Steve Angello at Size Matters, Governors Island, August 20, 2011 (review)
To say our expectations for Steve Angello’s first Governors Island show were high would be a massive understatement. After that little bit of controversy earlier this month, we had a feeling that Steve would be coming to New York with something to prove. After witnessing him deliver a three hour-long marathon set at the special Pacha NYC outpost off the southern point of Manhattan, we have no doubt that he was sending a message to all the haters who question his talent for the DJing craft. Following an incredible opening set from Thomas Gold (writeup coming later this week), we found ourselves joking with other music folks in the press area that there would be nothing left to play. But oh, we were wrong — so very wrong. Read about it after the jump.
From our vantage point at the left side of the stage (see above) we had a clear view of Angello’s nimble hands and saw them caressing the CDJs for the entire three hours he spent on the specially built stage. He seemed much more animated than we’ve seen in the past — using sweeping arm motions and contorting his entire body when he would do things like changing filter levels — but he barely stepped more than a few feet away from the front-and-center decks. Okay, with that taken care of, let’s focus on what really we all really care about — what he played.
Steve opened up with the still unannounced SHM track, “Music Is The Answer,” which was only teased for a short bit before following into the familiar intro edit of “Miami 2 Ibiza.” We ventured into the moshpit for some of the opening, and nearly everyone around us was singing the catchy Tinie Tempah lyrics, soaking in the Swedish house vibes. The escalating chord progression of “The Moment” started to emerge from within the final bars of the former track, only to be accompanied by the overplayed but still acceptable “We Are Your Friends” accapella.
The hard house tracks continued with DA favorite, “Mush Mush,” and then the bootleg of “Flash” with “In The Air” which admittedly caught us a little off guard when the first drop of Axwell’s remix hit. The “ice cream truck anthem” (you know you see the similarity) slash early summer smash, “Awooga,” got some airtime, but it wasn’t until Calvin’s “Flashback” accapella got thrown into the mix that everyone was fully jiving. (If that combo sounds familiar, it’s because Sebastian Ingrosso played it at Pacha NYC a few weeks earlier.) As the “Awooga” beats faded into the background we heard the first hints of Alesso and Sebastian Ingrosso’s upcoming banger, “Calling,” which was left alone and not given the “I Found U” treatment that SHM gave it at the London iTunes Festival. Exactly on point, Steve called out “New York!…” right as it was opening, at nearly the same exact spot that the Mafia Man does in almost all of his recent livesets. Honestly, the track is so good on its own that it doesn’t need any vocals in our opinion (though the aforementioned bootleg is quite good).
Bassjackers – Mush, Mush (Original Mix)
Things cooled down for a bit when Steve followed up with “Otherside 2010,” a track that’s been in the SHM stable since way back last year. (Editor’s Note: I heard it back at Masquerade Motel Ibiza 2010.) He overlapped Thomas’ set from earlier by playing “Blow Up” — not that we really mind — but then played another SHM bootleg sequence of “Hello” with “Mush Mush” and “Teenage Crime.” The timing of the piano sequence in Adrian Lux’s original works wonders against the hard electro synths of the Bassjackers’ bass-jacked banger, and the familiar lyrics were perfect for a 5,000 person singalong.
“One” is a track that needs no introduction, but it got paired with Congorock’s “Babylon” and Rune’s “Calabria” forming a monster bootleg that was only made even more intense by dropping suddenly into the drop of Nari and Milani’s “Kendo.” As we kept the tracklist on our phones, we had to keep unlocking to add more songs to the bootleg; it just didn’t stop. There was another unidentifiable track that followed which seemed to have vocals from Kelly Rowland, but we couldn’t quite put a finger on it. (If you know what we’re talking about, shout out in the comments.)
Nari and Milani – Kendo (Original Mix)
Steve let up on the crowd once again — well, kind of — by playing Avicii’s “Fade Into Darkness,” into the Mark Knight remix of “You Got The Love.” Throughout
Leona Lewis’ Avicii’s track, penguin imagery from the movie Happy Feet was displayed on the massive LED backdrop and DJ booth. There’s no other way to describe it but as “cute.” Swanky Tunes’ “Together” with Deadmau5’s “Strobe” was the next SHM booty to be played, which was followed up by AN21 and Max Vangeli’s remix of “The Island,” a track that was off the richter scale for hum-alongs.
Florence and the Machine – You Got the Love (Mark Knight Remix)
R3hab and Swanky Tunes’ track “Sending My Love” is nothing to scoff at through loud headphones or even computer speakers, but was absolutely amazing through the huge sound system. The combination of the Swanky synths with R3hab touches have us extra glad that it has finally been released. He played the original mix of Faithless’ “Insomnia” as a throwback, followed by another ID track that sounded a bit like “Blow Up.” Finally came a bootleg of Red Carpet’s “Alright” that had an upbeat vibe until it took a very hard turn.
Finally came one of the highlights of the night, in the form of Alesso’s remix to “Pressure,” that was coupled with the best bits and pieces of Coldplay’s “Fix You.” Though many of us have been considering “Save The World,” to be the undisputed summer anthem, we genuinely think that “Pressure” is giving it a run for its money. There’s something about the song that’s inherently happy, and it sends chills up and down our spines every time we hear it live. Next, the “Sweet Disposition” accapella came out of nowhere, which flowed seamlessly into the SHM remix of “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.” Can you believe we’re not done yet?
Afrojack’s “Replica” was paired with an unknown track that had many music pundits talking even the next day. More Avicii came in the form of “Levels,” and then yet another unidentified track. There was a run-of-the-mill “Music Sounds Better With You” mix to change up the pace before a monster bootleg that combined “Be” with “Seven Nation Army” with “I Found U” and — wait for it — “Knas.” At 11:32PM the opening bars of “Leave The World Behind” emanated from the cavernous stage, sending chills down our spines. As the song faded off into Bart B More and Tommy Sunshine’s, “Bodywork,” we decided to leave on a high note and head back to Manhattan for even more music at Pacha NYC for the afterparty. We’re told that he ended with a back-to-back combination of the Knife Party and original mixes of “Save The World.” Don’t even get us started — we know we shouldn’t have left.
Swedish House Mafia – Leave The World Behind
Honestly, Size Matters came to New York for the first time in a long time, and it most definitely lived up to the name. Headliner Steve Angello had a monster three-hour set that barely let up on the energy at all, and the combination of awesome tracks and bootlegs had us really impressed with his ability to command such a huge crowd for so long. There’s no question that he is certainly on top of his game, and the three hours spent jumping in unison to the sold out crowd served as a testament to that fact. Oh, and he can do it without headphones, so there.