Dancing Astronaut celebrates the top five electronic tours of 2017

Zedd – Echo Tour

by Rachel Narozniak

2017 would prove to be a career defining year for Zedd, the producer dethroning his 2012 Foxes feature, “Clarity,” as his most recognizable single via the release of “Stay,” a track that would not only earn Zedd his second double platinum certification plaque, but a VMA for Best Dance Video, and a Grammy nomination to boot. Departing with his highly celebrated single and Grey in tow, Zedd hit the road on his 12-date North American Echo Tour.

Zedd

Photo Credit: @zedd/Instagram

A masterpiece of modern electronic production, the Echo Tour proved to be an intricately designed venture both highly stylized and deeply experiential in nature. Reflective of Zedd’s self professed desire to engage a multitude of “…senses that come together into one experience,” the Echo Tour appealed to sight, sound, feel, and touch via visuals, color and lighting, lasers, smoke, and of course, Zedd’s musical library. Far from hesitant to lay claim to the choreographed quality of his shows, Zedd acknowledges “Every song that I’ve ever played has a specific visual that goes with the song,” but the pre-show preparation extended beyond just that—the producer also matched specific lighting and color effects to each song, rehearsing the ensembles prior to the tour’s debut. The effects that characterize the Echo Tour’s individual shows, however, are produced live, projected to the crowd in real time despite the tour’s various pre-debut run throughs.

Echo Tour

Photo Credit: @zedd/Instagram

An exposition of Zedd’s progression as artist, performer, and production strategist, the Echo Tour contained a message that was reiterated on each show date. Those that identified Zedd as an ‘artist to watch’ back in his earliest days had their fingers firmly planted on the pulse of dance music’s future, a rhythm that has beat with increasing intensity given Zedd’s continued ascendance to electronic acclaim.


deadmau5– lots of shows in a row tour

by Rachel Vensand

Mastermind of progressive house and music industry satire, Joel Zimmerman brought his ‘lots of shows in a row’ tour to an international audience in 2017. Kicking off at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom in March, the tour made noteworthy stops at large scale festivals and venues alike including Mysteryland, Creamfields, Red Rocks Amphitheater, Shrine Auditorium, Tomorrowland and Hï Ibiza.

deadmau5

Photo Credit: EDM Tunes

The crown jewel of deadmau5’s recent tour was the new and improved Cube 2.1, which boasted state-of-the-art LED screens and crystal clear, new graphics for an unparalleled visual experience. Standing at 15 feet tall and 16 feet wide, the behemoth showed comedic images of dancing cows, wonky-eyed mice, and even a tribute to the video game Rocket League among other visuals during deadmau5’s sets.

deadmau5

Photo Credit: EDM Tunes


Rezz– Mass Manipulation Tour

by Rachel Vensand

Isabelle Rezazadeh’s unique breed of dark, bass-driven techno separates REZZ from her contemporaries, and her recent Mass Manipulation tour followed suit. The 22 year old “Space Mom” took her debut album worldwide in 2017, enlisting a star-studded roster of support from Blackgummy, Bleep Bloop, Crywolf, Drezo, Dr. Fresch, Electric Mantis, Eprom, Haywyre, k?d, No Mana, and more.

Rezz

Rezz

Hypnotic tracks like “Relax” and “Premonition” were brought to life with hauntingly psychedelic visuals, tied together by REZZ’s signature LED goggles. Mass Manipulation was indeed achieved across the Mau5trap supported tour, which made notable stops at Ultra Japan, Electric Zoo, EDC Orlando, Something Wicked among others. After selling out numerous locations along the way, it’s no wonder REZZ was recently named Billboard Dance’s “Breakout Artist of the Year.”


ODESZA– A Moment Apart Tour

by Ryan Castillo

ODESZA

Photo Credit: Julian Bajsel

ODESZA’s critically acclaimed A Moment Apart journey has seen the group move between sold out stadium-sized arenas all over the country, with Sofi Tukker and Chet Porter in tow as openers. Since its inception in Spring, the ever-evolving A Moment Apart set has morphed slowly over time to include new songs from the album, live edits with a full drum line, and many unreleased surprises along the way. On a given night, it takes a team of 60 people all working relentlessly behind the scenes to put on a show of this scale.

That the tour necessitates many helping hands is hardly a surprise given the many components it’s comprised of. Among their rotating cast of live instrumentalists, ODESZA play along trombonists, trumpeters, guitarists, and a choreographed drum line. The sonic elements combine with lighting looks ranging from moody hues to glittering whites flank lasers, pyrotechnics, and smoke as the special effects that work in tandem to create the tour’s ethereal aesthetic.

ODESZA

Pictured: Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight of ODESZA organize the order in which songs and special effects will appear on The A Moment Apart Tour on a white board with Post-It notes denoting respective songs and effects.

ODESZA

Photo Credit: Julian Bajsel

Beyond the music, the standout feature of the tour is the stunning visual production, headed up by Saxton Waller, former lighting designer to STS9. With all that ODESZA has been able to accomplish this year creatively, it’s no wonder they are rumored to appear high on Coachella’s 2018 lineup


Richie Hawtin– CLOSE Tour

by John Flynn

Over his storied career, Richie Hawtin has become an influential part of Detroit techno’s revered second wave. With a deep back catalog of accomplished releases under his belt and a reputation for crafting fabled live sets extempore, Hawtin has deservedly solidified his status as a global force in the genre.

Richie Hawtin’s CLOSE tour existed at the intersection of anthropomorphic spontaneity and robotic absorption. Utilizing vantage point cameras from a multitude of angles and a plethora of live instrumentation devices including computers, mixers, and drum machines, Hawtin was able to create a fleeting, mercurial audio/visual experience in which audiences could watch — and of course listen to — momentum build in real time.

CLOSE

Photo Credit: Billboard

The 75-minute live audio-visual shows under the CLOSE umbrella are expressive of what Hawtin terms his “very unique way of playing,” an approach that sees every movement that he makes captured by the live-feed cameras and projected to the audience in real-time. The absence of a table to support Hawtin’s mixers lends an additional unusual element to the CLOSE shows, exposing Hawtin’s entire body and in turn, permitting the audience to visually follow each step of Hawtin’s musical execution.

“The very simple act of moving that table away—which is quite strange for a DJ because you’re completely open and naked to the audience—is probably the most important decision we made,” Hawtin says of the alteration. “Without that decision, there wouldn’t be the show. You have to see that human form moving and gyrating.”

The Close tour made its debut at Coachella in Indio, and made stops at Movement Festival, Melt, Primavera Sound, Pukkelpop, and Creamfields, among other banner venues.


Special sixth spotlight: Elrow

by John Flynn

“Together we make magic happen.” That is the ethos by which Spanish production company Elrow runs their now legendary party collective. The Barcelona-based collective has hosted more than 100 shows in over 50 cities globally and hosted showcases at more than 25 festivals worldwide including Glastonbury, Disclosure’s Wildlife Festival, and Hideout, to name just a few.

Elrow

Elrow

Pictured: shots from Elrow’s Glastonbury showcase.

Elrow’s status as an influential party promoter dates back long before clubbing even existed, with the company’s family roots dating back to 1854. The vibrant party promoters invade the island of Ibiza each Saturday at the world renowned Space Nightclub; the shows regularly feature wild costumes, a genius array of expansive stage production, and no shortage of confetti.

Elrow

Elrow

Pictured: shots from Elrow’s Ibiza residency.

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