Live Review: Todd Terry at MoMA PS1 Warmup

Todd Terry made a global name for himself starting in the ’80s with a barrage of classic house tracks, and he became one of the biggest names on the club scene. After crafting too many hits to mention over the years, Terry has continued to remain relevant without having to reinvent himself, continually lending his remix touch to big-name acts and relentlessly crafting those soulful underground jams. During a rare New York City appearance, the Big Apple jock headlined the inaugural summer rite known as MoMA PS1 Warmup in Long Island City. Despite the sweltering early evening temperature, the crowd — which was comprised of twentysomethings to old-school Paradise Garage heads — were eating out of Terry’s hands from the moment he stepped up to his CDJs.

Instead of dropping a set of obscure tunes, Terry surveyed the best of ’90s for a thrilling set of house that was a new experience for some or a pleasant case of deja vu for others. Within the first hour alone he dropped his nugget “Samba” by his House of Gypsies (see video clip below) and “Something’s Going On,” seamlessly mixing in The Bucketheads’ “The Bomb,” Duane Harden’s “You Don’t Know Me,” Armand Van Helden’s remix of Tori Amos’ “Professional Widow” and Jay Dee’s “Plastic Dreams” to ovation after ovation.

Even though the crowd was going crazy Terry stood stoically in the DJ booth, throwing a first in the air and smiling ecery once in a while. Where DJs nowadays spin on stages with MIDI controlled backing video and laser shows, Terry is from an era where a DJ’s worth was estimated how he rocked a crowd, not by how cool he looked in the process. While change is indeed a good thing for dance music, thank goodness Todd Terry has thankfully kept his focus on what he does so damn well.

Image by Darren Ressler