Ruby Skye

Another TORQ Thursday with Gabriel and Dresden

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Gabriel and Dresden at TORQ ruby skye 2/22/2013
Gabriel and Dresden at TORQ Ruby Skye 2/22/2013

Last Thursday I danced, literally danced, on the line that separated house and trance with the help of legendary San Francisco based DJ’s Gabriel and Dresden.

On another TORQ Thursday night, the EDM promotion group brought in Josh Gabriel & Dave Dresden. I didn’t really know what to expect actually. I randomly saw them once at EDC 2012 (I believe), I’m not really too sure how good they were because I was a little blitzed when I saw them. So from whatever memory I could gather from that time I saw them, I decided it was worth seeing them again, even after working two different shifts for a combined total of 13 hours.

There were two things that I knew walking into their show: one, they have been around for awhile and are legends in the industry, and two, I absolutely love, love, effin’ love their remix of Sarah McLachlan – “Fallen.”

When I first heard of G&D remix of “Fallen,” I instantly fell in love with that song. If you’re listening to that song and have your headphones up, you’ll be able to fully experience the bass of G&D, which will beat your eardrums but yet it’s getting mended by the soothing melodic vocals of Miss Sarah McLachlan. It’s just a great marriage of euphoric melody and bass. Give it a listen and see for yourself.

So any who, there I am, standing in the middle of dance floor waiting for G&D to start, completely sober, [Yeah I know, being sober in a club is hard, but not if you enjoy the music then you can get drunk off the music (;P)], not knowing what to expect. Then the lights turn off, the only lights that are illuminating the club right now are those of the four screens in front of the DJ booth that flashed the names Gabriel and Dresden. Waiting and wondering what their first song would be, I started to hear a very familiar tune. Slowly I realized that it’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

Through the heavy bass and electronic song, I was able to decipher that it was a remix of RHCP “Otherside.” It was that moment when I instantly knew that it was going to be a good night.

The next thought that popped into my head was how were they going to fallow up “Otherside?” I was unsure about how they were going to keep up this energy that the crowd was now hungry for. My question was answered when I heard the melody to G&D classic track, “Tracking Treasures Down.” Although this track is an “oldie,” it still gets the crowd moving and grooving. Any other fans of EDM who knew this song welcomed it with cheers and roars, scattered by applauds; we were all happy to hear a classic.

Actually I found out later that the track G&D played was “Tracking Coconut Down,” a mash-up of their song with Cold Blue. In fact, their set was like mash-up galore! I’m not a mathematician of any sort (but I am Asian so that might count for something), but I would say a good 75 percent of their set were mash-ups.

There were ALL sorts of mash-ups in their set. A lot of their mash-ups included Top 40’s hits with EDM songs. Yes yes, I know how that sounds. I mean if someone asked me if I would like to hear Top 40’s hits at an EDM club, I would say F**K NO! But G&D has proved to me that it is possible.

The way these two men blend the vocals of Top 40’s hits into energetic EDM songs that were still considered as good songs was phenomenal. One of the things that I immediately thought of was that Harry Potter meme “what kind of sorcery is this?!” But whether it be magic learned from Hogwarts or amazing producing skills, G&D did it; their rendition of Top 40’s tunes made me hop around in a club with a fat smile.

In their Top 40’s throw down, I heard songs like “Sex is on Fire” by Kings of Leon, “99 Red Balloons” by Nena, “Mr.Brightside” by The Killers, “Track 2” by Blur . . . the list goes on! The combination of electronic beats with these alternative rock vocals gave G&D a sort of retro feel. I know that the songs I heard that night are not that old, but I was defiantly transported back to the 80’s when I was on the dance floor of Ruby Skye that night. Or what I thought the 80’s were like from what I gathered from watching movies.

My favorite “retroy” mash-up of the night had to be Eric Pryda “Allein” with Human League “Don’t You Want Me.” It’s really good, trust me. LISTEN TO IT!!!

Of course G&D busted out mash-ups of today’s top EDM hits; Such as their mash-up of Porter Robinson “Language” and Andain “Promises.” I know a friend who would have gone all soft for that mash-up.

For the first half of their set, I literally felt as the bass was attacking my face. The stuff that these two men were spinning just hit so hard, sending my skin into vibrating waves as each song hit that kick drum.

It wasn’t long before G&B started fading into their roots. As the night slowly transforms into morning, their hard hitting housey set started becoming uplifting, becoming progressive house, and arguably a little trancey.

I was so pleased, as well as many other older EDM fans in the crowd that night, when Motorcycle “As the Rush Come” came on. We . . . felt the rush come! LOL.  Another great euphoric song that was played in their second half, and also love so dearly, was Sander Van Doorn and Adrian Lux “Eagles.”

The song selection of the night was amazing. Gabriel and Dresden did an AMAZING job. I loved their entire set. It was full of energy and was pumped of familiar vocals that made the crowd sing along. Their set was defiantly a crowd pleaser, but these two men did it in a way that still holds their own flavor that makes Josh and Dave Gabriel and Dresden.

One of my favorite images of the night however was not of G&D, but a couple slow dancing to G&D encore song “Zocalo” (by no other than Armin Van Buuren feat. Gabriel and Dresden). Is it creepy that I think a couple slow dancing in a crowd that was jumping up and down, side to side furiously to an EDM song was heartwarming? Kind-of-but-not-really. As other people around this couple jumped around to the beat of the song, this couple found their own beat and only thought of them to be in the room, slow dancing away. I couldn’t help but appreciate this weird cinematic moment that was happening. I did not see this as a creepy Asian guy people watching, I saw this as one of the true essence of EDM, as music that can make people rage but love at the sometime.

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Max Graham at Ruby Skye for TORQ 1.24.13

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Max Graham at Ruby Skye TORQ 1.24.13
Max Graham at Ruby Skye TORQ 1.24.13

Last night in San Francisco was TranceThursdays!!! Which means another night at Ruby Skye for TORQ, presenting Max Graham, a trance DJ and producer from London and off the almighty Armada label.

From what I know of Graham’s music, I was expecting some mellow, uplifting trance. You know, something that was gonna make my eyes close as I lift my hands in the air. Boy was I wrong (well I did do that but not as much as I thought I was going to).

Max Graham effin’ killed it. He was droppin’ hard hitting tracks that shocked me.

I mean coming into this I knew Graham was good, but not this good. His blend of hard hitting tracks, such as Khohma “Dusk Riddles,” and euphoric uplifting trance, which included his remix of “This Night” by Filo & Peri, was superb. Not to mention he drop the Myon & Shane remix of “Love Rain Down” by Markus Schulz, one of my fave track by my fave DJ.

Graham definitely surprised me with his set. His DJ’ing abilities and his sense for what the crowd was grooving along to were in sync. He was able to please the crowd without diverting away from his style of trance.

Not only did I closed my eyes and put my hands up in the air, but I also jumped till I could not jump no more. Along with the peaceful melodic trance, I couldn’t help but fight the air at times with Graham threw down some tech-trance . . . I felt like I slayed some unicorns last night. Sorry Koleana.

I’m a little disappointed in the crowd last night though. Compared to a sold-out show last week for Madeon, Ruby Skye was only at half its capacity. And for a DJ like Graham, the room deserved to be packed!

But it worked out for the best I guess; the fans that really love trance were there and big props to Graham who still put forth his A game for the small number of us.

I’ve heard of Max Graham because of his compilation album Cycles, but not of his live stuff. But after tonight, I’m a fan. Straight hooked.

Here is a video of Max Graham playing his remix of “This Night” by Filo & Peri:

Airec: Yo man, he’s actually really good.

Niko: No. He’s really really good.