Elohim & EDEN Prove The Future Of Electronic Production is Live!

We arrived at Webster Hall hours earlier than I’d ever been there on a Friday night. Elohim & EDEN had the 8-10pm time slot on the main floor, so I thought I’d be settling into an intimate show for the select few people in NYC that had heard of my underground favorites. I couldn’t have been more wrong, Gotham was out in force. The dance floor was full at 8pm. All you party producers struggling to get butts on the floor at 10:30pm, know that they pulled almost full capacity at 8:02. If you were in the crowd, you know how palpable the excitement was.

Elohim was on stage, striking the perfect balance between mysterious, alluring, distant, and smoldering. She was also doing everything her fucking self while she struck said balance. I’m not sure how to describe this, but when you see exceptional indietronica being performed, you expect there is more than one person making the stuff live. Elohim thinks that’s adorable. She did vocals, synth, chord, percussion, lighting and visual media…herself. And it was good. Not like “oh wow, jack of all trades” good. Good like “Why isn’t she working in a giant record studio out in LA?” Her effortless moody, synth future pop chill rolled around the main room at Webster Hall, bringing teen conversations to a halt and forcing all eyes (and ears) on her. The cover work, the transitions, the curated visual art that accompanied her songs, all orchestrated hauntingly well. In all honesty, I’ve never been transfixed or enraptured by a live performer before. DJs don’t do it that way for me, and I never got to see Michael Jackson perform live. I’ve been going to live music for 18 years, and she’s the first.

Continue reading

Treetops’ Freedom BBQ: Small Party Vibe, Big Party Sound

.gif by Daniel Montuoro

“Oh yea, Troutman is right over there,” a young, slick gentleman told me, who was walking the same direction. I’d gotten turned around, and as the mind goes when you get older, he directed me in the right way to Lot 45. There was a tech house party for me to get to, and with the ambient explosions, I didn’t want to end up lost and get blown away by an errant Roman candle.  The magistrate of massive bass himself, DJ Pony, was in the final moments of his set as I slid through the doors, so instead of making the rounds & saying hi to people, I ducked into a dark corner and jammed out to the precious last minutes of the deep dopeness. Deep dopeness isn’t a thing, but we can pretend. It’s one of those freedoms guaranteed to us by the founding father somethings. This also gave me the freedom to gawk at the utterly gorgeous visual art by Levitation Theory. This kind of projection was fantastic. If you don’t believe me, just check this out.

.gif by Daniel Montuoro

Yes, it was that bonkers all night. And it didn’t just stay looking like psychedelic eye candy, there was a significant amount of imagery that gave the mind something to play with as well. Watching a DJ from Berlin drop dope tech house while seeing plastic army men rotate on an American Flag backdrop was enough. Even the biggest partier probably took a seat and thought about the meaning of freedom at least once in the night. Even if it was waiting on line for the bar, the modern unisex WC bathrooms or the food truck! That’s right. I got a delicious burger and hand cut fries while I listened to Dan Caster tear shit up. Lot 45 was unique in that it had a decently sized dance floor, a bunch of couches AND a chill space outside with more seating, food and a separate smoking area.  While all of this seems a little extravagant, it had this very understated feel to it. The couches were comfortable and 2nd hand while the music was minimal, but utterly perfect for the venue. The population was dense but never packed or oppressive. I didn’t see a single instance of groping, grinding, bro stupidity, pretentious Berghain refrencing, or overdone costumes. There were people dressed in Freedom (take that however you’d like, what you’re imagining was probably there) for the event, but there was also an Owl mascot costume. I’m not kidding, here’s proof.
86While we all enjoyed the spectacle and the dance floor, we all knew why we were here. Treetops had brought over some of the best talent out there and Eelke Kleijn had people tittering 5 minutes in. I haven’t seen people titter in years. There were girls skipping onto the dance floor holding streamers, while fireworks went off in the background. How’s that for a Freedom set? 79 Eelke Kleijn had been given room to work. Freedom to stretch his wings & walk around. His hard-hitting fusion of progressive, techno & house elements was staggering. The room was throbbing with energy and the set was way, way better than I had any right to experience., Treetops gave him an extended set so his mastery of the medium really came through. If you were somewhere boring like the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore (for shame) and didn’t hear this, I am sad for your ears & serotonin receptors. They would’ve liked this quite a bit. To get a taste of it, check out his podcast, Outside the Box. He just finished his 100th episode, so now you’ve got taste & round numbers to motivate you to listen to it.

I had to be up the next day so I missed the closing act, Teddy Roosevelt. I know, that makes me sound like a terrible American. Which, for missing this guy’s set, I totally am. Here’s just a taste of this dude’s power (don’t worry, he’s nowhere near his final form) and get excited for the next Treetops event after the burn.

