When: Sat., Sept. 3, 12 p.m. 2011
If Deadmau5 is the Eric Clapton of dance music—which he is, but this isn't the time or the place to explain why—then Carl Cox is its Muddy Waters. The blown-out techno and house driving the ecstasy-filled kids at this year's Lollapalooza is only a couple baby steps removed from what Cox spun the last time raves were a big thing in the States—which was about a decade and a half ago. In fact, his sets before and during Britain's infamous Second Summer of Love in the late 80s helped define what raves even were. But maybe the best thing about him is that, 30-plus years into it, he still dances to his own records. —Miles Raymer 7:15 PM, Red Bull Grove Stage.
When you hear Major Lazer, the first thing you have to figure out is whether you're listening to some grimy dancehall or the soundtrack to a sweaty dance party aboard a space station in the distant future. Super DJs Diplo and Switch formed the project after meeting while working with M.I.A., and in Major Lazer they walk the same line between tribal groove and electronic sci-fi freak-out that they did with Ms. Arulpragasam: the beats make you want to shake your ass in the most primitive way, while the jams are punctuated by a blitzkrieg of samples, sound effects from electronic gadgets, and, naturally, laser zaps. Some of dancehall's finest (Mr. Vegas, T.O.K., et cetera) provide vocals on 2009's Guns Don't Kill People . . . Lazers Do, tackling pretty much the subjects you'd expect: money, weed, sex, dancing. Add to all that the rowdy and raunchy antics of hype man Skerrit Bwoy, and Major Lazer should bring a welcome (and weird) breath of fresh air to the rather conventional North Coast fest. —Luca Cimarusti 6 PM, Red Bull Grove Stage