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Must-visit stage: Carl Cox & Friends

After EDC 2011, there were a few sins for which Insomniac had to atone — one being the stunning lack of quality house and techno on offer. This year, the EDC promoter attempts to rectify that with a stage programmed and headlined by electronic music pioneer Carl Cox.

For years, Coxy (as he’s affectionately known) has brought his Carl Cox & Friends “arena” to the Winter Music Conference, held every March in Miami. Specifically, it has been a long-running highlight of the Ultra Music Festival, the anchor massive of WMC, with Cox spinning inside a large tent with his prog/tech/minimal DJ compadres. This year, he’s finally taking the concept on the road. He recently introduced it at New York’s EDC with a handful of jocks, and will expand the lineup for the Vegas debut.

For those EDM newbies who haven’t enjoyed the Carl Cox live experience, seeing the big man will be as essential as keeping hydrated. If you were to Venn diagram his DJ set, the house/techno intersection would be nearly be as enormous as his smile. And his rhythmic stamina will exhaust amateurs.

But Coxy is far from being the lone star here. Thankfully for us, he somehow stopped genre-mashing marathon man Danny Tenaglia from beginning his non-retirement before EDC (see page XX). He also coaxed John Digweed into returning to Las Vegas; the progressive titan hasn’t played here in almost four years. If you missed Slovenian wunderkind Umek when he played Bazaar at Chateau back in March, don’t make the same mistake on Sunday — his sets are pure frenetic bliss.

Green Velvet slayed at EDC 2011, and his rebooking is a huge win. Nicole Moudaber breaks up the boys’ club with her palate-cleansing minimalism. Nic Fancuilli is no stranger to Las Vegas; he’ll team up with Joris Voorn, which suggests a little Detroit flavor for the CC&F stage. Dennis Ferrer will bring some much needed soul to the Speedway. And Guy Gerber managed to gently take us down from Sasha’s spacewalk of a set — while still keeping us in the cosmic ether — at an L.A. gig in March. We’re hoping he does the same during a Monday sunrise.

For locals desperately craving a progressive antidote to the weekly Europop and dubstep bombast of Vegas nightlife, you’ll have a season’s worth of underground delight for the entirety of one night, at one stage. MIKE PREVATT