Carl Cox makes long-awaited return to NYC clubland, tempts diehards with peak of European super-club experience
When news sprung that Nicolas Matar — owner of famed New York nightclub Cielo — was opening a Berghain-style nightclub in the depths of Brooklyn, true dance music faithfuls both clamored with excitement and immediately began to speculate potential bookings. Cielo’s been opened for a decade and Matar has developed some of the best relationships with some of the biggest DJs in the world — hosting deadmau5 (before he was deadmau5), Kaskade when he was still playing deep house, 2005 tag team sets from Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso, Detroit legends Kevin Saunderson and Carl Craig, David Guetta, Marco Carola, Deep Dish, and countless others. The who’s who of DJs have all graced Cielo’s decks, making it one of the most storied nightclubs in American dance music history. With word of Output opening, New York had no choice but to expect something game-changing.
Since its grand opening on January 25th with Visionquest’s Shaun Reeves and Matar himself at the helm, the club has already hosted iconic acts like Loco Dice, Sasha, and just recently, acid house and techno pioneer Carl Cox. The announcement of Cox — on a Wednesday of all nights — forced a seconds-long sell out. To make amends, the nightclub released an additional allotment of tickets — which also sold out in mere seconds — but also assured party-goers that plenty of tickets would be available at the door.
Gloomy weather plagued the night, but didn’t stop hundreds of people from arriving early to wait feverishly for the rare opportunity to see Carl Cox in a New York nightclub environment. The last time this happened was in 2010 at Cielo, which at a much more intimate 300-400 person capacity, did not hold the same promise as Output’s much larger scale.
Output’s opening fills a very important void in New York City clubland. With New York’s dense landscape, a true super-club is a far shot. Finding a space that adequately and comfortably fits thousands of people that will allow loud music and alcohol consumption is no easy feat. When you look at super-clubs like Cocorico in Italy and Berghain in Germany, the focus of these places is allowing clubgoers to witness a revolutionary DJ experience. In a similar vein, Output’s policy is no VIP, bottle service or tables, no media, press lists or cameras. Essentially, it’s an establishment for music — and music only. It proclaims that it’s “open to anyone, but is not for everyone.” Furthering that it “welcomes individuals who value the communal experience of music over cameras and bottle service.”
I knew that seeing a demi-god in this place was going to be a very surreal experience, so I sacrificed sleep and my overall mood at work the next day to celebrate the one-off experience. Cox was granted open to close, spinning a five-hour set from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am. In the first two hours he played proper warm-up music, venturing into the realms of the deep house world’s brightest rising stars. Maceo Plex’s remix to “Walking Alone” and Hot Since 82’s remix to Shadow Child’s “So High” went off on the crisp Funktion 1 sound system and demonstrated Cox’s supreme ability so stay on top of all things current.
Maetrik – Walk Alone (Maceo Plex Revenge Mix)
Shadow Child – So High (Hot Since 82 Remix)
The three-deck master teased us with everything from anthems like Pirupa’s “Party Non Stop” — which was drawn out with a custom build and stellar break down, unofficially proclaiming that it was time to start the party — to unidentifiable 90s techno tracks. He ventured from his own Intec label’s catalog with Nicole Moudaber’s “Roar,” to tasteful under-the-rader techno bombs like Tim Deluxe’s “Transformation.”
Nicole Moudaber – Roar (Original Mix)
Tim Deluxe – Transformation (Original Mix)
With the night now but a distant memory, the question remains: when will New York get to see Carl Cox again? Perhaps he’ll be at EDC or Electric Zoo, where we’ll get to see him in an hour-long festival setting — something the city got last year and the year before. But when will we have the opportunity to catch another five-hour Carl Cox set in a facility built for dance music connoisseurs and DJs alike? Is Output finally the answer New York has been looking for all this time? Next weekend hosts Richie Hawtin and John Digweed — who without question fall into the same elite category as Carl Cox. If you haven’t been yet, set a date to check it out — the upcoming events are big and offer an eclectic mixture of acts. With summer approaching, rumors of another warehouse converted space in Brooklyn loom – it seems Manhattan’s little brother will continue to establish a new precedent for dance music in the New York scene.