Verboten StageONE 9/28 Reviewed
Don’t say we didn’t warn you – Verboten New York knows how to throw one hell of a party, no matter the obstacles. What started off as a kickass 4th of July with Sasha turned into the most impressive outdoors series of the summer thanks to its superb location, expansive line-ups, and raw energy. The StageONE Waterfront Series found its home along the shores of Kent Ave in Brooklyn, with the Manhattan skyline serving as an unbelievable backdrop (complete with fireworks courtesy of America’s birthday) for a day-long dance-a-thon that always went well into the night. Incredible memories were made when Luciano and Carl Craig played out a killer b2b set for an unbelievable five hours (as opposed to the planned two and half hours) before heading out to the Highline Ballroom for more. The diversity and sheer amazingness of supporting acts always had party-goers lining up early in the day, all anxious to experience sets by the likes of Moodyman, Guy Gerber, Maya Jane Coles, DJ Agoria, Bill Patrick, and David Squillace.
This time was no different. Although last minutes emergencies with the aforementioned space on the very day of StageONE had event organizers scrambling behind-the-scenes, party-goers didn’t notice a single hitch in the program. Verboten moved the party to Rebel on West 30th Street, a perfect venue for the underground party thanks to its being discretely nestled away in the middle of Midtown’s glossy skyscrapers. Ticket holders were even offered full refunds if the change made attending inconvenient, always a sign of a party that’s in it for the right reasons. The dark space made the techno festivities ahead feel like a home away from home, and frankly the cold NYC winds of the week were thankfully not a problem indoors. Soaring speaker sets ensured that nothing but groovy bass could permeate through the nightclub’s walls. And then there was the music.
The Verboten crew incredibly managed to secure the entire line-up, a nearly-impossible feat considering the time and venue change at hand. JDH + Dave P warmed things up at 10 PM, delivering a slinky set that made the crowd immediately forget Brooklyn and grooving. After a solid hour and a half, the pair gave way for James Holden. The UK producer delivered a smooth yet raunchy set full of minimal sounds and tactful drums that got the crowd bumping and grinding like it was nobody’s business. The minimal lighting of the venue lent itself perfectly for his set thanks to its positioning in between dark moodiness and etherealness. After another hour and a half, the man of the hour came along and took the crowd on a completely unexpected journey. Four Tet pumped things up with more upbeat tempos and drums that bordered on tribal throughout the majority of the set. The brilliant DJ seemed to look for a raw energy for the night, infusing these tribal sounds with mind-blowing reworks of 90s rap classics and samplings of sax solos, French electro sounds, and even two Bollywood tracks (one of which was the surprising intro track). After an unbelievable hour and 40 minutes, Four Tet bowed out and handed over the rest of the night to the one and only George Fitzgerald. The UK native had no mercy on the tired crowd, whipping them back into shape and making them dance relentlessly for another hour and changer thanks to a set of hard-hitting techno bangers. The night ended blissfully with a chunky cut of Fitzgerald’s summer hit “I Can Tell (By The Way You Move)” serving as the final blissful track of the night. The crowd was exasperated by night’s end, not believing what had just gone on.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: There ain’t no party like a Verboten party!