A chance to see the great duo that is Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano in my favorite Florida hotspot presented itself to me a couple months ago and I just knew it was a done deal. While attending their New York appearances is sensory overload as it is, the prospect of seeing them in a different strobe light was enticing to say the least. Part of the seduction, I have to say, is the amazing waterfront club they would be playing at smack-dab in downtown Tampa. Jackson’s Terrace in Tampa was in for one of their most exciting nights ever and Sunnery and Ryan delivered on that front.
Starting off the night with a good blend of Miami House was Bernard Chauvet. He created the vibe for the night for about 2.5 hours and was getting into it with some head banging and fist pumping. It took until around midnight to see some real traffic in the club. Later we got to hear the guy who made it possible, Pedro Muniz, who wore different hats during the night, acting as both an escort for when “The Dutch Eagles Landed” at Tampa Int’l, as well as the middle act of Saturday night’s lineup. He played for a bit while ever so slightly raising the temperature of the room. Pedro M is a favorite in the Florida EDM scene and has played alongside some huge artists. He’s also been featured on Roger Sanchez’s podcast for his original productions.
At about 1:00 am the smoke in front of the raised DJ booth cleared to reveal that old familiar sight of Sunnery and Ryan entering the booth. I slowed them down for just a second to inquire about their previous night in Vegas and got the wink from Ryan as if to say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’’. After a few minutes of playing out Pedro M’s last track, they went full throttle into their first track, “Save Me” (DJ Chus and Abel Ramos Mix) by Ultra Nate. It was just an insane moment and really set the tone for the rest of the party. Check out the video I took and continue reading after the break.
There were times during the set where I felt I was seeing SJRM for the first time again. It wasn’t the usual set that I am used to hearing as of late, but a much more pure form of house which was a welcomed surprise. They played many tracks I didn’t recognize but were of the classic Sunnery and Ryan style; muted synths, jungle/tribal vibes, blaring standalone bass lines, and basically the type of real house music that made us all love these guys in the first place.
Intermittently scattered throughout the latter portion of the show were the vocal edits and bangers that are the “must-play” tracks right now that we’ve all heard, but with amazing transitions and uncanny delay and filter effects.
If I were to describe the feeling of Jackson’s Terrace on Saturday, I would say that the Terrace was an elevator making its way down to the center of the blazing heat of the Earth’s core. Bernard Chauvet and Pedro M made sure everyone fit inside and prepared everyone for the temperature changes we would all undergo, and then Sunnery and Ryan broke out the Jaws of Life and just cut the cable holding us all up. They brought us deeper and deeper into the underground and the wild crowd of Tampa, Florida just begged for more. It truly was a night for the ages, and I was glad to have made the trip down from New Jersey.
Sadly, while we were making our way past the first level of Hell, Evil presented itself to me and stole my camera and all the equipment I had with it. It is a lesson that is hard learned but a reminder to everyone to always protect yourself and your belongings. When you are out having a fantastic time with friends you may let your guard down just enough to let someone take advantage of you. The only media coverage I have of this amazing night besides the video is probably being sold on Ebay as we speak, so my heartfelt apologies go out to everyone who was looking forward to reliving the night through photography.
After the show was over, Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano were beaming with energy. A two hour and 45 minute set felt “like a ***** half an hour” to them. They claimed Tampa to be one of their favorites in the USA and were happy to see that this town really knows their house music and reacted with an escalating energy the deeper they went.
Special thanks to Pedro M, Owner/Founder Pmnoctem Events who made the event possible.
-Spencer Callahan for EDMNYC