EDC 2012: The Underground Has Left The Building

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Christopher Victorio
Kaskade Friday at EDC.
Twenty years after rave culture first entered the American mainstream, the success of a festival like Electric Daisy Carnival makes one wonder: Can electronic dance music retain its warehouse roots and peace, love, unity and respect (PLUR) on this level?

EDC, whose organizers claim they sold out this year's event in Las Vegas with a three-day audience of 300,000, has taken EDM to levels previously unseen in the United States.

Massive stages, booming sound systems, and DJs who are now studio A-listers (David Guetta) and arena-rock stars (Kaskade) can't help but inspire debate over whether this event has indeed become a mainstream showcase, as its promoters argued before raves were shut out from the L.A. Coliseum last year and EDC moved to Vegas.

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Christopher Victorio
EDC girls give PLUR.
If they were right, and maybe they were, EDC has taken rave culture beyond its edge and into the predictable realm of a stage show.

Where DJs once wove a night's narrative based on whim and their own sense of the crowd, EDC is a radio-station festival of electronic music, a place where you can see your favorite heroes perform the most played-out songs.

Kaskade's performance Friday during the opening night of EDC at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while electrifying in all its megawatt glory, was the usual rundown of his hits. If you ever wondered whether the electronic music veteran would play Vegas like a veteran torch singer, the answer is yes. He played all your faves. The main stage was even framed by wall-to-wall supergraphics and light screens that blasted the words to Kaskade's songs, so people could sing along.

Also scheduled for EDC Saturday (but cancelled as a result of wind): Avicii, whose "Levels" is so played out that it inspired an internet meme (a photo of a gun-toting Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction with the words, "Play Levels Again..."), and who has become a caricature of the superstar DJ.

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3 comments
True EDM fan
True EDM fan

This article is a little exaggerated.  Sure the best EDM artists are there, but dont think for a second they are playing the same renditions of songs you can buy on a CD.  There are so many private unreleased remixes (of their best songs) along with many new renditions of other tracks you cant even begin to be prepared for the kind of show they put on.  Dennis, you obviously arent a raver or much of an EDM fan it seems.  I was there all 3 days from start to finish and can say without a doubt it was one of the best massive's I have ever been to if I was judging on music quality and freshness of tracks alone.  Oh and by the way, when Avicii got to play the last 30 minutes of David Guetta's set time... he didnt play levels just to let you know.

KEYFRAME
KEYFRAME

Underground is alive and well: http://www.electronicawakening.com/ Electronic Awakening is an ethnographic documentary film that investigates the spirituality of Electronic Dance Music culture and its ties to ancient shamanic rituals. The film features dozens of experts, visionaries, and published authors who explore the premise that "Electronic Music is spiritual technology that allows access to higher states of consciousness". Filmed over a period of 5 years at events such as Burning Man, Earthdance, LoveFest, Moontribe, Wicked, Shambhala and the Boom Festival in Portugal. Electronic Awakening reviews rave's evolution from large-scale commercial events to smaller gatherings in remote locations. The film offers insight into the inner workings of the brain and its metaphysical connection to the repetitive beats that allow for that sense of unity and freedom that millions feel on the dance floor. It also investigates this culture’s significance to the prophecies of 2012, how this bizarre and sacral relationship to electronic music has evolved the group over time, and where it all seems to be leading them. With world-renowned artists such as Shpongle, The Crystal Method, Random Rab, Phutureprimitive, Govinda, Cosmosis, Vibrasphere, Nadis Warriors, Bird of Prey and many more... Electronic Awakening is not to be missed! Film Features: Daniel Pinchbeck: Journalist Author of “Breaking Open the Head” Alex Grey: World Renowned Visionary Artist Terence McKenna: Author of “True Hallucinations” Ken Kesey: Author and Producer of the infamous 1960s Acid Tests

Soulkutz
Soulkutz

The strip doesn't play underground! Lol! Calvin Harris got booted off the tables at tryst Friday night for not playing enough pop and hip hop. He's as mainstream as they come but not enough for Vegas apparently.

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