This is Terry Gotham, see you on the American dance floor.

Photos by the Irrepressible Daniel Montuoro

Prince Fox Leads BangOn! To Victory On Moffat!

BangOn FireTwo years ago I was lucky enough to experience one of BangOn’s first events. This night to remember involved The Chainsmokers, KOAN Sound, Minnesota, carnival rides and a whole lot of good times. 2 years later, almost to the day, there I was in the Green Room, chatting with Prince Fox about future music & high fiving people who couldn’t wait to see the rising star. He had the prime set for the latest BangOn extravaganza, Soulstice.BangOn MasksSet up at the end of Moffat street, one of the few pristine Brooklyn hoods not fucked by gentrification, the space was smartly arranged & expertly decorated. BangOn!has real production value, so anyone thinking this is the same kind of party as the outlaw/illegal raves that NYC saw in the late 90’s/early 2000’s is in for a serious surprise. The security was tight & the amenities were on point with portajohns away from the food (critical) and the silent disco near the chill space (also critical). The bar, away from the dancefloor & directly opposite the facepainting, and it faced a new feature I’ve never seen at parties: A hairdresser. There was a hair artist giving people blowouts and mohawks and all manner of dope hair. Frankly, this needs to become a standard at every party I go to. I’d love to have someone properly style my mop. Shit, this is a reason to get there early. But, the real reason we were all there was the music, and Prince Fox was there to greet them. In a word, wow. He wasted no time, playing through technical difficulties, dropping into a punchy, future set almost immediately. I’ve talked about this kid more than once, but seeing him live was an entirely new world. I was overjoyed that Prince Fox could keep the relatively ADD crowd focused. Brooklyn took his signature style of Future Pop and ran with it. I saw the crowd go from filtering in to full in 10min. Again, full main stage dance floor, before midnight. The remixes and originals came quickly, but one of the highlights was his mashup of Turn Down For What & Rick Roll. This actually got plenty of ravers concerned he was going to drop the stupendous bass of DJ Snake on them, but then, BANG, he never gave us up.BangOn Dome

The set, pound for pound, was the best I’ve heard at BangOn! in some time, but the night was just getting started. My boy 2Melo put out a fantastic signature global bass set on the Silent Disco, and Breach made short work of the main stage. We were there for hours after Prince Fox’s set finished, as BangOn! does a great job as a selectro brand, and has for quite some time. Their A&R deserves congratulations, but at the end of the day, so does everyone else associated with the event. Start to finish a delightful reminder that quality still hides in Brooklyn. You just gotta go searching for it. This is Terry Gotham, see you on the dance floor.

Photos from BangOn! NYC’s Instagram

What Lies Beneath: Treetops Shoots Through The Canopy.

Treetops BannerI arrived as the rain began to fall on Grand Street. The not quite summer evening tried to bluster against my DanceSafe hoodie as I stood in line for Treetops. This blossom of an event looked healthy enough from the outside, so after being processed through Paper Box security, I grabbed a Tecate and said made my way through the thickening crowd. This was to be a different kind of party. Something with less pressure & pretentiousness. It had the feel of a throwback or anniversary event, even though it was the first of its kind. As I watched friends catch up on things without using Facebook, Pony’s deep house oozed through the main room.
Pony’s achieved the status where it doesn’t actually matter when he’s performing. Opening, closing, not a problem, there will be a dance floor. Even at bewitching hour between 11:45 & 1 AM, when every party in NYC somehow goes from empty to full. The Herald of House kept the crowd grooving, guiding their Friday night. The two room structure worked well, with DirtyDecibels pushing out some compelling dirty house while people still had room to move. After running into some more old friends and giving the dance floors a whirl, the open air space called to me.
The sets worked off each other and you could kind of still hear the main room, so going out to grab a smoke never represented too much of a threat to your groove.  
I wanted to take a minute to give special kudos to Duane Harriott for his incredible set. Honestly, the side room from 1-3 was going off. I don’t ever hear competent fusion between hip hop, techno & tech house, but he was making it seem effortless. The room got down to it like this was a genre of music they listened to every weekend, like brolectro or top 40. The nuance associated with this sound isn’t basic, to say the least. I spent far too much time bobbing between his & the main room where Christian Martin was reminding everyone why they need to get their dirtybird BBQ tickets. This guy is known the world over for his techy but soulful signature house, and the crowd definitely agreed. DSC00976 The hour was upon us. Mat.Joe in the side room with The ScumFrog laying down main room muscle. I’m not going to get into the technical mastery Scumfrog brought, or how Mat.Joe kept the other room jumping until after last call. That’s something that should be self-evident if you’ve read this far. Hit up their various social medias to review their dopeness if you need a refresher. The skill emanating from both rooms was plain to see and people were hanging around later than you could most places that evening.  That’s right, because the L train was busted, The Paper Box was open until 5 just to keep the kids safe until the trains started running again.DSC00773 As I made my way to the door, I gave the room a once over and saw one of the producers doing what the best producers do. Crosschecking, roving, making sure everyone had a great time. We sure did man, can’t wait for the next one. In case you need further proof, check out this video shot by Jane Says Photography. That FOMO kick in yet? This is Terry Gotham, see you on the dance floor.

