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

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Broke On Holiday: Independence Day 2015

To-broke-for-a-vacation-ill-drink Another big ass American holiday has arrived, with you & I rocking thrift shop money in our pockets and a couple of days off. Instead of selling some plasma to hang out at a day club or sniping free drinks in the Hamptons, here are my quick picks that will leave you with scratch to buy lunch come Monday.

 July 2

EVOLVE has quietly become a force in the city. The consistent door busting Thursday night bar parties (and recent arrival at Cielo) are quality options, and I’ve sent many a confused/bored New Yorker to their events when they came to me, looking for a Thursday night. REsy & PONY are two of my favorite DJs, and watching them succeed from a comfy perch on the interwebs has been an absolute privilege. Bringing in Body Talk & Stephanie Blanding this week to give you even more firepower while you sip & nibble. Macao is a great spot downtown and it’s a free party just waiting for you.

July 3

Jay Hill is one of those DJs you really need to check out, but you’ve probably put off. If you’re still in the city this weekend, don’t. Wander over to the party, which is on West 14th, so you’ve got no lame train excuses either. The cosmopolitan, soulful vibes make for an amazing night. Trust, I’ve definitely lost track of the hours during one of her signature sets. Sheik & Beik know what they’re doing, especially when it comes to free parties.For fans of the heavier stuff, Slake has you covered. Drum & Bass has quietly crept back into the party universe, and on the 3rd, Seba of Secret Operations, Amit from Metalheadz & Ben Soundscape will be showing up. Throw in some local flavor from Matos + Lovelace & more, and you’ve got a proper evening of fast slow. It’s $15 before midnight, so get tickets or arrive early to keep it on the cheap side.
If you’ve got a couple more bucks in your pocket and you are looking for something even faster, Cielo’s got you. I can’t remember the last time psytrance was dropped in Cielo, so this might be a really special night. The Israeli psytrance group Coming Soon (yea, I know, I was confused too) does trippy, wonderful work, and on Cielo’s sound system, it’s going to be crazypants. It’s $25, but of course, it’s Cielo.

July 4 – Independence Day


This is my jam right here. It’s a little more pricey than anything on this list, but it’s all 2 parties in one. On days that are charging $80-120 for 4hrs of party, you’re getting 12hrs of party! One of the best nights this year so far, they’re back, in a new venue & bringing in some of my favorite music. PONY, the Donald of Deep House (only DJ on here twice), Dopeshoes, a local favorite, Teddy Roosevelt (best DJ name evar) are supporting a Eelke Kleijn & pair of Berlin starlets named Dan. I’m serious, Daniel Steinberg & Dan Caster are going to give you a shuffling, deep night to remember. This is my personal pick for the weekend.

July 5

If you’ve still got some life in you after the banging weekend there are a couple of day parties on the 5th for your review. Just tell them Terry Gotham sent you. Lucca Mentone & Raffel De Luca are two NYC based DJs that you’ve definitely heard if you’ve partied in SoHo, Meatpacking or the West Village. They inject global vibes into deep house and progressive in ways that I haven’t heard anywhere else in the world. Even the deep house in Prague was a less cosmopolitan. It’s free all day, with cheap mimosas, so get moving and put some brunch in your face.

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)

New Hotness: Treetops ft. The ScumFrog, Mat.Joe, PONY & More!

(While my Attend feature is still your best place for the events you just can’t miss, I wanted to take a moment to showcase people starting something new. Starting a new party or dropping a new concept on Gotham is always difficult. So, a new column focused on the events taking their first steps. Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you, the New Hotness.)Treetops BannerTreetops is good for NYC. In a wholesome, quenching kind of way. The kind of relaxed vibe that these producers are going for is exact opposite of the mega-plumage that litters NYC scene. Run by two savvy luminaries, they’re bringing some whimsy & relaxed appreciation to the dance music scene here in NYC. To that end, they’re bringing a pile of talent, and telling you to wear your comfy shoes. Comfy everything in fact, as it’s about enjoying yourself with cool people & not popping bottlez while Instagramming your clubbe, bro. The Scumfrog has earned a reputation for excellence in the NYC House music community. I think I’ve seen him at 4, maybe 5 different venues? Each time it’s dope. This guy is a master at work, and I’ve listened to sets of his in Brooklyn, Baltimore, and flying over Bratislava. His April mix is a fantastic example of the smooth perfection of The Scumfrog. The dirtybird BBQ is a legend in its own right, and we were blessed to have one last summer. Christian Martin‘s posse showed up properly and the tech house, techno, dirty bass & minimal, almost acid vibe kicked off like you’d expect for a day party in Brooklyn with this level of talent. Listen to that set if you need a little more persuasion.  You know the tech house, deep house & techno is serious when there’s talent in from Berlin. They’re bringing Mat.Joe out from Deutcheland to add their soulful stylings to the roster. I’m a big fan of the sound Mat.Joe works in, a fusion of techno & hip hop essentially. There’s a lot of hit or miss work involving progressive & future bass melding with hip hop. This stuff definitely hits the mark. There’s a nice groove to the dance floor that I can’t wait to see when these two take control. PONY, what more can I say about the man. The Caliph of Crushing It is making this thing happen so I have a feeling his set is going to be quite interesting. If you’re a fan of his sets at I Feel or Evolve Thursdays @ Macao, definitely show up and compare. I bet he’ll save a couple of musical inside jokes just for you.  I am really digging this progressive tech house & hip hop vibe that Treetops is bringing to Brooklyn and showcasing Duane Harriott is a great choice. Dirty Decibels provides additional deep house related support, with some catchy, butt-shaking that still manages to stay surprisingly synthy at times. Bryan Cosgrove‘s grooves were a touch tough to find, but I found an eclectic set from a couple of years ago that I’m throwing in for free because I love you people.

