Coachella 2014: Martin Garrix and Zedd bring big beats to the Sahara

Fans of Zedd, the producer and DJ, vibrate to his performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio on Friday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Have we talked about the Sahara tent yet? Let’s talk about the Sahara tent.

Approximately the size of a small airplane hangar, it’s where Coachella puts the big, dumb dance music that for many these days serves as the festival’s main draw. And Friday night it was where Martin Garrix and Zedd -- two of the genre’s youngest, most successful stars -- undammed the pent-up energy of 10,000 or so Millennials awash in hormones (and whatever else).

It was almost frightening, the level of intensity in the space when 17-year-old Garrix dropped the central riff of his hit “Animals,” which instantly turned the crowd into a sea of outstretched limbs.


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Worth noting: “Animals” was the first song in Garrix’s set, followed closely by a pumped-up remix of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. Did the kids in the Sahara (or, indeed, Garrix himself) know any other Nirvana songs?

Who knows? And, more importantly, who cares? The teenage Dutch phenom -- a protege of Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun -- was harnessing all the power “Teen Spirit” still has to offer. And he got more in return than anyone else I saw on Coachella’s first night.

Later, Zedd also engaged in some pop-hit remix action, remaking Bastille’s “Pompeii” as a bludgeoning stadium-rave jam far more appealing than the forgettable version of the song Bastille itself played earlier Friday. He also teased some electro-goth shades out of “Latch” by Disclosure, the British dance duo slated to appear Sunday at Coachella.

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But nothing Zedd, 24, played inspired a bigger response from the Saharans than his own “Stay the Night,” which layered Hayley Williams’ recorded vocal over a slamming beat so forceful it seemed to vibrate the tent’s enormous video screens.

More shaking seems certain Saturday night when Skrillex takes over the joint.


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Twitter: @mikaelwood