[EVENT REVIEW] Anjunadeep Brings Lush House Beats to NYC's Avant Gardner for Summery Takeover
Anjunadeep, the independent record label famous for shaping melodic house over the past decade, returned to Brooklyn for a marathon venue takeover of Avant Gardner on July 7. More than a dozen artists, up-and-comers and established veterans, put their unique spin on the hypnotic and sunny sounds that distinguish the Anjuna family.
Before even entering the venue, it was clear that it was an Anjuna event due to the preponderance of shirts, hats, and jackets bearing the label’s truncated A logo. Anjunadeep started in 2005 as the imprint of legendary trance duo Above & Beyond, which was looking for a way to unify the “deeper, more progressive” sounds they played at the end of their sets. Since then, breakout artists such as Lane 8, Yotto, Dusky, and Tinlicker have found creative fulfillment through the label.
At Avant Gardner, guests enabled the payment feature on their wristbands and then streamed through the Great Hall, a vast air conditioned room with hanging plants, sofas and chairs, and soft ambient music. The Anjuna logo gently flickered on the giant screen that, at other events, livestreams performances. Later in the evening, attendees needing a breather would find refuge in this oasis.
The event had enough music and variety for both the sunset scene and late night marathon ravers. At 6:00 pm, Nicky Elisabeth, who has had a few releases with Anjuna, took the decks in the main room of Brooklyn Mirage to get the crowd warmed up, while Montreal-based Sinca started the party in adjacent and air-conditioned Kings Hall.
Both the Brooklyn Mirage and Kings Hall stages maintained the serene, homey atmosphere of the Great Hall, enriched with ample plants, wispy swirls of smoke, wooden structures, and sparse graphics.
During HANA’s sunset performance, the giant screen in Brooklyn Mirage displayed geometric shapes to underline Anjuna’s clean, rhythmic beats.
HANA has become known in recent years for her soaring, angelic voice and as fans began to fill the outdoor dance floor, mezzanine, and balcony levels, she used the microphone to sing over multiple tracks, including “Celestia,” her collaboration with label mate Durante, a song so bright and sinuous, it feels like you’re surfing on a never-ending wave.
Her set was followed up by a live performance of Nils Hoffman who delighted fans with the optimistic singalongs that launched his career. Against a blue backdrop, you could see Hoffman plucking bright notes with a mallet.
Late in his performance, phones lifted throughout the crowd to record his beloved collaboration “Breathing” with labelmate Ben Bohmer.
Leaving Laurel had the crowd in Kings Hall jumping around for one of the most dynamic and complex sets of the evening. The duo looped snippets of vocals, clashing drums, and synths to hop above a pummeling bass. Eventually, their set mellowed into the crystalline calmness that’s synonymous with Anjuna.
Afterward, CRi delivered the crowning set of the evening, expertly conveying the Anjuna spirit like a captain guiding a boat over easy waves. Blue lighting bolts and lasers animated the giant screen and room, heightening the oceanic feeling as he gorgeously layered a steady-rolling bass with airy, open loops, patiently building to satisfying drops.
LOOKING FOR YOUR NEXT RAVE ADVENTURE?
CLICK TO CHECK OUT OUR 2023 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE FEATURING LINEUPS, DATES, AND LOCATIONS FOR EVERY FESTIVAL ACROSS NORTH AMERICA THIS YEAR!
This was around the time when the venue grew to capacity. As the dance floor filled, Marsh took over the decks for a high-energy set of explosive drops, a fitting midnight performance to get the room hyped for the late-night headliners.
Kings Hall felt like an alternate universe, as the haunting synths and echoing keys of Joseph Ray enveloped the room, making it feel like either the cockpit of a spaceship or submarine. Long sections of this otherworldly soundscape gave way to the chunkiest bass of the evening, turning this into the event’s most intriguing set. On the ceiling near the front of the room, light fixtures shaped like discs swerved and rotated, shedding light on the enraptured crowd.
The Anjunadeep roster is so extensive that by this point people had been dancing for more than six hours. The powerful and moody anthems of Eli & Fur and the effortlessly lush house beats of Dusky carried the crowd through the coveted 1:30 to 3:00 am slot, while the booming, propulsive tracks of Simon Doty and the seamlessly cascading and surprising techno rhythms of Anyasa took the most dedicated fans to the early morning finale.
For those who hadn’t fueled up with Mirage’s extensive in-venue food options, reliable falafel trucks were standing by as people waited for their Ubers, plotted their next moves, and looked forward to next year’s installment. Although the artists will be different, one thing is certain: even more fans will be rocking the Anjuna logo.
Photos courtesy of The Brooklyn Mirage.
Check out top 5 shows at the Brooklyn Mirage for July HERE!