Last Friday in New York, people of the tri-state area were plagued by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Much of the city was still without power, subways were inoperable, and the gas shortage made finding a cab a near impossible task. Sonar Festival, scheduled to take place at Roseland Ballroom, was canceled due to venue damage and Highline Ballroom — where Verboten’s party with Maya Jane Coles was supposed to be — was shrouded in darkness. Read past the break to see how Johnny and Jenn — the NYC power-couple behind the Verboten party brand — offered refuge to the deeply battered greater metropolitan area.
As Highline Ballroom lay in darkness, Verboten turned to their next go-to spot — the miniature warehouse that is known as SRB, located across the bridge in nearby Brooklyn. With John Digweed in town a short ten minutes away in Long Island City, I figured there would be an even split between partygoers at each location. Upon arriving at the venue, my theory was quickly proven wrong. The line wrapped around the block with people clamoring to get inside, impatiently chattering, discussing the events of the past few days. Upon entry, it was evident that the sound was stepped up in a four-point, bass-heavy arrangement. With Sonar being canceled, Verboten invited Seth Troxler and Nic Fanciulli to play alongside deep house queen, Maya Jane Coles. With a lineup this stacked, and the capacity crowd that appeared to be inside, I knew this night would prove to be a special one.
Nic Fanciulli was on warm up duty with a two-hour set of his signature upbeat tech house and techno vibes. Tracks like his recent release of “Movin’ On” got play time, and left me wondering how Maya’s contrasting style would follow suit. At 3:00 am the deep house wunderkind appeared onstage to a loud cheer. She opened her CD wallet and got straight to business laying down one peak-hour banger after another.
Nic Fanciulli – Movin’ On (Original Mix)
Maya’s last visit to New York was at Electric Zoo, where she played a ninety-minute, day-time set. It was a perfect mid-day experience, but didn’t allow her to showcase her true talent. With the release of her Essential Mix a year ago and having remixed tracks like Florence & The Machine’s “Spectrum,” her popularity within the underground world and dance music in general has surmounted to a new height. This was clear by who was present at SRB — a younger and more elegant crowd was there to dance, party, and more importantly, explore what the underground world was all about.
Audiojack – Plastic Dreams (20 Year Tribute)
As far as music selection, Maya showed that she is a true master of crossing the boundaries between house and techno. With the exception of Audiojack’s “Plastic Dreams,” identifying songs was no easy task. These are the kind of sets that have come to be my favorite kind. I would rather a DJ take risks playing music unknown to all and challenge themselves to dish out an exceptional performance, and that is exactly what Coles delivered — two-and-a-half joyful hours of arms-in-the-air music. Other notable tracks included Peace Division’s throwback of “Blacklight Sleaze,” Deetron’s “Croque” and a rousing remix of George Fitzgerald’s “Every Inch.”
Peace Division – Blacklight Sleaze ft. Pleasant Gehman (Original Mix)
George Fitzgerald – Every Inch (Deetron Remix)
Deetron – Croque (Original Mix)
Following Maya was a closing set by Detroit-bred Seth Troxler. With the creative freedom of a closing set, Seth explored the musical spectrum with a wide variety of eerie late-night tunes. Tracks like Martin Landsky’s remix to DK7’s “The Difference” and Ricky Ryan & Ucleden’s remix to Dousk’s “Keep Your Nose,” were only a handful of tracks I could pick out.
DK7 – The Difference (Martin Landsky Remix)
Dousk – Keep Your Nose (Ricky Ryan & Ucleden Remix)
Once 7:00 am rolled around, Verboten and its sneaky tactics had one more surprise up it’s sleeve. After Troxler played solo for a hour, Nic Fanciulli appeared on stage and started setting up his equipment again. Before we knew it, Nic and Seth were taking on the morning hours with a special back-to-back set. Two guys of such contrasting styles coming together to feed off of each others energy was a unique experience all its own.
The Bottom Line
Against all odds, Verboten managed to throw an impressive party with a top notch lineup. If you haven’t yet attended a Verboten party, we encourage you venture outside your norm and try something new. Chill vibes and some of the biggest names in the underground scene is their formula — and a winning one at that. Always keeping it fresh by jumping around from venue to venue, they know how to keep each party distinguishable and gratifying.
Photo Credit: Oliver Correa