the presence of this delirious Swede electro house duo, what with all the goofballs in banana suits and free-flowing Champagne, it’s definitely you, dude.
Markus Schulz: The best set I saw at EDC 2012 was Schulz’s mesmeric first-day performance at the Circuit Grounds. Overblown and nuanced at once, Schulz’s ductile trance is plenty capable of knocking even the most sturdy-legged dubstep die-hard back on his heels, but his keen ear for subtle tonal shading and nontelegraphed song arrangements make Schulz stand out from all the other standouts at EDC.
Major Lazer: As dawn broke at the NeonGarden stage during the first day of EDC 2011, Major Lazer defied the rising sun, refusing to let the party stop, clinging to it like a life raft in a sea of oncoming responsibilities and obligations. They provided a final burst of energy with their candy-coated electro dancehall, whose grooves were as deep as the slumber that EDC revel ers surely slipped into afterward. Don’t sleep on them this time.
Bloody Beetroots Live: Bloody Beetroots mastermind Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo considers himself something of a scene anti-hero, donning the mask of Spider-Man villain Venom when he performs live. His real foe is electronic dance music orthodoxy, though, as he delights in bloodying electronica’s nose with punk ’tude and antagonism.
Altern-8: Cochlea-imperiling volume levels and intestines-agitating bass lines have become EDM staples, but both can be traced back, at least in part, to British duo Altern-8. Beginning in 1990, these two embarked on a quest to make house harder. Guess what? They succeeded.
Dog Blood: At 25, Skrillex (Sonny Moore) has become the bespectacled face of electronic dance music’s most unruly impulses, his productions chaotic, discordant and guaranteed to annoy the crap out of Mom and Dad. In Dog Blood, he recruits German DJ-producer Boys Noize to join him on the front lines of the war on subtlety. Wear a helmet.
Booka Shade: This matchless German duo treats audiences like tackling dummies, playing drums and percussion live onstage while triggering various studio-created sounds, resulting in visceral, hard-hitting performances. Plenty of EDC acts will conjure up concussive walls of sound, but in Booka Shade’s case, it comes from man as much as it does machine.
Organ Donors: These Brit brothers’ bass assault is the musical equivalent of snorting a can of Folgers and running into oncoming traffic. This is pure instant gratification with no subtext, no deeper meaning, no pretense to being anything other than a full-on rhythmic blanket party.
Carl Cox: Carl Cox should not be on this list. The dude is 50. In DJ years, this means that he should be of the age where he sits on his front porch all day, yelling at the neighborhood kids and refusing to give back their Frisbee when it lands in his yard. Instead, this indefatigable house pioneer is still turning in some of the most lively, infectious sets of any DJ out there. Save a few bucks on Redbull and check Cox out when your energy levels are flagging.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.