An elusive masked DJ. A large Brooklyn warehouse. Scores of people ready to dance. House music all night long. In short, Malaa’s recent stop in New York City on his Illegal tour was fantastic.
The show took place on Friday, October 12th at 1896 Studios & Stages, a large event space in Brooklyn. Nadus and J. Mione opened, warming the crowd up for Malaa just right. The balaclava-clad producer took the decks a little past 2:00 AM.
In typical fashion, he made a subtle, menacing entrance, slowly striding to the stage with a bottle of Jack Daniels. He took a swig and got right into the music. No fooling around on the mic, no plastic crowd hyping. Straight to the beat.
As soon as Malaa came on, fans donned their ski masks in the crowd, many making their way front and center. The rest screamed, jumped around or whipped their phones out. Regardless of individual reactions, there was a sharp, immediate surge in the crowd’s energy.
Stripping away flashy LED screens and dazzling light rigs for a simple array of lasers, the atmosphere was perfect. It made for a less commercial feel to the show and blended perfectly with the rustic appeal of the warehouse space.
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The dance floor was large with plenty of space to groove and fantastic acoustics all around. Unless you were right up in front of the DJ booth it didn’t matter where you stood, as it wasn’t elevated. It was a clear indication that the DJ wasn’t positioned to be the center of attention. A cue to focus on the music, not the DJ.
That’s what matters, isn’t it? The music?
Malaa’s set was spectacular. A fine spread of house music celebrating all the subtleties and variations the classic genre has to offer. From bass house that curls your face to tech house that reverberates through your bones, there was plenty of grime and groove to go around.
Tracks like Fisher’s “Ya Didn’t” and Wax Motif’s remix of AC Slater & Chris Lorenzo’s “Fly Kicks” wowed the crowd. Of course, Malaa played a ton of original music too. Recent tracks, like “Cash Money” and “Music Sounds Better With You,” as well as older tracks, like his breakthrough single “Notorious” ebbed and flowed throughout the set.
Finally, at 4:00 AM, the masked producer brought his performance to an end, waved a hand to the crowd, and left as quietly as he came.