Ask any raver in the world and they'll tell you all about how "I'm totally in it for the music, bro."
But contrary to that theory, next-level, mind-blowing visuals are an increasingly important aspect of the electronic dance music scene.
Some of the best and most beloved DJs from all genres are throwing millions of dollars into their arena-sized LED displays. Mostly because DJs are overpaid. But also because all these music-loving kids are addicted to shiny things.
Now whose stage-game reigns supreme? Well, that should be obvious. But why don't you get that glow stick out of our face and check out Crossfade's list of the ten best DJ booths in EDM.
10. Midnight Conspiracy
This dark Chicago duo plays the heaviest in electro and dubstep. For their most recent tour, they pumped thousands of dollars into a custom 15-foot Illuminati pyramid called "The Eye." This shit shoots lasers like death rays and oscillates colors while filling with smoke. The bros do their thing inside, looking out at the crowd from the eyeball itself. It looks a bit like another pyramid on our list, but we won't call shenanigans.
9. Big Gigantic
Colorado's Big G already had a cult following because saxophones and dubstep are apparently one of the coolest combinations since peanut butter and chocolate. But they kicked up their asking price a bit when they revealed a brand-new rig. Now the guys perform within two totally mind-blowing light capsules. It's quite impressive in person, and the sax still sounds like sex.
When it comes to dance music, Frenchies pretty much do everything better. Justice rule the world of gritty filter house, and their stage set up reflects their metal roots. More Marshall amps than you've ever seen create a wall, with the epic center-piece of their glowing, signature cross. And with the addition of their second album, they added illuminated organ pipes and at one point in the show, Gaspard Auge (the one with the mustache) comes out and plays on a hidden keyboard. It's fucking sick.
7. DJ Shadow
Not only is he one of the illest mixers there is and an incredible turntablist, but he plays inside some kind of space-egg. It flashes all over with lights and images projected so as to seem like the orb itself is alive and spinning around. Sure, you can't really see him, but what is there to see anyway? Just some guy working his damn ass off. We appreciate the effort and the visuals.
He's got a funny name, but there's nothing funny about this all-encompassing musical experience. Meet the Shpongletron, a huge three-level stage design that looks something akin to an eastern religious experience. It also has an eye that shoots lasers but features more fractals than your non-medicated mind has ever seen. We're not condoning drug use or anything, but if you were to smoke DMT at a music festival, this is the show to spark it up.
The newest addition to our list is Canadian dubstepper Datsik who just announced his new vortex booth for his upcoming Firepower tour. Basically, the selector sits in the center of an ever-spiraling set of lights and a 50,000-watt P.A. That's a lot of fucking bass in your face. Not sure if the intended side-effect is hypnosis, but we think we like Datsik a whole lot more now.
Skrill pretty much abducted the dub game when he hit the scene back in 2010, and in 2012, he abducted our brains with his massive spaceship stage rig. Lasers galore, fog up the ass and a giant, black angular mystery pod that extends itself into the sky. It looks like something out of a PLUR nightmare, like Giger drew the thing in some heroin-induced stuper - not that we're saying that's a bad thing.
The young stunner from Sweden set off on an ambitious arena tour, the first of its kind for EDM, and he spared no expense on his impressive booth. He plays inside a giant head, though whose head, we can't be sure. The whole thing is bitmapped with intense projections and images, backed by a huge LED screen and flanked by, you guessed it, mega lasers. The top of the head, where the booth actually lies, detaches itself during the performance and sends the young DJ soaring over the crowd, shooting intense lasers out from underneath itself like a UFO. Some say the tour was too ambitious, but who really cares when you look that good.
2. Etienne De Crecy
But giant heads, spaceships and spinning vortexes are nothing compared to the cube. Back in 2008, French-house badass Etienne De Crecy unveiled his super sexy cube show, placing his squarely in the center of a six-square, Hollywood Squares-type three-dimensional rig. Again, bitmapping is the key here, and the light projections on the fabric screens create such a believable illusion, you wonder how he can get anything done in there.
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1. Daft Punk
Look, all these other DJs are cute and everything with their little top-of-the-line rigs and whole-hearted attempts to differentiate themselves from the masses. But nothing, we repeat, nothing will ever top some shit a couple robots did in 2006-2007. You cannot fuck with the pyramid. There can be only one.
You've got two robots sitting in a giant pyramid of light, flanked by light grids, all in front of a giant screen of light, blasting the best dance music in the world, and at the end, they light up themselves. Pretty much the most mind blowing thing you can ever witness. The world had to wait ten years for their second tour in 2007, let's hope it doesn't take so long this third time around.