North Coast Music Festival 2011, Sunday: Benny Benassi
As the Italian electro-house DJ Benny Benassi started his set Sunday evening at North Coast, the Red Bull stage was transformed. The area surrounding smallest of the main stages was packed, and all those stomping feet raised a considerable cloud of dust. Rave-girls perched in trees while neon glow stick twirling dancers dotted the landscape. Everyone seemed on the same wavelength as Benassi, who unleashed his signature electro house sound to the delight of first pumpers, head shakers and boogie downers alike. The crowd roared and worked itself into a total frenzy when Benassi tore into “Satisfaction,” his 2002 breakthrough hit. The song, an ode to hedonism and sexual release, matches an elastic riff to an undeniable beat, and the crowd threw itself into the rhythm with full abandon. The energy dropped a bit when Benassi brought out a live singer for two tracks. While having a real, live human picking up the microphone for a house track vocal isn’t necessarily problematic (there's a long tradition of live house vox in the clubs), the singer in question Sunday didn't add much to the mix. The live vox were just a mere distraction from the reason the audience had assembled, Benny Benassi's globe-uniting, party-rocking beats.