Many of the faces atop the lineup at next weekend's Electric Daisy Carnival will be familiar to longtime ravers. Several of the headliners, like Tiesto, Above & Beyond and Kaskade, played the festival as recently as last year.
The challenge, then, will be to find moments of freshness and revelation in a festival that – while as big as ever and never dependent on its lineup to sell out – might be getting a bit comfortable in its bookings.
The neon fantasia in Las Vegas is far too vast for any fan to see all of it, and yet the sheer amount of stimulation can make it all seem kind of similar. Here are a few sets in the undercard with potential for real fireworks.
The British house duo midwifed the career of Sam Smith with their smash single "Latch," and they became stars with a clean, deft style that played unexpectedly well at pop radio. Now, with their forthcoming second LP, "Caracal," they're on a new major label and testing their limits. New singles have alternated from spare and soulful ("Holding On," with jazz vocalist Gregory Porter) to atypically fanged (the club-inclined "Bang That"). Will they try to repeat the crossover of "Latch" or reassert their club-scene bona fides? You'll probably hear it first here.
Dumont is a multiple Grammy nominee who had a huge 2014 with his single "I Got U," an effervescent deep house cut that significantly widened his U.S. fan base. Unlike many of the DJ-centric live sets at EDC, he's billed as performing a true live set, which could be a sign that he's ready to climb out of the strictures of the DJ booth into something more like a pop performance. That'd be a nice change of pace at EDC in itself, but he has the songs to back it up as well.
Carl Cox & Friends
Cox is one of the defining figures in house and techno, and his long, controlled sets are an essential palate cleanser from the sugar on the bigger stages at festivals like this. He takes the "& Friends" part of his billing seriously, so expect a tent full of cameos from genre heroes and worshipful youngsters.
Green Velvet & Claude Von Stroke
One is a hero of Chicago house, squaring the circle between European sonic invention and the sexed-up funk of Prince. The other made his name in San Francisco's early-aughts warehouse scene with a sense of humor and self-awareness to match his prolific and tastemaking output. Together, they sum up house music's past and present, and onstage they may point at something like a future as well.
The Australian producer is practically an arena star in his home country, and has been making serious inroads in America despite a sound that's distinctly more ambient and challenging than most typical club fare. 150 million Soundcloud plays later, at 23 he's already peering at the kind of crowds that a pop star Lorde (whom he's remixed) could expect – and even bigger rowdier ones at fests like EDC.
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