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Review: Phoenix Lights

Festival Triumphs

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The Prospective Energy That Preceded The Phoenix Lights Festival Was Exceeded By The Lights, Atmosphere, People And Powerful Performances By All The DJs, Especially Headliners Zeds Dead and Hardwell

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By Heather Traficano
Special for Modern Times Magazine

March 23, 2015 — Phoenix Lights 2015 was an earthly experience with extraterrestrial flavor, the best of EDM and a collection of people unparalleled in the Phoenix metro.

The electronic music-based festival held at the Civic Space Park Sunday was properly directed as the artists, fans and location intertwined with synchronicity to commemorate the UFO sighting that occurred directly over the city's heart in 1997. The lineup was incomparable, hosting a handful of the world's top Djs and best up-and-comings. Zeds Dead, Jauz, Arizona's own Bijou, Lane 8, and famed headliner, Hardwell, created a night that many would consider out of this world.

Hardwell's return to the Phoenix metro was not just a show, but a celebration. His hard hitting, master-mixing capabilities are some of the best an electronic advocate could imagine. The big house monarch takes pride in work, his passion wreaks success and it was all on display at Phoenix Lights.

Upon entering the festival, it was already a given that many would in fact overdose on EDM.

No complaints, however.

To get the day started, fans were greeted with some deep house from Rolando Hodar at the Rbdeep stage hosted exclusively by Relentless Beats, and Michael James at the Phoenix Lights stage. Attendees were taking advantage of the grassy areas accompanied by shade collecting energy for the rest of the night while they sipped on $6 cans of domestic beverages. Others took part in waiting in line at the taco truck courtesy of Rosana's Taco Toppers.

The remainder of the afternoon consisted of breaks, progressive house, and G-house mixes from artists such as Bijou, Lane 8, and Kill The Buzz. The crowd continued to build, but lacked energy.

When Jauz entered the scene at sunset, however, the fans really started to respond. The multitude of lasers combined with his electro house flare made his set a sensory overload heaven. He danced to his set as much as the fans did, bringing the energy up to a fever-pitch.

Co-headliner Zeds Dead then took over to put the fans in a spell-bound stupor. The duo's unique dubstep and electro house mixes got people twerking, swaying, and even some head banging. There was confetti cannons to hype the function as they played their hits “You Know,” “Lost You,” “Collapse,” and finished strong with the infamous “Eyes On Fire” remix.

As the excitement grew for the main attraction, chants of Hardwell's name echoed through the surrounding buildings and the screams of his fans escalated for his appearance. As soon as the main lights dimmed, the fans responded with rapturous adoration.

If there was a ceiling over the Civic Space Park, it would have been blown off.

Hardwell put on a performance many wish they could do just once in their lifetime. His dancing and communicating to the crowd translated into pure love during his set. The sea of people bounced in sync whenever he dropped, transitioned, and mixed into the next hit. His ability to direct the crowd was outstanding as seen when he performed “Ping Pong Song” and got every attendee in view to move their hands side to side with him.

Hardwell had a perfect balance of musical climaxes and resting bpm tunes. He remixed “Pursuit Of Happiness” and “Take Me To Church” but blasted out “Heroes,” “Apollo,” “Never Say Goodbye,” and “Jumper” and finished off the set with his own banger, “Spaceman.”

As expected, True Music and Relentless Beats delivered. Prime sound and superior effects made for a true, quality show that was agreeably a transcendental experience.

Heather Traficano is a freelance writer.
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