This past week VICE’s THUMP teamed up with Samsung to put on a free showcase event in NYC called Up Next. The evening soiree featured the lovely talents of TOKiMONSTA, Duke Dumont, and German wunderkind Zedd. The inaugural event graced New York City’s Pier 84 where fans and industry folk alike hobnobbed and indulged in the free drinks and delicious food carts and of course, electronic dance music. With the sun setting just over the Hudson River, the scene was the perfect kick off to the real beginning of summer.
Walking west from Times Square, the number of kandi beads increased ten fold, and the anticipation became palpable. As thousands (yes, thousands) of hopeful fans lined up to enter the free event, anticipation was high. Surely at least 85% of the crowd had come purely to hear “Clarity,” but that didn’t stop TOKiMONSTA or Duke Dumont from doing their thing. With TOKiMONSTA serving up a swath of future bass, tech house, and trap, the Californian artist created an energy that would set up the rest of the night.
UK rising star Duke Dumont took the decks next delivering a groovy mix of deep house, tech house, and funky bass-driven house jams including his own smash “Need U (100%)” and the dancefloor-destroying, former dirtybird track “Jack” (the Breach track has since been sold to Big Beat for re-release and mainstream targeting).
Having reached capacity, the place was bouncing and rocking along, but turned up even more once main attraction Zedd hit the booth. With his S4 in tow, the Artpop producer fired off a set that could have easily have just been a compilation mix for the last two years of Beatport top 10 hits. Multiple remixes of “Spectrum,” dropping “Clarity” five minutes into his set, hearing “Kick Out The Epic Motherfucker” for the billionth time (and I truly love that track), Zedd played the part of jukebox extremely well, delivering each hit with a filter sweep and gated transition, keeping the fans’ hands up the entire time. At a private event like Up Next, a producer in Zedd’s position can’t be expected to take many risks with his set, but perhaps something different would have been nice. An opportunity to really test the American dance palate (in NYC no less…), Zedd rested safely on his loins, providing a fitting soundtrack for the evening of indulgence.
An open bar with cocktails galore, the crowds boogied hard the whole night through while some made their way over to the specially-outfitted fireworks hubs. With the help of Samsung, fans were able to launch a single firework (granted, with a number of options) and take pictures to document the evening. In the DJ booth, each DJ had the ability to launch their own fireworks (and of course, as many as they so desired), and in doing so created quite a spectacle. VICE and Samsung, surely created a memorable event that hopefully will set the blueprint for future summer soirees.