During CMJ’s massive week in New York, while many of the music events were spaced evenly across Manhattan, Brooklyn’s Output held a showcase of Nick Catchdubs’ and A-Trak’s project, the amazing Fool’s Gold record label. A perfect venue in the label’s own backyard, Output welcomed the a cozy crowd unlike the usual CMJ fare – underdressed non-industry types there to enjoy a good time for the artists’ music. With a brisk wind whistling from the East River, New Yorkers who were lucky enough to attend the show were treated to multiple eclectic sets that spanned several genres, each no more than 2 hours long.
Nick Catchdubs led the night off, heavy with hip-hop early on as the club opened its doors. In a black leather varsity jacket, the founder of the label peppered in classic tracks with new ones. As some of the tunes tugged on nostalgic memories – Missy Elliot edits were heard not once but twice (“4 the People” and “Get Ur Freak On”), which is never a bad thing – the crowd started warming up to edits of recognizable favorites, shuffling on the dance floor back and forth. As Catchdubs’ set progressed, he began to delve deeper into his library. Flowing in and out of genres, the producer began experimenting with the juxtaposition of different sounds. George Fitzgerald’s ubiquitous edit of Jessie Ware’s “No To Love,” Afrojack’s awesome 2010 song “Polkadots,” and Danny Brown’s “Dip” were all played within a 30 minute window. While possibly the song of the decade “N*****s in Paris” drove the crowd into a frenzy, Salva’s “Get a Life” has a deep bass made for Output’s sound system, and the crowd’s roars during the drops confirmed their approval. While Catchdubs spun the longest set of the night, many in the crowd did not file into the club until the last 30 minutes, only long enough to see him finish with Duck Sauce’s new song “Radio Stereo” and Nicky Romero’s edit of Green Velvet’s “Flash.”
Catchdubs set a marvelous stage for Just Blaze by marking his set with a noticeably hip-hop heavy flavor, easing the transition to his successor’s trappier style, which was entertaining, at the least. The renowned producer struggled at times to understand the Output crowd, playing snippets of his massive hip-hop hits and jumping between tracks like a restless schoolchild. Still in all, Just Blaze received some of the largest roars for “Higher,” his collaboration with Baauer, and the Kanye classic “Touch the Sky.”
He eventually gave way to Oliver, a duo whose sets have consistently earned rave reviews. Winding through underrated songs “70709″ by Sharooz and Bart B More’s remix of “Burst!” by Peaches, the duo delighted the crowd with tracks most of the audience had never heard before. Even the selections from well known artists Boys Noize (“Starwin”) and Daft Punk (“Voyager”) flew under the audience’s radar. Oliver’s uncanny ability to explore different genres yet drive sets to a climax was impressive: They showed their chops for a lost art among many of the younger generations of DJ’s. Near the end of the set, DJ Djedjotronic’s remix of Gonzalez’s “I Am Europe,” a song with the perfect driving techno pulse with ominous robot voices, highlighted their set. A force to the first time listener’s ears, the track was explosive in live settings. To the smiles of the duo, the crowd, intoxicated in the hypnotic beats, let a climactic cheer out, and by the time they finished with their song “Myb,” the club was rocking and rolling.
I thought about leaving as it was getting late, but decided to stay for Treasure Fingers. A big fan of his SoundCloud mixes, I wanted to see him live, even if just for a bit. Lurking in the corner with a drink in hand the entire Oliver set, Treasure Fingers had been deep in thought – motionless the entire time. When his time arrived, some of the crowd headed out the doors, and others chattered away. With deep house thumping beats, the producer continually grew his sound, nodding mildly along. For the first half hour, the Midwestern DJ from Oklahoma played edits I had never heard of, slowly crafting the bass to perfection. Then The Funk Parlor’s “Warehouse Muzik” hit the speakers, and mayhem ensued.
As the night wrapped up after edits of Disclosure’s “F for You” and Ben Remember “Saturday Sunset” floated through the night, the remaining crowd roared for Treasure Fingers as he left the decks. Though no more than 50 people remained, the experience was truly sublime. In a bonding experience, we realized we were lucky enough to stay, that the patrons that had left earlier truly missed something great. As the crowd chanted “one more song,” Treasure Fingers waved and smiled, as understated in his departure as he was upon arrival.