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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Ferry Corsten, Deuce Stenstrom & the Obliteration of Dance Floors

ImageThe two break-dancing gentlemen right in front of the DJ booth at Sullivan room had amassed quite a crowd considering it was only 11:30 PM. Deuce Stenstrom was spinning another one of his infectious “funhouse” sets (as his girlfriend lovingly refers to them), and the rapidly growing crowd was loving every second of it. As I sipped my Amstel Light, the deep bass & creeping melodies pulled person after person out of their seats, away from the bar and onto the dance floor. Deuce, opening another one of the Friday night SOUP parties, is one of the few DJs in the city I bust my ass to never miss. We go back years, and his work never disappoints. The wobbly,jolly sound, infused with old school house & techno tracks, is unique among the DJs I know in NYC. It reminds me of Falstaff because of its gregarious, bouncy, bubbly feel. But, back to the breakdancers.

Two smartly dressed black guys were popping, locking & breaking back and forth, turning the floor over to each other after they pushed out routines of increasingly complex & ridiculous moves. They kept tempting each other, baiting each other into doing crazier shit, and before long, the front third of the dance floor was devoted to people standing around in awe of the twin Nubian cyclones of fashion & footwork. Deuce kept the energy building so eventually, exhausted and to thunderous applause, they stopped, took a bow, and headed to the bar to get some congratulatory drinks a few people rushed to offer to purchase for them. As the dance floor repopulated and Deuce’s set finished up, I headed to the door after congratulating my boy on crushing it for the dance floor before midnight, a skill in serious demand these days in the Gotham Underground. I had a date with Ferry Corsten, and my only concern was whether the club he was spinning at (PACHA NYC) would let him work his magic on the decks without interference.

Pacha generates very strong opinions among clubbers in NYC. A long standing institution in Ibiza, the NYC off-shoot on the west side in midtown is generally treated harshly in the eyes of the community, especially those in the lower-income brackets. The main room turns into a stifling, churning amalgam of sweat, alcohol and stays that way until sunrise. Despite this, Pacha devotees swear by the sound system, the lighting and the imported talent that creates parties that approximate the bastardized love child of Ultra Music Festival & the Meatpacking District, crammed into a not-quite-large-enough warehouse a few blocks from the Hudson river. Thousands of Gothamites have sworn to never set foot in the club, due to the fact that it’s usually a total clusterfuck by 1 AM. While I usually don’t inflict that kind of environment on myself, tonight I was on the VIP Press list.

ImageAfter skipping the regular line and being treated wonderfully by Pacha’s front of house staff, I picked up a jack and coke and found a spot on one of the comfy leather couches that ringed each of the absurdly priced tables next to the railings. The tables allowed for a birds eye view of the main dance floor, the DJ booth, and provided a handy way to empty your bank account in under 6 hours. While I had no intention of spending upwards of three to five hundred dollars on a bottle of champagne or vodka, others were snapping the tables up like a cheap HDTV at Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving. The openers for Ferry were doing a tag-team set, switching off between big room house and some mildly interesting trance that kept the (already packed way past capacity) dance floor throbbing in preparation for Ferry. The names of the duo escape me at the moment, but they were competent enough that I managed to stay entertained until Ferry hit the decks right around 1:15.

He broke into some of his bigger anthems immediately, with his track “Feel It” reminding everyone in the club that he was now in control and serving up a serious dose progressive & uplifting trance. I was delighted to see Ferry had been given free reign on the decks, and wasn’t pressured by the Pacha management to modify his sound to fit the feel of the club. After seeing Ferry spin electro and house at Electric Zoo and being severely disappointed, I could not have been more pleased as the trance continued, occasionally accenting the set with a more poppy crowd favorite, such as “Language” by Porter Robinson, or “The Force of Gravity” by BT.

While the set was building I started chatting with a gentleman who was dancing to the sweet-ass trance music that was oozing out of the speakers, and he invited me back to his VIP table. Apparently he’d purchased “six or seven” bottles of champagne (he couldn’t remember which) and needed some help consuming them all. Never oneto be impolite, I graciously accepted his offer and introduced myself to the Brazilian soccer players that shared the table with him. I sipped my champagne, leaned back on the couch, felt the bass and listened to drunk Brazilian guys aggressively hit on every girl that walked past them in their exceptional Portuguese (and total lack of English).

The epic set continued for hours, with most people not moving off the floor, especially when a personal favorite of mine “One Thousand Suns” ft. Chicane, hit. Girls screaming, people dragging their friends up and down stairs in heels, racing to make sure they didn’t miss the drop. “Trigger” by Marcel Woods & W&W could not have come at a better time, and “Live Forever” (another of Ferry’s tunes featuring Aruna on vocals) ensured that the entire first floor of the club reached face-melting status. The track absolutely killed and even the VIP peeps stopped hitting on things for 5 seconds while the beat and trancey breakdowns had them shaking like Beyonce. Around 3:30 AM he managed to tear himself away from the decks and we beat a hasty retreat before the proletariat downstairs realized that there wasn’t going to be another encore. After many glasses of gratis champagne, I bid my new friends adieu and disappeared into the night, high on bubbly and the fact that Ferry absolutely killed it. Can’t wait to see what he has in store if he comes back for A State of Trance 600 with Armin Van Buuren.

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