As the rave parties of the '90s and early 2000s evolve into a new wave of electro-superstars, from Pretty Lights to Disco Biscuits, smart concert promoters have built festivals to contain the booming, neon dance culture -- most famously, the annual Electric Daisy Carnival in California and Las Vegas.
With a range of house, trip-hop and drum 'n' bass stars on three stages, the traveling Identity Festival is a great way to sample DJ culture. Here's a scorecard for Sunday's stop at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater:
KASKADEChicago-born Ryan Raddon, one of dance music's biggest young stars, began as a record-store owner and label A&R guy who helped discover such acts as trip-hop heroes Soulstice. The Identity fest's main-stage headliner soon became a producer and DJ, putting out gently hypnotic dance albums such as 2006's "Love Mysterious," filling worldwide clubs and complaining that amphitheater seats get in the way of dancing.
HERCULES AND LOVE AFFAIRAlthough they no longer wield silky-voiced singer Antony Hegarty as a secret weapon, this New York City dance band remains imaginative and funky on its second album, the new "Blue Songs." Producer Andy Butler borrows from New Order, Kraftwerk and Tom Tom Club, but his overall vision is truly original -- like his contemporaries in Hot Chip, Butler gives emotional range to his bleeps and bloops.
DJ SHADOWNobody mixed hip-hop, funk, rock and electronic music into one beautifully coherent album like Josh Davis did on his 1996 masterpiece, "Entroducing . . ." The Bay Area record-store scavenger extraordinaire's upcoming "The Less You Know the Better" is due in September, but in the meantime, his "I Gotta Rock" EP makes for an enticing preview -- full of heavy hard-rock guitar riffs and Moody Blues-style atmosphere.
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CRYSTAL METHODAlong with Moby and Orbital, this Los Angeles duo was among the first to create a rock-star identity in techno music. Its most exciting album, 1997's "Vegas," was on the leading edge of the electronica movement that almost turned Prodigy and Chemical Brothers into megastars.
LE CASTLE VANIABlessed with the ability to make robotic music that sounds warm and human, the Atlanta DJ who was born Dylan Elland is a rising electronic-dance star who has worked with MSTRKRFT and Crystal Castles, nicely remixed Cee Lo Green's smash "Forget You" and created his own buzzing anthem, "Nobody Gets Out Alive!"
WHAT Identity Festival
WHEN | WHERE 1 p.m. Sunday, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh
INFO $107.50-$157.50; 800-745-3000, livenation.com