Calvin Harris at LAVO NY, July 28, 2011 (review)

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There’s just something about Calvin Harris that’s undeniably cool. Maybe its his impeccable flannel shirts, or perhaps its his unique affinity for apple storage, but whatever it is, we know it’s awesome. That’s why were weren’t surprised that his show at LAVO NY was one of the better nights we’ve had in recent memory. It took some squeezing (and maybe a bit of shoving) to get in the door, but we eventually made it and settled in for a night of amazing music and intense raging. Read on if you’re up for a flashback.

The LAVO door is like a fine female who takes just the right sweet talk to sway, but the insanity on Thursday was unlike anything we’ve seen. The entire block was filled with folks ready for the weekend by the time we arrived, and the club was nearly full by midnight — a testament to Calvin’s pull for sure. Iconic I Created Disco silhouettes hung from the ceiling and the lasers illuminated them against the posh chandeliers. Opening DJ Drek Martinez had a very solid set, sticking to the basics that were guaranteed to be a success.

Sidney Samson’s remix of “Hello,” was the standard banger as usual, but Madeon’s remix of “Raise Your Weapon” was undoubtedly the highlight of the set. While people were still singing, the opening sequence of “Fade into Darkness” came through the speakers, only to be paired with Skylar Grey’s “I’m Coming Home” accapella. Drek also played Alesso’s “Party Rock Anthem” remix before the Tristan Garner bootleg “Bromance In the Air.”

Deadmau5 – Raise Your Weapon (Madeon Remix)


Avicii vs. TV Rock & Axwell feat. Live Element – Bromance In The Air (Tristan Garner Bootleg)


There was a brief fakeout at 1:15AM when we thought we spotted Calvin, but it wasn’t until around 1:30 that the tall Scotsman arrived in LAVO’s lower level. He sounded the alarm by opening with Deniz Koyu’s “Tung!” which set the tone for our uncontrollable “BA BA BA baba buh buh buh”s that would continue throughout the night. He followed up with Hardwell’s “Encoded” and SHM’s “Miami 2 Ibiza.” The stadium house continued with “Kendo” before he changed things up.

Hardwell – Encoded (Original mix)


Dizzee Rascal isn’t necessarily a household name here in the States, but the bootleg of “Holiday” with Congorock’s “Babylon” pretty much embodied what we expect from Calvin at this point. It’s his unique ability to blend British pop vocals atop a funky house track that sets him apart from many of the other DJs that stick to one or the other. The classic Laidback Luke remix of “You Used To Hold Me” doesn’t need an explanation, so we won’t even bother describing it — needless to say, every mouth was moving in unison to those well-known lyrics.

Congorock & Dizzee Rascal – Holiday (Euan Cross Bootleg)


Calvin Harris – You Used To Hold Me (Laidback Luke Remix)


Calvin overlapped Drek’s set when he too played “I’m Coming Home,” however he did it with “Knas.” “Bungee” and Oliver Twizt’s remix of “Polkadots” formed a short tribute to the Dutch, but then things went back to being Scottish.

Afrojack & Bobby Burns – Bungee (Original Mix)

Afrojack – Polkadots 2010 (Oliver Twizt Remix)


Calvin’s first hit of the summer, “Awooga” played through the LAVO speakers, and before we knew what happened, we were suddenly hearing “Flashback.” The unmistakeable Calvin classic slowed down the club’s energy, giving everyone a chance to gather themselves and regain their composure. At this point we were drenched in sweat, as was nearly everyone around us.

Calvin Harris – Awooga (Original Mix)


Suddenly the sexual “oohs” of Nadia Ali were sneaking into our ears and Alesso’s remix of “Pressure” came on full blast. “Koko” — not to be confused with the overly played “Koko v Prutata” — was on next, before the Style of Eye & Carli remix of “Save The World.” What could possibly follow up SHM’s summer smash, you ask? Well, that honor would go to R3hab, whose remix of “Bounce” is near perfection.

Nadia Ali, Starkillers, Alex Kenji – Pressure (Alesso Remix)


Calvin Harris feat. Kelis – Bounce (R3hab Remix)


The bl33py vibe lived on with the Bassjackers’ “Mush Mush” before the surprisingly refreshing Skrillex remix of “Cinema.” As a sort of last hurrah before the home stretch, Calvin played “Duel” by Third Party — a track that bears some strong resemblance to Thomas Gold’s remix of “We Want Your Soul.”

Bassjackers – Mush Mush (Original Mix)


Third Party – Duel (Original Mix)


To round things out, Tim Mason’s “The Moment” was played back-to-back with the Mark Knight remix of “You Got The Love.” Appropriately, Calvin closed out the night with his latest single, “Feel So Close” which has a real emotional vibe when you hear it live. It’s not quite “house music” but it’s also not “pop” — essentially, it’s just Calvin music… and we love Calvin music.

Florence And The Machine – You’ve Got The Love (Mark Knight remix)


Calvin Harris – Feel So Close (Extended Mix)


Needless to say, Calvin Harris did justice to LAVO this time around at a club that we still contend to be the best in New York City. Though things weren’t quite bananas like they were when Dada Life was there a few weeks ago, we’ve got no doubt that it was equally awesome in its own right. We ducked out right after his set, and were lucky enough to spot him on the sidewalk upon our departure. After a quick congratulations and a handshake, he disappeared in a black truck and rode off into the night.

Photos: Kayley Seder/Ultra Records


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