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10 Best Things We Saw at Electric Zoo 2015

Multimedia spectacle, high-energy beats reign at drama-free dance-music bacchanal

Electric Zoo

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Electric Zoo enjoyed one of its first drama-less fests this year, free of weather delays and tragedies (so far). The three-day dance-music blowout on NYC's Randall's Island was blessed with perfectly sunny, breezy weather and a relatively calm crowd. From veteran DJs to buzzy young talent, surprising mash-ups to octopus-shaped stages, here are the best and raviest things we saw at the Zoo this year. 

Zebras, Electric Zoo

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Best Art Installation: Electric Zebras

Randall's Island literally transformed into an electric zoo thanks to numerous animal-shaped art installations that lit up at night and peppered the park. The most gorgeous one also happened to the most alive — performers on stilts wore light-up zebra costumes and swayed in a circle near the Hilltop Arena. The entrancing visual drew crowds almost as big as some of the smaller stages.

The Chemical Brothers

The Chemical Brothers

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Best Visuals: The Chemical Brothers

The Chemical Brothers have been performing since before many of the Electric Zoo DJs — and attendees — were born, and their knowledge and experience were evident during their Friday main-stage set, which succeeded without relying on heavy drills, drops and tricks. The big-beat duo offered a perfect mix of old and new, though the newer tracks, like this year's "Go" and 2007's "Do It Again," were two of the biggest crowd-pleasers. The Brothers also presented savvy visual accompaniment in the form of psychedelic clips and references to their own filmography — including repeated use of the terrifying clown seen in their 2012 Don't Think movie.


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Best of the Fest: Alesso

Alesso has learned a lot from his mentors in Swedish House Mafia — and may have usurped them as the perfect main-stage EDM act. The 24-year-old closed out the festival on Sunday with a dynamic, celebratory set that sounded like flipping the dial between various Top 40 radio stations. He began with a chopped and screwed take on Maroon 5's most recent single, "This Summer's Gonna Hurt Like a Motherfucker," which segued into an ADD-style musical trip perfect for the packed, still energetic Zoo crowd. Alesso was a confident leader, noticeably thrilled as the crowd sang along to his own hits — "Sweet Escape," "Heroes" — even more loudly than they did for songs like Calvin Harris' "How Deep Is Your Love" and Major Lazer's "Lean On" and "Febreeze." At the end of a long weekend, Alesso's performance was a reminder of what a truly spectacular festival set can be. 

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