At around 10:30pm on 7/26, I arrived at the Church Nightclub in downtown Denver for the highly anticipated performance from Norin and Rad and Maor Levi for their Anjunabeats' North America tour. After swiftly passing through security, I collected my free CD copy of Anjunabeats Volume 10, which I had won as part of a giveaway for the evening.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Church, it’s literally a church that has had its sanctity defiled. Its pews have been removed, and the inside completely remodeled, all catered to a clientele craving sinful, delightful dance music. Walls of subwoofers on both sides of the church trap you inside the their pulsating beats, making this spot an ideal venue for EDM enthusiasts to dance the night away.
I was growing weary of the opening DJ as I awaited my brief Q&A session with Norin & Rad before their set. As they fumbled around with CDJs with the sound coming on and off, seemingly randomly thrown together house songs played out of sync, leaving the trance fans in the audience unmoved and setting an off-putting tone for the night. Once Norin & Rad showed up however, the contrast between world class DJs and opening
DJs was extremely evident. The extravagant lightshow of the Church was turned on, complete with lasers. Norin & Rad confidently stepped onto the decks and started taking the audience on the transcendent journey they would be on for the next hour. One of their first tracks was their own remix of 'Easy' by Porter Robinson and Mat Zo, visibly changing the energy level as it pierced the audience. It wasn’t long before they played their newest single that I had been waiting for all night, 'Bird is the Word'.
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Trance 2.0 To Intergalactic
The track perfectly balances uplifting trance with their own style of “Trance 2.0,” and the crowd certainly reveled in the thundering beats of the track. The atmosphere of the night felt almost more like a rave than a club, as there were people giving light shows and poi spinners scattered amongst the crowd. You can tell when a club is having a trance night because the true fans come out, all intimately familiar with the music being played in the set. You got to see everyone sing along to all of the classics, not just coming out for a night to “rage” to heavy bass driven music (although not that it was lacking). After a few more tracks, they switched it up and out of nowhere dropped into 'Scary Bolly Dub' by Skrillex, which visibly blew a few people’s minds. Norin & Rad are known for their heavy take on trance, so this track came as no surprise, neither did it surprise anyone when they inevitably played the monster, controversial track by Martin Garrix 'Animals.' Just as everyone was getting used to dancing to the cliché of not being able to avoid this song at any EDM event, Norin & Rad did one better and took the BPM way down to mix into the Beastie Boys track 'Intergalactic', and they played the original song out in its entirety. I decided this would be a good time to take a break and get some air to prepare myself for the second half of the night with Maor Levi.
As I returned back inside, I decided to hang further back for this set, as Maor set up his Kontrol S4 and laptop with the club’s hardware. After a few minutes getting set up, he opened with his club mix of 'When You Loved Me', which he turned from a trouse-sounding track into a heavy, well-composed electro banger. Those who were holding back at any time before that night were going at full steam now, and the night was at its peak. After Maor played some more of his remixes and songs by similar sounding artists, he put on his club mix of 'Liquid Love.' This is when the whole audience had their hands in the air for the breakdown, singing to every word.
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There is nothing like being surrounded by hundreds of trance fans who all appreciate the music just as much as you do. Finally at about 1:50 AM I decided to leave a bit early and beat the traffic. Anjunabeats delivered on their tour, giving me a dose of trance I so desperately needed.
Phil Leonowens for Only The Beat