Throughout my career as an electronic music enthusiast, few venues have rivaled the sheer awesomeness of New York’s Governors Island. With a grassy area in the rear to lie on, a sand box with patio benches to lounge at, and a massive tent to go crazy in, there is an accommodating locality for everyone. After a brief hiccup with the first show of the summer, and a much-improved round two, Made Event got down to business for the arrival of Dash Berlin and Tritonal. Zach Roth, who is often overlooked, but never undervalued, offered a foundation of impeccable opening music – an undertaking often trivialized. The night moved into two hours of fan favorites from Tritonal, and a rare but unique three-hour festival style set by trance veteran, Dash Berlin.
If you glance back at dance music’s history – when “electronic dance music” was just “electronic music” – trance was the world’s dominant genre. Names like Paul Oakenfold, Armin van Buuren, and Markus Schulz, were at the top of the world’s “top 100” lists. Just under those heavyweights was Dash Berlin. Within the trance world, he is a clear fan favorite. The loyalty he commands is unparalleled, and this was made obvious when he took to the decks at Governor’s Island on Saturday night. Given the three-hour allotted time, Dash played a high energy set full of bootlegs – “dashups,” as he calls them – original productions, and a live performance from Jonathan Mendelsohn.
1. LTN vs. Sander Kleinenberg vs. Qulinez – This Is Ordinary Troll People (Dashup) (clip from Ultra 2012 set)
A track Dash uses more commonly in big city locations is Sander Kleinenberg’s “This Is Miami.” Whether it be Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, or in this case New York – this track always hits hard for dance music fans loyal to their cities. In a place as exuberant as New York, when the vocals cut to “this is… New York,” the feelings of unity within the crowd seemed almost tangible.
2. Dash Berlin Feat. Jonathan Mendelsohn – World Falls Apart
3. Dash Berlin Feat. Jonathan Mendelsohn – Better Half Of Me
One of the highlights of the evening was the special guest appearance by Jonathan Mendelsohn; who’s voice you may be familiar with through Laidback Luke’s chart toping single “Timebomb.” I’ve seen live vocalists join DJs on stage before, and while I think its uncessary at times, Mendelsohn proved otherwise. As he entered the stage he received a blaring ovation from the crowd. He sang “World Falls Apart” and “Better Half of Me” – two songs recently outed on Dash’s new #MusicIsLife album – that started an instant crowd sing along.
4. Dash Berlin – Till The Sky Falls Down (Original Mix)
Although “Till the Sky Falls Down” is several years old, it’s the type of song that is quintessential for any Dash set. Being that it’s his first big track, true fans appreciate it above and beyond. It’s a very unifying song; you could tell the Dash faithfuls were out in full force because the reaction generated from this track might have been the high point of the evening.
5. Dash Berlin with ATB vs Niki and the Dove – DJ Ease My Apollo Road
“DJ Ease My Apollo Road” is as passionate and emotional as a song gets. Every hand was raised in the air for this gem; eyes closed, mouths opened, and voices humming. At this moment, everyone became one — and the term “trance family” was idealized.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the night was a great success. There were a few tracks he could’ve done without — “Fade Into Darkness” and “In My Mind” just didn’t feel like they belonged in the set. I know trance DJs are trying to explore new sounds and genres, but it would have been nice to see Dash stray from the commercial sounds that act as easy crowd pleasers and instead pick something more imaginative. Also, maybe it was the extreme heat and humidity of the day (it felt well over 100 degrees on stage), but Dash wasn’t his 100% bat-shit-crazy self. If you’ve seen him in the past, then you know what I mean. I don’t think anyone left disappointed, but some might have wondered, “is this a new Dash Berlin we’re seeing?”