Last night, in the heart of Brooklyn, the culmination of months of secrecy and intensive planning went down in the form of ZHU's first East Coast headlining performance. Titled "The Nightday Experience," the event was an unlike anything I've ever experienced. The evening started with attendees phones being "cased" in locked pouches so they couldn't be used during the show. We were told this was so we could enjoy the show without the distraction of social media, and although it obviously also served to maintain the mystique of ZHU for those fans who couldn't attend the show, the lack of the constant connection that cell phones provide added to the aura of the show and helped to achieve the unique experience ZHU and his team were striving for.
The show was at The 1896 - a warehouse in a deserted area of Williamsburg - and it felt like a hip social event and a 1990s rave all at once, with the entire event verging on performance art. He performed behind a screen on which his gorgeous trademark visuals were projected. The ceiling shone like stars with vintage-style light bulbs, and the stage was filled with cylindrical LED bars and mesmerizing festival lighting. The walls of speakers on all sides of the warehouse filled the room with ZHU's thumping brand of deep house, which managed to outshine the stunning visuals. His mixing was very impressive. At 2:30 in the morning, I was exhausted and about ready to leave, but every time I wanted to walk out the door, he dropped a new tune. The entire experience was more than anyone in the audience bargained for - and they loved it.
As attendees left the show, they were given a signed note from ZHU welcoming them to "Generation Why" and the promise of a "thank you" text message from the artist himself.
So the question is, is this the future of dance music? Phoneless shows with faceless artists that incorporate elements of mystique and personalization? Only time will tell, but right now it's clear that ZHU is a unique artist whose debut show has proven that he truly is one to watch.
To get an idea of what ZHU's live show is like, watch the intro of his HARD Day of the Dead set below.