BangOn! Warehouse of Horrors: A Yearly Ritual of Spooks, Squads, and Sounds
Halloween has returned, bringing back a celebration of simpler days filled with costumes, scary stories, and mischief. Commemorating this holiday with music, arts, dance, theatrics, and interactive experiences, BangOn! NYC has taken their holiday soiree to the next dimension. This year’s Warehouse of Horrors was held at Knockdown Center, a spacious venue on the border of Maspeth that BangOn! crafted into a party-lover’s paradise. The two-day mini-festival hosted 46 global and local artists across four stages. Flocks of all different feathers made the pilgrimage to Queens, New York to spread their wings and float on the waves of music and light.
At first glance, Knockdown Center appears to be a modest warehouse compound, but upon stepping inside for the first time, I was shocked by the vast size of the event space. Knockdown Center takes its name from its knockdown door frame that is easily knocked down or assembled. The venue is a truly unique space that has become a hub for progressive thinkers who wish to take a step beyond traditional experiences.
BangOn! NYC‘s premier festival, Elements Lakewood, is known for its themed stages that highlight artful curation of style and music. Elements Lakewood 2019 featured Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Alchemy, Theater, Pool Haus, and the Roller Rink (don’t forget about Camp Pickleback), with each stage offering unique vibes and flavors of music. The Elements Lakewood touch was evident in the production of the four stages at Warehouse of Horrors: Warehouse, Horrors, Alchemy, and Silent Disco.
After purchasing a weekend pass on the day of the show, I arrived at Knockdown Center and was awed by the event’s elaborate production. I had planned to catch Beat Kitty’s set, which I unfortunately missed due to being stuck in the GA line. It felt odd walking in without a costume, but soon after my first steps inside, I tuned in to the earthly sounds of Ivy Lab at the main stage. Ivy Lab inspires the future bass movement with a beautiful style that breaks down genres and blends hip-hop, bass, and heavenly vocals.
The Glitch Mob performed next, and the large room began to feel small as familiar faces made their way around. Showcasing an alluring style of their own, The Glitch Mob grasped the attention of the crowd with their deep melodies and upbeat drops. During the intermission between The Glitch Mob and San Holo, I texted my friends to meet me at the Horrors Stage for The Golden Pony, one of the co-founders of Elements Lakewood (alongside Brett Herman). The Golden Pony took the stage and led the audience through a thrilling expedition into house music. In the crowd, I spotted a sprinkle of Shipfam and Dirtybird-lovers eagerly awaiting the appearance of underground king Christian Martin. Needing a moment to breathe, I stepped outside to check out the silent disco where H<3art Beats duo Full Force would be closing out the night. On my way out, I witnessed smiles all around as San Holo dazzled the crowd.
Coasting off the energy of The Golden Pony, Christian Martin proceeded to blow minds with his complexity; he had the audience jumping as he looped in old school samples and paid homage to his drum and bass roots. The younger brother of Justin Martin skillfully set the foundation for the Dirtybird players scheduled for the following night. Ekali kept the party going in the main room, gracing the stage for his second appearance at yet another BangOn! event.
Full Force, a DJ duo comprised of Ashlyn Fulton and Joe Forcina, lived up to their namesake and came with a bag of tricks to share with the lucky ones who stayed until the end. Full Force unsheathed their
library of secret hits during this first ever H<3art Beats silent disco set, properly closing out the first night.
Saturday’s stacked lineup included Justin Jay, who blended genres and dropped an edit of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” that made people sing as if they were in the shower. Unable to decide between Justin Martin and The Librarian at 2 AM, I decided to hop back and forth between the two sets. A longtime bass queen, The Librarian is the co-founder and music director of Bass Coast, and a festival favorite at Shambhala. Justin Martin, also a Shambhala favorite, never fails to impress with his unreleased tracks and tunes that keep you dancing.
Brooklyn-bred Dorfex Bos was brilliant when he played for H<3art Beats and struck the New York scene again with his downtempo left field dub set. One of the most highly anticipated sets of the weekend, the don Claude Vonstroke, provided me with a late jolt of energy and a reminder of why I love the music scene. A highlight of Vonstroke‘s set was “Grenade”, his collaboration with Eprom. The track starts off low and slow, evolving into a beautiful, tenebrous piece. With his mesmerizing art form, Claude always generates an epic party.
H<3art Beats was set to close out the night a second time, with Chris Washington, aka Cryostatik, playing a silent disco set from 4 AM to close. With a few minutes left of the event, I ran back to the Horrors stage for The Golden Pony while listening to Vnnsa at the Warehouse stage. Tim ended the night with “We Are the Champions,” and the crowd cleared out, buzzing about the fantastic event.
BangOn! NYC provided more than just music; behind the main bar, there were two large sculptures of wolfs’ heads projection mapped by Armapal Bhati and Other Weirdly. 4Life was responsible for the production, building an LED wall for visuals and a whole host of lighting and fog blasters. On both sides of the warehouse stage were sculptures of large cats. An exhibition of suspension piercing by Skindicate featured two performers, one of whom was swinging in a circle, suspended by her body piercings. For anyone looking to chill out, Knockdown Center provided a bunch of outdoor seating while BangOn! added interactive spaces indoors. There was a host of Elements-branded photographic backdrops where attendees lined up to snap shots with friends. The event also included a live painter, Eleni (@xx_pixxii.dust_xx on Instagram), whose art perfectly complemented the event’s Halloween theme. All of these carefully selected pieces came together to create a festival experience that went above and beyond the conventional music event and allowed all types of artists to contribute to its production.
Though there were many other parties going on this weekend, I left with no regrets; I had a great time with so many wonderful people I have known throughout the years. We all come back for common reasons of letting loose, dressing up, indulging in the dark side, and listening to amazing music. With so much to see and do, Warehouse of Horrors offers many different paths, and even if you become lost, you will find yourself where you need to be.