March 13, 2012
Sutra, Costa Mesa
This weekend I had the privilege of seeing Laidback Luke, one of my favorite DJs in Hollywood and then San Diego. I would have been perfectly content if the weekend ended there but DJ Mag's number eight DJ in the world, Dash Berlin was making a special appearance at Sutra Monday night and my FOMO (fear of missing out) took over. I'm so glad it did because it was the perfect encore to such an epic weekend.
When I got there, Dropset was playing a great tech house set to get the crowd dancing and grooving to the beats. Surprisingly Dash Berlin came on a little after 11:30 p.m. and gave us two hours of pure amazing progressive trance heaven with a kick! I will admit, after hearing his ASOT 550 set in Moscow I was a little disappointed with all the commercial songs he incorporated, but listening to it live made much more sense and I understood a little better where he was coming from.
The crowd at Sutra was eating it up, too, as Dash Berlin took us through a journey with his music. For a school night, the club was banging, crowded as always, with Cristal and Dom popping from left to right and good-looking people everywhere. The night started in typical Dash fashion as he played "Concrete Angel" by Gareth Emery (the John O'Callahan remix). As we all sang along with the melodies I soon realized this was not the Dash Berlin we were used to.
His style has evolved and what I thought was going to be another night getting lost in his harmonious songs turned into one giant dance party as Dash Berlin played lots of new harder songs and his infamous Dash-ups (you know, instead of mash-ups). He played the hardest remixes of Deadmau5's "Raise Your Weapon" and "Sometimes Things Get Complicated." The trance sounds I was used to hearing from Dash Berlin rapidly turned into hard-hitting bass, but hey--I wasn't complaining.
Everywhere you looked you could tell the crowd was loving it as everyone's red and blue glow sticks shined through the crowd. One guy even got on the go-go booth and tried to get Dash Berlin to trade shirts with him! As fog filled the room and LED lights flashed behind him the dance party lasted well into last call as he started playing classic Kenkraft 400's "Zombie Nation" vs. Nero's "Promises." I still have the "Whoah oh oh oh oh, oh whoah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh" ringing in my ears.
He ended his progressive, harder-than-usual set with his trance version of "California Love," and then finally "Waiting," featuring Emma Hewitt. Waiting I was--all night for the trance love songs that made me fall in love with Dash Berlin in the first place. As a music lover I can appreciate his new sound and still think he's an amazing DJ and producer who knows just how to read his crowd, but was slightly disappointed with his evolving sound.
As he stood up on the stage with his arms in the air however, I could tell he lives for that euphoric feeling he gets from making a connection with his crowd. Even though it wasn't what I was used to, I was still right there with him on the same music high. Music is great in all forms and genres and when someone has skill and talent like Dash Berlin, it shines through and speaks volumes.
Critic's Bias: Though I love a crazy dance party, I missed my lovesick trance anthems.
The Crowd: I was in yellow fever heaven.
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Overheard in the Crowd: I heard a girl say Dash Berlin gave her his bottle of Grey Goose right before he got on.
Random Notebook Dump: I met so many Alex's last night it was kind of scary. I'm not sure if it was people messing with me or the universe is trying to tell me something.