Review: Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano Hold Court at LAVO by Spencer Callahan

Review: Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano Hold Court at LAVO by Spencer Callahan

NEW YORK – It’s always a treat when Suriname’s finest come to New York City, which is happening more and more in recent months. On Thursday night 9/22, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano played at the chic East Midtown club on a night that Manufactured Superstars were also in the building to let it rip on the high society clubbers.

Opening the action was resident Steve Powers playing a lot of variety from disco to electro to Dutch house. Powers was on point in a familiar role as he had also opened for the pair back in July. He is fun to listen to since you can hear a lot of the hits and also get a nice dose of unknown remixes. Steve Powers is a weekly resident at LAVO on Thursday nights as well as Dusk in Atlantic City.

As soon as the boys got on stage it was a different atmosphere. I always think it’s funny because the SJRM sound is meant for immense crowds, but the two times I’ve seen them at LAVO, it somehow works just as well. As soon as we got up on the stage Sunnery spotted us and took his headphones off to greet us. Shortly after, we were being asked to step down by security. Sunnery’s wife, Nicole, Justine, and I pleaded with the security guard to let us stay in the booth just as one of my favorite progressive tracks, “Cars and Girls”, began playing. I noticed Ryan Marciano bobbing his head to this one with some vigor and it may have been the first time of the night I called who picked the track. So as it played we danced down the steps into their VIP table to listen some more.

Next, we heard a track that in all my clubbing days haven’t heard outside of my bedroom. “Diva” by Sebo K was the Nu-Classic thriller that got the room in the right state. So from this point on, it was the Sunnery and Ryan Show. A once subdued crowd was becoming an energized pool of dancers with the main power source coming from the chunky pounding of delayed bass. The Dennis Ferrer song “Red Room” came on and further emphasized the sexy mood. Then, with a flurry of hot keying madness, we were suddenly listening to an “Otherside/Deeper Love” mashup that I still can’t find. About that… when Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano play, it’s a new experience. Both of them are constantly remixing on the fly, something that only the most skilled guys can pull off. It’s truly an art what they are doing in that booth, and to see them each having so much fun while spinning records is great for the audience.

After some more great tracks such as “You’ve Got The Love” (Mark Knight Bootleg), “Zawhdi”, and a mashup of their own “Tribeca” with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, a new take on the vocal that has been used ad nauseum this summer, they played Tiesto’s “Lethal Industry”. This was one of the crazier moments of the night. During the six-minute buildup, the “Fogbuster’s” (the guys with huge CO2 tanks on their back that drown the crowd in white plumes of fog) get in position on both sides of the DJ booth. Then came a mystical figure adorned in fiber optic lights from head to toe robot-walking throughout the club attracting the eyes of just about everyone. Soon the familiar high synths in “Lethal Industry” got louder and louder until the build popped and confetti floated atop tidal waves of smoke being gunned at the crowd. It was epic!

Following the climax, Sunnery and Ryan reeled off some of the more well known “hits” like “Memories” (Bingo Players Remix) which was a bomb I heard for the first time that night, a mash of Benny Benassi “Cinema” (LL Remix) vocals with Afrojack & R3hab’s “Prutataaa” (Aces High). But the night wouldn’t be complete without hearing the SJRM remix of Kaskade’s “Dynasty”. This is always the song I’m humming on the way home and is such a great remix because it has the true Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano sound.

After the set was over (and my requests for an encore had been vetoed) I got to say hello to them and ask them some questions. Ryan told me they are unsure of when they will play NYC again and Sunnery backed that up but said they love playing in New York because house music needs to be spread to the US like it is in Amsterdam and Europe. Upon hearing that their EDMNYC friends heavily supported them in the DJMag Top 100 List, Sunnery graciously thanked Nicole and I and went on to say that while it’s an honor and privilege to be thought of amongst the world’s best, just being able to play music and live out their passion is what makes it all worth while (but being #1 is great too, though!)

Since I had spent all my energy raging to Steve Powers and SJRM (and had to be at work at 5am) we left 30-minutes into Manufactured Superstars set when we saw them spraying bottles of bubbly into the crowd (getting mostly the VIP’ers directly in front of the booth soaked) so I knew we were going to miss another good set but like the saying goes, “two out of three ain’t bad!”

Thanks to Jasper from the SJRM team for the access as well as LAVO for booking such amazing talent all in one night!

-Spencer

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