EDMNYC couldn’t think of many ways to spend Valentine’s Day other than with some dark techno — both singles and couples would mark their calendars for a special Sunday. History was about to be made and even negative degree temperatures wouldn’t keep NYC techno lovers away from Awakenings.
After a few set backs in long, combined guest list lines outside and very trying security, we were ready to scope things out and help make some history. After years overseas, Awakenings finally made it’s official full-on debut in Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom.
New York City got a sneak peak of the production that was coming their way at Electric Zoo this past summer, but things were about to be brought to the next level. Upon walking in, everyone seemed to be battling the confusion of the maze-like layout Hammerstein Ballroom hosts — bass was bleeding through the walls, even before entering into the main room… it was about to get real loud.
Upon entry, the dance floor was very comfortably packed. There was room to dance, but not too much. From the outsides, things were a little underwhelming, but as soon as you got front and center, the production brought festival-like feels.
“Pan-Pot” appeared in giant letters across the screen — it was go-time. The two German dark-lords got things going, as galaxy-like rings mesmerized the crowd in different shades of red. Their diversified sound was presented with tracks like Reform’s “The Clear Path” and Heiko Laux’s “Hexagon.” It’s safe to say that their set won things for the night.
It seemed that the transition in between sets was a little shaky and quiet — Nicole Moudaber took the reigns to begin, while Victor Calderone sorted out what seemed to be a technical issue. The somewhat infamous Awakenings hype man took hold of things and worked on getting the crowd amped.
From above, dancing seemed minimal and glovers took over the crowd — a very interesting group of people in terms of your typical techno crowd came out for this special night. Nicole puffed up her lions-mane, glued her headphones on up, and embraced the crowd. The illuminating white lights guided sounds such as the Jonas Kopp remix of “Stealth” and the Ben Klock remix of “Are You There.”
To many, the sets were described as “predictable” and “flat,” while others claimed they were the best they’d ever heard — let’s be honest, the Drumcode sound isn’t for everyone in the techno world. It was plain to see that it wasn’t a 21+ event, but that’s sort of comforting in that younger crowds are now getting a taste for the underground.
Last, but not least, the couple of the hour took to their techno throne — for many, this was the set they’d been waiting for all night. Adam Beyer and Ida Engberg hopped up and showed NYC what a Valentine’s Day techno session is all about.
Unfortunately, they also faced some technical difficulties, resulting in the sound cutting out briefly — kudos to the Awakenings team for restoring it promptly. Their set brought us into the early morning hours at Hammerstein. As you looked up to the ceiling, beautiful paintings mesmerized you, but it was easy to snap back to reality as the sound, (which was a bit on the piercing-loud side for the entirety of the night) and the lights struck your body and put you into techno euphoria.
It was an interesting vibe, which had many people wondering if a warehouse might have been a more appropriate setting, but who knows what will come the next time Awakenings comes around. All we know is tracks like Alexander Ivkovic + Jean Pierre’s upcoming release with Transmit Records, “Crossing Borders,” and a romantic tribute to “God Only Knows” created a memorable closing set.
As if that wasn’t enough, doors to Output opened for the official after-party that would bring New Yorkers right on through to the afternoon on Monday — what a way to kick off the week!
It was something New York City has never seen before and although there were noticeable kinks across the board, EDMNYC is confident that Awakenings will return and be even better the next time!
By Cristiana Votta For EDMNYC