When ’90s mixing wunderkind A-Trak assumed the turntables at 1:35 a.m. on Saturday morning, the floors of Webster Hall were already slick with PBR and perspiration. The show was sold out. The mezzanine was littered with frosted bottles of Skyy vodka, glowsticks and camera phones flickered in an artificial starscape, and one young lady wandered the theater soliciting her neon hula hoop. DJs Treasure Fingers and Codes wove beats for the upstairs crowd since 10 p.m., the downstairs Marlin Room pulsed with Top 40 mashups even earlier, and now the young and sleepless were ready for a party they would never remember.
“Let me hear you howl for me, New York,” A-Trak demanded shortly after mounting a stage flanked by photographers and VIP guests. With neon-decked crowds surrounding him fore and aft, the 29-year-old, fedora-sporting turntablist looked like the captain of a mad pleasure cruise bound for a magical island where the ooh-whoo-ing chorus of “Barbra Streisand” never runs dry. Techno loyalists who joined A-Trak, Skrillex, Diplo and other top spinners on the Holy Ship! party cruise a week earlier knew their neurotransmitters were in capable hands. The rest of the crowd was fixed for a wild voyage.
For two hours A-Trak rolled, scratched, beat-juggled and bass-dropped through a montage of his famous remixes, booming club pleasers and bombshell hits from Duck Sauce (A-Trak’s side project with Armand Van Helden). Duck Sauce’s newest U.K. single, “Big Bad Wolf,” dropped early in the set, eliciting a chorus of howls and moans from the increasingly animalistic listeners. Erratic spotlights strafed the theater, and a fog cannon doused the audience while A-Trak steered the room through the seamless peaks and valleys of remixes including the Rapture’s ’80s dance pastiche “How Deep Is Your Love,” the Throne’s hard ballin’ “Niggas In Paris” and Daft Punk’s rave standard “Robot Rock.”
The fog cannon was reduced to sputters by the time A-Trak started teasing the audience with glimpses of the bassline to “Barbra Streisand” late in the set. At 3:05 a.m. he finally dropped Duck Sauce’s Grammy-nominated sing-along sensation and let it marinate for a good 15 minutes. Though half the crowd abandoned ship before the 3:20 cutoff, those who remained rejoiced in the sweaty, smoky halls of remix Valhalla. And it was glorious.
Photos by Brandon Specktor.