On Monday, Nov 19, The "EDM for Sandy Relief" benefit concert for the victims of Super Storm Sandy as well as The American Red Cross was held at the one and only Gramercy Theater. NY based label Brooklyn Fire and NY based entertainment marketing & PR firm UG strategies collaborated with Live Nation and NY based GBH Events to make sure the city that never sleeps truly didn't sleep. The benefit was also home to a food and clothing drive for the families for the upcoming holiday season as well as a silent auction earlier in the night. Silent auction items included The Crystal Method VIP package, a Costa Rican vacation, an Underground Bar Safari courtesy of Mercy beverages, who also provided a hangover cure for free throughout the venue. All proceeds were donated to the American Red Cross and even Ticketmaster waived the ever so dreaded "ticket fee". All this pieced together with EDM acts such as Ken Jordan of The Crystal Method (dj set), Tommie Sunshine, Run DMT, just to name a few, meant a night that many will never forget.
The "EDM for Sandy Relief" concert brought 2 stages, the Main Stage and the Gramercy Lounge. Main Stage performances were accompanied by a 3d screen, theatre seating (redundant), and slowly disappearing dance floor. You could see the expression on each DJ’s face at the time of each drop only adding to the intimacy of the venue. The Gramercy Lounge added to this by leaving only the equipment between you and the DJ giving you that house party vibe. You know the ones where we all ended up hearing THAT song for the first time. Yeah, that one. The benefit kicked off at 7 with Blaqwell on the main stage and Romeo Vs Juliet downstairs in the lounge. Each DJ/performer had a 30 minute set, but how often does EDM follow rules? You could catch a little of each set in the slotted time frame due to the short distances between the stages. This however didn't create any "mud" between the performances, the sound set up worked perfectly.
As the night progressed we bounced back and forth between stages trying to hear all the up and coming artists NY has to offer. DJ Subset's set was packed with raw energy that sent the room into a frenzy. People dancing into candles and speaker stands (no damage done) were just signs of the place Subset brought the fan. Whether it was from the smooth rhythmic grooves or the feverish bass lines your body was moving throughout the voyage. Once that supersonic voyage finished we moved back upstairs only to feel the energy outside of the room from the Figo set.
This live electronic punk rock band doubles as a DJ production crew who got the crowd hype! The DJ duo, Parag Bhandari and Paul Daly were jumping around stage dropping beats that seemed to throw the dance floor into a frenzy. Before you knew it you were inching over for another group to come rock the floor. This set could be considered the prologue for the night's events. It’s high-energy was then followed up with Run DMT.
Run DMT brings a bass music sound that has no confines, blending drum step, trap, DnB, with apprehensive hip-hop melodies. Run DMT has had a busy summer performing at festivals across the US including Camp Bisco and Counterpoint and continues his rise through the scene. The earlier portions of his set brought the crowd back to earth only to launch them back up like the slingshot ride we all watch at the boardwalk. This brought the vibe to a whole other level before the headliners started to take the stage.
The night was capped off by an incredible DJ set by Ken Jordan from The Crystal Method. As the first drop hit a hooper joined Ken on stage perfectly timing each and every toss. Before you knew it the hoop was traded in for some flags and her twirling (if that's still what they call it these days) was just as good. All this with a 3D screen, expert lighting, and a mere 15 feet between you and the DJ, the experience was surreal. After some investigative journalism, i.e. google, turns out that it was his wife Janine Jordan who was hooping. Everything was spot on throughout the entire set. At one point the crowd called for an encore before his set was even done. This just screamed New York from the onset.
As I spoke to the typical randoms as anyone does at a show I ended up in conversation with several of the artists. Many of which I found run various EDM operations throughout the city. Tommie Sunshine, who not only has an uncanny resemblance to Clay from SOA, he is also the founder and CEO of Brooklyn Fire. DJ Subset is a coordinator at Webstar Hall for "The BASSment" events and Parag Bhandari, 1/5 of Figo, is the founder & CEO of UG Strategies. The experience just reaffirmed how much these artists want to help anyway they can. It was good to see a collective group of artists help lift a city back to its feet. A widespread thank you to each and every individual who helped make the night a success and rebuild our communities.