Pier of Fear Recap: A Weekend of Beats, Tricks and Treats
This year’s Halloween weekend didn’t just bring Hurricane Sandy to New York City: 2012’s celebrations included one of the most massive weekends of EDM events in recent memory. Among the best of the bunch was “The Pier Of Fear”, a three-night electronic showcase located at Pier 94 in Manhattan. Due to the safety risks of the approaching hurricane, the weekend’s finale featuring Rusko was rescheduled. However, the Friday and Saturday events took place as planned, and allowed New Yorkers to party with some of the biggest names in electronic music, celebrating the festive holiday before the devastating effects of the hurricane set in.
As I arrived at the Pier on Friday, the event was already in full swing. Costumed fans swarmed the streets of the city, all bubbling with energy in anticipation of the night’s festivities: a pure, in-your-face electronic assault featuring Knife Party, Tommy Trash, Kill The Noise, Style Of Eye, Bauuer and Destructo. I entered during Style Of Eye’s set, and much to my dismay, found that I was only one of… well, bunches of bananas. I was greeted by high-fives from my banana brethren, as well as the sounds of Style Of Eye’s booming bass, as he dropped Morten Breum & BetatraXx’s “Get Static,” and tracks from his side project. The view from the VIP section showed the crowd loving every second of the set. Yet we were all blown away when Style Of Eye broke out a heavy remix of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” which closed his set and made for a perfect introduction to Kill The Noise.
Although Kill The Noise is best known for his dubstep productions, his set at the Pier Of Fear featured the heaviest tracks that the dubstep, trap and electro-house genres have to offer. Kill The Noise was determined to keep the crowd moving, and did just that, opening with the trap banger Mayhem & Antiserum’s “Brick Squad Anthem.” His entire set was jam-packed with crowd pleasers, among them Zedd’s “Shotgun,” Flux Pavilion’s “Bass Cannon” and “Gold Dust” Alvaro’s “Make The Crowd Go” and Alvin Risk’s remix of Steve Aoki’s “Earthquakey People”. Considering our costumes, the other bananas and me were glad to hear Dada Life’s “Kick Out The Epic Motherfucker” as well. Kill The Noise also decided to throw some Skrillex into the mix, dropping “The Devil’s Den” and “Right On Time,” as well as KTN’s own infamous remix to the theme of “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air,” which made very notable appearances at Skrillex’s Electric Zoo and Made in America sets. Some brand new material by Kill The Noise got airtime as well, which showed that he has no plans of changing pace from the brutal dubstep sounds his fans have come to love. After such an electric set, it was almost hard to believe that the night was nowhere near its end.
Following the stellar set from Kill The Noise was the night’s most anticipated act, Knife Party. The duo brought all of the energy fans expected from them, dropping their fan favorite tracks “Rage Valley,” their Swedish House Mafia collaboration “Antidote” and their electro-house remix of SHM’s “Save The World.” Any devout fan of the group knows that the one song you’re guaranteed to hear when seeing Knife Party is “Internet Friends.” Upon hearing those infamous footsteps and iPhone ringtone, the crowd roared with excitement. Hands filled the air as they dropped their accelerated live version of “Internet Friends,” which can only be heard at Knife Party’s live performances. This version always leads into the slowed dubstep drop of the track, which always gets the crowd going, and this time was no different. “Bonfire”, and “Sleaze” also garnered huge crowd responses, particularly because the group mixed the latter with Steve Aoki & Angger Dimas’ “Beat Down.” In concluding their set, Knife Party kept the energy level high by bringing some drum & bass tracks into the mix – Nero & Skrillex’s remix of Monsta’s “Hold On,” for example, and a fast-paced reworking of Skrillex’s “Kyoto.” Tommy Trash’s remix of “Ladi Dadi,” Knife Party’s last track, appropriately welcomed TT to the stage for the night’s final set.
