A crowd dances at the first ever Time Warp US (Photo from SILVERSQUARES, a documentary about Global Dance Culture)
Brooklyn’s 39th Street Pier went from empty warehouse to pulsing party spot last weekend when Time Warp launched its first ever US installment. The multi-day festival has been a mainstay in Europe’s techno scene since 1994. For their 20th Anniversary, Time Warp US was born, bringing along a crowd of more than 4,000 up-all-night music lovers from near and far along with it.
The production at Time Warp US included an intricate lighting grid and a mainstage designed to look like an ice cave.
Like any first year festival, growing pains were felt. When the Bronx Armory was unable to accommodate the event, a push to find a new venue may have resulted in delays regarding the release of important festival details. For example, set times weren’t actually revealed online prior to the event, and printed schedules were absent at the venue. Unless you were able to find a paper list taped to the far end of a warehouse wall, you just had to be a pre-existing fan or assume that the person standing next to you answered correctly when you asked who was playing on stage. Things like coat check were labeled “an absolute nightmare” by attendees who had to wait more than an hour to retrieve their belongings after the first day’s sets came to a close around 6 AM. But for lovers of techno, these were just small obstacles in the way of an otherwise remarkable time, because in New York, there is nothing else like the two-day beat assault that happened inside the unassuming waterfront building last weekend.
On Black Friday, eager music fans flooded “The Cave” to dance and socialize well into the early morning hours. The floor to ceiling production featured both cool and warm color combinations, accompanied with hanging tapestries allowing the room to go from stalactite-encrusted ice cave to dripping lava pit at any given moment. Day 1’s lineup brought huge names from overseas like the Swiss-Chilean minimalist techno DJ Luciano, as well as local acts such as The Martinez Brothers, hailing from the Bronx. Friday also marked the US debut of Dubfire’s live Hybrid set, which took place on the alternate stage. The Iranian DJ performed behind a trio of screen walls and monochrome projections, adding a futuristic tone to his set, which highlighted his unique brand of industrial techno. Acts like Joseph Capriati were a draw for out-of-town attendees, some of whom had traveled from as far away as Belgium solely to watch him play.
Dubfire performs his Hybrid live set on Friday, September 28th at Time Warp US
Saturday’s early evening lineup seemed more varied, offering sets from NYC native and underground techno artist Anthony Parasole, as well as house legend and “mistake theory” originator Josh Wink, who played a remarkably diverse set to a modest crowd of enthusiastic fans on Floor 2. Wink ended strong by playing his 2014 hit Talking to You, which gained popularity in Ibiza this summer as a club favorite, before retreating backstage to watch German producer Sven Vaeth from onstage. Sven Vath’s epic three-hour set was just the precursor for Richie Hawtin and Dixon’s competing Time Warp US finale sets, both of which were just getting started at 4 AM on Sunday morning.
German DJ Sven Vath performs a 3-hour set on Saturday Night at Time Warp US (Photo from SILVERSQUARES, a documentary about the Global Dance Movement)
Several things that can be said about the half raver/half upscale European crowd that Time Warp US attracted, but one thing is for certain, these people could party. Attendees came with a mission to dance hard from 9 PM until the sun came up the next day, and to many, this just seemed like a typical weekend. It was a welcome change of pace to see a festival within city limits manage to pull an all-nighter when ordinances so often require a hard out at 11 PM or Midnight. And despite the fact that Warsteiner flowed copiously, there were no altercations or medical tent fiascos to be mentioned, even though these kinds of occurrences have grown common at festivals with electronic overtones. This can most likely be attributed to the 21+ age requirement, as well as the more mature nature of the event.
Despite the original Bronx Armory venue dilemma, Time Warp US pulled through and was considerable well-managed. Despite the stages’ close proximity to each other, sound bleed was not an issue. The performances, production value and clientele were top notch, making for a promising start to a festival that potentially has a long life ahead of itself in New York City. After all, the techno-heads need a place to get their sunrise kicks, and one wild weekend clearly wasn’t enough.