Opinions and thoughts of an expert ranter and raver

Posts tagged ‘artist review’

Artist Review: Sander Van Doorn

Once again, I was forced to go to my least favorite night club to enjoy some more great talent that I’ve never gotten to see before: sander vSander Van Doorn.  Sander made a splash in the music soon in 2004 with his hit ‘Loaded’ and his since continued climbing the ladder to success in the EDM world.  Before going to his show, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  I had tuned into his podcasts before, and to be honest, I wasn’t really feeling it.  The music was a bit boring and it felt more like easy listening than something that truly made me want to get up and dance (which isn’t always a bad thing).  I got talked into going to his show, rather than going by my own free will (thats what friends are for, right?).  To be honest, I wasn’t completely blown away by his set, but it was still enjoyable.  If you are a Sander fan, I would definitely recommend going and seeing him! Even if you aren’t familiar with him but you like progressive house, I would say go check him out.  He spins trance and progressive house, and I appreciated the song selection in his set.  I find that when I go to shows where this is the genre of the DJ, it all has the same trousey sound and for the most part, its just a countdown of the current top 40 trouse hits.  I liked that Sander WASN’T trouse and was just really good and original progressive house.  He played a lot of his own tracks in all the right places and overall I liked the flow of his set.  I definitely don’t think Sander is for everybody, there’s wasn’t much electro in his set (which is currently trending in all DJ sets I’ve noticed), and that was actually a nice change of pace.  I think he has a very unique sound.  Going into his show, I knew what to expect and he met my expectations (but didn’t really succeed them).  I guess from the gist of this article, you can tell I’m not all to impressed with him, but keep in mind this review is from someone that would not consider herself a Sander fan, just an outsider taking a peep inside.  If he comes to your town, I would say go see him because he plays a unique set in comparison to all the other trance/ progressive house DJs out there, but if you miss him, I assure you you won’t be shedding any tears.


Artist Review: Z-Trip


Out of all the times I have seen Z-Trip live, this is the first time I have seen him on his own instead of at an EDM event.  Seeing as I z-tripam a total EDM junkie, I was hoping for some EDM in his set but not really expecting it.  Good thing I didn’t set my expectations for that, because what I got was a lot better.  At the beginning of Z-Trip’s set he said, “Whoever said hip-hop was dead, fuck you”.  And that basically sums up his performance.  He killed it with everything he brought to the table and even for a moment I couldn’t stop dancing.  I can’t even elaborate on how much Z-Trip is the shit.  One of the only white guys out there that I have witnessed successfully scratching and doing vinyl the right way.  If you want a real dj, this is your man.  Z-Trip is as real as it gets and for the life of me, I would never miss one of his live performances.  Just the way he mixes, I would have to say he is one of the best DJs out there.  Although he doesn’t have that many original productions, he can make you faint with what he does on turntables.  Throwing out classic after classic, wild card after wild card, you just don’t know what to expect when he’s on the decks.  He interacts with the crowd and looks like he’s having an awesome time.  On top of that, you don’t have to worry about everyone in the crowd being a total douche, because for the most part those are not the type of people he attracts.  I have been following him for years and have not missed him a single time he has been in my hometown.  He truly knows so much about music and how to wow a crowd that I can’t resist when I know he’s going to be spinning somewhere near me.  Like I said, he is not really an EDM dj, but there were bits of moombahton and dubstep tucked in there.  He’s all hip hop, he’s all old school, he’s all original, and he’s all about not giving a fuck about whats popular in music and instead does what he wants to do, which results in a huge smile on my face.  Seeing as everyone and their mama, and their mama’s cousin, and their mama’s cousin’s cousin are djs now-a-days, it is a breath of fresh air seeing someone murdering vinyls and scratching instead of using CDJs and laptops.  Z-trip is always down for his audience and I was so happy to get to see him again.  If you are really into turntablism, Z-Trip is a must-see.

