AM Only x elektro CMJ Event Recap
Exactly one year and one week prior to last Saturday, I stepped foot into Webster Hall for the first time to cover Madeon's first North American performance, which changed my life for a variety of reasons. Not only did I fall in love with the venue, but I also wound up covering the concert alongside Mr. Zev Norotsky, aka the founding father of Elektro, who thankfully was nice enough to take interest in what I was doing and has since given me the privilege of being a contributing member of the staff. My relationship with both the publication and the venue has blossomed since then, so naturally when I heard that the two had tag teamed together to throw a CMJ event alongside the folks at AM Only, making the arrangements to make my way back to the big apple was a no brainer.
Another valued relationship I have made over the past year is with 12th Planet, who was headlining the show that night alongside the likes of AC Slater, Tokimonsta, Dallas K, Hook N Sling and Toronto's own Egyptrixx. And after a quick hello with the Elektro folk across the street, I found him where I usually find him - bumming smokes and giving props to his fans that had lined up early. Together with our respective crews, the two of us made our way through the front doors of Webster and up to the green room, where we unpacked and began our pre-show ceremonies.
As the number of bodies on the dancefloor ballooned, so did the numbers in the green room, and by the time Egyptrixx kicked things off pretty much everyone's lower back area had been peppered by a healthy handful of sweat pools. It was here that I whipped out my laptop, bequeathed the wifi password from Laura (Webster's go-to gal), and began live streaming all the action on Youtube via the use of Google+'s wonderful new 'Hangout On Air" feature. With the folks at home tuned in, I was able to knock out a quick couple of questions that the twitter-verse had for 12th, as well as pull off a thorough interview with one of my favourite New York producers, Tjani, as well as with the video guru Jason Ano, who has lent his talents to the likes of Skrillex, A$AP Rocky, RiFF RAFF and Mr. Dadzie himself (amongst others).
Although I very much enjoyed the opening set that Egyptrixx put together, the still-metastasizing crowd of Websterites didn't really seem to take a whole heap of notice of what was going on in the booth until Tokimonsta took over. Looking very poised and comfortable, the LA native whipped out all the 808 flavoured goodness she had in her possession, as well as a heaping helping of everyone's favourite sing-a-longable bass jams. Also she's the first person since Devin Martin that I've seen utilizing the APC 40 over conventional CDJs in a live mixing environment.
By the time Toki finished up, both the balcony and pit sections were overrun with both grinding couples and moshing youth, and together they were all chanting riotously for AC to feed them some genuine Brooklyn bass; and so he did. The Trouble & Bass overlord was in fine form that evening, dipping his needle at whim into whatever genre he felt like and keeping perfect flow while doing so. It was easy to see how much hometown love the man has rightfully earned for himself over the years, and I couldn't help but loose myself in the overwhelming energy that was swirling around the venue for the entire 45 min or so that he was firmly planted in the booth.
Before 12th marched down the stairs to take AC's place we shared a quick celebration drink, whereby I assumed my position back at my left-side balcony vantage point that I had been protecting the whole night. Ironically as the first song in his set was dropped, the happiest person onstage was not 12th, but rather Tjani, as unbeknownst to me 12th had opted to open with an unreleased track that Tjani had given to him prior to the show. I cant remember what the name of the track was, but it was some wonderful cross between trap, big room house and dubstep (if my memory serves me correctly), and it got the crowd back to their optimal energy output in a jiffy.
John's set on a technical level was more of what I've become used to from him: a see-sawing balance between dubstep and trap, combined with a gleeful disregard for the capacity of Webster's PA system, as well as it's inhabitants hearing abilities. The highlight for me was without a doubt the unreleased Dirtyphonics remix of 'The End Is Near' that 12th capped his night off with, however by this time the club's inhabitants were noticeably gassed, and the overall energy was beginning to dwindle when John passed the headphones over to Dallas K.
Unfortunately my energy had also all but exasperated by this point, so I took the first 15 minutes of Dallas' set to rally up my troops and gather all my gear together from the green room. Now completely doused in my own/other people's persperation, I greased my way through the blockade of people surrounding 12th and said my farewells to him, and whoever else I knew standing near him. From there I took my last few breaths of musky Webster air, lugged my tired bones out the front door and once again left my favourite Manhattan venue adorning the smile of a job well done.
I'd like to once again thank Elektro, AM Only, Webster Hall, 12th Planet, Tjani, and my TWG crew for making sure that everything went off without a hitch, and for showing me nothing but love and respect for the entirety of my visit. At this point I think it's about time I got my green card and made my way out there permanently.
Written By: Aaron Spiro