As was expected & fair warned, NYC’s 2012 New Years Eve Electric Circus sold out just days prior. An unusually warm night on Jan 1 only added to the incredible atmosphere presented before us as we proceeded to get lost in a 10-hour flurry of music, dark circusy trapeze, fire performances, substances of all kinds, a giant unicorn, oompah loompah lounge, silent disco…& that’s just the beginning.
Did I mention music? Oh, because there was an abundance of that, as well. Ranging from names I recognized to names I had never heard of, it didn’t skip a beat.
As I’ve reached a point where large scale “holiday” celebrations aren’t my chosen dose, there were a few things about this event that captivated my interest. When you reach the Facebook event page and see the first words – tell me that doesn’t already sound like a promising banger.
Underground warehouse parties are 2011…
Underground circuses are 2012!
Expect magic. Expect the surreal. Expect to be served tea by crazed oompa loompas (yes, we assure you they’re real).
Immediately I thought of some sort of all-involved underground Cirque-de-Soleil. Sounds like my cup of tea! Oh, and how about that cup of tea is served by crazed oompa loompas. Now, where do I sign up for this?
Oh, music. Let’s read the lineup as well.
- House | Electro | Glitch | Dubstep | Jam | Psy-trance | Drum n Bass | Ambient
- Nigel Richards (611)
- Arrow Chrome (Disorient)
- Joro Boro
- MUN (featuring Adam Wein’s Flamingo Processing Center Experience)
- Skytree (Subsynthesis)
- Sm0ke (SYNC/Psybotik)
- Max Mayfeild
- Friar Tuck (Disorient)
- JOY (Perfecto, Moonshine, Electrobass)
- PjOE – Live Performance (Musical Alchemy)
- Mikey Likes It (Planet Cognac)
- The Archangel Gabriel
- Smilky Smooth
- Narkatta (betaparty)
- Live Indian cultural music and down tempo in our comfy digital genie pillow lounge!
So clearly this was an event to strap your raging shoes on tight and prepare yourself for bliss, glory, sweat, and pure madness for the next 10 hours. The rage enforcers were fully engulfed in some of the best attire. It was apparent that this was turning out to be a WBOD type of New Years.
Having dealt with large lines and crowds before that, in turn causing a mad rush to get settled before the now cheesy (once special) countdown, we made it a point to show up early. Our expert thinking paid off. There was already a substantial line out front. However, once through the brisk pat-down, we strolled into a warehouse with gigantic ceilings and all sorts of lights, lasers, and incandescents.
The first room housed the main stage area and dutifully achieved that loud sort of warehouse thump echo, which us New Yorkers have come to love. Swinging just feet above my head was a beautiful trapezist, showing off her equally as beautiful skill. The place was only at 1/3 of its capacity, and I had only seen about 10% of what it had to offer. One could say I had my own little circus at the fingertips of my hands, waiting to be entwined into its magical story.
The second floor, which had a set of viewing balconies looking down upon the main stage crowd, was the intergalactic passage towards gangster beats, UV body painting, and all sorts of experimental and creative artistic expression. My initial feeling was a wave of refreshment. After not knowing many artists on the bill, our crew was immediately tickled with excitement as we heard the 190 BPM of Drum n Bass. Repping a McNabb jersey, AJAX, was upping the tempo. And let it be known that we were all here for one reason: to party!
Opposite the balconies was another spectacle to be taken in. The left wall was lined with windows overlooking the side alley space, where clearly there was plenty o’ fun to be had. Visibly there was another two atmospheres, this time governed by white festival tents. Another whole outdoor space was also used for fire spinners and different degrees of social meandering. Up in my DnB perch was no place to assess what was going on inside of those tents. Therefore, it was time for an inspection.
Outside was a spectacle no doubt. It was slightly easier to communicate with one another and also a great chance to get some cool air, as well as a nicotine fix. I met an awesome pair of sisters, one more accustomed to this sort of celebration than the other, who was a warehouse party virgin. At that point I was assessing the vibe of the party as I always do and I thought to myself, “You can really get a sense of how well this is run just by noticing how intrigued, yet most importantly, enthused, this ‘newbie’ is.”
