EVENT REVIEW: FRENCH EXPRESS SHOWCASE @ VERBOTEN [2.21.15]

February 26, 2015 -

Sydney Jow

This past Saturday (2.21.15) marked the first show of Verboten's talent showcase for the artists being featured on their exclusively curated Mysteryland stage (in collaboration with Zeitgeist). Its hard to believe Wythe Ave's newest venue has only been open for a year (although the actual team has been throwing monumental events around New York City for over a decade), the French Express label showcase expertly exemplified just how big of a party Verboten likes to put on. It was an epic night to say the least; both the Cabaret and Control Rooms were packed to full capacity. Of all the nights I've spent dancing away under their giant disco ball, I have never seen such a large, saturated crowd.

As I entered through the doors around midnight, there was an overwhelming atmosphere of familiarity and joy. Moon Boots was roughly 45 minutes into his set; from the vibe of the Control Room I could tell he had been giving the crowd exactly what they wanted -- fresh, funky, feel-good music.  As a future disco king, it came as no surprise that smooth instrumentals, uplifting female vocals, and soulful beats were consistently shuffled for the audience to get down to. As expected, in a moment of grand unity, fellow French Express fans gathered, arm in arm, and sang along as he dropped his famous edit of CHVRCHES' The Mother We Share. And if that wasn't enough, an earlier original release, called Sugar (my personal favorite), had us all grooving like the sun would never rise again.

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After an exceptional set by the astronaut inspired DJ, the mastermind known as Jonas Rathsman took the stage, performing back to back with Isaac Tichauer for the later half of his performance. His mixing style, in tow with Verboten's remarkable visuals and lighting, had a deep, heavy, hallucinogenic effect. Although both these artists individual releases are disco/house inspired, when operating together their unique formation of melodies seemed to pull us in all different directions. It was clear how impossible it was for anyone to stand still - the hearty ambiance made for something strong and tangible, yet light and euphoric. Only entering the scene in early 2013, its almost unfathomable how skillfully Rathsman can feed a crowd. His most notable trait was his clever and smooth method of progression throughout his performance.

As the clock struck 4:30am, it was clear no one in the audience was sleeping anytime soon. Synths still heavily oscillating through the walls, party-goers moving their bodies at an energetic tempo, a borderline spiritual vibe emitting from the entirety of the venue -- the epitome of a great night. I would say Verboten's first Mysteryland talent showcase was an explosive success, I cannot wait to see the rest of this historic series.

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