Dirty South at LAVO NYC - 1/17/13
This past Thursday night, the famous Manhattan-based nightclub LAVO-NYC hosted a packed house of partygoers for the Serbian-Australian DJ/Producer Dragan Roganović – otherwise known as Dirty South. Fresh off his incredibly successful headlining show at New York City’s legendary Roseland Ballroom in November, Dirty South was back once again in the city of dreams, this time at one of his favorite, very intimate clubs tucked away down under east 58th street. It’s no secret to any of his fans – Dragan absolutely loves playing in New York City. From headlining the main stage at EDC NY last May, to blowing the roof off a packed house at Pacha NYC last June, to his lavish 34th birthday party at LAVO in November – Dirty South is no stranger to the party atmosphere of the greatest city in the world.
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This being my first experience visiting LAVO New York, I can honestly say I was like a kid in a candy shop. Although this was my first time at LAVO, I have heard nothing but amazing things about the intimate, posh setting of the venue and couldn’t wait to get through the doors. At about 11:30pm, I found myself walking down the stairs away from the big apple and into the spirit of Las Vegas. My attention was immediately grabbed by the small size of the venue and I felt a smile creep up my face – in such a beautifully intimate club like LAVO, we were all in for a special night.
As I began to sip my first Gin and Tonic of the evening, I took a moment to take a hard look around the venue – at the people, the décor, the layout and of course the center of it all – the DJ booth. Lavo is lavishly decorated with a main bar in the back and an upper level with a small drop to the dance floor – all the while surrounded by VIP tables and couches. Looking up, I couldn’t help but stare in awe at the massive glass balls that hung from the ceiling – each glowing a vibrant pink or blue. The shine from all four coupled with a fantastic lighting network and various LED walls on the ceiling truly made the club come alive.
After a few minutes passed, we made our way down to the front of the dance floor to get in a good position for the next few hours. LAVO NYC resident Kyle Rayner had the place absolutely thumping – spinning a proper warm up set to bring the crowd right to the brink of madness. Multicolored light sabers were swinging all throughout the club as if they were summoning the Nutella king himself from behind the giant LED wall adjacent to the DJ booth.
It wasn’t long before Dragan – in his most modest fashion - made his way onto the stage and began to set up for his initial track. To my utter delight, he kicked off with his brand new unrealesed collaboration with Deniz Koyu, “Halo” slated for release on his own Phazing records very soon. Hearing about this track on the internet and from Dragan and Deniz themselves via Twitter, I was beyond excited to hear it on a top notch sound system. The track absolutely went off and so did his set. A few songs in, Dragan surprised me with a fresh edit on Sebastian Ingrosso’s awesome bootleg of Gregor Salto’s “Azumba” mashed up with Eric Prydz’s “Everyday”. I have heard this mash up a few times in Ingrosso’s sets recently, but Dirty South managed to make it even more tribal and drum focused, which couldn’t have worked better with the current setting. Moving into a track that has become a staple in a Dirty South set, Dragan dropped Tujamo’s “Who,” sending the grooving crowd into an absolute frenzy.
Having followed many of Dirty South’s prior visits to LAVO NY, I knew there was a very good chance that Dragan wasn’t the only talented DJ in the house. It wasn’t long before I began to hear the soft intro to his most recent release – “RIFT”, when I looked up and saw Phazing label mate Michael Brun taking control of half the decks next to his mentor. The two happily enjoyed the reaction the diverse New York City crowd gave when RIFT went off with a bang. Dragan seamlessly mixed his way though a few more tracks, leaving the crowd begging for more before he made us all yearn for the upcoming Miami season by dropping the Italian tech house maestro Federico Scavo’s “1234”. He then began to open up his personal arsenal of self-created weapons, playing his ever popular remixes of Miike Snow’s “Devils Work” and John Dahlback's “Embrace Me,” before unleashing his late anthem collaboration with the 21 year old Swedish sensation Alesso “City of Dreams” – a track may I add, that went off with the utmost reception in a city that some call… well, just that.
To my delight, he weaved two new upcoming bombs for 2013 into his set that had been lining the screens of my iPhone for the past few weeks – Arno Cost’s “Head Up” which was released January 21st on Steve Angello’s Size Records, and GTA, Henrix & Digital Lab's “Hit It” – both of which will absolutely destroy any dance floor it hits. Dragan continued with mainstay favorites like Sebastian Ingrosso & Tommy Trash’s “Reload”, Phazing records release “Burn Forever” by Those Usual Suspects in the Michael Brun remix, and his own newly edited take on the Temper Traps' “Sweet Disposition.”
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Before I knew it, I looked up and saw Kyle Rayner making his way back into the booth to take the party deep into the wee hours of Friday morning. Dragan’s set was over, but not before he was well thanked by a wild and packed house for his two hour gift to start our weekend. My first night at LAVO NY was in the books and it was certainly one to remember thanks to Dragan Roganović – AKA – Dirty South. If you have yet to see him spin, I strongly suggest you figure out a way, his seasoned talent is absolutely incredible to see live. Coming up next for Dirty South is the release of his aforementioned collaboration with Deniz Koyu, entitled “Halo.” To my extreme excitement, Dragan is also finishing up work on his first album, which is slated to be out soon on Phazing Records.
Stay tuned for my next review of Dirty South during Miami Music Week 2013!
B.Rich for Only The Beat