Randal’s dusty zoo
24 Sep 2010

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New York is always a wild and exhausting experience. Being a New York veteran, I arrived a day early for Electric Zoo so as to get in some serious pre-gaming. The sun rose while I tossed back a couple beer bongs, got lifted, and glittered all my bitches. We arrived via taxi to a strange island whose only purpose seemed to be entertainment. There were no residents, just parking lots and stadiums.  Getting through security sucked harder than a rave chick with a binky.

I had never seen Afrojack before, but my blob was pretty hyped on him and he was just about to come on.

It wasn’t hard to get lured in by the visual and rhythmic cocktail stirring in front of us. His set looked like silver crystal fractals catching lights and beaming them all around.  He did a version of “Hide and Seek” that was full of beat builds and drops. With every drop I could feel my smile getting wider and my energy elevating…ah…the rage had begun and I was loving it!

After Afro I wandered to another stage that was obviously poppin off. I started mingling my way into the depth of the rave jungle to achieve a spot a satisfying distance away from the artist. (For any noobs to the scene: the easiest way to make your way to the front is to dance through…smile and everyone loves it).  I’m a sucker for dope female hooks on a song, and out of nowhere this dude throws on the Scissor Sisters “Any Which Way” remix! My first thought was  “Yo who the fuck is this Dude, this shit is ripe!?”  Someone shouts “Erol Alkan!” just as he’s just raging “drive me crazy, WOMP crazy WOMP crazy.”  I always like line-ups where I only know about half the acts cuz it usually means the unfamiliar acts are super dope too…plus who doesn’t like new friends?

Then there was Rusko- barefoot as usual.  This motherfucker has some of the best kinetic energy that hops up and down to his musical thesis. I would definitely crown him as a crowd favorite.  He played a ruthless new track called “Cereal Killa” which is an Eddie K mix and merged it with “California Love,” a Tupac and Dre colabo. I like to think of Rusko’s music as sound and culture collages. He lays out original platforms as a surface and then overlays dirty deep dub base with some jump off tracks that always add a little sass. People love his spirit and attentiveness to crowd vibes- he’s right there with you the whole time. Rusko never fades into the back or becomes secondary to his music; his presence is a large part of the performance. I guess he remembered me from our last Ruskopade in Philly and squinted into the crowd and gave me a wave. I hung around after his set to chat about the goose bumps and chills delivered by his dub compositions. When we split ways I kissed him on the cheek, let him get back to his fans.  I meandered back under the Red Bull tent.

Flying Lotus came on after Rusko and brought the chaos to a different, more hip-hop vibe that was definitely manageable considering everyone just lost their minds. Plus it’s always nice to get down on some head nod shit.

Benni Bennasi was doin his thing on the main stage.  That dude always keeps it consistent and I don’t think I would have felt complete if I didn’t hear an ill “Satisfaction” remix.


Pretty Lights found themselves in front of me at one point in the night, and murdered it as usual with their catchy, electronically fresh blends. At the end of their set they played a version of ‘Empire State of Mind’ that sounded way better than the original. The only thing that threw me off besides the chick next to me who was too spun for anyone’s own good was the new drummer…what up with that Derek? It made me think what the fuck is PL without Corey as if I didn’t already think Derek was kinda pompous (but really talented) now they got a new drummer. Alright alright Adam Deitch is completely legit but I’d be lying if a part of me didn’t miss Corey and think he’s responsible for propelling PL into the spotlight.

As I became one of the thousands of animals in the stampede to exit The Zoo I made a couple notes to self: first, Randal’s Island is dusty as dick, and I would definitely need a dust mask for day two- I blew my nose and my snot was black.  Also, call ahead for a taxi or car service cuz the bus takes about an hour to get on, the lights are really bright fluorescent bulbs that make everyone look like glitter zombies, and it drops you off in Harlem… so you gotta get a cab from there, anyway.

Enter Day2.  We walked in as Glitch Mob was raping their first set.  My crew flooded the stage and let our moves drop like the heavy base around us.  Glitch Mob took me with their instrumental dexterity during “Beyond Right Now.” They had a nutty drum solo where they touched their hands to the screen pushing tribal tones and ceremonial movements.

Moby took the glitter at this fest. I gleamed up more people during his set than any other because his music was perfect for it. Moby is someone who really knows what he’s doing and has much practice in the game. His music was very floaty and light but would get deep in the hard bass only to dip out again. His transitions were super smooth and he bounced back and forth from tech to womp satisfying a broad range of musical taste buds. As the sun was setting behind the main stage, Moby threw on a song by Kidda, “Under the Sun,” that yet to leave my thoughts.  This female hook made my eyes water and my feet jump up and down like a young little puppy.  I took the lid off my glitter and jumped up and down waving the container around my head like a helicopter. Those shinny little flecks fluttered onto mad shoulder tops around me and ignited more smiles than I could count.

After the super-satisfying Moby glitter explosion, it was to be my first time ever seeing Boys Noize.  I was not let down.  They were unreal.  They came on after Moby while a bunch of the homies were trying to peace and chill from raging for a sec.  The second we all heard the beginning of the first song we said fuck it cuz it was too good to give up our front center spot.

Diplo is my boy, so of course I had to go see him do his thing.  His shit got turned way the fuck up and bumped nice and hard.  He played some old shit, some new shit and some live shit- always bringing great hip-hop riffs into the picture.  He really seems to embrace current club culture.  He threw in a little “Teach Me How to Duggie” followed by “Beamer Benz or Bentley,” and also showed a lot of love to MIA, Excision and Rusko.  It was a fuckin party.

A-Trak came on with Diplo for a second to tickle his musical balls, and they played a short colabo together.  I’ve always liked A-trak’s old school style; he’s one of the few acts that still live scratches when he DJs.

Bassnectar played last…duh…the crowd for Bassnectar might have been even nuttier than Rusko’s.  Everyone huddled like little penguins anxious to be musically raped by one of the hardest dub step DJs playing.  He covered one of my favorite songs called “Duck Sauce,” that has great sexual innuendos in the verses.  Basically, Bassnectar can do it any way that you want it!  It was the perfect orgasmic musical nightcap to The Electric Zoo.

All in all, everything was one big glittery, dusty, wompy blur.  Electronic music festivals are probably the most exhausting music festivals.  If it wasn’t for the giant burrito I devoured during Marco Carola’s set, I inevitably would have ended my night early.  I know this was a mad long review, so props to everyone who read through it. There was just so much memorabilia that I could not leave out.  Love to my crew to without whom my great time would not have been possible, cuz at the end of the day its not where you are- its who you’re with! The blob is half the battle. Blob up – blob out! Shine on Glitter kids!

Best,

S.

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