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Preview Mon Jun 11 2012
Chicago welcomes its very first all dance music festival this weekend. Spring Awakening Music Festival hits Soldier Field Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17.
It's safe to say that electronic dance music -- or EDM for short -- has finally jumped the pond and adapted the same mainstream status it has enjoyed in Europe for years here in the U.S. Though many Chicagoans are already old pros at dance music shows and festivals, Spring Awakening will prove to be the first headfirst dive into the bass-tastic pool that still more have only dipped their toes into thus far.
Either way, here are a few things to keep in mind while you're getting down this weekend.
1. Dropping bass can drop some serious dough into your bank account.
Twenty-four-year-old Spring Awakening Music Festival headliner Skrillex was recently inducted onto Forbes' "100 Richest Celebrities List" with earnings upwards of $15 million. So, if his signature half-hawk is looking a bit grungy as it so often does, don't worry. It's not because he can't afford shampoo. Skrillex spins on Da Main Stage Saturday, June 16, at 10pm.
2. No, that is not Kanye West's song.
If you find yourself near Da Main Stage while English producer/DJ Flux Pavilion is on, there's a chance you'll start humming along to a familiar tune. Kanye and Jay-Z sampled Flux's song "I Can't Stop" on "Who Gon Stop Me" off of their Watch The Throne album. Flux Pavilion spins on Da Main Stage Sunday, June 17, at 8pm.
3. Yes, that is Kanye West's DJ.
A-Trak's Chicago ties were birthed long before his appearance at this year's Spring Awakening festival. The Montreal-born DJ started touring with 'ye in 2004 and did a little spinning and scratching on both the Late Registration and Graduation albums. A-Trak spins on Da Main Stage Saturday, June 16, at 7pm.
4. Nothing goes better with porn than fried chicken.
Emerging from its Monday-night home at Evil Olive, one of Chicago's biggest parties is hitting the big stage at Spring Awakening this year. Porn 'n Chicken's house DJs Orville Klein and Phives as well as the party's inspired leader Dom Brown will be bringing their X-rated imagery, beats and (greasy) treats to the fest. Porn 'n Chicken spins on Da Colonnades Stage Saturday, June 16, at 9pm.
5. You don't have to go far from home to find the next biggest thing.
Don't be surprised if your out-of-towner friends start dropping names like Willy Joy and Zebo when talking about hot "new" EDM artists. These local DJs have been putting their own spin on the house music that Chicago birthed for years and are setting themselves up for some national attention this summer with sets at big-time festivals like Spring Awakening. Zebo spins on Da Main Stage Saturday, June 16, at 4pm. Willy Joy spins on Da Drive Stage Sunday, June 17 at 3pm.
6. I wasn't talking about Mozart.
Wolfgang Gartner put on one of my favorite sets at North Coast Music Festival last year and I couldn't be more excited to see him again this summer. If you're still trying to find your ideal electronic dance music subgenre--be it trance, dupstep, traditional house, whatever--Gartner is an ideal jumping off point. He can get hot and heavy or keep it cool, but, either way, the beats are always sweet. Wolfgang Gartner spins on Da Equinox Stage Sunday, June 17, at 9pm.
7. Sunglasses aren't just for blocking the sun.
Sure, fireworks and other pyrotechnical effects have gone hand in hand with concerts for decades now, but electronic artists are really stepping up their live shows with strobes, LED screens and lasers. Look no further than Chicago's own Midnight Conspiracy for some face-melting eye candy. These local dubsteppers have been toting their new Eye Live light show to recent shows but for many--including this writer--Spring Awakening will be their first time checking out the new setup. Midnight Conspiracy spins on Da Main Stage Saturday, June 16, at 6pm.
8. It's called electronic dance music for a reason.
Some argue that watching and electronic dance artist's set isn't as compelling as, say, a rock band. The "dance" in "electronic dance music" is pretty darn implicative of what the genre's live shows should be received with. Remember last Saturday when you were shaking your tail feathers to Afrojack's "Take Over Control" in Wrigleyville? Well, this Sunday at Soldier Field isn't any different. Afrojack spins on Da Main Stage Sunday, June 16, at 10pm.
9. Running shoes might be a good idea.
No, seriously. This festival is packed. And set time clashes are inevitable. If you see someone frantically racing between stages to catch partial sets from both Flux Pavilion and Diplo, it's probably me. Flux Pavilion and Diplo both spin Sunday, June 17, at 8pm on Da Main Stage and Da Drive Stage, respectively.
10. This ain't no passing phase.
Electronic dance music has skyrocketed to the mainstream in recent years but, I assure you, it's not a new phenomenon. Spring Awakening performers Carl Cox and Benny Benassi have been doing this whole "deejaying" thing for decades. Festival headliner Skrillex scored three Grammy's this year for his work and EDM heavyweight DeadMau5 even performed at the awards ceremony. All signs point to the clear truth that electronic dance music is here to stay, folks. Carl Cox spins on Da Main Stage Sunday, June 17, at 7pm. Benny Benassi spins on Da Main Stage Saturday, June 16, at 9pm.
Alright, ready....DANCE! Tickets for Spring Awakening Music Festival are still on sale here. Two-day passes will run you $120 while single day tickets are $65. Get ready to womp womp and wobble wobble.