Finally, V2 brought someone a little more heartwarming than a big-name dubstep artist to headline one of their winter events. I realize this isn’t the happiest time of year, but complement the five months of putrid, Salt Lake gloom with a steady string of what I like to call “EDM’s take on death metal,” and I’m just a sea of angst until spring hits. I arrived at In The Venue around 9:30 p.m. as Shortsirkit was in the middle of his set. The local DJ played a majority of high-energy house music that sounded refreshingly unfamiliar. It’s particularly enjoyable when a DJ can mix an entire set without dropping one of the latest EDM bangers and still receive a huge crowd response. Vocal-free mixes seemed to be the theme for the rest of the night, too. As Nrkotic and Mark Radwin each respectively took the stage, the energy stayed the same while the crowd piled into the warehouse-like room to party.
The choice in venue was bittersweet, however. Although the acoustics are great, I find myself having to mentally prepare for a walk outside to get some air with the anticipation that not only will I have to maneuver around a tightly packed crowd, I’ll have to pay extra attention to the seemingly unnecessary platforms occupying random spaces on the floor. I’ve been attending events at this venue for years and I’ve never failed to stumble over one of the surprise stairs on my way to the dance floor. That being said, In The Venue brings in some great artists, so I find myself there every few months regardless.
Around midnight, Wolfgang Gartner quietly took the stage and began his set without an elaborate ego-boosting introduction⎯though his graffiti logo did flash on the two LED screens sitting in front and behind him throughout the night (compared to VJ sets you might find at, let’s say, a Porter Robinson show, this one was pretty lame). The LA-based house producer started out as a deep house DJ before changing his music style back in 2007. Since then, he’s played multiple years at some of the biggest music festivals around the world, including Coachella and Miami’s Ultra Music Festival.
Gartner beautifully mixed throughout the night, never missing a beat and generally sticking to one style of music so that each song progressed into the next with a pace as steady as a heartbeat. In the crowd, people went wild as foam LED glow sticks were tossed back and forth in the air in such masses it looked as if every concertgoer had at least two in hand. Gartner played for about two hours, playing a number of songs from his past albums as well as remixes of other popular songs in the last few years⎯and those weren’t usually EDM remixes. The entire room sang along when Gartner dropped a remix of “Where’s Your Head At?” by Basement Jaxx. Personally, I was surprised Gartner didn’t play the entirety of his Weekend In America album (2011), but he put on a great show nonetheless.
Gartner is currently on a small North American tour before starting his festival season appearances, which include Counterpoint Festival in Georgia, the South American Lollapalooza shows in April, as well as a few others. Gartner recently mentioned on Twitter that a new album is in the works and, although he hasn’t released an album in a few years, I’ll be looking forward to this one.