Electric Zoo and Made Event had its work cut out for them this year. With other EDM festivals and weekend events permeating the ‘City That Never Sleeps’ this summer, expectations and excitations were at an all-time high. Well let us just start by saying we were blown away by the seamless organization, the much-improved production, and the overall electric vibe.
We arrived relatively early on Day 1 and were a little surprised at the somewhat small crowd in attendance. Granted, we know you have a job or go to school, but come on people it’s ELECTRIC ZOO…take the day off !
We arrived just in time to do a walk of the grounds and catch the legendary duo, Gabriel & Dresden. These guys teamed back up last year after a long hiatus and we thank the Trance lords that they did. They barraged us with mixes, mashups, and bootlegs from all over the (not just dance) music spectrum. It brought back fond memories of their mind-blowing performance at ASOT 550 in Den Bosch and set the stage for what was to be our best EZoo yet.
Standout highlight: Their beautifully orchestrated mashup: Andain vs Porter Robinson vs Zedd – Language of Promises (Gabriel & Dresden Mashup) …Hilltop went absolutely bananas.
We didn’t have to go far to see our next act…Ferry Corsten scooped up the reigns on the opposite end of the lengthy Hilltop Arena DJ booth and took us on a ride through an electro-heavy set with some trance cherries on top. Ferry rarely disappoints, but we think he should have rearranged his set to weave more of his latest trance tracks throughout the performance rather than leaving them all for the very end. Oh, and it wasn’t loud enough! Shocking, but true.
Standout highlight: His remix of Snow Patrol’s ‘New York’…it was one of those peaceful, beautiful moments that erupted into a housey, euphoric drop.
The SBB crew mobbed over to Tommy Trash for a little change of pace and were greeted by the familiar, head-banging mop of hair sticking out of the booth at Riverside. There were times in his set when we questioned whether he was facing forward or backward, or if he could even see what he was doing with his headphones and/or wavy locks covering his face completely. Tommy put on a f***ing show for us and not a single body in the 1000+ degree tent was standing still. Sweat be damned, we danced our asses off for Mr. Trash as he progressed through a phenomenal electro-house set filled with ID mashups and mixes.
Standout highlight: When he dropped his new collab with Sebastian Ingrosso called ‘Reload’…I think if we stomped it out any harder we would’ve sunk Randall’s Island.
Back to Hilltop we went for some Anjunabeats in the form of Mat Zo. The volume was noticeably louder than it had been for Ferry, which made his scintillating production even more magical as night fell on the Zoo. Mat Zo will always bring the heat with some crowd-riling mashups such as the SHato & Paul Rockseek production, ‘We Are Mozart’s Friends’.
Standout highlight: His own club version of ‘The Sky’ featuring Linnea Schossow…the haunting melody combined with the propelling, wobbly triplet bass puts this track in a league of its own.
Now for the main event, at least, the main event in Hilltop Arena: Above & Beyond. Jono & Tony graced us with their presence for not one, but TWO nights of Electric Zoo this year and we have to say, it made this installment more special than any other. The group has been travelling the globe providing doses of Group Therapy to the masses and we’ve been there from Miami to LA and now back to NYC. We’ve heard stories and experienced moments within their latest album and performances that we will remember until the end of our days. They are totally unique in their approach to their fans and the people who love A&B use their music to help themselves navigate through life in times both good and bad. Jono & Tony put their progressive caps on and guided us into the rabbit hole. We heard everything from classic Oceanlab productions to heart-melting Group Therapy tracks to brand new chunes fresh from the Anjunabeats kitchen. This being NYC and all, the guys let us know that we’d be getting a special dose of Tristate Therapy and reminded us that life is made of small moments like these. It was near impossible to narrow down our favorite moments…but here they are:
Standout highlights: Oceanlab’s ‘Miracle’…this track is rarely heard live and we basically blacked out when it started playing. Their own ‘Alchemy’ off Group Therapy…emotion-laden track with a powerful progressive beat and a characteristic goosebump-inducing singalong pre-drop. ‘Home’…just can’t beat this A&B classic. Last but not least, the finale track, Oceanlab’s production ‘Satellite’…if you weren’t there for this, we can’t help you…it was too perfect for words and we couldn’t imagine a better way to cap off Day 1.
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~ Cheetah Cait ~