Holy shit! Diggers was beyond good...he was old-school good! While Diggers had been my fave since Twilo, honestly he'd lost me over the last few years. His compilations had been better suited to background music than rocking out to and his general style lost some of its identity. Last several times I'd seen him were completely forgettable. After checking out his latest Transitions Vol.3 release, an album that while solid, is so passionless that it sounds like an opening DJ set, I didn't really expect much last night.
After a fun Underworld concert in Central Park beforehand, I had a fairly tough choice afterwards. On one hand, there was Digweed at Pacha, with Chloe Harris opening up. On the other, there was Lee Burridge and Danny Tenaglia, two of some of my other favorites at Webster Hall, a place I started out clubbing at over a decade ago. While Webster Hall had long been languishing as a tourist trap, frequented by assorted amateurs and punters, Steven, it's owner had recently made strides in turning the place around by booking some serious talent. In fact, Sasha, Digweed's long time partner is slated to perform there in October.
After much deliberation, I decided to go with a bunch of the GN crew to Pacha. As curious I was about Webster Hall's comeback, I figured I'd give Diggers another shot. Both Lee and especially Danny come around these parts much more frequently than John Digweed. Since my cohorts decided we should get to Pacha early, I was a bit worried that the place would be as rammed as the last time Diggers was there. I usually prefer to arrive at Pacha some time after 3am, by when most of the meathead drunkards tend to run out of steam and/or money and head back to Jersey or Strong Island. Fortunately, the crowd was actually pretty good this time. I guess Webster Hall must have pulled a decent amount of people. This time around, most of the patrons actually knew who was headlining. As far as who the opener was, thatís giving them way too much credit.
For an opening DJ set, Chloe Harris did an admirable, albeit unremarkable job. Her track selection consisted mostly of run of the mill progginess that didnít really stand out from the guys spinning downstairs in the side room. Not that there was anything inherently wrong with what she was spinning, however, I would have preferred at least something Iíd remember by the end of the night. Sheís not exactly an amateur local, fresh out of the bedroom. I expected a bit more from her, considering that Iíve heard her spin stellar sets in the past.
Before long, John Digweed finally took over from Chloe. As expected, the energy level on the floor went through the roof. A few tracks into his set, it was apparent that this guy was still on a whole other level than the other well known names in the industry. While his last set at Pacha was a bit more dark, brooding and banging, this one was way more on the twisted and funky side of things. Diggers wasnít relying on a bunch of anthems to get the crowd going. No longer was he trying to jump on some minimal bandwagon. He stuck to his roots and chose carefully selected and flawlessly programmed tracks that melted together and kept the energy going through the entire night. This was signature Digweed, an unmistakable sound thatís unique amongst the nearly interchangeable sets of current DJís.
Digweed wasnít as much dropping bombs as bomblets. There was an unrelenting barrage of mini-buildups and smack downs throughout the whole night. Diggers wasnít relying on the smoke machine and siren for every other track. He just kept an amazingly steady pace that was enough to keep the patrons moving without tiring them out or giving them enough time to look at their watches. I didnít see a single person standing still throughout the whole night. I did see a girl fast asleep on one of the couches by the tables. In all fairness, she suddenly jumped straight up at around 4am and danced her ass off till the end. Must have been one of her favorite tracks, Iíd assume.
When the lights finally came on, It was good so see many familiar faces on the floor, as well as many new ones. Rather than ending the party right there, Digweed kept it going for quite a while with the lights on, like back in the day. Everyone was smiling and still having a blast, despite the fact that they likely could no longer feel their legs. Maybe it was just me. Iím getting old. However, a night like this reminded me why I still enjoy going out. After over a decade in the scene and being part of the industry, itís easy to forget what itís all about as many night wind up being spend schmoozing and talking shop in the VIP section. John Digweed reminded me how much fun it is to just spend the entire night on the floor. After this set, heís back to being my #1 favorite DJ.
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