You’d think that with a lineup which included live performances from Soulwax, Late of the Pier, The Whip and DJ sets from Rob da Bank, Pete Tong (above), Luciano, James Lavelle and 2ManyDJs New York area dance music fans would’ve been all over this event. But we are not living in normal times. The $55 cover turned a lot of people off, and a last-minute $35 “hipster bailout” offer didn’t exactly increase ticket sales (prompting the event’s promoters to later open the doors to CMJ badge holders). Still, the night was filled with good music, even if the joint wasn’t completely packed.
After a screening of Soulwax’s Part of the Weekend Never Dies and an opening DJ set from Rob Da Bank, Manchester’s The Whip raced through an energetic set of pumping dance-rock. Though singer/guitarist Bruce Carter had lost his voice, he somehow managed to sing his heart out.
Next came tech-house deity Luciano. Pete Tong had introduced Luciano as making his NYC debut, but that wasn’t true. After waiting for the stage crew to set up his mixer, he finally got to spin roughly 40 minutes of quality tunes before the sound crapped out. He played a few interesting tracks, but his brand of music seemed completely out of place.
In their second US show, Late of the Pier proved what they’ve learned over the course of playing 200 live shows in Europe and elsewhere. The twentysoomething foursome kick out the electro jams that are woven together by nifty lyrics and infectious melodies.
The night might not have lived up to some people’s expectations, but Pete Tong’s utterance that Insiders was a “mini festival” wasn’t completely off base given the roster of talent.
Words and images: Darren Ressler