The Martinez Brothers
Armin van Buurin
Josh Wink and Richie Hawtin
Armin van Buurin
DJ Aero and Tommy Lee
“Snoop Dogg is about to go on,” we told the neon-clad, face-painted, Deely Bobber–ed kids standing next to us in front of Electric Zoo’s main stage. “You’re crazy!” they replied. “Why would Snoop be here?” They had a point—after all, the festival, now in it’s third year, is firmly committed to streamlined, machine-tooled club music, and anything approaching hip-hop and funk is something of a no-no. But one minute later, the man himself entered stage right, accompanied by a phalanx of hype men (including one costumed as a furry…well, perhaps he was supposed to be a dog, though really, he looked more like a baked Yogi Bear crossed with a tapir). Snoop proclaimed simply, “Smoke some motherfuckin’ weed!” and took his place behind a computer. Billed as DJ Snoopadelic, he might have been deejaying; there were definitely songs playing, including lots of radio-friendly ’90s hip-hop and R&B, the Joan Jett version of “I Love Rock ’N Roll” and, as you might guess, plenty of G-funk.
RECOMMENDED: Complete Electric Zoo guide
We’re not sure if the set was a highlight or lowlight—hell, it was Snoop, and he transcends such petty categorisation—but there was plenty of both at the three-day fest, which this year attracted somewhere around 85,000 ravers, club veterans and civilians. The major lowlight was the cancelation of Richie Hawtin’s live set as Plastikman due to technical issues, though two separate Hawtin DJ sets made up for it. Of course, there was plenty of so-so music (is it us, or did many of the main-stage DJs play the exact same songs?) but really, there was so much in the way of hotness that it’s not even worth going negative. For us, the Sunday School tent was the place to be, where Gui Boratto, Carl Craig (playing Isolée’s beloved “Beau Mot Plage”—yes!), Carl Cox, and Josh Wink, among others, kept the house and techno goodies coming. A special nod has to go to the one-two punch of James Holden and Steve Bug: The former’s toughened-up version of his usual woodland-fawn techno and the latter’s 120-bpm mix of old-school-tinged deepness were among the festival’s best sets. Then there was the fact that, at least by our fuzzy recollection, it has yet to rain in the three years that Electric Zoo’s been around; we’re not sure if the festival’s producer, Made Event, has made a deal with the weather gods or something, but it’s a nice touch.