(Photos care of Jane Says Photography)

What Lies Beneath: Jae Jin @ The Bitter End

Jae Jin This was one of those impromptu, week night shows that I rarely make it out to anymore. I say that, but these up & comers are making it harder and harder to stay home. Jae Jin is a friend of mine. Since we last hung out, a lot has changed. Not only did he beat cancer (again. No, seriously, again. This dude is a fucking champion), but he left behind a career as a MD/MBA candidate to pursue a life of music. As someone who has seen how much those guys make, I can tell you he’s earned my respect, and that was before opened his mouth.  It’s hard to describe, but Jae has stage presence. He’s able to control an audience and kept the weeknight crowd excited and into it. We all go to shows with the “if it’s boring I’m out in the first 15min” in the back of our minds but he earned our asses in seats for hours. This guy not only had the chops needed to keep our attention, he was kind, aware & attuned to the crowd when it came to being real on the mic.
Jae switching from guitar to piano in the middle of the show was a strong move that I think solidified  just how much skill, talent & drive he has. He knocked out a bunch of tunes on the piano with his backing duo & solo, ending the show on a high note. Which he hit. Because he can. All in all, I was tremendously pleased to see just how far my man has come.  Make sure to take some time to dig and give to Jae’s PledgeMusic drive. Not only does it get this crucial album made, but it’s connected with Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology. The rest of his NYC performance dates are below. If you can make one of these, don’t sleep on it. As I said before, you want to get in on the ground floor with Jae Jin. He’s going places.

May 15 – Lovecraft – 7pm
May 26 – Rockwood Music Hall – 6pm
June 11 – The Bitter End – 8pm

 

Optical, Loadstar & Delta Heavy Give Slake A Rowdy Night To Remember.

P1090184The D&B kids didn’t waste any time. RAM Records was here to shake the foundations of Slake and the rumbling could already be felt as I waited for my id to be checked. Even before midnight, kids that were expecting it to be some kind of joke party walked past us, leaving. The bridge & tunnel crowd was making its way out as the army junglists, ravers & the rest of a delightfully motley crew settled in for a long night of dope beats. Dali, Alex English & Cameron Kush had started the night properly, and now the crowd was antsy in its pantsy for the trio of RAM Records wizards to get into it. First up, Optical (yes, that Optical).  Once again, the crowd was sweaty & rioting before 1 AM. I know I bang on about this with the parties I go to, but it’s only because the parties I attend that don’t earn a review, can’t manage to do this. While any producer can get the crowd hyped by lining up 3 prep cooks & having talent at 1:30 AM, it’s exponentially harder to get the kids flying around an hour earlier. Optical pushed amazing tracks that rolled off perfectly. The set could’ve been nestled into the World of Drum & Bass party last week & no one would’ve noticed.  To give you a feeling of how good Optical is at this, here’s a mix he did to celebrate his label, Virus Recordings, turning 15. That’s right, this guy’s got a label that’s almost older than Bieber, to put this live show in context. P1080039When Optical handed it off, Loadstar wasted no time in getting to work. The set was a masterful selection of some of the hardest neurofunky, almost dubby fast/slow tunes I’ve heard on this side of the pond.  The Intergalactic that was dropped about halfway through his set was perfect, played in NYC, where there’s a park named after one of the Beastie Boys. The kids went wild for this, but what caught my attention a little after that set was how they were dancing. Throughout each of the sets, the people were dancing with…each other. Not just staring at the stage like mindless zombies, but dancing with their friends & random people they met at on the floor! At some point towards the end of the set, the kids started “Getting Low” to the lyrical work in one of the tracks he was mixing. And, it caught on. You couldn’t see it from the stage, but you had the whole back end of the dance floor actually getting almost to the ground during the build. Then when the break drops, dozens of kids jumped up in the air and probably got massive head rushes while giving the producers agita. It’s like that wedding dance thing, except at a party you actually wanted to go to. 

