Electric Zoo NYC Recap: Day 2 with Benny Benassi, Maya Jane Coles, Steve Aoki and More


On Saturday (Sept. 1), Electric Zoo was an expected combustion of scorching 85-degree weather, kaleidoscopic tunes at their highest volume, and many obnoxiously brilliant costumes and ensembles. The mood was vivacious with throngs of excited fans invading Randall’s Island like toddlers in a free-for-all sweet shop, ready to attack for the EDM festival’s sequel.

Aside from the actual performances, the second most indelible factor of the festival was the array of cheeky graphic tees, all in tribute to EDM’s culture as an arena of free love and even freer musical destinations. Girls and guys alike wore shirts that read: “Sex, Drugs and Dubstep,” “I Love You But I’ve Chosen Trance,” “Music Is The Answer,” and on one young fellow’s shirt, a poignant message: “Turn Off Your Brain. Turn On Your Heart”.

So while E-Zoo attendees moonlighted as activists for liberation with their clothes (or lack thereof), they were really there for the bastion of electronica. Every act on the mega bill had a following, and the highlights of the day came from newer hellcats on the scene to the genre’s iconic stars. Nevertheless, they all posed in a Jesus the Redeemer stance in front of an adoring audience that demanded more bass.

From the main stage, Bingo Players and Dada Life were impressive, as OG Axwell brought it home with his darker trance medley. Above & Beyond interlaced a moment with Oceanlab’s “On a Good Day.” At the Hilltop, Morgan Page, Martin Solveig, Rusko, Wolfgang Gartner, and ’90s dance machine Benny Benassi showed the kids the light over on the Dim Mak showcase at Riverside, Angger Dimas delivered; 12th Planet’s performance instantly made him a festival notable for golden handed mingling of electro and hip-hop; and Kill the Noise and Datsik were faithfully boisterous.

The EDM rock star himself Steve Aoki closed his Dim Mak stage with 3D video art surrounding him and he bestowed boatloads of candid confidence and super vibrant energy to anticipated devotees. He had entered the platform following a fervent chant of “A-oki! A-oki!,” with an abundance of fist pumps. Over at Sunday School Groove, Maya Jane Coles gave a tenderly ebullient churn of chill-out music. Her lush interpretations of EDM soothed the E-Zoo-ers inside the tent, but still gave them plenty of rhythm.

Day 2 was an accomplished gathering of doing it for the music and embracing some very colorful individuality. The music utterly pelted the ears of fans and they ricocheted right back with a deluge of zest.