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Sunday
Apr082012

Review: Justice at Ultra Music Festival

After waiting 5 years since the release of their debut album † (Cross), I finally got to see Justice LIVE at Ultra Music Festival in Miami this March.

Headlining the festival Saturday night behind Avicii, Justice brought much excitement to the main stage area with their elaborate set of sound equipment resembling a church altar, with a giant, glowing cross in the middle. 

 

The crowd went wild as the French duo unleashed their heavy electric beats on the crowd, opening with perhaps the most well known track off of Cross, "Genesis." The majority of their set consisted of other popular tracks from Cross. 

Justice owned the crowd with their hit disco track "D.A.N.C.E." The sea of people stuck to "the B.E.A.T." as they moved to the sound of "Do the D.A.N.C.E." Other obvious crowd favorites were "DVNO," which they did a hard live mix of, "Stress," and "Phantom Pt. 2," the Daft Punk-like house track.

I must to admit I was not the biggest fan of Justice's second release, Audio, Video, Disco. I consistently felt when listening to the album that the two had abandoned their hard and heavy roots in favor of less-inspired soft, electro melodies. Although the various tracks that the two played from the new album were not at the level of those off their previous release, some tracks were definitely noteworthy.

"Helix," the song that was featured in the Ultra Music Festival 2012 Phase 1 Lineup Announcement video, was a definite crowd favorite with its rock-inspired melodies. "Audio, Video, Disco," the title track off their newest release was also a highlight.

I will, however, note that compared to many other performers, Justice didn't seem to go over quite as well with the massive main stage crowd. Perhaps because their hits were released more than 5 years ago many younger festival attendees failed to recognize their sound. Nevertheless, Justice was undeniably one of the highlights of Ultra Music Festival for me this year, and they are sure to be a crowd pleaser at Coachella this month in California. Their skills in both production and live mixing impressed me greatly and it was great to finally see this epic group on tour. 

Review By Edward Fancher

Sunday
Apr082012

Electric Daisy Carnival 2012 Phase 1 Lineup Released!

300,000 people are expected to flood Las Vegas this June (8, 9, 10) for Insomniac Event's massive 3-day Electric Daisy Carnival.

The newly released flyer really got us excited: "America's Largest Dance Music Festival. 3 Nights. Seven Stages. Immersive Audio & Visual Production. Interactive Art Installations. Hundreds of Theatrical Performances. 300,000 Fans. Dusk Til Dawn."

But this lineup is what's getting me excited! Insomniac really knows how to put a lineup together, and hopefully, with this lineup and this many fans, this edition of EDC will be the biggest and best to date.  

Who we're excited is making the trip this year to Vegas, and why:

  • The English trance trio Above & Beyond - besides being the brains behind the popular radio show TATW (Trance Around the World), Above & Beyond really knows how to rock the house. Their popularity has risen in the past year as more and more people discover the great talent under the Anjunabeats label. We also missed seeing them at this year's edition of Ultra Music Festival, and can't wait for them to get the crowd going at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway!
  • The French electronic band Dirtyphonics LIVE is guaranteed to get the Vegas crowd's energy going with their dirty drum and bass lines and heavy electro rhythms. 
  • The lesser known progressive-trance DJ Eco. I've seen him play some great sets at raves in NYC, and it'll be exciting to see how he does with such a massive crowd. 
  • The tried and tested Excision. Why were you not at Ultra?! Absolutely guaranteed to be a filthy bass-driven, head-banging good time.
  • The king of dubstep, Flux Pavilion - One of my absolute favorite dubstep artists. Hoping he'll bring down the house with his collaborator Doctor P.
  • The rising progressive-house star Hardwell. Recently named an "EDM artist to watch" by MTV, Hardwell is guaranteed to melt the faces of EDC attendees with his heavy, danceable house beats.
  • The Colorado glitch-hop, funk star Pretty Lights. Guaranteed to be a great set filled with jazz and rock- inspired beats. 
  • The American king of dance Kaskade! He killed it at Ultra. He will kill it at EDC again this year. Here's a video of his performance at last year's Electric Daisy Carnival.
  • Zeds Dead, baby! The ultimate dubstep act is still going strong after producing track after track of pure, filthy bass-filled genius.