Next on the agenda of places to explore was the Oompah Loompa “Genie Pillow” Lounge. Accompanied by live sitar, this THC-fueled utopia was a fantastic dreamscape – something Alex Kay, the mastermind, took very seriously when planning the party. Referring to each room as a dream, he says, “Each dream has different moods of lighting, art, and music. We believe a good party is like a story that you can dream your way through, with intelligent ambience and the visceral trance of a head-slamming dance floor.” Some of the bellowing sitar sounds coming from that tent that night impressively depicted the unique nature of what I was witnessing.
The adjacent tent was ripe red with color and atmosphere. I quickly acquired two new friends who happened to be the tent’s resident bartenders. Hosting the Silent Disco, and a secure spot to get away from [most] of the loud noises and madness elsewhere, this tent was hardly filled most of the night. Quickly I found out part of the reason as to why this was the case.
Past using your ID as collateral to checkout the headphones, there were no regulations. So you could walk around to all of the other dreams with your headphones. What was originally a nuisance, when there weren’t enough headphones to go around for people inside the tent, became a highlight of the night, once I was able to PORTABLE rage. It is wildly entertaining to be in a room filled with thumping four to the floor house and dance floor occupants, occasionally throwing on the ear muffs and sludge stomping to some dubstep. Both sides of people were amused at the syncopated dance floor drama.
[Straight from the confines of the Dyaphonoyze Rage Rant Vault comes another look into the Silent Disco circus…
…At times I was overwhelmed by the crowded heatwave on the dance floors of the retrofitted brick circus. There was nothing that would get me into a good psychedelic space in order to maximize raging like escaping into the quiet, unseasonably warm night to throw on the headphones and allow my brain to wallow in some mellow dubz. This exact scenario occurred in the wee morning hours, with the lysergic-induced claustrophobic heat reaction reaching a boiling point, and the silent disco heroically turning the episode from one of anxiety to that of pure enjoyment.
Despite a few technical difficulties, this tent was where I spent the majority of my night. (Not behind the tent………never go behind the silent disco tent. Trust me). It was often, however, that I found myself wishing the dubstep tunes were playing more on the big speakers, since this bass-heavy genre is all about the low-end sound waves moving air, crashing into your body, and deeply penetrating your core.
There is a drawback in the inability to get rinsed by headphones, no matter how good a quality. However, there is a sort of intimacy one gains with the DJ during silent disco sets that I have not encountered in traditional PA set-ups. This factor is why I always get excited and wait in line for a chance to escape the venue and rage in my head in areas where there’s plenty of swinging room. Most notable in the silent disco tent for me was Break Bomb. Although he often dilly-dallied with areas of the ever-expanding dubstep genre, I often forget he was at the commands during my “saved by headphones” experience described above, with an original Break Bomb tune.
Midnight came and went with the more notable acts chomping at the bit to get their chance to razzle dazzle this sort of crowd. Mikey Likes iT, label mates with Space Jesus, took control upstairs with a live drummer. That sort of thing, I’ve learned, is like feeding oxygen to the fire. It was getting hot and sweaty, as if flames really had erupted. Throwing down his taste of Planet Cognac beats, Mikey Likes iT was happily met with hoots, hollers, and howls. And he didn’t fail to seize the moment.
Around 2AM, I could sense some sort of extravaganza brewing outside. Weaving my way through the largest crowd of the night, I finally saw the extravaganza-bonanza that they had actually promised all along. Riding leagues above the sea of people was Alex Kay, in his bright red ring-leader get-up, obviously crowned with a black ring-leader top hat. Clearly Mr. Kay had mounted something. I finally crossed paths with his means of transportation and the real hoopla was this unicorn. A real unicorn! Well, kind of. But for all intents and purposes, and I’m sure with some of those substances floating around that place, it was a REAL unicorn! Ohh, Brooklyn. You’ve done me well once again!!
