july 22, 2007
new york
bt (link) (buy music »)
brad miller (link)
mike st. jules

sullivan room (profile) (link)
218 sullivan st (directions)

sound: breaks, glitch, house, progressive, trance
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Flawless (link) had planned/organized a special event, tapping BT for a free show courtesy of the web 2.0 bubble and Walking in at half past 10p, we followed the muffled beat downstairs, where a decent crowd had already found their way to the club. Showing up a little early paid big dividends as Brad Miller, whom you hopefully caught at our own 'Saturday Sermon' (link) a month ago, was on to warm NYC up for one of the most highly anticipated events of '07 so far. We were just in time to catch the tail end of his set.

As expected, Miller rewarded everyone willing to brave a crappy Monday morning with a great, driving progressive mix. Every track that we heard him play was well off from the generic - new sounds aplenty. Then, right around 11p we heard the man of the hour go to work. A dry, ethereal "Great Escape" vocal sample was his first contribution as Miller continued on. It was a brilliant way to join the mix and gave everyone a nice teaser of what he had in store. Just then, Miller picked out a seriously beat-heavy track that matched the mood perfectly, bringing everyone's attention back to himself. It was a great way to say "I'm not finished yet!" A slight glitch interrupted the vibe, but 10 devastating seconds later everything was back on track. As the melody began fading into the night, BT was looking eager to take over the room. A mellow, piano-infused intro brought all eyes up front, just as he layered "When I find myself in times of trouble" from the Beatles' iconic "Let it be" until a frantic break rounded out the mix and officially kicked off his set.

Whoever says that Breaks can't attract enough interest in the Big Apple should have been in the audience. The crowd was sizable, especially considering it was a Sunday night. From the looks of things, everyone was entertained enough to forget all about the looming Monday morning grind. A decidedly underground track selection made up BT's set from the get go. Revelers supported this direction without any hesitation, but it was pretty obvious that there was some latent hope that a few original classics would make their way into the mix. Brian brought his "A" game and his energy spilled out of the booth into the rest of the room. People responded in kind, showing him that one gig in the city once a year is a shameful mistake.

His "big-room" sound wasn't stifled by the intimate setting. Break after break, the mix was flawlessly programmed and executed. Uplifting melodies sourced from Trance and married to hard-hitting breaks by way of Ableton's Live worked well with the crowd on Sunday. He incorporated a lot of loops, samples, and effects into the mix. We're not sure if a single track passed BT's hands unscathed. It was actually refreshing to hear some heavily layered beats when the many DJs have seemingly accepted minimal as the sound of the moment. Sully was as packed as we've ever seen it, a few people had walked out early, but more had piled in to replace them. Nirvana's "Teen Spirit" got a very effective treatment. It's difficult to imagine that too many people walking through the door expected to hear a grunge classic.

Mr. Tranceau showed some love and shouted "New York City!" We can be a pretty territorial bunch so it's always nice to have the talent pander a little bit. It's even better when it's BT! He was obviously digging the vibe and seemed to have as good a time as the rest of us. There was even a moment of clarity when he admitted past mistakes: "I haven't played in New York City in a long fucking time!" No arguments there.

12:30 brought with it a totally beat-up "Xpander" that Sasha famously produced years back. The added bass line was so deep that I was happy we were in the basement, decreasing the chance that we'd fall through the floor. It's doubtful that even such an eventuality could wipe the smirk off anyone's face. 1a was our lucky number because it coincided with one of BT's own, "Love Comes Again," a fresh track he produced with Tiesto. Here's the clincher: he grabbed a mic and sang the lyrics! The reaction from the floor? Down right raucous! Shortly there after, he felt satisfied with the night and stepped down. It was all over at 1:08 on the dot. I'd say that the set was dominated by Nuskool Breaks with some Progressive flair and included a few particularly heavy remixes of a handful of familiar Trance tunes. BT's time in the booth was decidedly short, but it was a fulfilling couple of hours.

The crowd still abuzz with excitement when Mike Saint-Jules came in to close out the night. He wasted no time, starting out with some great progressive tracks right off the bat. At 1:30a the clock gave a rude awakening, trying to bring me back from the euphoria felt in the room and remind us that we had a meeting about five hours away. Being squares, we obeyed and started the slow walk of shame. Despite the untimely end to our night we had a great time. It was definitely one of the best gigs we've attended in NY for some time since June 16th.