When a world-renowned DJ like Eric Prydz, an artist who has graced the planet's biggest stages, festivals, and charts, embarks on an intimate string of club dates, it's more than a club night but a full-fledged event. As part of his ongoing Generate tour under the Prydz's Pryda alias, he's bringing his sharp blend of sound to a variety of North American rooms like Toronto's Coda, LA's Exchange, and this past weekend, Brooklyn's revered underground chapel, Verboten.
As one can imagine, booking an artist with main stage appeal like Prydz to play a 750 cap room in a city like New York will create a stir, if only because when he was last in the Big Apple, he headlined Madison Square Garden.
Tickets for Friday's set sold out in less than an hour, with prices on secondary markets surging into the $100-150 range. Those lucky enough to get a ticket were faced with one of likely the most crowded club nights of their entire lives and certainly one of the more packed nights in the club's soon almost-year-long existence. With less than a few inches of personal space per clubber (seriously people, stop stepping on my damn toes), tickets weren't the only cost of the evening.
At 2 AM, he kicked things off with a long, teasing, classic-Pryda intro full of builds and anticipation, though his Prydzyness soon began sending dancers into a potent wormhole of crushing techno beats, thanks largely to his other alias, Cirez D. For those expecting a set of his melodic, progressive, style, his set was a grab bag. Once the first drop at last hit, spastic LEDs began attacking Verboten's massive disco ball, the crowd exploded with energy (so much so that someone's arm knocked my gin and tonic out of my hand).
In his typical backwards fitted Yankees hat, with headphones perched on his head like a crown of thorns, Prydz continued to cycle through sinister machine music, ranging from chunky house rhythms, to another element his fans know and love him for: a variety of hard-to-ID edits. He even whipped out a surprisingly heavy rework of Calvin Harris's "Flashback." Another early memorable moment was the unleashing of his churning 2013 production "Power Drive," the drop of which devoured the room with strobe-laden intensity, testing the capabilities of everyone's ear plugs. Even by the halfway mark of 4 AM, there was barely a vacant square foot in the entire room.
As Prydz eventually segwayed into the final hour of his set, he serenading his minions with an array of fan favorites like his seminal "Personal Jesus" remix and uplifting Pryda anthems like "Lycka" and "Liberate." Pryda-heads ignored the usual 5-6 AM departure hour, providing the club surges of human energy until the final beats.
All together, Prydz's set in Brooklyn was a solid representation of several things. To see a DJ as famous as Eric Prydz in such a small place can be a challenge to your dancefloor sanity if not outright hellish. Still, his ability to attract such such a diverse, devoted, and fucking mental crowd is not to be dismissed. That crowd gave Prydz the space to do what he wanted to do. In his four hour set, he experimented in a way DJs of his stature often can't and for longer than they usually do.
Was being on the mercilessly crowded dancefloor pleasant? Not really. But sometimes a good night of clubbing isn't about being comfortable but absorbing an unparalleled experience of music.