Artist Review: Mat Zo

6110Mat-ZoGoing into Mat Zo’s set, I already knew what I was in store for.  I know his reputation and I know his style, so my expectations for his set weren’t super high. I was expecting generic trouse (which is a guilty pleasure of mine) and I wasn’t expecting Mixmaster Mike-type skills. I was definitely surprised by Zo’s set and that he stuck to what he knew.  Although he is signed to Anjunabeats record label, that label no longer represents the best in trance, but rather the best in progressive house.  What I liked most about Zo’s set was that he stuck to some really great trouse songs instead of venturing into mainstream progressive house hits, which I was expecting.  He vibed with the crowd and I was lucky enough to be front row so I could watch his every move (creepy I know).  I wouldn’t say he was an absolutely amazing dj, because I was not overly impressed with his mixing skills.  However, he kept the crowd engaged formatzo autograph the entire duration of his set, which delighted me.  He was extremely into the music and I loved his friendliness and his interaction with the crowd.  Being the total groupies we are, me and my friends stayed until the show ended and got autographs from him.  Totally friendly and normal looking guy, which I think definitely helped with his stage presence and connecting to his fans.  I had an awesome time and would definitely recommend seeing him if you like progressive house.  If you are expecting a trancier set though, look somewhere else, Zo is not a trance DJ.

Artist Spotlight: Dash Berlin

dash-berlin-largeI’m not going to claim I’m the biggest Dash Berlin fan ever, in fact, I know very little about this man.  What I do know is that his music makes me feel a way that no other music had made me feel before.  Maybe it is the beautifully written lyrics or the euphoric vocalists he chooses to feature, but every time I listen to Dash Berlin I feel like his songs literally reach in and grab my heart.  Mushy gushy, I know.  But there is something about each of his songs that always seems to hit home with me.  Dash Berlin started producing in 2007; fast forward 5 years and he is voted the 7th most popular DJ in the world.  Obviously that says something about how insanely talented he is and how emotionally connected he makes his audience feel.  Personally I can listen to each of his songs on repeat all day and never get sick of them.  I feel like the messages he sends in his lyrics aren’t just the same bullshit lovey dovey stuff you can hear on the radio.  His lyrics are soooooooo much more heartfelt than I think any other producer’s that I’ve ever heard.  When it comes to meaningful songs in my life, I feel like everything  he touches ends up having a place in my heart.  I haven’t been lucky enough to see him live (yet), so there’s not much for me to say about his DJ sets, but as a producer he is just mint and definitely a very special one who I will always hold close to me.

Artist Review: Adrian Lux

Adrian-Lux-Album_-960x405-700x405For the first time in my life, I can honestly say I didn’t spend the majority of my night thinking about the various ways in which I could kill every asshole spilling drinks while simultaneously grinding on me.  For the first time in my life, Scottsdale’s Wild Knight didn’t piss me off, and instead showed me a hell of a good time with Adrian Lux rocking the decks.  Due to some promotion or other, me and 5 other friends got our hands on some free tickets.  Adrian Lux was simply amazing and I am so glad I got the opportunity to see him for a second time.  Seeing as he is progressive house, I was glad to see that he stuck to what he knows best and played a very beautiful and well put-together progressive house set.  The thing about progressive though, is that its so popular that I felt like there wasn’t very much originality to his set, seeing as I knew every song he was playing and they were considered “top 40” in the EDM world.  I can’t talk shit about progressive house, because I love the genre and I truly did love every song he played.  My issue with him was that I felt like I was listening to a radio show, meaning he only played whats popular now and I didn’t really see a connection between him and the music.  Obviously he was enthusiastic and sent off great vibes to the already awesome crowd, but I didn’t feel like he was playing from his heart.  When djs get up there and play whatever the hell they want regardless of whether its one day old or 10 years old, I like to see them not following the “guidelines” of live sets and only playing whats popular, and thats exactly what Lux did.  I didn’t hear any old school tracks and for the most part I didn’t hear any tracks that I didn’t recognize.  He completely catered to the crowd, which isn’t a bad thing, but I didn’t feel like I got a grasp of his personality or who he is through his set.  I feel like with the best djs, they can show who they are through their selection of music throughout a set. But with Adrian Lux, it was a very generic progressive house set and I’m walking away still being unable to distinguish him from any other progressive house dj.  I would definitely see him again because I love progressive house, but anything more than $10 for a ticket wouldn’t be worth it to me seeing as he didn’t prove himself to me as a “one-of-a-kind” dj that I’m willing to pay big bucks for.

