SO YOU RECOGNIZE a bunch of names on the 2013 Electric Daisy Carnival poster — mostly from the megaclub billboards that dot the Strip. But there’s a ton of DJs outside the EDM mainstream who make this year’s EDC the most promising of all the Las Vegas editions. And here’s a handful, hailing from several dance music subgenres, we’re most anticipating.
Dog Blood and Fake Blood: The former is the not-quite-big-time-yet electro/dubstep/techno mashing collaboration between very-big-time acts Skrillex and Boys Noize. The latter is the nom de plume of Theo Keating, whose eclectic, bass-y, tech house is made for the small rooms, though could easily fill the bigger ones. Neither belongs anywhere near the other, despite their names’ hematological focus, but both will (if dissimilarly) serve up unpredictable, vein-coursing sets at L.A. promoter HARD Events’ EDC stage, which includes other participants such as Booka Shade, Claude VonStroke, Rusko and a live set from Empire of the Sun.
Jacques Lu Cont: The Thin White Duke (yes, taken from David Bowie) is long overdue for a Las Vegas visit — as a performer. He’s certainly been to our recording studios enough, as a frequent producer for The Killers. He’s also been their best remixer — that sublime rerub of “Mr. Brightside” heard in so many local clubs? That’s his. We caught the man born Stuart Price at last year’s Coachella, and that assuaging yet hands-up set made us pine for another, albeit in our hometown. As it turns out, we get not only one, but two Lu Cont sets, courtesy of HARD’s EDC stage and Hard Rock Hotel pool party.
Sasha and John Digweed: No, the famous progressive duo hasn’t reunited for the festival; it’s reportedly too expensive. However, neither talent — both among the smoothest DJs on the bill — should be missed. They’re both playing separate nights at both the festival and Lavo.
Richie Hawtin: Yes, we recommend Hawtin every year. That’s because he remains a pioneer in electronic music, as well as a producer/DJ admirably driven to break a populist dance scene that might otherwise overlook him and his minimal techno/house. He clearly hasn’t given up on EDC, not even after last year’s gusty kickup shuttered his Enter stage presentation — which gets a second chance this year (see also: Loco Dice, Matador, Paco Osuna and their other stage-mates). And his main stage set ought to give the EDM Generation a proper, pulsating education on Detroit techno.
Andy C: Like Hawtin, this drum & bass veteran is on his third Vegas EDC, and rightfully so. He’s a skilled mixer and set programmer, and his thrilling, often traditionalist breaks offer a welcome counterpoint to the mercilessly drop-heavy dubstep DJs who have reigned in the world of bass music over the past three years. Andy will play both EDC and the Bassrush arena show the Thursday before the big festival.
Francesca Lombardo: Though the festival’s roster is woefully light on R&B-inspired deep house — to say nothing of female jock representation — this English DJ appropriates the subterranean funk and melodic subtlety of that genre, while adding dashes of techno and progressive to keep things interesting. You’ll hear no wub-wub bombs or squelchy siren calls or Rihanna-sung choruses during Lombardo’s set at Crosstown Rebels’ Get Lost Stage.
Yoji: Trance music all but erased the American influence on electronic dance music with its synthesized equivalent of high fructose corn syrup. But if there’s one practitioner of acrobatic arpeggios worth witnessing this weekend, it’s Japan’s Yoji. The flamboyant, Gaga-like veteran has ventured into a more aggressive, tech-based approach. His aesthetic recalls both the acidic sounds of the 1990s rave era and the burgeoning, thundering hardstyle genre — balanced by the signature serotonin-dumping melodies. Better chug two Red Bulls in preparation for this one.
Altern 8: And speaking of the 1990s: This English duo was churning out techno- and hardcore-inspired breakbeat anthems before The Prodigy (and wearing masks before Daft Punk). Old-school ravers will delight in this surprise “reunion” booking.