Another Labor Day in the books and we have completed a full Electric Zoo for the first time in three years. The weather gods looked down favorably on New York City, granting the festival perfect weather without a hint of rain and barely a cloud in the sky. The festival had to rebrand this year into "transformed" to try and create a new image that included new stage designs, lower ticket prices and different stage curators. We already wrapped up Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 as it happened. Here are a few highlights from the festival, including the anthem, who is the festival MVP (hint Brothers who aren't related) and who just wouldn't leave.
Best Stage Banter: Alison Wonderland. There are two schools of DJs who get on the mic. There are the ones who just yell "Get You F*cking Hands Up!" or "Jump" constantly or others who actually say a few things that might be relevant to their set. Alison Wonderland, in addition to delivering one of the sets of the weekend, premised one of her songs by saying the last time she played it was the last time she f*cked her ex-boyfriend. The LED panel was also quite tall in front of the stage, as she noted in the first minute "I'm f*cking short, I can't see anything." It got personal over at Riverside.
Best Political Signage: Donald Funk. There wasn't too much signage this year beyond the typical fan boy type of signs. There were the occasional humorous and unrelated posters like one that has the "that's none of my business" Kermit the frog meme and read, "I like your Instagram photo, I think my intentions are rather clear." However a lot of individuals were getting in the political spirit, with a Kanye 2020 poster spotted at the Riverside, a Deez Nuts 4 Prez sign spotted and even an anti-Trump sign seen at the main stage. The best however was a Donald Funk sign that had the picture of the leading presidential candidate grunting with a large black Afro. Well played gentlemen.
E Zoo Anthem - Valentino Khan "Deep Down Low." Girl Drop That A** "Deep Down Low." Everyone from Nervo, to Alesso to Dirty South dropped the massive tune from Valentino Khan. It is deep, it is heavy and it is gritty. It isn't your typical main stage anthem, but as genres blend and lines are broken, this is the anthem people have wanted and have gotten.
Worst Outfits - Everyone with a molly related shirt. Thankfully the number of these abominations dropped off significantly from previous years, but there were still present. If you are still buying these in 2015, there is something very wrong with you. Just take off the shirt like a quarter of the dudes at the festival. You will blend right in.
Guys who wouldn't leave the Zoo: Pierce Fulton & Ansolo. Pierce Fulton had an early set on the main stage Friday and brought out Ansolo to play a new track from their relatively new duo Skirts & Skins. Then the next day, Pierce Fulton came out to do the same for Ansolo during his early afternoon set on the main stage. Since both of them live in New York City, this was pretty easy for them to do. They then did a surprise pop-up set at the Vitamin Water Treehouse stage, which was a definite upgrade over whatever was going on over there.
Best Free Stuff - Vitamin Water. Vitamin Water slapped their name on a stage and gave away free bottles of their product to people all weekend. It makes sense for the festival to have a brand that will hydrate their attendees giving away free product and then the brand might get some new customers.
The coozy that came with every beer was a close second. Coozies are a vastly underrated item.
Biggest Head Scratcher - The main stage transformation. The overall festival did transform for the better, but at the end of each night, E Zoo promised some large transformation ceremony. Nobody really knew what was going to happen and with a phoenix as the design of the stage, it was possible that it could transform into something different. Instead they just lit up all of the lights, lasers and LEDs, played a few random songs and set off a few fireworks. It was a strange "transformation" ceremony.
Best Friday Set: Alison Wonderland. The Australian DJ was part of the Friday Aussie invasion on the Riverside stage. Though she could barely keep her eyes open, the DJ was in total control, showing up most of the other festival DJs scratching her way through a mix of hip-hop, R&B and trap.
Best Saturday Set: Above & Beyond. It is easy to pick them, but on easily the festival's weakest and most disparate day, Above & Beyond were the standouts in the field. Their show is show authentic and heartfelt, even on the 7th time. This was the first time seeing them since We Are All We Need was released and since their takeover of Madison Square Garden, so it felt so good to be reunited.
Best Sunday Set: The Glitch Mob. Sunday was packed with great sets. Everything on the Riverside stage was on point with the last hurrah of summer with sets from Thomas Jack, Sam Feldt, Le Youth, Robin Schulz and others. However is was The Glitch Mob who stole the show in the slightly less muggy Hilltop Arena. The blade is everything you want out of a live set up and the trio brought their vigorous and energetic show to the full tent as the final act in it. Gazing at the tent now off in the distance, it is a wonder it is still standing.
Festival MVP: The Chemical Brothers. Electric Zoo had a lineup looking towards the future with bookings that appeal to a younger crowd, but bringing in the legendary Chemical Brothers was the best decision they made all weekend. Though they may not have sold tickets like a Hardwell or a Tiësto, the duo put on a much better show with a well-put together audio-visual display that brought back the rave to 2015 and showed the youth how it is done.