P1090415Finally, Delta Heavy had arrived. This was an act I wanted to see as much as Metrik (which started out the #marchdnbmadness). This track is why: And yes, he played it live. The crowd had been singing along to tracks off & on all night, but the support for this one took the cake. You know that moment where you recognize a track but the rest of the crowd has no idea what they’re in for? Nothing of the sort happened here. The first riff from the song caused a surge in the crowd, as they all knew what was coming next. As he spun into it and the chorus hit, the entire room sung along. Can you imagine? D&B heads acting like they’re at Z100’s Jingle Ball because they were just THAT happy to be experiencing this? I really hope someone recorded this set, because there was a bunch of melodic dubstep & a touch of future house that melded with the hard d&B. 3 AM and the dancefloor was as thick as it was at 1AM.  But then they did something no one expected, and the night went from amazing to something none of us were prepared for.
P1090596That’s right, that’s 3 headliners spinning b2b2b. To stress, the 3 talented selectros just threw their USB sticks onto the decks and went to work. It was the last night of their tour & they hadn’t had a crowd still moving this late, so they went to town. I’m not sure how to describe what we saw. Three of the best at what they do taking time to mix into & between some of the hardest, heaviest tracks in the genre right now. This last hour was something special, something I can’t even communicate if you weren’t there. It’s something a dedicated fan experiences every once and a while. Spontaneous collaboration, no ego, and a whole lot of bass that smacked around the crowd. The crowd that wouldn’t even leave when they brought the lights up at 4 AM. This was one of those nights that you’re not entirely sure happened, but are left different. I now expect more from every drum & bass show I will ever go to in the future because of the way I was spoiled by Friday. This is Terry Gotham, see you on the dance floor.
P1090369(Photos by Sarah Vale Photography)

 

 

Crissy Criss, The Prototypes, Drumsound & Bassline Smith & BP2 Throw A Proper Party.

0006You gotta hand it to them, it was too packed to let people in by the time I got there. The Paper Box had my companion & I wait for a hot minute for a couple of people to leave because the party was that packed, that early. A drum & bass party at a big boy venue, doing that well? Thank the non-EDM Gods. Semi-deep in Brooklyn, it seems people had come out of the woodwork for this insanity. We don’t get D&B much on this side of the pond, as any resident Junglist would tell you. Certain guardians have been keeping the fire going, whether it’s Konkrete, or the many others like Formation Records across the world. Saturday it was all Grade A & BPSquared. Responsible for this giant pile of talent making it out, I’ve gotta say, I could kiss them. 0063We got our drinks and settled in as DJ SS was heating up. This guy was keeping it powerful, but a bit more compact than some of the other DJs were going to later on in the evening.
This kind of technical competence and encyclopedic memory of D&B was exactly what the rowdy but respectful crowd was looking for. I’d only gotten Formation Records, never been to an event of theirs, and boy was that a mistake. The crowd was on the floor and had no plans on leaving even though it wasn’t even midnight yet. That’s right, while most New Yorker party people are taking that last shot or doing that last bump before going out, the tri-state D&B community was already sweating. 0100As DJ SS finished out to ridiculous applause, we awaited Drumsound & Bassline Smith This mini-mix is a rough introduction to the level of dirty that we were witness to. They had set up a 2nd room to give people more room to move and that was taken advantage of. People circled it up, busted moves and respected the space needed to actually get into it. If you wanted to rock you stayed there. If you wanted to cram in near the DJ booth, that option was open to you as well. This was one of the sets where people were begging the DJ for more. As a lot of these pictures illustrate (big ups)0076I had no idea what to expect from The Prototypes, but I was so freaking glad I was right up in there. It got neuro-crazy, face-melty & massive. Those don’t really seem like genre specific words, but if you own a piece of clothing that has “junglist” or “Drum & Bass” written on it somewhere, they are. There’s a slightly steeper learning curve when you’re mixing this stuff because if you fuck up you end up sounding like some guy wearing cyber-goth clothes skipping along to a beat. Jungle and Liquid are a little more forgiving, but the heavier & more scattered it seems, the better you have to be. This Fabric mix is just a small taste of what we got, and if you weren’t there, I’ve got a sad trombone sound effect for you.
0132The night flowed on, with The Prototypes keeping the energy up. Like at Slake before, even by 3 AM, when Crissy Criss was setting up for his set, both rooms were still packed. The outdoors had been shuttered but people were not leaving. The dance floor 2nd room got a little more packed & Crissy Criss roared into action.The number of hours I’ve put in listening to this guy’s radio show would be stunning to most, but I’d imagine I was probably on the lower end of the spectrum when it came to some people in the room. People had waited for years to see this and he wasted no time putting in work. While a couple of people had gone home, all that had done was thin out the dance floor by about 5-10%, leaving just a little more room to rock. Sweat dripped from the dancers and people who hadn’t seen each other for years embraced as old friends would. I could go on about the technical competence of his set, or the cheaper than expected drinks, but really, it was everything. The scene needed it and BP2 & Formation Records came through. A night to remember indeed. See everyone at Slake on Friday the 27th for the last chapter in #marchdnbmadness.0082

(Photos by Siouxside. Get at his twitter & insta too. Big Ups New England Junglists. Much Respect)