Co-written with Liz Kraker
Dutch house phenomenon DJ Fadil El Ghoul, better known as R3hab, headlined his first-ever Brooklyn concert this past Friday to conclude his North American tour coinciding wih his latest album, The Wave.
Considering R3hab's major hustle — two months on the road, while dropping release upon release — you'd think the nonstop tourer would have shown signs of burnout. But the Dutch DJ delivered an epic show with nostalgic big-room tracks and a theatrical performance unprecedented from behind a booth.
Brooklyn-based techno producer Ramsey Neville and electronic dance duo Black Caviar amped up the crowd at Brooklyn Steel for the imminent electro-house trip. The sold-out Brooklyn concert hall teemed with anticipation as the screen projected a countdown to cyb3rpvnksystem.exe., an ode to R3hab's record label, CYB3RPVNK.
Though expected, R3hab's emergence was wildly greeted by the crowd, as confetti and smoke cannons set the stage for the massive electro-house drop from his 2014 hit "Karate," featuring KSHMR.
And the electro-house drops didn't end there. R3hab maintained the powerful momentum for the first half of his two-hour set – transporting the crowd to 2013-2014 with big room head banger after head banger.
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He exclusively played his own hits from earlier days, almost to their entirety, including "Flashlight," "Samurai," and "Raise Those Hands."
For years, R3hab has established himself as a Dutch house proponent and remix maven. But that night, he also solidified himself as a performer. The Dutch DJ encouraged the crowd to "feel the vibes," as he'd purposefully dim the lights for dramatic effect to bring sole focus to the screen behind him. Periodically it would show short videos of R3hab talking to the CYB3RPVNK program, looking for the woman behind the voice.
As the videos became more dramatic throughout the concert, R3hab made sure his music matched the theatrics. He gave the crowd a second wave of energy by playing his beloved remixes of Calvin Harris' "How Deep Is Your Love" and two Avicii classics, "Waiting For Love" and "Happy Now."
Whether he played festival anthems or his own remixes, throughout the night R3hab maintained the crowd's fervor with both his music and interaction with his fans. In celebration of his first Brooklyn show the DJ interrupted his set to throw free CYB3RPVNK t-shirts into the crowd. To top it off he played a few unreleased songs, including one he said would be released this summer.
As with every show on the tour, R3hab signaled the end of his set with one of his most popular tracks at the moment, "Lullaby," featuring Mike Williams. The epic festival anthem was the perfect ending to an equally epic Brooklyn night.
Naturally, after his show at Brooklyn Steel, R3hab hopped to Manhattan to play after-hours at Marquee. If you didn't have a chance to catch the remix maven in NYC, R3hab mentioned upcoming Europe and Asia tours later this year.