This past weekend in New York City, the music started on the water. Percussive beats reverberated off liquid glass as our ferry approached the festival tent at Governor’s Island. The beaming sun and cool breeze offered the perfect setting on an idyllic Saturday for a show of monster proportions. It was time to experience the madness that Made Event had put together–two DJ legends from either side of the Atlantic, all-star support, and an enormous collection of maniacal dancers.
Local DJs Sleepy & Boo had a sizable crowd already rocking upon arrival with one of their rhythmic tech house sets that’s made them a staple in the New York City scene. As the dance floor population swelled many took to the man-made “beach” of the island, kicking up sand in a tribal display of musical worship. Up next was the Washington, DC-based portion of the half-Swedish, half-American Pleasurekraft, and with him came that signature funhouse tech sound. Bass-powered hits like Anubis had fans mimicking the brilliantly synthesized voices that make up the group’s distinct sound.
Day was slowly turning to night and it was time for progressive techno master John Digweed to take the stage. Known for his journey-like sets, the man behind Bedrock Records took the sunset on a deep trip through spacey synths and smooth, driving basslines. It was impossible to tell where one track ended and the other began–the brilliant producer’s mastery of DJing as a form of storytelling was quite a sight to behold in an era when the two terms are drifting farther and farther apart. The sublime hour transitioned perfectly into the first set by the “DJ’s DJ,” Danny Tenaglia. Not just a star in New York City but one of the most respected DJ’s worldwide, Tenaglia steered Digweed’s set into bruising territory. The drums got darker as cheery, melodic breakdowns gave way to crushing drops that shook every last dancer to the core. Fans only got more energized as the set went along, fiending more and more from their heroes behind the decks when Digweed once again took hold after another hour. Deeper and deeper he went, as if engaging in a musical tete-a-tete with his American counterpart. Colors and lights blurred together on this second ride with John Digweed, even fiercer and more progressive than the first. And as if in an instant, Danny was back on the decks to take New York out on a feast of homegrown techno. The skyline across the water seemed to tremble as each beat shook the ground. Elated ravers were never going to forget this night.
The ferry ride back to the mainland was calm and reflective, a chance to really process what was just experienced. Ageless techno and tech house, borne many years ago in the underground and here to stay forever, showcased at a truly incredible venue. Watch below for just a sampling of the beat-down that DT put on Governor’s Island.