BangOn! – the collective that organizes these parties is made up of Burners that wanted to bring the festival vibe to New York. Dancers hung from the roof, performers appeared from everywhere; climbing the sculptures and moving amongst the crowd.
Up by the decks a group of girls dance in each other’s faces, pushing for more. It was all an experiment here, a creative slate to throw yourself against. Where else do you really get to explore yourself but places like this? To go beyond the boiling pot of your day to day. It can feel good to get lost – to trust in the energy of awkward. This isn’t your showy club scene, glaring pop anthems and plastic cage-farmed entertainment.
The dude throws on his last record and I start to hook up my laptop, flicking through my tunes, getting a feel for what to put on. I start by pushing in a beat based on a stripped back New Orleans’s jazz classic, a quick snare followed by an unexpected bass rhythm halfway through. There is no hiding from a tune when the crowd is right up in your face like this. The first beat is essential in keeping the crowd into it.
The boundaries of the normal world didn’t really exist down here.
With the next track hands go up – the buzz never gets old, this hyper energized feedback loop of a bunch of people reacting to you. Once you get a taste – you hunt it out in everything. I couldn’t shake that Instagram shot of Drew; I pictured him playing here, dancing around behind the decks, now playing to tens of thousands. That lucky bastard. That’s where I always pictured I’d be by now.
I guess I was jealous, envious, whatever; I could admit that, but none of these feelings in isolation. I was stoked that someone else was making it happen – the world needs more words for the various types of jealousy, just like how the Eskimos have 42 words for snow.
They danced like hipster peacocks with MTV parents.
The crowd bounced away, that was me not long ago, fully adrift, party to party, always something to follow the club. Pushing on through to the afternoon session the next day. That old crew had thinned out a little now, life happens, people join new realities. New York meant you didn’t really have to think about a good time, everything was lined up for you, and it was the downtime that had to be hunted out. Trying to get paid often changes the relationship with something you love, but it’s a great excuse to blur the lines between work and play.
The kids up the front dripped, clutching waters, they danced like hipster peacocks with MTV parents. A girl with a small afro and red lipstick pops her eyebrows in a challenge to the guy across from her. I loved it when people brought facial expressions into it. She wore high tops and an extra-long t-shirt with the sleeves cut off. One of those smiles that started in the eyes, looped through her mouth and filled out her whole body. I’d seen her before.
I had a rule to never check my phone during a set, it looked terrible – like when DJ’s first started using laptops and it looked like they were scrolling through Facebook. I couldn’t help myself as a photo from Lucy appeared on the home screen.
Whatever we had going on, it seemed to be enough for her to message me at midnight, although it was likely because she knew I could get her into the after parties. Diplo was rumored to be having something at a club in the city.
Jay comes back with drinks and a bunch of waters. We smash oversized tequila shots, my t-shirt sticking against my sides as I raise the glass. I was already a little hazy from the booze. It was still early and I’d need something to sort myself out. The next twenty-four hours would be the constant levers of excess and intrigue that governed most weekends — many hours on many different levels.
Welcome to the modern urban adventure, some looking to carve out a little chunk – others hoping to make a home of it.