Review: Verboten at Highline Ballroom 04/12/13




Remember the last time you went to see an artist you haven’t seen before, hoping to hear particular tracks that made you like them in the first place? Well, that was exactly how my Friday night in NYC came to be. Going to a new venue to see new artists is the perfect combination for a killer night on the dance floor, and that’s just what I got. I was amped up to go, and brought along my good friend and EDMNYC podcast developer, Eduardo.

Verboten brought Trent Cantrelle, Davide Squillace, and Joris Voorn to Highline Ballroom on West 16th Street on April 12th, Verboten parties have become the essential underground music events in the city with a simple, no-frills concept, “dedicated to bringing musical credibility, professionalism and excitement back to a hand-picked selection of venues.”

Adhering to one of my 2013 resolutions, I abandoned any hopes and expectations I may have had at the door and walked into the venue at 11:30, right after the doors opened. They were selling Verboten merchandise at the top of the stairs next to the ballroom entrance. It was really dark inside with a big open floor space and had a bar on each side. The booth was wide and elevated about four feet on a small stage with the word VERBOTEN glowing on the LED panel in front of it. The first thing I noticed was the bass vibrating the room, but the volume was perfect for small talk. When I inquired about the venue capacity, they refused to disclose that information to me, but I’d guess that it would fit maybe under 500 comfortably. It was on the smaller side, and I liked that a lot.

The LA-based DJ and Producer, Trent Cantrelle, was on deck laying down a very cool deep house vibe as the room perimeters began to slowly fill with clusters of people. Eduardo and I picked the back wall to hang out and observe the night unfold, plus it was a great spot to dance until, of course, the bathroom traffic got to be a bit annoying. Everyone was bobbing their heads to the groovy funk Cantrelle dished out, and by 12:30 there were even a few brave souls on the middle of the floor. I was glad to see him for the first time, although I admit, like everyone else, it was his 2011 hit “I Want A Freak” that sparked my interest in him.

A few tracks Trent played included:

• Jens Bond, Jacob Phono – Su-She
• Maurizio Vitiello – Wishing Well
• Ben Anders – Another Time
• Booka Shade – Blackout White Noise (club mix)
• Scheibe – Achterwaarts
• Sotho Araya & Zamora – So Groove

The man from Barcelona by way of Naples, Davide Squillace, was given the task of keeping the party grooving at 1am, and he executed it brilliantly. Squillace continued the deep and groovy vibe, but picked up the tempo ever so slightly. The room was now much more filled up and bodies were moving everywhere. The funniest thing was seeing everyone endlessly holding up their cell phones with the Shazam app, trying to get IDs. A compliment, to say the least, to Mr. Squillace, but even my own attempts were denied. That was the point at which I decided to stop taking notes all together and just enjoy myself.

During Davide’s set, I met a very energetic young man named Mateo who was a self proclaimed video game nerd with a grown up mentality and preference for older women. Needless to say, he was absolutely entertaining and hilarious. Then, a little while later, I met another guy named Joey who said he was there to see Squillace and balked at me when I told him who my favorite DJ was. To be expected, I suppose. He was gorgeous, so I didn’t get upset by his mockery.

At 3am, Joris Voorn came out to a packed ballroom and lots of cheers. The music went from good to great as he made the bass shake the room and turned up the volume just a little bit more. We tried to figure out whether it was tech house or techno he was playing, but it didn’t matter because we were instantly in love! I hoped that during his three-hour set he would play my favorite track, “Goodbye Fly”, but it never made an appearance. I was too busy dancing and loving the music to really care, and once my date for the night miraculously appeared just in time for his set, I was in really good company and got completely lost in the feeling.

Voorn’s set, to say the very least, made me realize why I’d heard so much hype about him from my friends since his Miami performance. It was one of those sets that you love so much and don’t want to end. I absolutely hope and pray that he’ll be back in the NYC area again soon. This man is incredible!

Overall, the night was just amazing. We saw three new artists at a new venue and had a great time. Great vibe, great music, great people… what could be better? Eduardo and I made our way out around 5am and didn’t stay for the last hour because our bodies were beat from all the dancing. We both agreed that we needed to go out to more shows like this, and will be checking out more Verboten performances in the upcoming months. For more info, please visit the Verboten website:



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