With the summer season upon us, we’re looking forward to seeing a wide array of excellent live shows in the coming months—from dark and dank club nights to the many sun-soaked festivals in our sights. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of our 10 favorite live shows over the past few years, from Daft Punk’s fabled pyramid to Amon Tobin’s ISAM, to Skrillex’s space station and the like. Check out our picks below.
In the world of electronic performance, visuals are immeasurably necessary for connecting the audience to the performer. In the case of Datsik, the man has created a “vortex” of sorts to help him in this process. As the Canadian-born producer unrolls his heavyweight tunes live, he and his arsenal of gear are presented inside the virtual portal which appears to transport him to other worlds as his tracks do just about the same for those in the crowd.
Of course, we all know this by now, but Skrillex makes big beats—and live, the dubstep kingpin knows how to take the energy of a crowd so far beyond the next level that is just about takes off beyond our own atmosphere. With that in mind, Skrillex and a spaceship seem like a rather good fit, and like this video of his performance at last year’s Outside Lands festival in San Francisco suggests, watching Skrillex hold down the fort whilst twisting, turning, rising, and falling in his hydraulic spaceship makes it all the better.
Amon Tobin’s ISAM
To accompany his 2011 full-length of the same name, Amon Tobin and a team of designers/video artists developed the ISAM live show which featured the Brazilian-born producer/sound designer inside an intricate structure on top of which elaborate three-dimensional projections would appear. The detail and breathtaking formations of imagery which served as the focus of ISAM were only matched by the intensity and precision with which Amon Tobin brought his songs to life.
When you make tracks as massive as Bassnectar does, you need larger-than-life visuals to match. The performance above, captured just last month, shows the veteran beatsmith and his exceptionally long hair delivering just that, even chopping up some iconic scenes from The Matrix in the process.
What better way to enjoy the adventurous, psychedelic-burnt sounds of EOTO than to watch the duo perform inside a lotus-like structure as an array of otherworldly imagery graces its complex shapes? Yeah, we couldn’t think of a better way either.
DJ Shadow’s Shadowsphere
Perhaps a point of inspiration for Amon Tobin’s aforementioned ISAM project, DJ Shadow’s Shadowsphere placed the master turntablist inside a sphere that served as a platform for any number of projections to appear with occasional glimpses of Shadow himself cutting and scratching it up inside.
Another act who prefers to appear only in short glimpses behind a massive projection set-up is Excision, whose heavy-hitting tracks are accompanied by giant projections and a synchronized light show which seems to spin out of control every time the drop hits.
The Shpongletron Experience
The Shpongletron Experience incorporates an array of colorful and pattern-based imagery across a custom-built structure which houses its star, British outfit Shpongle, at the top. As the increasingly intricate psychedelic beats unfurl, so do the interwoven images, making for quite the immersive electronic experience.
Daft Punk’s Pyramid
When Daft Punk first unveiled its three-dimensional, pyramid-shaped live set at Coachella in 2006, the fast-paced, neon-glowing show effectively relaunched the duo’s career for a new audience while also making for one of the desert festival’s most memorable performances. Sadly, we’re not likely to see the French pair’s pyramid in real life anytime soon—if ever again—but fortunately it has been captured on many a YouTube video and, of course, the group’s Alive 2007 live album.
Pretty Lights understands the symbiotic relationship between visuals and live electronic music, always trotting out intense stage design and visual interaction that fits his beats and takes his name to heart. The video above captures the man’s 2011 Bonnaroo performance as a color-changing cityscape lights up the stage behind him in sync with the big tunes and soaring melodies the producer is known for.
Daft Punk photo via Total Flux