The Electric Zoo Festival 2010 | Randall's Island, NY

Festival Production & Stage Management Services
Artist Technical Production Advance and On-site Management Services
Three Stages: Two Days 

Featuring Artists: A-Trak, Above & Beyond, Adultnapper, Aeroplane, Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, ATB, Avicii, Axwell, Bassnectar, Benny Benassi, Boris, Boys Noize, The Chemical Brothers, Chris Lake, Chuckie, Claude VonStroke, Cosmic Gate, D. Ramirez, Davide Squillace, Diplo, Dirty South, Dixon, DJ Mehdi, Dusty Kid, Erol Alkan, Fake Blood, Fedde le Grand, Flying Lotus, Funkagenda, Gareth Emery, Glenn Morrison, Grum, JDH & Dave P, Joachim Garraud, John Digweed, Jon Hopkins, Joris Voorn, Kaskade, LA Riots, Laidback Luke, Major Lazer, Marco Carola, Markus Schulz, Martin Buttrich, Martyn, Matthias Tanzmann, Moby, Orchard Lounge, Paco Osuna, Paul Kalkbrenner, Pete Tong, Popof, Pretty Lights, Reboot, Richie Hawtin, Rusko, Sander Van Doorn, Savoy, Sleepy & Boo, Steve Aoki, Steve Bug, The Glitch Mob, Tom Middleton, Victor Calderone, Wolfgang Gartner, Zack Roth


Hard-Driving Star D.J.’s Serve Up the Thumps


The D.J. Moby delivers his set to an arm-waving crowd at the Electric Zoo dance festival on Randalls Island. The event was sold out on Saturday and Sunday. Credit Willie Davis for The New York Times

The D.J. Moby delivers his set to an arm-waving crowd at the Electric Zoo dance festival on Randalls Island. The event was sold out on Saturday and Sunday. Credit Willie Davis for The New York Times

Sunlight hit sequins at Electric Zoo, a two-day electronic dance festival on Randalls Island. For 12 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday, disc jockeys (not all using discs) pumped out 4/4 beats from four stages, and dancers in party costumes — with cat ears, fake-fur leggings, fluorescent wigs and all kinds of glitter — raised their hands in the air to channel them.

It was the second annual Electric Zoo, sold out with 25,000 people each day. In a musical zone that diligently parses itself into subgenres, the festival’s 67 acts added up to both a dance marathon and a broad-spectrum survey, from crowd-pleasing trance and relentless techno to abstract minimal house. In the three tents and on an outdoor main stage, with D.J.’s front and center acting more like cheerleaders than technicians, every style put bodies in motion.

The festival sold out, drawing 25,000 people each day. 

The dominant beat was the sound of house music; it probably ran continuously through the festival from at least one stage. It has been a club-music constant for decades because it works: a kick-drum thump that’s blunt enough so anyone can find the downbeat, with a dollop of swing from syncopated high-hats. It can drive a party all by itself, as a rhythm section with the dancers’ bodies inscribing silent melodies. It can be the foundation for perky pop tunes or experiments in texture. And it can reconfigure a pop hit for club use.

Dance music is no place to quibble over authorship. Sets at Electric Zoo mingled self-produced music with samples and remixes that dissected songs down to usable elements and surrounded them with new superstructures; the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll,” with its injunction to “Dance till you’re dead,” got multiple treatments.

Soon after a set from Moby that traversed house, techno and gospelly exaltation, Fedde Le Grand remixed Moby’s “Natural Blues” (itself based on an old gospel vocal). The music wasn’t inflexibly hipper-than-thou either; fans shouted approval for samples from Kings of Leon, Black Eyed Peas and Lil Wayne that were soon surrounded in new electronics.

Sunday’s headliner was Armin van Buuren, whose video display spelled out his genre in letters 10 feet high: TRANCE. His music shared that kind of obviousness. Mr. van Buuren has become one of the world’s most popular D.J.’s with a particularly triumphal version of trance, infused with the bombast of European classical music: marchlike beats, swelling (synthetic) orchestral chords, arpeggiated melodies and, at times, quasi-operatic chorales. The inexorable trance arc from sustained chords to big beat to swooshing crescendo was thrilling for about the first 10 minutes — and then, the next times around, monumentally cheesy. Electric Zoo offered better, less self-important trance from Markus Schulz (more tuneful) and Above & Beyond (more ebullient).

The trance D.J.’s worked in suitelike cycles; Victor Calderone also used the house beat, but in a superb set of continuous accretion and transformation, stripping down the beat and subtly adding layer upon layer so that every few minutes everything had changed.

The house and trance thump was so pervasive at Electric Zoo, and sometimes so automatic, that the exceptions sounded even better. One tent featured acts bordering on hip-hop, balancing the shiny electronic sounds of much of the festival with some corrective sludge and murk. The Glitch Mob, one of very few acts to include live instruments, sometimes pounded on three sets of drums to push its hip-hop remixes even further into bass-heavy foreboding.

