Why DJ Shadow was right, and so was Mansion

So just in case you hadn’t heard, DJ Shadow was kicked off the decks at a club in South Beach, Miami called Mansion. One of the promoters walked straight up and told him that his set was “too future” for the crowd. This, after Mansion  did the same thing to Dennis Ferrer earlier this year. The crowd howled and he left. The internets exploded, Mansion apologized and Shadow uploaded the set that he was spinning to Soundcloud, which you can get at here. WARNING: It is NOT a club set.

To be frank, I saw Tiesto at Mansion in 2006 and I can state confidently, the music Shadow was dropping is quintessentially not the style of Mansion. As someone who has thrown a party, it’s hard to not empathize 100% with the promoter who was probably getting a deluge of shit from the VIP for this kinda sound. I would hate to be the guy, but I can’t say that if I was put in the same position, I wouldn’t be doing the same thing.

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Sensation Soars

So there I was, surrounded by 15,000 intoxicated people, all dressed in white, seven years late on the other side of the world. I’d missed my last chance to catch Sensation when I was backpacking through Europe in the summer of 2005. While my experience traveling through a dozen countries (including a particularly excellent weekend in Ibiza) was all that and a bag of chips, there was always that one missed party. That is, until this weekend.

The speakers & sound system did not disappoint. It was massive arena with stadium seating  above the totally packed GA floor, filled with ravers, euros, hippies, brokers, club kids, junglists, chibi goths, bridge & tunnelers, guidos, creepers, jocks and thousands upon thousands of the same pair of white jeans & yoga pants. The chaos of large festivals like Ultra or Electric Zoo seemed utterly absent, as there was pretty much one choice of beer readily available (Bud Light Platinum), and there was one stage, so if you weren’t ok with at least one of those things, you probably shouldn’t have swung by.

Dennis Ferrer’s sound was starting to explore the speaker system and the people shuffled to a sexy, groovy, organic house sound. About thirty minutes into his set, an astonishingly funky remix of Come Together started tugging on the room. Each verse & word, drawn out along this infectious bassline with a remora of a staccato twang, drew more of the floor into unison, as people from across the world slowly recognized the Beatles lyrics, clicked into the beat, moving with it and the rest of the room.

Some people were impatient for some sort of break or drop, but five minutes after people found themselves dancing to the pre-drop tune, they seemed to forget that the music needed to go anywhere as long as it sounded this good while it was there. The set remained funky & groovy, without cheesy disco standards or any confused attempts at injecting R&B into moments that doesn’t need it. The former is annoying, while the latter just kind of quietly sad/creepy. While his set was neither of those things, I was getting a bit hungry, so I swallowed my fear and headed over to see what manner of sustenance I could find and whether I would need a co-signer to pay for it.

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