Artist Spotlight: John O’Callaghan

Driving to work today, I decided to tune into John O’Callaghan’s podcast “Subculture Radio”.  I’m not a first timer to his show.  In fact, I have been an avid listener for quite sometime and John O’Callaghan fan since I first heard him featured on Armin’s album, A State of Trance 2005.  I guess you could say we have some history.  Anyways, my only source of music nowadays are podcasts, all day everyday.  While listening to Subculture Radio today, I realized John O’Callaghan truly doesn’t give a fuck.  “WHAT?”, you may be asking. Let me elaborate.  I subscribe to probably about 15 different weekly podcasts that are trance and I can definitely grasp what trends are going on, what is popular, and what is out of the loop. Sometimes I hear the same songs over and over again and sometimes the podcasts all seem to sound the same.  However, O’Callaghan’s podcast always has its own sound and like I said, its because he literally does not give a fuck.  I really was getting into what he was throwing down, and just thinking about the fact that half of the tracks on there I had never even heard before.  It was then that I realized that he hasn’t yet hopped on the “trend train” that I feel EVERY dj has hopped on.  He doesn’t play whats popular, he plays what he likes, and ultimately, what I like.

Techno is extremely out of the loop.  I feel like nowadays its either trance, dubstep, or house; techno is an abandoned genre that you don’t really hear much of.  John O’Callaghan don’t give a fuck, if he wants to play techno he’ll play techno.  If he wants to mix some trance in there, he will mix some trance in there.  What I love most about him is that fact that time and culture have not really changed his sound. He moves to the beat of his own drum and is a dj that truly doesn’t sound just like everybody else.  I’m not sure how many people are old school ravers, meaning they started going to raves BEFORE 2005, but techno was extremely huge.  The music wasn’t like it is today.  I feel like John O’Callaghan brings me back to my high school years dancing in abandoned warehouses til the sun came up.  He knows what he’s doing and he won’t let the ever-changing EDM culture determine how he plays his sets.  I love his sound because its techno and he’s not changing for anybody.  I feel like his music is timeless and original, and for that John O’Callaghan, I salute you.

Artist Spotlight: Gareth Emery

As if I don’t already talk about how much I love Gareth Emery enough, I felt the need to write a short rave about him proclaiming my undying love and groupie-ism.  As a producer, Gareth makes some absolutely breath-taking trance and progressive house.  As a dj, he defies the notion of sticking with one genre and instead plays multiple genres in each of his sets.  I tune into his weekly podcasts and I’ve also gotten the privilege to see him live twice.  You can’t say Gareth Emery is trance, house, or dubstep, because he throws everything into his sets and has defined himself as someone who can successfully play everything at once.  Many of the trance producers out there that only choose to play house during their live sets piss me off immensely.  However, because Gareth has avoided being categorized as a certain genre, I love him and everything he throws down.  Sometimes he plays more electro house than trance, sometimes he throws in dubstep, he is completely unpredictable which is what makes his sets so exciting.  He uses mashups that contain both progressive and electro beats to really spice up his sets and the order of the songs he uses makes his live performances almost feel like a roller coaster ride.  I feel like with so many artists “selling out” and strictly sticking to electro style beats in order to keep a musically naive crowd satisfied, it is hard to find a dj that can still give an original and worthwhile performance.  Because of Gareth’s unpredictability factor, I foresee him having a great future where I will never turn my back on him due to a crossover into mainstream music.  He will forever be that dj that plays the most perfect and dubious combination of trance and electro house.

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