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Ravers embrace second day with dancing, partying, popular DJs

It was pretty much a rhetorical question, its answer spelled out right in front of him in the form of an overexcited, exclamation-point-of-an-audience whose collective mood was buoyant enough to float on water.

"Who’s happy?" asked Rusko (Christopher Mercer) as a barely clad dancer twirled flames beneath his DJ booth, radiating heat like a comely campfire.

Love was in the air, literally, as fireworks outlined the sky in the shape of bright pink hearts.

It was Day 2 of the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway as Saturday night turned to Sunday morning, and it came on like a big, sweaty bear hug.

This is a touchy-feely festival by nature: So many people are pressing into position in front of this stage and that, moving to the beat in perpetual motion, that there’s mosh pit levels of contact.

But it’s mostly a confrontation-free atmosphere, and people tend to say "excuse me" when nudging you out of the way.

"Everyone has a really good attitude. Really friendly. No problems," said Erlinda Carroll, a security guard at the event.

"It’s a peaceful crowd. Very polite," said Metropolitan Police Department officer Glen Taylor, as he kept watch by a mammoth Ferris wheel.

If the EDC throngs were all smiles, so were many of the artists themselves.

"I am so happy," said French DJ David Guetta, purring like a kitten getting its belly rubbed before machine gunning hip-hop-heavy hits like "Club Can’t Handle Me" and "Sexy B!tch" at the crowd, which registered like bowling balls to the sternum.

Even more concussive was Bassnectar (Lorin Ashton), whose anvil-heavy breakbeats had some onlookers headbanging, such was their hair-flinging force, with Ashton getting in on the action himself, whipping his long, dark mane around in violent arcs.

And then there was Skrillex, overheated, overblown, over-everything, his set heavily attended as well as just plain heavy.

The crowd didn’t know whether to dance or duck when the dude let it blast with a kind of musical chaos theory where everything eventually just gets blown apart in a spray of serrated, subterranean bass lines and buzz saw beats.

Others kept things on the lighter side, in terms of both music and temperament.

"We’re here for one reason, to have a party," announced Luke Steele, frontman for Australia’s Empire of the Sun, an electro funk volcano of style and sass, who encapsulated the prevailing sentiment of the night.

One of only a handful of acts to incorporate live instrumentation into their performance, the group tempered glittery guitar raunch with glam and pop flourishes, synchronized dance moves and sweet turquoise bodysuits.

If Empire of the Sun leavened the mood a bit, so did Richie Hawtin, albeit in an incidental way.

Returning to festivities after a stellar Friday night set where he exclusively performed material from his Plastikman project, Hawtin catalyzed some unintended comedy, as it was amusing to watch a phalanx of dancers attempt to find the groove amid all the rhythmic left turns upon which Hawtin constructs his repertoire.

It’s dance music that can be pretty hard to dance to, and so the bikini clad crew of blondes awkwardly attempting to bust moves to Hawtin’s pinwheeling beats looked like they might bust a few kneecaps instead.

Still, no one laughed.

That would have been rude.

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

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