Netsky Throws Down A Tremendous Set At Chinatown’s Dark Disco
On a windy Saturday night in New York City, I found myself navigating the winding streets of sleepy Chinatown. As I passed storefronts and posters written in a language I couldn’t decipher, my mind began to revisit the last time that I saw Boris Daenen a.k.a Netsky perform. That show took place outdoors along the lush, grassy hills of Bethel Woods as twilight faded to reveal a blanket of stars overhead. On that day the air was full of the sweet smells of summer and the merrymaking of festival season was in full swing. Netsky was accompanied by a live band as he took over Mysteryland’s main stage for a crowd numbering in the thousands. It was a show I won’t soon forget; the production and grandeur of the entire scene was immense.
However last Saturday’s Netsky Dark Disco show presented by MeanRed, was an entirely different beast. I found myself queuing in a line that stretched out through the doorway of an unassuming department store. There were no ornately lit stages, bikini-clad constituents or bizarre totems bobbing through the air. Any random passerby would walk past the inconspicuous group of darkly clothed party goers without a second look. As I stood online taking in the sights of the peculiar venue’s facade, my bemusement quickly transformed into slack-jawed excitement as the man himself strolled outside for a quick smoke.
Netsky’s slender frame waltzed out of 88 Palace and posted up against the wall adjacent from the line with a lit cigarette. I’m not sure if my fellow ravers didn’t recognize him or perhaps they were a little start-struck, but I made my way over to shake hands with one of my all time favorite musicians.
After that brief but glorious encounter I made my way up through the glossy interior of Dark Disco’s unusual setting. The bustling daytime shopping center, turned into a secluded nocturnal den of mischief. Up a set of stairs I found the lavishly decorated dim sum restaurant that was to be the scene of the night’s revelry.
As I walked onto the dance floor I was greeted by the devilish styling of the always audacious Subset. It seems that no lineup of bass music, boasted in the five boroughs, is complete without New York’s king of the underground scene. As is his nature, the bearded one set the tone for what was primed to be a full night of incredible sets.
Hometown hero Dave Shichman took to the decks after Subset concluded his burly opening mix. Hailing from the hood of Forest Hills, Shichman showed the crowd why he is one of the most well respected names in the North American drum and bass community. As the head honcho of Driven AM Records, Dave put on a show worthy of drum and bass lore.
Sliding through various styles and sonic textures with the deft hand of a seasoned vet, Shichman brought to life the full and beautiful spectrum of DnB. Kicking things off with smooth liquid vibes that got the crowd locked in a trance, Shichman began to pull the strings of the audience like a masterful puppeteer. The atmosphere of the rave was like that of a good old fashioned basement party. Low light, one ruthless sound system and a balmy temperature made for the perfect drum and bass atmosphere. Shichman’s track list of salacious tunes had the crowd entranced but certainly not subdued.
Rude boy jungle and heady glitch tracks ebbed and flowed throughout Shichman’s set like rivers of pure energy. Amidst the blistering bass and percussion, the banal white noise of day to day life faded away revealing the sweet spot that every raver chases. Things became very simple; there was the crowd, the DJ and the dance floor, nothing else mattered.
By the time Netsky took to the stage, the party swelling inside 88 Palace were at full tilt. Dave Shichman’s set had the entire dance floor sizzling with frenetic energy and the night’s highly anticipated headliner was gearing up to do something special.
The world renowned Belgian producer shot the energy level through the roof in a matter of seconds. An unrelenting barrage of raucous tracks ripped through the venue as Netsky dove into his set headfirst. After unleashing a torrent of bass heavy bangers, Boris began to mix in some crowd favorites like “Love Has Gone” and the “Whistle Song.” The dance floor surged and bounced as Netsky’s infectious remix of Jack U’s “Take U There” sliced through the speakers.
As promised the night’s headliner sought to bring an eclectic flavor to the Saturday’s proceedings. Some other die-hard DnB addicts might have flinched at the change in tempo, but I welcomed Netsky’s adventurous intent. A sensual edit of Flight Facilities’ “Heart Attack” and DJ Snake’s remix of AlunaGeorge’s “I Know You Like It,” were slick and perfectly maneuvered changes of pace. While the unorthodox mix of “Jetlag Funk” and Childish Gambino’s “3005,” was a rare treat that exemplified Netsky’s imagination on the night.
His entire set oozed of bravado as Netsky ripped through hit after hit. Instant scorchers like “Detonate,” “Give & Take” and “Come Alive,” were incredible reminders of the imperious drum and bass masterpieces that Netsky has put forth. Few artists can match his adrenaline-fueled repertoire, as well as his ability to create gorgeous soundscapes with lush synth-laden builds. The ephemeral cult classic “Puppy” whipped the crowd into a jubilant frenzy, arms raised gleefully nearly brushing against the venue’s ceiling as ravers bounced in time.
One of the night’s biggest tracks was certainly one of Netsky’s newest productions. “Rio” made multiple cameos throughout the night, and was always mixed in a fresh and inventive style. While winter claimed the street outside, the crowd inside 88 Palace bellowed “Rio! Rio!”, filling the venue with vibes and dance moves usually saved for the warmer months.
Almost as if giving a nod to some of his contemporaries who he admires, Netsky dropped gems like Wilkinson’s massive track “Afterglow,” Noisia & The Upbeats’ unholy banger “Dead Limit,” The Prototypes and Madhed City’s sick new single “Pop It Off,” and Sub Focus’ mesmerizing tune “Torus.”
The whole show came to a thunderous climax when Netsky laid down the hammer with what is perhaps one of his most beloved projects to date, his infamous remix of Rusko’s “Everyday.” The tune’s uproarious bassline clattered through the venue with reckless abandon, laying waste to what was left standing of the bass-drunk crowd. The very familiar sounds of the hit song were altered just slightly as the crowd was able to bask in the glory of a very special VIP edit.
From start to finish the first Dark Disco of 2016 was a hit. A stacked lineup of skilled innovators brought their talents to one of the New York City’s best kept secrets. 88 Palace is by far one of the most unruly places I’ve raved in recent memory, and the folks at MeanRed certainly know how to curate a show. I can’t wait to wend my way through the twisting streets of Chinatown to find myself at the next Dark Disco.