With visuals by Levitation Theory and a Paper Box location, I think this event has all ticked all the right boxes. #Treetops has wings & you’re gonna want in on the ground floor. Get tickets here and show up on Facebook here. This is going to be a good night, and you’ll see me on the dance floor. Maybe I’ll see you.

I Feel Sin City. A Night Of Taut, Deep & Sexy NSFW House.

 

After a month off, my companion & I hugged the door lady, a delightful lightworker & old friend of mine. The bass leaked through the space as we exchanged coats for drinks, taking it all in. I FEEL has come into its own, as my previous notes on them reflect, and it was nice to see the space/community & execution becoming mature so much that it’s commonplace and the people running the show are smiling, enjoying themselves and mingling with their attendees. Everyone knew what they were there for and they were getting it in spades. Sexy, sexy spades.

This was the month where the I FEEL community really cut loose. The theme ensured a dance floor filled with leather, lace, masks, tight pants, tighter corsets & an entire wardrobe of inappropriate clothing. This would’ve made for a delightful event in and of itself, but then the music. Oh my stars, the wonderful music. After consuming our drinks, making the rounds and being only slightly disappointed the X-frame & the St. Andrew’s Cross weren’t getting active use (hey, those parties are out there, don’t judge), we nestled into the dance floor with our people. The musicvibe swirled around as Holosound‘s set crescendo’d. Holosound had been building the energy ever so subtly since we arrived and the dance floor was so excited to see where the night headed. Especially the last half of his set seemed to be one huge song, and 55min in, the serotonin was hard to refuse, as we all lifted with him.

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Shiny Silent Disco Balls, Gratitude & Balancing Acts.

image_1356408818741589Sitting at the diner on Lorimer & Metropolitan, I watched the scores of people lamenting the dysfunctional G train with a quiet smirk. After finishing up the burger & red bull I’d ordered when we were forced out of the station like confused cattle, I made my way to the Electric Warehouse just as cold drops began to fall. Tonight, the unofficial Burning Man Decompression event for NYC was going down and a little rain wasn’t going to stop it.

I shook hands with my friend Drew, the producer of the event and congratulated him while he processed my entry/ticket rapidly. There were dozens of burners in stilts, top hats, fur coats, el-wire tuxedos and all manner of costuming that were aching to get into the space and I didn’t want to get in their way. After checking my coat I received what I have come to cherish at Drew’s annual event, my hug to enter. Every attendee is given an honest-to-goodness hug. Not a patdown, not a security check and not a grope. A straight up “thanks for coming, you’re cool, gimmie a hug” hug. Which feels great, and there’s a person of each gender so it doesn’t get weird of course. I get hugs from both people (because I like to live on the wild side) then head in to check out the Silent Disco. Two DJs I am totes crushing on right now were rocking out.

The Silent Disco, run by a clever fellow by the name of Michael White, provides each of the listeners in a space with can-style headphones, with a button to press to switch between two DJs spinning in the room. This solves two problems. First, you can have two DJs playing violently different music standing next to each other with no problems, and secondly, if you want to have a conversation with someone, you take off the headphones & the room is splendidly quiet. The consummate professional DJ Pony & the gorgeously talented DJ Orange Krush were opening the night there, generating the dance floor from thin air yet again, like two beat-matching magicians. Slowly but surely, burners, ravers, club kids, hipsters, girls in slinky dresses & heels, guys in camouflage pants & hoodies, all manner of person came in, put their headphones on and got down. By the time the duo were halfway through their sets, the tent outside the party was packed warm, with projection work on the ceilings and two simultaneous dance floors intermingling I went back inside to grab a bottle of water, suddenly being reminded how big the old trolley repair station actually was. 10,000 sq feet, high ceilings and places to hang lights & equipment galore. A friend was delighted to find his pictures were playing off of a projector, and a stream of amazing HD photographs lit up the bar. As I chatted with DJ Resy, who was taking the night off behind the decks to help out at the bar, I remembered what Gratitude was all about. Many of the people at this event haven’t seen each other since Burning Man, while others see each other daily/weekly.

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