On day two of Electric Zoo, the impending rainstorm loomed over the crowd as festival-goers returned for another packed day of entertainment. Entering the festival, the temperature already dropped into the low 60s yet that didn’t phase the crowd as it seemed there were even more attendees on day two than on the previous day. There was a rush to get in as quickly as possible. The event staff stopped and berated many fans for running and taking shortcuts to get to the line immediately. The reason for this rush was none other than Illenium was on the main stage.
Illenium, the San Francisco born DJ only gained popularity in the last two years or so. There’s a gratifying feeling of catching an act prior to an artist really blowing up. With his style, complexity, and ability to deliver chills to listeners, he could eventually become one of the greats in the melodic bass genre.
Illenium’s set left many amazed at what their ears were feeling. Faces in the crowd displayed pure joy to the smooth electro sounds coming from the speakers. Many were actually surprised with Illenium’s set as it was more laid back than they were expecting. They enjoyed it nonetheless. Perhaps Illenium was playing to the weather rather than the crowd. The sky darkened during his set, creating a sense of dreary ambiance. However, when his remix of Flume’s “Say It” came on, the crowd jumped up and down intensely. It was difficult to find anyone standing still. Near the end of his set he played “Feel Good,” his collaboration with Gryffin. Everyone sung along as this feel-good (no pun intended) song lifted everyone’s spirits to get them through the rest of the day.
Up next on the main stage was Tritional, the DJ duo hailing from Texas. These two are some of the most well known names in the Electro House genre. They wasted no time in getting the crowd dancing as they brought out the fireworks early on in their set. The loud explosions shocked many unexpectedly as the pyrotechnics are usually saved for finales. Tritonal played their remix of Coldplay’s “Something Just Like This,” which takes a well known song, removes it’s all too familiar drop, and replaces it with a fun electro drop.
They took the time to stop and dedicate their set to all the Texans suffering from the hurricane. The disaster is a soft spot for them because of where they’re from. The hurricane was a common topic when DJs stopped to talk to the crowd. Many wanted to show their support. As they got back into their rhythm and continued to play, they stopped their set again to introduce their newest collaboration with Armin Van Buuren, “Sunny Days” before playing it.
Tritonal played many songs from years past that brought back memories of previous festivals for the crowd. The classics from many years ago still create a movement of unity when played because every single person in the crowd knows the lyrics (or at least the chorus). The duo played Alesso and Sebastian Ingrosso’s “Lose My Mind” and the crowd passionately sung along. Not to let the unified chorus smolder out, they followed with The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” before playing a few songs to close out their set.
Playing at the same time, over Riverside stage was a young DJ that goes by the name of Rezz. Relatively young when she entered the scene, she has been making a name for herself with her unique style of techno. Fans at her set found their perfect spots among the sea of people and enjoyed the dark sounds while grooving along. Some of her songs sound straight from a video game soundtrack.
The venue is fortunately not as large as other festivals, which makes it easy to go back and forth among the four stages to catch as many acts as possible. The stages are set up in a linear pattern and it only takes 5 minutes to get from one end to another. Along the way from Rezz back to the main stage, Slander was performing at the Awakenings stage. The American DJ Duo certainly knows how to throw a party. Their set consisted of a mix of hip-hop, trap, and the occasional rock. Much respect has to be given to artists who play Aerosmith’s “Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” at an electronic dance music festival.
The next act caught was Tchami, the pioneer of future house back on the main stage. If there’s one set that felt like the quintessential festival experience, it was Tchami’s. There were dance circles all around the back filled with shufflers and ravers offering light shows aplenty, and many people on each other’s shoulders. Tchami also played a remix of Zonderling’s “Tunnel Vision” mashed with the acapella vocals from Disclosure’s “Latch.” Tchami played his two originals “World to Me” and “Adieu” to end his set.
Halfway through Tchami’s set, the sun called it a day and the sky opened up. The weather didn’t drizzle nor sprinkle. It was a torrential downpour. Many fled for cover while others were prepared with an umbrella. Ponchos were incredibly abundant. Others just chose to power through the 59-degree weather despite wearing next to nothing. With teeth chattering and arms shivering, they knew Zedd was coming onto stage soon after Tchami and he was not to be missed.
Fortunately for the crowd, Zedd maybe felt sympathy for the crowd and used tons of pyrotechnics, sometimes just leaving the flamethrowers on for a few seconds to warm the crowd up. He came onto the stage with an intro edit of “Beautiful Now” his collaboration with singer Jon Bellion. The melody got the crowd chanting along “bah bah bah bah-bah.” Like Galantis before him, the penultimate act on main stage provided so many opportunities for fans to sing along. He played a remix of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” that got people attempting the zombie dance. It was much easier slide across wet concrete anyway. Zedd played many of hits from “Break Free” to “Clarity.” He also played Daft Punk’s “One More Time” which will always get great reactions and incite some of the best dance battles. At the end of his set, he came back out one more time where his friend announced it was Zedd’s birthday. The crowd then sang him Happy Birthday before he departed the stage.
As the rain kept on without letting up, the final act of the night came on stage: Above and Beyond. If any one group were perfect to perform in the rain, it would be this trance trio. Their combination of emotional vocals coupled with hypnotic instrumentals brings out feelings in everyone. Of course it’s perfectly fitting their hit “Sun and Moon” that they played features these lyrics:
It’s raining, it’s pouring
A black sky is falling
It’s cold tonight
Fans were so amused they sang those lyrics louder than before due to the conditions they were facing. Although it definitely was raining and pouring, it was something Above and Beyond had already gotten their fans used to. Listening to their powerful music, tears can’t be seen in the rain so that’s a plus.
Overall, day two was completely filled with artists who many would not miss, even at the risk of catching a cold. The final day of the festival should see similar weather conditions, albeit not as intense. This may make day three the most exciting day to return to.
Photo: Chuff media