Music News

Big Surf Waterpark Hosts a Rave of Global Proportions

Electrical currents and water don't mix — just ask '70s-era singer Claude François, sometimes lauded as the French answer to the Beatles, who died trying to fix a defective light bulb while in the bathtub.

But don't let that mishap spoil your fun this weekend if you're planning on getting simultaneously charged up and soaked at Wet Electric. The nine-hour rave spectacular is once again lapping at your doorstep, this time at Big Surf Waterpark in Tempe. Given Wet Electric's eye-popping history of artists (including, but not limited to, The Crystal Method, Paul Oakenfold, EC Twins, Dada Life, and Darude), this year should be another pool party you'll never forget.

This year's lineup features Eric Prydz, Swanky Tunes, Sharam, Eddie Halliwell, Chris Garcia, Tony Arzadon, Dean Mason, and plenty more to whet your electric appetite.

It's kind of a big deal that Prydz is showing up at all, given his fear of flying. Until recently, the Swedish DJ (almost all the good DJs come from Sweden, don't they? Why is that?) rarely toured outside Europe. In December 2008, Prydz suffered panic attacks that prevented him from boarding a scheduled flight, forcing him to cancel shows in New Zealand, Australia, and Malta. It's unlikely that will happen to us; Prydz resides in Los Angeles these days.

Prydz, probably best known for his 2004 hit single "Call on Me," brought progressive house to the top of the charts well before the EDM bubble ballooned so wildly. In other words, Prydz's extended 21/2-hour set will be totally O.G. techno, with no breaks, intermissions, or autoprogramming.

Hailing from Tehran, Iran, Sharam is living proof why invading the Middle Eastern nation is a terrible idea. We need cultural bridges like "Que Cubano" or "Party All the Time" much more than we need more petroleum. (Consider that when you zoom down Big Surf's waterslides.)

When he's not flying solo, Sharam is the other half (with Ali "Dubfire" Shirazinia) of house duo Deep Dish, known for their penetrating remixes ranging from Michael Jackson to Depeche Mode to (most famously) Dido's "Thank You."

Eddie Halliwell isn't known much for his original tracks, but time and time again, fans and critics applaud his stage presence. Mixmag described him thus: "There are people who play records and there are DJs who blow minds. Eddie Halliwell is the latter . . . who makes every set, no matter how small the club or how big the festival, feel like the closing party of the end of the world." That oughtta get your flip-flops flapping.

From Moscow comes Swanky Tunes, a trio of EDM junkies with releases on such labels as Refune, Mixmash, Axtone, Spinnin', and Size who've earned the support of Tiësto, David Guetta, Laidback Luke, and even Swedish House Mafia. Twenty-eleven saw the release of their heavily played "Sending My Love," featuring R3hab and Max C.

But even if you're not into the music and just want to get soaked while tipsy on tropical drinks (or hopped up on something else — just remember to stay hydrated, you crazy kids), you'll have the Hurricane Slide, the Black Hole, the Tornado Twister, the White Serpentine Slide, the Tahitian Twisters, and the Cyclone and Tsunami slides to keep you occupied a few weeks before Big Surf officially opens to the public.

And François could have been wrong — maybe electricity and H2O do mix.

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Troy Farah is an independent journalist and documentary field producer. He has worked with VICE, Fusion, LA Weekly, Golf Digest, BNN, Tucson Weekly, and Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Troy Farah