America’s Best DJ: From the Windy City to the Desert Rave: Spring Awakening & EDC

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Las Vegas – After a weekend of big beats and even bigger deep dish pizza in the Windy City, we’re off to the desert!

This past weekend, the America’s Best DJ Summer Tour Presented By Pioneer DJ & DJ Times headed to Chicago’s Soldier Field for Spring Awakening Festival. The 18+ fest ran from June 12-14 and boasted over 80 acts spread across four stages, serving delicious dance beats to over 75,000 attendees.


Of the numerous acts performing, America’s Best DJ 2015 nominees made up 11 different slots. Over on the Main Stage, Seven Lions gave the Friday afternoon crowd a decidedly massive performance despite the rainy weather. The early portion of the set had a distinct house-flavored flair before it transitioned toward his clean, anthemic singles “Strangers” and “A Way To Say Goodbye.” Later on, the California-based DJ/producer gave fans just about everything they could be looking for, with an 11th hour dubstep section that gave way to a gorgeous trance-inspired finale.

Photo by Da Black Swan/SAMF

Seven Lions slays the Friday crowd on the Main Stage | Photo by Da Black Swan/SAMF

On Friday night, we took a quick reprieve from the America’s Best DJ action to head out to the subterranean Spybar to catch Hot Creations maestro Patrick Topping. Guests were treated to a very special opening set from Kim Ann Foxman, who wasted no time in dropping scorching tech bombs that got the place bumping from the get-go. Right around 1:30 AM, Topping took to the decks, somehow managing to turn the energy up even further with a no-nonsense approach to killer grooves, with tracks like Gettoblaster’s “Girl Scout Cookies” and his own collaboration with Green Velvet “Voicemail” ripping into the room. Check out his chat with DJ Times TV from before his performance here.

Patrick Topping takes to the decks of Spybar to drop some tech bombs.

Patrick Topping takes to the decks of Spybar to drop some tech bombs.

On Saturday, attendees just had to make a zig-zag pattern between the Main Stage and the nearby Equinox stage to catch more ABDJ nominees. Morgan Page’s late afternoon set was heavy on vocal-focused big room wreckers on the exterior Equinox stage, while Skrillex and Diplo came together as Jack Ü on the Main Stage with crowd-pleasing high-energy track picks that included their remix of Beyonce’s “7/11.” Diplo would later play a solo set out on the Equinox stage as hometown heroes Flosstradamus took to the stadium to show their Chicago pride ahead of a Blackhawks Stanley Cup win.

Early Sunday afternoon, Audien brought the crowd together with his hyper-melodic progressive set on the Equinox stage, while TJR pulled some nostalgic strings with a bouncing rework of 2 Live Crew’s 80s staple “We Want Some Pussy” over on the Main Stage. However, it was the Beatport Hangar stage that proved to be the hotspot for the day , with slick grooves coming courtesy of four ABDJ nominees playing consecutively. There was little doubt amongst those present that Dirtybird’s Justin Martin delivered the set of the weekend. After opening with some rump-shaking tech house groovers, Martin took the crowd on a perfectly sequenced, yet playful ride that was simply impossible to not dance to.

Justin Martin drops one of the finest sets of the weekend. | Photo by Da Black Swan/SAMF

Justin Martin drops one of the finest sets of the weekend. | Photo by Da Black Swan/SAMF

Afterward, Chicago’s Derrick Carter showed some respect to the Windy City’s house origins by playing a pair of burners from the city’s own Doc Link: the funky “Play That Beat” and the sassy “Gettin’ Nasty.” Green Velvet donned his Cajmere alter-ego to give the mud-soaked crowd relentless house offerings, including the Light Is Red Underground Goodie remix of his own 1994 single “Brighter Days.” Finally, MK rounded out the nominees on the stage with his timeless garage-centric sounds, which began with his church-going remix of Bakermat’s “Teach Me.”

This weekend, we’re heading to the grand daddy of summer festivals: Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas. From sundown on Friday, June 19 until the early morning hours of June 22, an ocean of ravers will descend upon the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for three nights of sweet, sweet festival action and jaw-dropping production. ABDJ nominees make up a fair bit of the countless number of top-notch acts performing this weekend, and they include: AC Slater, Audien, Bassnectar, 3lau, Carnage, Dieselboy, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Dubfire, Flosstradamus, Get Real (Claude VonStroke & Green Velvet), Justin Martin, Kaskade, Krewella, Moby, Pretty Lights, Saeed Younan, Seven Lions, Soul Clap, 12th Planet, Victor Calderone, and Z-Trip. It’s hard to go wrong with anyone on the lineup, especially since Above & Beyond, Calvin Harris, Fatboy Slim, and Martin Solveig are just a sampling of other superstar artists playing this weekend.

Heading out to the desert party this weekend? Come by the Pioneer DJ booth to check out their newest products and cast your vote for America’s Best DJ. While there, you’ll be able to grab the latest issues of DJ Times and ClubWorld. As always, each vote cast serves as an entry for a chance to win a trip for two to our ABDJ crowning ceremony and closing party at Omnia San Diego on October 11, and each voter also earns the ability to nab valuable Pioneer DJ gear.