This Saturday the British duo Way Out West is performing LIVE in Denver for the last stop on their US tour! I warn you, sleeping on this might result in a lifetime of self-loathing and detrimental regret, ultimately leaving you permanently damaged and alone. OK that might be exaggerating, but they did establish themselves as one of the most authoritative DJ duos since the turn of the millennium. Imagine for a second, if Danny Boyle and Guy Ritchie made a film together. These guys would helm the soundtrack. Yeah. So, do you have plans this weekend? Perhaps you’re going to Club Vinyl on March 25th for a space-bound foray into the most cosmic party this Spring?
In 1997, Global Underground superstar Nick Warren and teen prodigy Jody Wisternoff combined their talents to form Way Out West, successfully blending multiple genres into one sonic morphogenetic force. Shortly after their inception they carved their own niche out of an already deeply layered musical movement: the trance/progressive house scene of the late 90’s/early 00’s. The duo garnered huge praise for their soul piercing track “The Gift”, released on their debut album Deconstruction in 97′. Being only the second track on their first LP, one could argue it’s the genesis of the breakthroughs they were about to make in the scene. (In fact, it had such an impact in the clubs back then that there is a rumor it was remixed over 400 times.) While emotional and melodic versatility was starkly present in the Global Underground community of the early 2000’s, nobody else seemed to be as proficient at developing it. The danceability of “The Gift” is undeniable, but the emotional response from the song is inescapable. One is powerless against drifting into a deep and personal space when immersed in those vocals, “The Moon and the stars, were the gift you gave”.
That was just the beginning folks. It’s fascinating how we go out of our way to recognize brilliance, but so easily forget that which we honor. Even more fascinating is how quickly we move on from artists even if their talent never faded. Nick and Jody are nowhere near becoming an epitaph of electronic music history. In fact, they are still churning out songs as W.O.W on labels like Anjunadeep, and even their own platforms. Even more admirable is that despite the pressures of evolving music and transitioning generational trends, they have held onto the style that made them what they are through all these years. The 2016 release of “Tuesday Maybe” last year broke a lot of tropes in the dance music realm. After 20 years, they’re actually still capable of topping themselves while staying true to their roots.
There is a fairly definitive reason this duo has stayed relevant and succeeded at remaining in electronic music’s upper echelon. They essentially represent the entire spectrum of 90-00’s dance music under the umbrella of one moniker (minus disco). No other act can flow between break-beat, drum & bass, techno, house, and especially trance like them. If they could, they were nowhere near as adept as W.O.W. In just minutes you can go from wiping the sweat off your brow to wiping proverbial tears from your eyes (unless you’re really sensitive which is cool too). I was vaguely familiar with their work and decided to see them play at Vinyl last summer. What took place that night quickly transcended into an experience I didn’t think was still possible with modern dance music. Then again, chances to see respected OG’s like this come few and far between. Not only was their work translated perfectly, it was weaved into a completely unpredictable performance utilizing tools outside the usual DJ decks. If you’ve forgotten, or are perhaps unaware, you have a massive opportunity to witness a chapter of music that never should’ve faded into the background. In most ways it really hasn’t. This duo is sewn into history with the likes of Digweed, Hernan Cattaneo, Deep Dish, and Sasha, and you can see them perform this weekend. It’s past, present, and future all at once.
We have all yearned for that sonic comfort within ourselves at some point. That place that strikes a chord in you so deep you could swear you were mainlining the secrets of humanity itself. That is what truly lies under the surface of these dance music gurus. There is a living-soul embedded in their work. So when the party ends and you look at that city skyline, and the weight of the world comes back, what do you really want as the soundtrack to your life at the end of the night? Oh yeah, and the whole detrimental regret you might be risking. Event info and ticket links below, my friends!
Memorial Day Weekend has taken on a completely different meaning to the lovers of live music, and it would seem everyone got their own little piece of heaven this weekend, especially the techno junkies (guilty). From the furthest depths of the underground to big stage DJ’s, everyone got their fix as hundreds of performers from around the world shared bills at multiple festivals across the country last weekend. Detroit celebrated the annual Movement Electronic Festival with a seemingly endless bill of top-notch producers. Once again, Insomniac took over New York City with this year’s initial Electric Daisy Carnival. Then there was the Mysteryland Electronic Music Festival held in Bethel, NY which made history both with it’s first US appearance, and as the first camping event on the original Woodstock grounds since 1969! While it is true that the title slightly reminisces some pop star’s mansion that you’d never let your kids near, this fest actually proved to be really unique.
Only in major cities like NYC and LA do you hear about some cult acclaimed DJ playing a secret late-night set in a club somewhere. Countless have enviously imagined what it would be like to have been there. Myself and patrons at AV Nightclub in Hollywood got to witness one of these events as LA Riots took to the tables for a surprise set this past Wednesday.
Following the mixing styles of Travis Emmons and Hollywood resident DJ Sid Vicious, LA Riots commenced with a seriously classic house beat, comparable to the likes of Deep Dish or Benassi’s Hypnotica (then again he has been on the scene for quite some time). Building off two-step filtered bass lines, and trickling synth sequences, the set had notes of solid force but with a great ambient mood overlapping too. This rhythm kept on for most of the night. The progression of the transitions and mixing was seamless, and slightly contrary to his productions the set had a much deeper feel to it, as opposed to his own style of harder sample-ridden singles. He played straight into closing hours and finished with a pretty hard hitting slew of final tracks, playing to the role of a Hollywood DJ very well.
In any aspect, its great to see this guy perform. He’s worked with artists including MSTRKRFT and Crystal Method, and produced the “Johnny Cage Theme” for the Mortal Kombat Soundtrack. You really couldn’t ask for better unscheduled house music to sneak up and smack you around for a bit. Not to mention that AV was hosting a circus themed party that night.