VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT HERE.
Eric Prydz could be called the catalyst. He is arguably the godfather of the the recent dance music bubble, an influencer since the early 2000s. From the proliferation of his massive (and mostly regrettable) hit Call On Me in 2004, to the foundations of Swedish house (and its mafia) as we know it today, Prydz has been a silent force in dance music.
His masterful productions epitomize progressive house of years past; dark and dancey, foreboding yet upbeat. And that’s not to mention the variety of sounds at Prydz’ disposal–vocal remixes as Eric Prydz, melodic bangers as Pryda, fierce techno as Cirez D.
Sound familiar? That’s because his music has directly influenced so many producers that came after, including a certain Deadmau5. Both have a wide, crisp sound that captures the euphoria of trance, yet maintains a less hectic techno minimalism. The mau5 even remixed a Cirez D track early on, and later paid tribute by covering Pryda’s well-known Pjanoo.
So why, then, is Prydz often overlooked when discussing the success of dance music? The answer is as simple as it is suprising; he’s afraid of flying. While others toured North America nonstop and fostered a radio craze, Prydz remained among his loyal European fan base, churning out hit after hit and avoiding mainstream attention. Sure there were a few unfortunately unheralded shows in the States, but they were far between and didn’t come close to the heavy touring schedules now standard among the major DJs at the time.
This past summer though, something magic happened. Maybe it was some Xanax, maybe some whiskey, maybe a combination of both. Prydz finally booked his first major North American festival and there was no turning back. Since Identity, the prolific producer has been hitting club after club in hotspots such as LA, Las Vegas, and New York, building his reputation among the uninitiated and solidifying his fame among his fans.
Now it was time for the massive Roseland Ballroom; his event on Thanksgiving Eve sold out quickly and another was planned for the 24th. Like on Wednesday night, Prydz’ protégé Fehrplay kicked off the Saturday show in impressive fashion. Dark yet sparkly progressive house was a throwback to early Pryda productions, and it sounded quite good in such a large venue. Crowd energy was at a tipping point throughout the set. No one else could have opened the show like that, a testament to Prydz’ knack for finding talent and Fehrplay’s excellent selection.
Anticipation was bubbling. Many in the crowd had seen the show on Wednesday and were back for more. The neon kandi contingent was in full force. For newcomers to the scene, this was a hell of a night to get introduced to electronic music. A monstrous set of LED screens lit up to signify the headliner’s arrival as Every Day crept over the sound system. Color filled the ballroom and Prydz was set to explode.
All of his personas came out to play on this night, with a pleasant focus on the take-no-prisoners techno of Cirez D. The subtleties of his talent were magnified tenfold during his DJ set. The way he teased Pjanoo to keep fans on their toes. The way Glimma smashed the dancefloor, and the way he had everyone singing “…this is like a flashback…” In place of the main stage electro abrasiveness so common at today’s festivals were true melodic breakdowns and elephant-sized basslines. Prydz even had the mind to give New York a Proper Education of the classics with his remixes of Blue Monday and Personal Jesus.
Worth mentioning are the incredible visuals that accompanied the music. The screens behind the man were mesmerizing on their own, trippy and cryptic with fun flashes of Mouseville and other nods to his label work. One trend that needs to go though is the use of triangles in dance music. We get it, Illuminati and conspiracy theories and whatever. It’s played out and was used far too often in an otherwise beautiful show.
Fans left the venue ecstatic, doubly so for those that attended on Wednesday. He played very different sets at both, a refreshing change to the disturbing trend of DJs playing the same way over the course of an entire tour. Saturday was darker and heavier, and the crowd loved every second of it. There is no denying that now is the time for Eric Prydz to get the recognition he deserves.
Photo credit: Pasha Kalachev