The big room at Pacha can be an unforgiving place for newcomer DJs. It’s crowd, much like the city it calls home, is a mash of people from all walks of life. E-kiddies, house heads, businessmen, casual clubbers, and even the occasional bachelorette party all funnel into Pacha week after week after week. Sure, there may have been a portion of the crowd that was there to see Fadil El Ghoul, the Dutch producer known as R3HAB, but most of the people we spoke to had never heard of him. All that immediately changed the second that R3HAB descended into the DJ pit that overlooks the big room, cued up his first track, and brought New York’s largest night club to its knees.
Earlier this year we had seen Afrojack spin to a packed house at Pacha, so packed in fact that the stairwells leading from floor to floor ending up becoming extensions of the dancefloor. When we heard his protege R3HAB was going to make his Pacha debut, we knew full well the type of night we were in for. With cameras and vodka clubs in hand (I’m watching my figure) we ascended to the main floor of the club just in time to see R3HAB begin his high pitched, high energy, bleep-heavy set.
As a muted version of Afrojack’s “Doing it Right” thumped and built towards its well known drop, “The Bottle Song” quietly snuck in from the background, it’s chainsaw bleeps screeching amidst Afrojack’s synth melodies. The crowd jumped to the high pitched howls as R3HAB jumped right along with them in the DJ booth, grinning ear to ear as his original production throttled the room full of people.
R3HAB – The Bottle Song (Original Mix)
His energy and charisma behind the decks seemed perfectly natural as he created his patented “chainsaw madness” with remix after remix. Wynter Gordon’s beautiful vocals were assaulted by the dutch producer’s trademark synth squeals on his remix of “Til Death” followed immediately by “Sending My Love,” his vocal heavy collaboration with Swanky Tunes.
With hands raised high above his head R3HAB thrashed around the booth, coaxing many in the crowd to jump along with him before abruptly slamming down on the play button of his CDJ to bring in the familiar introduction to “Prutataaa” this time remixed by Dada Life, whose crunchy “sausage-fattened” synths shook the booth and the crowd. He quickly followed up with the recently released Dada Life track “Happy Violence” the mellow 8-bit Nintendo vibe gave the the exhausted mob — and R3HAB — the chance to catch their breath before launching into his brand new remix of David Guetta’s “Without You.”
Afrojack and R3HAB- Prutataaa (Dada Life Remix)
Dada Life – Happy Violence (Original Mix)
David Guetta ft. Usher – Without You (R3HAB XS Remix)
While the chorus to “Save the World” started playing, a few of us in the booth began placing bets on what remix he would play. The vote was unanimous — it had to be Zedd’s. As the stuttering electro breakdown dropped everyone went wild, some kids began grabbing the edge of the booth — pulling themselves up as if attempting to climb onto the stage.
He maintained the energy with the Guetta and Afrojack collaboration “Lunar” mixed with Tiesto’s “Maximal Crazy.” As always, no dirty dutch set would be complete without “Pon De Floor” whose infectious bassline is still just as powerful as it was 3 years ago. As the Dutch bleeps and chainsawing synths pumped through Pacha’s massive speakers until almost 4AM R3HAB looked like a kid in a candy store. It was clearly evident that this was a DJ who loved his job and loved the music. Finishing his set out with Chuckie’s tribal remix of “Song 2” by Blur and a unique mash up of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” with “Wonderwall” by Oasis, Fadil gave the crowd a much needed reprieve from the high octane dance tracks that he bombarded them with for over two and a half hours.
David Guetta and Afrojack – Lunar (Original Mix)
Undoubtedly anyone in the audience who did not know R3HAB when they entered the club was now leaving as a believer, having been converted to follow the church of chainsaw madness.