Bassnectar veered in and out of hip-hop with startling, unpredictable mixes so dense they threatened to implode. A-Trak deployed electronics but also flaunted an older disc-jockey skill: virtuosic scratching. A set by Diplo jumped around, from oozy deep-bass remixes to the international drumbeats he has used in productions for M.I.A., but the attention spans were short; he kept interrupting songs to get shouts from the crowd. (Perhaps he craved reassurance.)

At a different extreme, there were the techno D.J.’s who used just a few sounds at a time in widely spaced registers, but with relentless impact. Boys Noize — so austere that their video display used only red, black and white — dispensed buzzing, distorted riffs over dry drumbeats, as the chords that topped them jabbed with happy aggression. Steve Aoki went for more brute force: a huge, pounding 4/4 stomp topped with his own buzz-saw lines and siren swoops. Climbing on top of his equipment table, he pumped his fists in the air like a rock star and shouted into a microphone that, with technological acumen, had also been set to distort. At Electric Zoo it was another human-electronic interface working efficiently toward its goal: more dancing.


Duncan Sheik | Castle Clinton: Battery Park, NY

Tony and Grammy award-winning composer and songwriter Duncan Sheik has navigated both the Great White Way and the world of pop and indie rock. Sheik's achievements include Tony Awards for Best Orchestration and Best Original Score, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album for Spring Awakening.

SummerStage 2010 | Central Park's Rumsey Playfield: NYC

Production & Stage Management

Featuring Artists: Leon and the Peoples (AIDS Walk Post Concert), Coheed and Cambria, Circa Survive, Torche, Melody Gardot and The New York Pops, Living Colour, Ebony Bones, Pillow Theory and CX KiDTRONiK: 25th Anniv. of Black Rock Coalition, Los Van Van, Jose Conde and A DJ Tribute to Fania Records with DJ Bobbito, DJ Laylo and DJ SAKE-1, Benefit Show: The 25th Anniversary SummerStage Gala, The 8th Annual Cine Fest Petrobras Brasil Screening Oscar Niemeyer - Life Is A Breath of Air Live Performances from Maria Gadu and Os Paralamas Do Sucesso, Baaba Maal and Playing for Change, Benefit Show: John Butler Trio and State Radio, NYC Pride Rally featuring Meshell Ndegeocello, Martha Wash NY Gay Men's Chorus, Vickie Shaw, Billie Myers and Bruce Vilanch, Salif Keita, Tabou Combo and Lo Jo, Eddie Palmieri Y La Perfecta II, George Wein's Carefusion Jazz Festival: McCoy Tyner Quartet with Ravi Coltrane, Esperanza Spalding and Francisco Mela The Stanley Clarke Band with Hiromi, Tinariwen, Omar Souleyman and Toubab Krewe, Gil Scott-Heron, Definitely Poetry: Daniel Bernard Roumain with Emeline Michel, Erol Josué and the poets of Cave Canem, Nuyorican Poets Café, Istanbulive II: The Sounds of Turkey with Kenan Dogulu, mor ve otesi and Ilhan Ersahin's Istanbul Sessions with Burhan Ocal and Tulug Tirpan, Sukriye Tutkun and DJ Salih Saka, Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich and Fussible, El Guincho and Anita Tijoux, Profitas, Maldita Vecindad and The Pinker Tones, Jimmy Cliff, Trevor Hall and Victor Démé, Raphael Saadiq, Family Day featuring Ralph's World, Bethany and Rufus and Cirquetacular, Comedy Central Park The Daily Show and Friends Hosted by Lewis Black with John Oliver, Rob Riggle, Wyatt Cenac, Adam Lowitt and Rory Albanese, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba, Burkina Electric, Fool's Gold and DJ Frank of Voodoo Funk, Benefit Show: The Flaming Lips, Benefit Shows: The Black Keys and The Morning Benders, Jovanotti, Los Amigos Invisibles and Natalie Lafourcade, St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs and Basia Bulat, Benefit Show: Hot Chip, Hercules and Love Affair and Holy Ghost!, The Clark Sisters & Kierra Kiki Sheard, The xx, Chairlift and Jack Peñate, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Dancing Downtown Concert Winners, Benefit Show: Gov't Mule, Bachata Fest featuring Andy Andy, Luis Miguel de la Amargue, Elvis Martinez and Alexandria, Public Enemy with 7th Octave and Blitz the Ambassador, Chrisette Michele, Mario and Tamia, The Specials - 30th Anniversary Tour with Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears and $mall ¢hange, Cake, Ween, Broken Social Scene, Pavement w/ Slothbear, Pavement, The Black Sea Roma Festival featuring Mahala Rai Banda, Técsöi Banda, Selim Sesler & The NY Gypsy All-Stars, The Yuri Yunakov Ensemble, Alicia Keys