Sunday, June 20, 2010
Concert review: Electric Daisy Carnival 2010 in Dallas (June 19)
Major dance-music event from L.A. sees successful premiere in Dallas.
DALLAS Having established itself in Los Angeles as one of the premiere events in dance music, The Electric Daisy Carnival inaugurated a successful rendition in Dallas on Saturday at Fair Park, with a colorful young crowd of at least 12,000 and more than two dozen dance acts including Moby, Benny Benassi, and Kaskade.
Performers were spread over four stages: One occupied the grassy field at the corner of Exposition and Parry; the other three stages were set up inside Centennial Hall, the long building adjacent to the Esplanade's 700-foot-long reflecting pool.
The result was that no matter where you went, some kind of music was being made. On the outside Cosmic Meadow stage, it was Moby and Toronto spinner JFK, who could be spied chilling in a limousine outside the venue before his show began. Inside, on the Kinetic Field stage, it was Kaskade and trance-inducing DJ Gareth Emery. On the Neon Garden stage, aptly named because of its hypnotic strobe-ridden light show, Rusko, Dieselboy, and Dirtyphonics got the crowd dancing frantically with their hyperactive rhythms. A smaller stage inside hosted Dallas' top DJs including DJ Merritt and Raydar & Shaolin.
Though stellar, the lineup nearly played second fiddle to all of the other elements, from the vividly dressed crowd to the amusement-park rides to the choice of Fair Park as a setting. With its sprawling pastoral grounds and recently-renovated fountains, you couldn't have asked for a better site.
The event's location was steps away from the Fair Park stop of the Green Line DART Rail, so you could take the train; but the door was positioned down a side road to minimize traffic on Parry.
Organizationally, it was a huge undertaking and well executed, with every detail considered. The esplanade was a feast of visuals. Colored spotlights made the whooshing fountains look psychedelic. Rotating lights placed strategically at the foot of every statue and building created swirling patterns on every patch of bare cement. There were eye-popping light shows; a cast of hired carnival performers such as stilt-walkers; and six fully-functional amusement park rides such as the Ring of Fire and Zero Gravity -- making this a literal carnival.
But the best part was the crowd, many in eye-popping rave gear: rainbow and Day-Glo colors, clown costumes, brightly-hued fright wigs, animal masks, and glow strips. The prevailing uniform worn by countless young women consisted of an ultra-skimpy bikini paired with furry leggings. Others wore ballerina tutus made of tulle.
Once it turned dark, neon glow lights bloomed everywhere: Luminescent strips were bent into makeshift hats, glasses, and big chunky necklaces. Some attendees wore gloves with neon fingertips; they moved their fingers rapidly to generate hypnotic patterns of light. Guys with lights on nunchuck-style chains spun them maniacally, or else congregated in groups to spin at each other, creating trippy constellations. One guy dabbed paint on another's back, and people were hula-hooping all over the place.
The net effect of all this activity was to engender freedom of expression. You could do just about anything you wanted -- dance alone, sit quietly, wear your pajamas, eat pizza, talk to strangers -- and it didn't matter, the freakier the better. That's what's endearing about the dance-music scene, its sense of tolerance and inclusion and ultimately, community, no matter who you are.
A yearly event in L.A. since 1996, EDC has sprouted to other cities; it touched down in Denver last week, and will also hit Puerto Rico in August. Dallas is a logical destination, given its history as a dance-music center dating back to the '80s. We have still-vibrant clubs such as Lizard Lounge -- which not coincidentally hosted an official after-party that kept the Daisy spirit going into the night.
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