 

Complete Lineup: 16 bit, Above & Beyond, Adventure Club, Afrojack, Alesso, Aly & Fila, AN21 & Max Vangeli, Andy C: Alive, Angger Dimas, Armin Van Buuren, Arty, A*S*Y*S*, ATB, Avicii, Bassjackers, Bassnectar, Benny Benassi, Blue Man Group, Borgore, Brennan Heart, Calvin Harris, Camo & Krooked, Carl Cox, Chase and Status, Chris Lake, Chuckie, Circuit, Coone, Cosmic Gate, Crizzly, Dada Life, Danny Tenaglia, Darksiderz, Dash Berlin, Datsik, David Guetta, D-Block & S-te-Fan, Deco, Delta Heavy, Dennis Ferrer, Dieselboy vs Bare, Digitalism, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Dirty South, Dirtyphonics Live, DJ Ammo, Dodge & Fuski, Downlink, Doctor P, Dubfire, Eco, Ed Rush & Optical, El Pulpo Mechanico, Emalkay, Endymion, Erick Morillo, Excision, Feed Me, Fedde Le Grand, Felix Cartal, Ferry Corsten, Figure, Flux Pavilion, Flaming Lotus Girls, Funkagenda, Funtcase, Fury, Gabriel & Dresden, Gaiser, Gareth Emery, Green Velvet, Hardwell, Harvard Bass, Headhunters, High Contrast, Hype, Isaac, Jack Beats, Jaytech, JDX, Joachim Garraud, Jochen Miller, John Digweed, John Rundeli, Josh Wink, Kaskade, Kill the Noise, Knife Party, Koan Sound, Kristina Sky, Kyau & Albert, Lady Faith, Laidback Luke, Little Boots, Loadstar, Loco Dice, Magda, Manufactured Superstars, Markus Schulz, Martin Solveig, Mat Zo, Michael Woods, Moby, Modestep, Morgan Page, MSTRKRFT, Mt Eden, Nervo, Nicky Romero, Nicole Moudaber, Noisia, Paco Osuna, Porter Robinson, Pretty Lights, Q-dance, Rank 1 Live, R3hab, Richie Hawtin presents Enter., Sander van Doorn, Sebastian Ingrosso, Sidney Samson, Steve Angello, Steve Aoki, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Technoboy, Thomas Gold, Tiesto, Tommy Trash, Tritonal, UMEK, W&W, Wilkinson, will.i.am, Zany, Zeds Dead, Zomboy + more to be announced!!!

By Edward Fancher

Sunday
Apr082012

Review: Pretty Lights at Ultra Music Festival

I made my way over to the Live Stage insearch of glitch-hop star Derek Smith, or Pretty Lights as he is popularly known. The Colorado-based artist has reached a new height of popularity this year after his track "Finally Moving" (a track he didn't play at this set) was sampled by Avicii in his hit house anthem, Levels. Smith opened the set and got the crowd going with the insanely dirty "Hot Like Sauce."

The setup at the live stage was far from ideal; Pretty Lights really should have played main stage, as the Live Stage was mostly seating only, leaving it very crowded in the standing area. Nevertheless, the entire Live Stage arena lost control when Smith unleashed his sensual, bass-heavy beats on the Miami crowd. Smith owned the audience, impressing me with a great set filled with many songs I hadn't heard before.

Smith really killed it in the visuals department (that is why he's called "Pretty Lights"), incorporating fast-paced visual sequences and laser shows that outdid any visuals I saw at the main stage all weekend. Smith closed out his hour set with his powerful "I Know the Truth," the song that has become a YouTube sensation for its crazy bass drops and soulful lyrics after its popularity at Bonnaroo 2011.

The crowd went crazy when Smith grabbed the mic telling the Live Stage "I know you know what's up because you're over here, and not over there," referring to the main stage, which by that time was packed with fans of the massively popular progressive-house king Tiesto (someone I could skip seeing). "Make some fucking noise!!!" he continued as the track started to play, "I'm too blind, to see the light" echoing through the amphitheater.   

Live Set:

 

 

Review by Edward Fancher

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