Last year, the first Spring Awakening Music Festival/EDM extravaganza descended upon Soldier Field for two days and five stages of bro-friendly glory.
This year, much to the horror of Jay Cutler and the Soldier Field sod, the fest has expanded to three days, running Friday through Sunday with more fist-pumping, more drops and more acts (on four stages this time). This year's bash doesn't represent quantity over quality, though, as the lineup showcases the genre's move to what some have called its "post-bro" age (which really is a return to its roots). Translation: It's not all "Wub-a-dub-dub/Three synths and a thud" in 2013. The acts are vast and varied, with a couple of Chicago OG electronic musicians in the house--er, on the field.
Depending on what you want to hear, we offer a range of suggestions to make your time the raddest, dude. So grab your "Levels" remix and let's go.
If you want versatility: Flosstradamus
6:30 p.m. Sat. at Da Main Stage 1
The Chicago-based duo comprising J2K and Autobot has hit pretty much every other major Chicago music festival, thanks to their great performances and diversity of sound. It swings from hip-hop to dance and back. Soon the group will even release a trap mixtape with DJ Sliink.
If you want to see great live drumming: Break Science
4:30 p.m. Sun. at Da Equinox Stage 2
Live musicianship is something of a rarity at these fests, and, at the risk of being a rockist, it's very cool when a group can integrate the two styles properly. Enter Break Science, whose Adam Deitch is a renowned drummer for his work both in and out of the studio, including a recent assist to Pretty Lights.
If you want an American dubstepper: 12th Planet
6:30 p.m. Sat. at Da Drive Tent Stage 3
One of Skrillex's dudes, 12th Planet hails from the West Coast and hopped on the dubstep train before many others. He's been on several Skrillex collabs and combines the personality of hip-hop production with the frenetic bliss of anticipating the drop.
If you want to see some classic Chicago house music: Felix Da Housecat
5:30 p.m. Sat. at Da Drive Tent Stage 3
Aside from his awesome name, Felix keeps a keen ear for trance while maintaining the facade of a melody that make his songs engrossing but accessible. Plus, in his home city, the dude is a VIP, and you know he'll grace the audience with a tremendous set.
If you want to see the highest-rated DJ, according to DJ Mag: Nicky Romero
7:30 p.m. Sat. at Da Main Stage 1
DJ Mag bestows some Very Important rankings on the world every year with its DJ lists. According to the magazine, Nicky Romero is the hottest performer at this year's show. Riding the current wave of straight house, his sound remains surprisingly low-key but still hypnotic enough to give Lil Wayne fits.
If you want to see identical twins: Milk N Cookies (7:30 p.m. Fri. at Da Drive Tent Stage 3) or NERVO (6:30 p.m. Sat. at Da Equinox Stage 2)
The brothers of Milk N Cookies take semi-mysterious press pics, so you need to see these dudes in person. They're also the dudes you need to see for cocaine, apparently, as they were caught with more than $2,000 in cash and an ounce in cocaine last fall (after which they served a rather mild 30 days in prison). Straight rave EDM, the drop on their hit "Ghosts" sounds like a lobotomy, if that sounds like a good time to you.
NERVO, a pair of Australian sisters, is maybe a more appealing option, as Mim and Live have carved a path for themselves in this bro-game with light vocals that guide the way to inspiring drops. They won a Grammy co-writing "When Love Takes Over" with David Guetta and should win the hearts of oglers with their model-esque looks.
If you're with your dad: Moby
9:30 p.m. Fri. at Da Main Stage 1
You either love Moby or you hate him. Your dad, however, will love Moby, since his music is harmless enough to sandwich between the Pretenders and Tom Petty on 93XRT during his lunch hour. Since the veteran artist is putting in a DJ set, it will be groovy enough that you can dig it too. The man hasn't sold more than 20,000,000 records for nothing.
If you want to put your health at risk: Excision
8:30 p.m. Sun. at Da Main Stage 1
Nobody does loud quite like dubsteppers, and 100,000 watts of stereo practically redefines loud. Excision hails from Canada, and his hyper-aggressive warbling can literally leave you short of breath with a skipping heart, so you KNOW that you're doing it right. Drink lots of water, kids.
Adam Lukach is a RedEye special contributor. @redeyechimusic
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