As we anticipate another exciting festival season ahead in 2024, let’s revisit some of the best sets from this year that put music back in EDM.
If you stepped out on a dancefloor this year, there’s no doubt that you could sense that everyone was longing for each other’s company. It’s this connection that lures us back to each show, festival, and rave, not the big, bright LED screens or glittering production elements. Many DJs leaned into that notion this year and fostered a deeper dancefloor relationship with unique collaborations, new projects, and more, with a focus on storytelling through their music.
This change in perspective helped usher in a new era for the community, one where the genres became even more of a suggestion than a restriction. Artists from different corners of the dance scene came together through b2b sets, and because of this creative freedom, the community became closer. Additionally, this year brought forth the rise of many young stars who will one day become electronic music’s biggest ambassadors while some of our favorite artists played their final notes.
Now that the year has effectively come to a close with sights set on what’s to come during the upcoming festival season, it’s time to take a trip back to some of the best sets that graced the scene in 2023. To show no favorites, the following list is in alphabetical order.
Above & Beyond at EDC Las Vegas
Any devout member of the Anjunafamily will tell you that every set from Above & Beyond is one that will heal your mind, body, and soul, but there are some moments that really stuck out as special from the trio this year. Their set at The Gorge during Group Therapy Weekender and at Electric Forest were both dreams, but it was when they took the stage at EDC Las Vegas that resides in our hearts the most. Not only was Above & Beyond’s performance filled with uplifting vibes, but when else have you seen it rain at this festival in Sin City?
Armin van Buuren at Dreamstate SoCal
Maybe it was the new venue at the Queen Mary, or maybe the rain, but Armin van Buuren performed a special set at Dreamstate SoCal in November that grabbed the attention of the community and flipped it upside down. This performance is evidence of his strong connection with the scene, and through his mixing, he demonstrates once again why he’s called the king of trance.
Calvin Harris at Ushuaïa Ibiza
Through a carefully curated mix, Calvin Harris delivers an energetic performance that will turn wherever you are into a karaoke room. The dance titan took the stage in Ibiza and blended his hits with some fantastic remixes, evoking a sense of nostalgia for the “Golden Era” of EDM while bringing them into the new decade. If you’re looking for a solid set to keep you warm during these cold months, this one will do the trick.
Charlotte de Witte at AMF Festival
Charlotte de Witte has brought the underground to the masses with her dark, hypnotic sound and made some major moves forward in her career this year. One of the monumental sets she played was at AMF Festival, where she put her dynamic take on the noir style front and center. Get lost with the queen of techno as she takes us on an almost-hour journey that allows us to explore the deep corners of our hearts.
Chase & Status at Boiler Room: London
Drum and bass has been a force to be reckoned with in the scene for decades, but this year felt like the genre took everything to the next level due, in part, to Chase & Status. This legendary duo roared back to the top of the charts and tightened their grip with some impressive singles throughout 2023, and pure magic happened when they took the stage at Boiler Room in London.
Dom Dolla at Red Rocks
From festival mainstages to nightclubs, Dom Dolla was seemingly everywhere in 2023, and he dropped some pure heat on the release front that included smash hits like “Eat Your Man” with Nelly Furtado and “Rhyme Dust” with MK. While it was pretty much impossible to miss him throughout the year, one of the standout sets he played was when he headlined Red Rocks in April. Dom Dolla ran through some of his best tunes and even injected a touch of drum and bass into the mix for some added energy.
Fatboy Slim at ARC Music Festival
Fatboy Slim always has something up his sleeve when performing, with memorable sets like at Coachella, where he made it snow in the Sahara Tent. This year, the UK legend took his talents to Chicago and crafted a set as if he were Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Fusing classic and modern hits that breathe a life of their own, Fatboy Slim dominated the decks and continued to prove that he plans on pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a DJ.
Four Tet b2b Fred again.. b2b Skrillex at Coachella
After a string of last-minute shows earlier this year, Four Tet, Fred Again.., and Skrillex were called to save the second weekend of Coachella after Frank Ocean canceled because of an apparent injury. Yes, the mixing is not pretty, but that’s not the point. The focus is on the people around them; the point is to enjoy each other’s company, and you can sense that by looking at the trio’s expressions. The stars had to align to make this night possible, and we thank Frank Ocean for making this once-in-a-lifetime set possible.
