Coldharbour Night NYC Review
Coldharbour Night NYC: 03 August 2012 District 36 NYC We all knew it was coming sooner or later, but for some of us, the wait was excruciating. So when the news of the first ever NYC Coldharbour Day was announced, many people were vocal about it. From forums to Facebook everyone was a buzz. Some were wary but most were excited. Artists aside, the conversation was mostly focused on the venue, the “new” D36. Revamped and renewed to its current glory last year (this long-standing venue boasts a very decent sound system but tends to lack trance).
The current campaign for some fans is to bring big name trance aritsts to D36 (as well as a few other places in NYC). This has not gone unnoticed; however, it also has not gone smoothly. With the news that Coldharbour Night was going to be held in NYC, a glimmer of light began to grow in the hearts of many trance loving D36 hopefuls. Coldharbour Recordings, founded by the great Markus Schulz et al. is not only a well-known trance label and production powerhouse, but currently boasts some of the top talent in the trance DJ and production world. Specifically, for this event, we had the pleasure of witnessing set from Grube & Hovsepian, Mr Pit and the newest addition- Khomha, Mr Schulz newest obsession er-protégé.
The trance world has been watching as Markus has taken in “little” Khomha who has since delivered us with tracks such as Mind Gamer and The Dark Night and Khomha’s remix of Markus’ Dakota production- Sinners. Coldharbour and Markus have been posting pictures and social statuses involving this not so small new addition to the team, including ID teasers and little kittens that may or may not be decoys set forth to ward off questioning eyes to the mixers and screens in the background. To put it lightly, Mr Schulz has this guy busy. And for that, the trance world thanks him. As if the community of trance lovers didn’t already owe Markus Schulz enough, he has seemingly devoted his time to molding and promoting Khomha- and the results have been mind-blowing! Markus has taken captive this young masterpiece of a Colombian Producer and forced him to create banger after banger for us- ok maybe he asked nicely but I like to imagine it was like a scene a la the movie “Taken”. Watching Khomha on the decks I couldn’t help but think “Awe, it’s a little markus!” he embodies every once of energy that Markus brings as well as many of Markus’ patented “moves” behind the decks.
The expectations of most for Khomha’s set were big enough to land Khomha a staring role, however, it cannot be overlooked that the other members of this evening were some serious veterans of the Coldharbour crew. Mr Pit, for example, has been creating massive tunes for years. Were talking songs that everyone knows, songs that people have spent months begging for the ID to be revealed and songs that still live in today’s sets years later. I can personally say that Mr Pit holds some permanent spots on my all time top favorites- as with many if not all Coldharbour fans and trance fans alike. Mr Pit, known to some as Adrian, stakes claim to tunes such as Shana, The Cube and Isolarium- the later featured on Markus’ Coldharbour Selections 15. The list of his remixes and reworks is long enough to make you dizzy. Adrian knows his way around a bassline better than Homer Simpson can navigate a box of donuts. Adrian is the epitome of an oxymoron. Polite and quiet, taking the stage with a small smile and gentile head nod, he then drops his first bassline and you are quickly made aware that this guy might have some very dirty intentions on his mind, and all innocence is lost. He is filled with energy and it is obvious that his music comes from his soul.
By now, reading through the line up a fan is virtually weak from expectations alone. However, this line up had no intentions on letting in. As if Khomha and Pit were not enough- they included the duo Grube & Hovsepian. Generally, when I come across a new trance follower, one of my first questions is “Do you know who Grube & Hovsepian are?” (I ask that right after I ask how they feel about Dubstep and Guetta- because, lets face it- some people are not even reachable). Tim Grube and Mike Hovsepian are seasoned pros. They’ve been with Coldharbour forever and when one thinks “Coldharbour” one had better immediately think of this duo. They are not only purveyors of bass (as I believe I have made well aware I am a big fan of) but they are incredibly diverse. These guys are one of my favorites when it comes to remixing and I believe it’s possible that they actually breathe to the beat of the Coldharbour sound. One of their newer songs: Elevation vs Grube & Hovsepian- City of Angels has solidified their place on the ever-evolving trance map. They have managed to work with a melody taken from any genre and create a trance masterpiece that even Emeril Lagsee would be silenced by (assuming it was food, don’t we all compare music to food nowadays?). The fact that these guys were finally stepping into NYC and taking the stage means that NYC finally has one more badge of accomplishment in the trance world, because, without hearing these two together live- you just can not say you’ve seen all the best.
The Florida native, Michael Gin was given the honors of opening for this evening- another move that was not surprising to me with the TranceFamily MIA presence in the house. The Esscala Entertainment Group, along with help by EDMNYC, are well known for their friendship and collabs in Miami- just one more thing NYC and the rest of the world can be grateful for (trivia: Miami is the home of Coldharbour Recording Studio- if you don’t know, now you know). Starting out the night a bit slower and more melodic, Mr Gin did a great job at getting the crowd ready- some bass here, some guitar riffs there- he’s becoming quite the pro as well and I see him soon leaving the opening world and joining the headliner crowd.
