REVIEW: Umek @ Pacha 06-06-14


NEVER” is a pretty intense word. A few things I would never do include going skydiving, learn to play the clarinet, eat clams, and of course, listen to trance. Although they say, “never say never“, when my name “Nicole” comes out of your mouth, it means “never” in Slovenian. That was the first words out of Umek‘s mouth when he greeted me with a big hug and smooch on Friday night at Pacha NYC. “Hi Nicole! Did you know your name means ‘never’ in my language? But actually you are always here!”, said my favorite tech house producer as we sat down for a quick chat before his set.

Joined by my EDMPENN counterpart, Spencer Callahan, we spoke to Umek briefly about how much we loved the 1605 label and the staff members who always take care of us with news, goodies, and more. Then we talked about some new music (including a Waka Flocka vocal track coming out soon) and new artists to look out for, including Guille Placencia and George Privatti, and his own protégé and AM Only artist, Mike Vale. Umek shared his disappointment for the inclement weather that ruined his EDC set, and how glad he was to be back in NYC so soon. Lastly, we ended with talk of his sneaker obsession. “There is a new sneaker release tonight in one hour, fifty two minutes!”, he laughed. I asked his tour manager if this would be the first time he had to be online to purchase sneakers for him during a set, and he said yes.

At 1:25am, we followed Umek down to the booth. After his equipment was set up, one of the tallest DJs to ever grace the Pacha booth was in front of the crowded main floor, greeted by cheers and applause. After a short intro edit, he kicked off the beginning of a three-hour set with “Madafuckers” (Original Mix), by Blas Marin, Di Carlo, and Oscar Madrid. You just know a set is going to be awesome when the first track is called “Madafuckers”.

This was the third time seeing the Iron Curtain master at Pacha, and as a devout BTIC podcast listener, I had a hunch as to some of the tracks we might hear. Naturally, since I told Umek that we have virtually the same taste in music and I love all of the same artists he plays and works with, I had my hopes up for hearing some Groovebox, DJ PP, Phunk Investigation, Siwell, and Hollen, and that’s exactly what he gave us and more!

Here’s a sampling of the rest of the tunes we danced to all night…

  • George Privatti, Guille Placencia – “West” (Original Mix)
  • DJ Dan, Groovebox – “Half Steppin” (Original Mix)
  • Simon Doty, DJ Dan – “Disco Slice” (Original Mix)
  • Andres Blows – “Sektor” (Guille Placencia & George Privatti Remix)
  • Paul Kalkbrenner – “Bengang” (Format:B Remix)
  • DJ Christopher – “Train Station” (Original Mix)
  • Hollen – “Bitty” (Siwell Remix)
  • Mason – “Exceeder” (Umek & Mike Vale Remix)
  • DJ Crown, Thick Jaw – “Big Speech” (Original Mix)
  • Phunk Investigation & Federico Scavo – “Let Us Go” (Original Club Mix)
  • DJ PP – “Groove You” (1977 Mix)
  • Mike Vale, Simon Doty – “Rollin'” (Original Mix)

I nearly lost my pants when the Mark Knight remix of “Shake That” came on 30-minutes into his monstrous set. I couldn’t help but sing along and ‘shake that’ ass. A while later, after a sip of his orange Gatorade bottle, I was also pleasantly surprised to hear another remix done by one of my must-see artists (yet to play NYC), Hoxton Whores. He played their dub mix of “Move It Now” by Andy Craig. Pure bomb track! The night was incredible from start to finish. Not only was it fun to be in the booth with Umek, but when my other DJ/Producer friends Mike Ivy and Ara (AgentOrange) showed up, we were really having a blast together.

Here’s what Editor-in-Chief of EDMPENN, Spencer Callahan, had to say about the second half of the night…

“The crowd was responding to Umek’s tasteful selection of tech house. At 3:00am he kept it going with the Samuel Dan remix of Keep Going, a monster of rolling bass lines and proof positive that NYC was having a blast when multiple girls on shoulders appeared just above the front wall of the booth. Umek could be seen laughing at the sight of this and the energy he was masterfully creating inside Pacha. He continued his progression of sexy drop after sexy drop adding to the flare using his Native Instruments Maschine to fill up the builds and breakdowns. For those fans that religiously listen to Umek podcasts and live sets would appreciate the amount of iconic stuttering effects he fed into this set. Also, it was fun to watch it all happen from inside the cockpit, but I won’t rub that in too much!

Right before it was time to scram, he let loose the Pirupa bomb, Get Lost. There could possibly have been a hidden message here or simply may have been an outright call to get your body moving to one of the bigger tunes of the night. Either way, Umek delivered a spellbinding performance, not unlike any we are used to from the Slovenian producer.”

As expected, Umek surpassed all of our wildest desires for an incredible set chock full of proper tech house. By the time he finished at 4:30am, the crowd chanted “U-MEK, U-MEK!”. I gave him another big hug and thanked him for the best possible Friday night I could’ve ever hoped for. If you’re down for a househead road trip, we just might be heading up to Bijou in Boston on Friday, June 20th for another dose. I can tell you that my friends and I (the “1605 Tribe”) are loyal, we ‘love to dance’, and would “NEVER” miss a chance for some music therapy behind the iron curtain.

Until next time, “bye bye”.

Nicole “Swedeheart”


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