Knock2 b2b ISOxo at The Shrine Expo Hall in Los Angeles
The “dream team” of b2bs, Knock2 and ISOxo created history for their four sold-out performances at LA’s Shrine Expo Hall. Their boisterous beats carry an energy that’s not been matched since the early days of dubstep. What’s even crazier is that these producers are just getting started, and they are the favorites to lead the scene into new earsplitting territory.
Madeon’s Good Faith Forever Finale
Madeon tested the limits of visual production with his Good Faith era, but it was his voice that served as the catalyst of this chapter. Fearless on stage, the French producer delivered performances fit for a one-man Broadway show. Although the curtains are drawn, relive this spectacle at Red Rocks as we bid adieu to “The Prince.”
Marshmello b2b SVDDEN DEATH at EDC Las Vegas
With a few tracks under their belt, Marshmello and SVDDEN DEATH crafted a kinetic mix that tested the waters of their respective backgrounds at EDC Las Vegas this year. This special set quickly won over the hearts of those who love a heavy dose of bass. All the “wubs” and “dubs” are here, so if you’re looking to satisfy a headbanging itch—look no further.
Martin Garrix b2b Alesso at Tomorrowland
A collaboration that’s long been in the works, Martin Garrix and Alesso are a match made in heaven. This b2b performance at one of the best festivals on the planet features a perfect balance of the artists’ best work, and it carries a forceful yet celebratory energy. We hope that more collaborations are in the mix because their sounds are inseparable.
Mau P at Club Space Miami
Pure magic can happen when you pair one of the hottest names in house music and one of the most beloved clubs on the planet, and that’s exactly what went down when Mau P played Club Space earlier this year. Not only was this two-hour-long set filled to the brim with groovy tunes that had the crowd moving the entire time, but it also marked a huge milestone for this rising superstar in the scene as it launched him into the hearts and minds of more house lovers around the planet.
Pretty Lights at The Brooklyn Mirage
Coming out of a five-year hibernation, Pretty Lights returned this year for his Soundship Spacesystem Tour. The initial announcement was a shocking but welcoming surprise, with tickets later selling out in seconds. The enigmatic artist and his band delivered an out-of-this-world experience to those at The Brooklyn Mirage. Replay it here for all its unboundly glory.
SUBJOHNICS (Subtronics b2b John Summit) at EDC Las Vegas
The bass and house genres have always been at odds, and many people in the community have made it clear which aisle they stand on. But for almost 30 minutes, Subtronics and John Summit set aside the rivalry and deliver a groundbreaking set that shows these styles coexiting in harmony. Put down your pitchforks and moshpit or shuffle as you please.
Romy’s Boiler Room Set
A performance with queer pride at its center, Romy celebrates love, expression, and freedom by blending trance classics, disco hits, pop ballads, and her translucent numbers. The crowd’s infectious energy and joy make their way into your eardrum—putting you in a state of euphoria. While there are hints of her shy persona, she delivers a set that’s louder than ever.
Sara Landry’s Boiler Room Set at Teletech Festival
The rise of hard techno in the scene this year has been impossible to ignore, and artists like Sara Landry are helping lead the charge for the next generation. She trotted the globe with her energetic tunes in tow and left stunned crowds in her wake. While each of her sets at festivals and nightclubs was remarkable, it was when Sara Landry took the stage at Teletech Festival that she played one of her most memorable sets yet. Sara Landry wrapped the entire crowd around her finger as she pummeled them with a heavy dose of hard techno and catapulted herself further up the ranks.
Sub Focus and Dimension at Printworks Closing Weekend
Printworks quickly became a go-to destination for dance music lovers after it opened, but an expiration date always loomed on the iconic space in the UK. This year saw the venue shutter its doors for good, but there was still plenty of fun to be had during its closing weekend, especially for drum and bass lovers. During those festivities at Printworks, Sub Focus and Dimension took everyone on a ride into DnB heaven one last time, playing a set that was filled to the brim with their dynamic tunes and rave classics.