There’s a moment in the documentary Under the Electric Sky that moved me beyond belief.
For the first 90 minutes of the film, we’ve followed different people as they experience the 2013 Electric Daisy Carnival. Some of them are sweet, some of them are oafish, some of them are people that I would want to hang out with, and some of them I definitely would go out of my way to avoid. The one thing that they have in common is that they love EDM and that love has brought them to Las Vegas.
One of the more likable of them is a young, wheelchair bound man named Jose. Up until this point, we’ve seen Jose wheeling his way through the crowd, having a good time but still frustrated by the fact that he can’t see the stage from his wheelchair. And then, while Hardwell is performing on stage, a group of strangers lift up Jose’s wheelchair, literally holding him on their shoulders so that he can see the stage.
And you know what? I fully realize that this could have been arranged beforehand. I understand that someone involved in production could have asked those people to lift up Jose because he or she knew it would make a perfect film moment. But I don’t care. It’s such a wonderful moment and it perfectly encapsulated everything that I love about the EDM scene. It’s a moment that brought tears to my eyes when I saw it and it’s still bringing tears to my eyes as I write about it.
As far as the rest of Under the Electric Sky is concerned, if you’re into EDM, you’ll enjoy it. And if you’re one of those people who doesn’t get EDM — well, sucks to be you, doesn’t it?
Admittedly, the film was produced by the same people who put on the EDC and, at its weakest, it felt like a mix between an infomercial and an A&E reality show. But at its frequent best — like in the moment described above and in the brief moments where artists like Avicii, Armin Van Buuren, and Above & Beyond open up to the camera — it’s a wonderful and heartfelt tribute to one of the most loving and misunderstood subcultures in the world. At it’s best, Under the Electric Sky is a blast of pure musical joy and, with the world the way it is right now, we could all use a little joy.
Under the Electric Sky is currently available on Netflix and yes, I recommend it.