“ESSENTIAL, ESSENTIAL, ESSENTIAL”… those are the first words that come to mind (in the proper female British accent) as soon as you hear the name Pete Tong. When Pacha announced the BBC Radio 1 host would be at the club on Friday, October 21st, I knew that it was ‘essential’ for us to attend… especially since it was my birthday! Pete Tong isn’t a regular in the city, so I thought that was a really nice birthday gift (thanks, Pacha).
One thing I knew for sure was that I would have a great time celebrating my birthday at my favorite club, but what I didn’t know was what to expect. My best friend and Pacha NYC basement DJ, Eduardo Jose, told me that Tong was very techy and I would probably like it. Since Electric Zoo, my taste in house music shifted from big room vocals to deep bassey tech house bangers. After completely falling in love with the Tom Flynn remix of “Wardance“ from Pete Tong on Toolroom Records recently, I knew we’d be in for a different kind of experience that night… one that would bring me back to the Sunday School tent at E-zoo with a deeper tech house vibe. (I miss that damn tent!)
Spencer and I made our way up to the VIP early in the night and immediately ran right into our friend and amazing DJ/Producer, Marcos Carnaval, who greeted me with a big “Happy Birthday”. We talked for a while about his newest release, “Can’t Let You Go“ (which is on the Beatport top 100 progressive chart), as well as the DJMag Top 100 list which had just been released the night before. As we chatted, the opening DJ played a very minimal vibe. The music was extremely chill and much slower than the 128 BPM we’re all used to. He played until nearly 1:45am when Pete entered the booth and his assistant set up his laptop.
Now this is where things got tricky for me. Typically, we write down all of the track ID’s to include in our reviews. However, we couldn’t identify any of the first dozen tracks he played! We asked a few other people in the VIP, but nobody could help us. This was definitely a first for us, as we generally pride ourselves in knowing a large majority of the tracks and remixes.
The first track I recognized made me so excited because it was one I recently discovered in my tech house quest and was featured on one of Umek’s “Behind The Iron Curtain” shows on Sirius XM’s Electric Area station. The track was “Simi” by Green Twister, which was followed by Stefano Noferini’s “Fact”. At this point, I was in my tech house glory, and wanted MORE! Tong continued the theme, but I couldn’t ID any other tracks. They were all mostly vocal-free, and had deep progressive vibes (and I enjoyed many of them).
If you wanted to hear the typical house bangers like “Pressure”, “In The Air” or “Save The World”, this show wasn’t for you. However, he did play a few that most people would know such as Avicii’s “Levels” mixed with “Walking On A Dream”, “Calling” by my favorite DJ, Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso, and “Alive” by Thomas Gold. Although, none of these tracks received the complete pandemonium that ensued when he dropped the forthcoming “Antidote” by Swedish House Mafia and Knife Party. Check out the video I took here:
*Please note: Pete Tong was NOT blowing the air horn. Someone else in the booth was, and we found it a little annoying.*
There was about a 45-minute time frame when Tong played some really great beats (again, none of which any of us could ID) and we danced right in front of the booth. The dance floor wasn’t too crowded and we could move around pretty well. After that section of good music, there was a lull and the energy died down. I can’t lie, we were a little disappointed and getting tired from hearing the same beats without vocals and somewhat lifeless rhythms, so we decided to leave early (around 3:30am).
Overall it was a really low key night, but it was great simply because I was at my favorite club on my birthday with my three favorite dance floor guys: Spence, Eduardo, and Fernandez. While I wasn’t thrilled with his performance, I still think that seeing Tong live is ‘essential’ for any true EDM fan because he is a legend. Another night out, and another DJ name added to my ever-growing list of shows.