Nightlife

Five sets for 2014: Ranking the year’s most memorable DJ performances

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Kaskade spins for fans during night 2 of EDC, Saturday June 21, 2014 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Coyu (October 3, After at Artistic Armory) After transcended its viral DJ Rules with its old-school-meets-new-school party inside a Southwestern warehouse. Spanish house/techno producer Coyu made his local debut and performed an outstanding set until dusk, and it’s hard to say who was more enthusiastic, the dancefloor or the DJ, who praised Vegas’ “small but amazing underground scene” on his social media feeds.

John Digweed (June 22, Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway) Upon hearing the progressive/techno pioneer’s gorgeous, cinematic set openers from atop the central Ferris wheel, I rushed over after de-boarding and danced until he waved goodbye.

Kaskade (June 21, EDC) The Californian’s sort-of-surprise second EDC appearance—a throwback to his early West Coast house days from atop an art car—possessed the sort of sublime, soulful sounds and spontaneity otherwise in short supply at the festival.

Cirez D (September 14, Life) Eric Prydz’s less-anthemic alter ego emerged for the first time in Las Vegas, delighting a half-full nightclub with ambient, tech and even Latin house. It was so good, I returned four weeks later for his October 5 gig.

Bad Beat (September 27, Zero Point at Delphi Amphitheater) The prolific local DJ likely had a better performance in 2014, but I won’t soon forget hearing his versatile set steadily climb and then peak under a clear midnight sky in a remote part of the desert. A perfect soundtrack to a perfect setting.

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