Psyclic Nature was next in the balcony. He actually played two sets – the first was spontaneous due to a no show in the scheduling. With one performer in between the two time slots, P.N. essentially had an hour break and was back at it again. His style transcends an assortment of beats and genres. Also accompanied by a live instrument, Jesse keeps things quaint and interesting, and in this case with the flute, he does it all himself. If you are crafty at such skill you can take the music to far places, which, in turn takes the crowd that much further. As one of his first billed shows, I certainly think he did a stellar job. [Being that it was one of his first, he played most of the tracks off his album, which you can take a listen to at: http://soundcloud.com/psyclic-nature ]
About to grace the main room was the man I had been waiting & most looking forward to seeing, Hobotech. His blend of glitch, house, and “dirty folk, with an undeniable case of the blues,” as SmokiJo put it in her feature in Boston’s Dig magazine, felt like it was going to fit perfectly with the evenings festivities.
This is the pivotal point in the night where the weird get weirder, and the sane go home.
People of all sexes and sizes were getting down around us. At this point it was 4AM, and the casuals and ones who couldn’t hang had made their way out the doors. On the other hand, I noticed some new faces had joined the party late and were geared for the unexpected. The ones who were in a similar state of mind to myself, the ones who had been there well before midnight- seemed to be on a whole other level. Reaching the pinnacles of “fucked up-ness,” some of these people might still today be shaking off cobweb memories, attempting to get a grip on who they made out with and better yet, how many people they grinded up on that night.
Needless to say, that’s exactly the point of a party when I feel right at home!
Hobotech’s beats started off bouncing – the style, as well as the vibrations that were echo’ing around that colossal warehouse, were keeping my head in circles and my dance moves in a similar 360degree fashion. To the crowd’s dismay there was an abrupt cease in the tunes. The sounds of a restarting computer [a candy-flipping raver’s worst nightmare] seemed to echo throughout that chamber louder than the beats had. Hobotech let it be known that he had “never seen a technical difficulty like this and was unsure of the problem,” but that he would get things up-and-running in no time. The set ultimately continued on, and it was quite the dance party. Hobotech didn’t exactly live up to my expectations, but I couldn’t give you an exact reason why. The next time he is in my hood though, I will absolutely give him another chance.
With the always invigorating sunrise creeping up on us, some drifted upstairs for Skytree, while the others helped get our fellow head-users, Mun, amped for their appropriately named MUNrise set! The light show contortionist started to flicker her exhibit in anticipation, as the crowd took one last breath to power us through one more set of music. It has been awhile since I have seen Mun, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been up to anything. Working on a recorded EP and the technical aspects of their style with Wiley Griffin on guitar has really stepped them up a notch. Mun’s style has gained more math rock influence than what I had come to expect from the Brooklyn quartet. As a unit, they sounded more in synch and tuned in to where the other members were planning on taking the jam’s.
With one last venture upstairs to the intergalactic arena, I found Skytree intently working on his craft. With the sun already shining bright, the UV effects had lost their touch, but the blends of colorful waves and breathing walls had not! I’ve seen Skytree a few times now, and I love his abillity to manipulate his set based on what type of show it is and what time his set is at. A superbly glitched out and mostly seamless set, I felt like it was going everywhere but nowhere at the same time. It was a lot for our tired minds & feet to handle. Unfortunately, it was too much for the sound system as well, and the intense layers of sounds were bottlenecked through the speakers, trying to reach our ears. Nonetheless, the crew respected his original production, effort, & passion behind the enigmatic performance/movement…that is Skytree.
Thinking back, I am happy that this is how I chose to bring in my 2012. Once you establish the formula for a great party, it’s all about the execution. It’s hard not to succeed when you have: a rowdy group of friends, the correct atmospheres for chilling, vibing, dancing, or freeing your mind, happy bouncers & employees, & strong drinks. It also goes to show that I don’t necessarily need the big name headliners or large scale names to have a great time. As long as the right music is available at the right times, it hardly matters about who is playing it. Big shout to security – gave Hanq and I a chicken wang, let us drink flasks and do our substances in peace…I mean c’mon! Big Ups! Big Ups to the unicorn – now the only thing left is the Meat Zebra – maybe next time. Thank-you to all who made our wonderful night possible!