Soon enough the crowd started to grow and the anticipation could not be denied- it was almost midnight and in the world of EDM that means: headliners! First up was Grube & Hovsepian and I could not mask my excitement. I began running back and forth to everyone I could find to assess who was new to their world and who had already had the pleasure of experiencing the twosome. Then it happened. They finally began and words left us all. Slowly they began with melodic house music. I watched as the crowd downstairs not only grew but began to move like a sea brewing before a storm. Each tune moved to the next with perfection, until soon we all found ourselves no longer swaying but bouncing to the larger louder beats. It was happening. Trance. But not just any trance. Coldharbour Trance. Melody paired with banging bass paired with breaks and moments of pure seduction. The boys worked through their set perfectly- slowly cooking towards the high point where they would work Khomha in, in all his fantastically hard bass glory. Almost an hour went by when I realized my newest favorite by them- their remix of Ellie Goulding – Lights (Elevation vs Grub & Hovsepian remix)- hasn’t been played. I reached a state of panic….quickly followed by euphoria. They ended their set spotless, with Lights. The energy rose to a level rarely seen by anyone other than an EDM fan, and the large crowd went crazy. The screaming faces, the huge smiles, the jumping people- it was Coldharbour- Grube & Hovsepian in all their glory and I looked down at it all and took it in as a moment I know I’ll remember forever. I can finally say my city has experienced something that all true trance lovers deserve. Each fan can’t help but find pride in watching a large crowd loving one of their favorite DJ teams. So exciting, in fact,that I nearly forgot that Khomha was next.
Being new to Khohma, I was surprised to find the 8-foot giant taking the decks. Ok, maybe not that tall but he’s tall. And he’s not shy. (Thank goodness). In a move that was pure Markus- or pure Coldharbour- up went his hands and he began that DJ clap in a way to say “Hello, who else here wants to hang out with ME now?”. From the second he was there to the moment he left, the room was full of hard bass, classic Coldharbour tunes and a crowd that could not have even been forced to stop. Not one person was sedentary and everyone was happy. The crowd kept growing and the bass wouldn’t give up. Khomha threw out all of his massive tunes as well as quite a few ID’s that we wont even speak of. Mind Gamer is always a pleaser- every time I hear it it’s like the first time, and tonight was no exception. I remember thinking- WTFaaa…and then all went blank. Playing such favorites as Stranger to Stability and The Box (both his own personal reworks- Can you say “big room’?)- no Markus lover could leave this show unhappy. I was brought back to 2008-2009 Schulz shows. The energy, the sounds, the moves- it was pure Markus. Just, with something different. He added this spice that while unexpected- seemed so fitting that it was hard to imagine anything differently. While I found myself reminiscing I couldn’t help but think- but wait, it’s NOT Markus….its different. And that’s just it. That’s Khomha. He adds something new to the table, a little melody to the darkness- a little tang to things somewhat recognizable. Is he the new coming? No way. No one will be Markus, and I know I can speak for us all when I say that’s the way it should be. But, with the moves and the inability to remove Markus’ ghost from his set- it is like his little brother, ok maybe cousin- up there. Where Markus has gone Dark, Khomha keeps the melody a little bit longer. After this set, and finally meeting the man- I’m very interested to see where Khomha will go. Watching this new DJ and producer grow within the Coldharbour team is going to be very exciting. This man is most certainly his own being and I’m excited to see him take off from the crowd.
At this point in the night I am mentally and physically exhausted. I have completely forgotten something so incredibly important- in fact, it was a friend who had to snap me back into reality. Samantha- you have never seen Mr Pit live, and he is on….NOW!
By this point I am in the crowd because, quite frankly, VIP is not always for dancing, and this night- was for dancing. The crowd had grown quite large and it was an internal battle to make the decision to move back upstairs. While the dance floor was feasible- I planned on really using the last of my energy wisely and I didn’t mind if I annoyed people in VIP with my bouncing. Up I went. On my way through the smiles and excitement I watched behind me as Adrian took the decks. Slowly, yet confidently, with a grin and a polite head nod to the crowd and the other DJs in the booth- I thought to myself, maybe I don’t need to muster too much energy. I seriously hoped he wasn’t doing a closing set in all the sense of the words- many times a closer is brought on and asked to slow it down and calm the crowd down to help them out the door. There was just no way I would accept this from Mr Pit- however, I had to accept that I have never seen a DJ set, so maybe it wasn’t what I had previously expected.
Then he virtually slapped me with a single bassline and took my innocence with a melody that I am still wondering if it was the wolf in little red’s costume. I rushed the rest of the way upstairs and spent the rest of the hour in awe, dancing and smiling and meeting new people who were just as excited as me- and dancing some more. The set was fantastic- melodic with moments of serenity infused with harsh riffs and basslines. He did manage to slow it down a bit at the end, which, I didn’t even notice until it was over. In my personally opinion, there is nothing better than a bad ass dj throwing you something you claim to hate, in a manner where you have no idea you liked it until it’s over. Touche, sam….touche.
All in all there was no room for disappointment in this evening. The expectations were high and the results were even better. Not one person had a complaint, not one DJ failed to bring an amazing set and not on moment was to be forgotten. I have to say, that the concern that some may have had over D36’s ability to really cater to the trance community should now be squashed, as long as they continue to work with great people such as Escala Entertainment and EDMNYC. There is a bit of growth to be made, but I see it to be attainable and worthwhile. My only complaint is the stairs…
Thank you to everyone who made this night possible: The amazing and talented DJs, the promoters the staff and all the great fans that are willing to try anything new in the honor of good trance music!
By Samantha Scroxton