Despite the night’s nominal headliner having already performed, those at the Pier had no plans of ending the night early. The venue remained packed out for Friday’s final performer, Tommy Trash. All that stayed would be rewarded with yet another stellar set, as the Aussie provided electro-house energy that fueled the crowd until night’s end. As expected, he mixed in fan favorite productions, including “Cascade,” his remix of Deadmau5’s “The Veldt,” “Future Folk,” as well as new productions “Truffle Pig” and “We Won’t Get Lost”. Tommy Trash’s smash collaboration with the Sebastian Ingrosso, “Reload,” pumped up the crowd to no end, and only hinted at what was in store for those returning to Pier 94 the following night. As I left the Pier, it was almost hard to believe that the weekend’s festivities at the Pier Of Fear were only half over.
Showing up to the pier on Saturday was like the best case of déjà vu. Once again, I was presented with a landscape of costumes, including – of course – many Dada-inspired bananas. The main differences between Friday and Saturday’s shows were the strange looks I was getting in my Green Man body suit, and the artists who would grace the stage at the Pier; Saturday’s lineup featured Sebastian Ingrosso, Alesso and Otto Knows, fresh off a (literally) riotous show at Long Island’s Nassau Colisseum. As I arrived once again to Pier 94’s VIP section to get a prime view, Otto Knows had just come on stage. The crowd was already bursting with energy as the Refune signee spun hit tracks like Calvin Harris’ “Flashback” and “You Used To Hold Me” and Steve Angello’s “Yeah” to his set. When he mixed in his most well-known track “Million Voices,” it was the moment the crowd had been waiting for in Otto’s set. The crowd jumped and threw their hands in the air as the melodic sounds of the track took over, creating one of the weekend’s most memorable moments, and made sure the crowd was all warmed up for Sweden’s young phenom, Alesso.
Fans who had never experienced Alesso’s live show could never have imagined what the young DJ and producer did while on the decks at Pier 94. Alesso certainly brought the heat, with incredible electro-house remixes of Hardwell & Showtek’s “How We Do,” Zedd’s “Spectrum, ” David Guetta and Sia’s “She Wolf,” and even the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Otherside.” Alesso masterfully concocted a moment of EDM euphoria as he mixed his single “Raise Your Head” with Sandro Silva & Quintino’s rave classic “Epic,” then dropping into his hit single “Years” along with an explosion of confetti. Once again showing off his mixing skills, he created an unlikely fusion of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” and Dada Life’s “Kick Out The Epic Motherfucker.” To close his amazing set, Alesso played his smash collaborations with Dirty South and Sebastian Ingrosso – “City of Dreams” and “Calling,” respectively – as their uplifting sounds maintained the feel-good atmosphere at the Pier, and readied the crowd for the final act of the weekend.
To close out an incredible weekend at the Pier Of Fear was Sebastian Ingrosso. Paying homage to Friday night’s closer, he opened with “Reload,” his collaboration with Tommy Trash, which marked the first of many big hits to be played during the set. Ingrosso’s set would prove itself to be a perfect balance of uplifting house music and hard-hitting electro-house breakdowns. The Dada Life remix of Kaskade’s “Llove, ” Deniz Koyu’s “Bong” and Swanky Tunes and Hard Rock Sofa’s “Here We Go” were among the tracks played during his set. However, the crowd seemed to be most looking forward to classic Swedish House Mafia jams, and Ingrosso did not disappoint on that front, delivering not only the group’s tracks but it’s members’ bangers as well. “Greyhound,” “Antidote,” the Axwell edit of “In My Mind,” “One”, “Knas” and “Don’t You Worry Child” all worked the crowd into a predictable frenzy. As one would expect, the set’s defining moment was towards the night’s end, when Ingrosso dropped “Save The World,” the track that always incites a sing-along in the crowd. This time was no exception, and fans sang along eagerly as Ingrosso dropped into the blood-rushing Knife Party remix of the song. As Ingrosso came full circle to close with “Reload,” confetti once again filled the air, and an intense weekend at the Pier Of Fear came to a close.
In retrospect, my weekend at the Pier Of Fear made for one of the greatest EDM experiences of my life. The venue was great, the light shows were mesmerizing and the lineup met the caliber of a mini festival. The events’ Halloween theme only added elements of fun and mysteriousness. Given the success of this year’s events, I can only assume that the Pier Of Fear will return next year, bigger and better. We can only hope Mother Nature lets us have a third night of fun.