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Best in fest: Takeaways from a wild EDC 2024 in Las Vegas

Updated May 21, 2024 - 9:45 am

Our pupils are rotten from all the eye candy.

Our cute fuzzy boots totally need to be re-soled.

We consumed so much caffeine this past weekend that we haven’t blinked since Thursday.

And don’t even ask us about our hearing because we can’t hear you.

What does it all mean?

Another Electric Daisy Carnival is in the books.

And now for a few takeaways from the biggest dance music festival in the world’s biggest year yet:

The conflict of the weekend

It was star power cubed: At 1:47 a.m. Sunday, three of the biggest acts of the weekend all performed simultaneously when Kaskade, his buddy Deadmau5 and dubstep kingpin Excision played the Kinetic Field, the Cosmic Meadow and the Circuit Grounds respectively. We opted for Deadmau5 and were glad we did: he delivered a command performance with a dense, dramatic set, his progressive, wide-ranging repertoire intricately arranged yet blunt in force, the musical equivalent of wielding a scalpel in one hand a meat cleaver in the other.

Funkiest set

Sometimes, when you have a fever, the only prescription is more cowbell. Purple Disco Machine provided an abundance of said remedy at the Cosmic Meadow on Saturday, weaponizing one throwback R&B and soul chestnut after the next with seismic basslines, turning classics like Technotric’s “Pump Up The Jam” and the “Beverly Hills Cop” theme into cruise missles of funk. His set also featured a local connection via his remix of Diplo and Sidepiece’s “On My Mind,” which samples ’90s Vegas R&B group 702. Speaking of local connections…

Most awesome art car

Clearly, we don’t exhibit any hometown favoritism here in Las Vegas, the greatest city in the world if not the Milky Way. And so we’re not biased at all in choosing the locally-built Metaphoenix art car as EDC’s finest this year. Or any other year. Ever.

Best dressed crew

The squad of seven costumed as the Average Joes from “Dodgeball.” They were so authentic, we threw a wrench at them. If you can dodge a wrench, you can call dodge a ball, dudes.

Miles walked

Forty-six. And that was just from the parking lot to the venue on day one.

Funniest T-shirt that we can acknowledge in a family newspaper

“Trance, because I’m not sexy enough for house,” spotted on a guy in a foliage-adorned black bucket hat at the Neon Garden on Saturday. Ironically, it was during a house-heavy set by Malone.

Best former doctor turned DJ

Having earned a PhD in cancer research, DJ-producer Miyuki left a career in science to focus on music. She’s acquitting herself well in her new field: her equally celestial and concussive, trance-heavy set at the Quantum Valley on Saturday night was an early highlight.

Sweetest EDC accessory

This one goes to the cowboy couple in leather chaps who carted around gallon buckets from Home Depot on Saturday in order to turn them upside and dance atop them. Yes, of course, the buckets were covered in Christmas lights.

Finest example of truth in advertising

Masked DJ-producer Gravedgr actually worked in a cemetery digging graves with his father when he was younger. Now, it’s polite sensibilities he’s shoveling dirt on with his assaultive hardstyle. On Saturday at the Wastelands, it was like he was answering a dare: betcha can’t approximate the sound of subtlety getting kneed in the groin for an hour. Challenge accepted.

Art car Wonderland

“Where are the techno fans?” Alison Wonderland wondered aloud on Sunday. They were at the Rynobus, where she held court after having played the Kinetic Field the night before. At most every EDC there’s a big name who performs in the relatively small confines of an art car, and this year it was Wonderland’s turn, returning to EDC after playing while nine months pregnant last May. Coming with a propulsive, full-contact techno set, the new mom went old school.

Best newbie

Four Tet at the Circuit Grounds on Saturday. Because someone had to connect the dots between metallers System of a Down and lugubrious Southern trap while rocking a crowd of 10,000-plus.

More room to headbang

EDC made significant changes to its layout this year, moving the Bass Pod and Wastelands to the south side of its footprint, essentially swapping places with the Quantum Valley and Neon Garden. This gave more space to the increasingly popular former two stages, and it was needed: Subtronics B2B Level Up drew a massive crowd to the Bass Pod on Saturday and incited one of fest’s biggest mosh pits.

And the special guest on Saturday night was…

A big one: Fred Again. The British DJ-producer, who’s headlining Bonnaroo next month, tipped his hand a bit by posting footage of himself seeing the Dead & Company at the Sphere on Instagram. He drew a gargantuan, ecstatic crowd to the Circuit Grounds on Saturday, but for as excited as everyone was to see him, he seemed even more stoked to see them, bouncing about the DJ booth as if his legs were corked with bed springs.

Turns out he wasn’t the only EDC star who checked out the Dead when they were in town: Diplo did as well, acknowledging as much on his socials, before drawing a crowd larger than the population of Summerlin at the Cosmic Meadow on Sunday. Literally.

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @jbracelin76 on Instagram

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