There is a significant realization that comes across my mind every time I step foot on New York’s Governors Island. While there are probably thousands of other raves going on around the world — perhaps Luciano spinning his Cadenza parties in Ibiza, or Richie Hawtin playing a sunrise set at Monegros Desert Festival — few things compare to having a Manhattan skyline in your backdrop and the vibe of great people around you. There’s something unifying about going to a show here, and any DJ can attest to that notion; New York City is one of the best places in the world to throw a dance party.
What made this party different from all the other Governors Island events were the thousands of eager onlookers via live stream on the web. This added another element to the equation as Gareth Emery’s responsibilities were split in two: please party goers going bonkers in the crowd and offer an enjoyable experience for those yearning to be part of the good time from the comforts of their home. Made Event executed flawlessly in terms of names on the bill and overall experience. Zach Roth returned to support the trance-heavy lineup with a great warm-up set before turning over the decks to Blake Jarrel and Jerome Ismae who set the tone for what was to come.
So much has changed in the world of dance music in the last two years. What was once a trance-dominated world now has seen the widespread success of house music. This revolution has been a source to the adjustments in Gareth Emery’s DJ sets. What I saw on Saturday was the coming together of trance and house fans, and Gareth being able to deliver a set that pleased them all. Of the fusion of genres that took place, these five tracks stood out the most:
1. Gareth Emery – The Saga (Original Mix)
The perfect blend of stabbing electro synths and melodic breakdown made this a great track to start the set with. Its upbeat vibe let everyone know how Gareth was feeling and that the party was underway.
2. Gareth Emery & Ashley Wallbridge – Mansion (Porter Robinson Edit)
One of Emery’s staple songs is his collaboration with Ashley Wallbridge on “Mansion.” This track is expected in most of his sets and generates a great response from the crowd every time. Emery started off playing the original version before dropping into Porter Robinson’s edit, which has a more festival-friendly vibe.
3. Omnia & IRA – The Fusion (Original Mix)
Omnia & IRA’s “The Fusion” is a great example of the evolution of trance. You’ll hear people call it “Trouse” or “Trance 2.0” — but whatever it may be — trance is no longer what it used to be. The vocals from this track are something you’d hear from a trance record five years ago, but the construction of the chord play makes it heavy on the electro side and more palatable to a house music lover. Gareth has been around for a while and understands the direction that dance music is growing, and is feeding to the desires of all.
4. Armin van Buuren – We Are Here To Make Some Noise (Original Mix)
Armin van Buuren’s “We Are Here To Make Some Noise” has been one of the most popular songs of this summer’s festival season. It gets support from all the heavyweights and we can see why: its infectious rhythm and robotic vocals are epic on all fronts, and is a song we’ll likely never get sick of.
5. Markus Schulz vs Ferry Corsten – Loops & Tings (Original Mix)
A song fresh off its release is the collaboration between Markus Schulz and Ferry Corsten dubbed “Loops & Tings.” Emery dropped this track towards the end of his set and it couldn’t have fit more perfectly — it is now clear that “Loops & Tings” sits atop a list of some of the biggest releases of the year. It is a hybrid of dark and heavy trance with melodic and uplifting crescendos. From start to finish, tracks don’t get much better then this one. The piano breakdown is hypnotizing and has the automatic effect of raising everyone’s hands in the air.
The Bottom Line
After Blake Jarrel and Jerome Ismae set the tone with unsurpassed warm up sets, Gareth Emery drove it home with a nice mixture of house and trance — pleasing fans on all fronts. The island seemed almost at capacity as a diverse crowd of fans unloaded one ferry ride at a time. After Emery’s two and a half hour set came to close, Ben Gold took to the decks for an amazing closing session of hard-hitting trance.
Governors Island has proved itself as the superior summertime venue for dance events in New York. If you haven’t taken the time to experience this island, there is a double header next weekend featuring dance music legends John Digweed and Danny Tenaglia — with an opening set by tech house maestros Pleasurekraft — and the following day Thomas Gold comes into town with Norman Doray, Tim Mason, and Carl Kennedy. We’ll be there for both, so come out and say hello!