James Zabiela @ Beta Nightclub (11/20/10)

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November 21, 2010 by DJ Elroy

Digital Dance Log: 20 November 2010. Denver. Yes, November in Denver means one thing: it’s fucking cold. Overnight lows hit the mid-twenties this weekend, and while that in itself isn’t too bad, coming out of a sweaty club at 2am made my boys crawl up inside my belly for warmth. The homeless fellas were begging for enough money to hop on the lightrail and warm up. A thick fog hung over the city, almost as if some heavy clouds rolled off the side of the Rockies and landed on our heads. Snaking fingers of the mist reached out from the alleys, trying to grab at our legs as we hurried down the sidewalk; cars nothing more than a pair of angry red eyes glaring at as from the gloom as they drove past…

But the show? It was awesome! Beta Nightclub is still my favorite place to lose myself in the music… And I think even Brookers had fun. We’re making progress on that, but she still doesn’t understand house music: “It all sounds like one long song to me.” But still… she’s trying, and that’s all I can ask.

I love the fact that Beta is constantly changing, always growing, ever improving. New seating, new decor, more speakers, flashier lights, new gear in the DJ booth… always something different to see, and that’s what a club needs to do to stay fresh.

And the music? Top tunes all night! Nick Wolfe warmed the place up with some dark and twisted tech house, and club resident Dragon followed up with melodic tech and progressive…

But the night belonged to James Zabiela. The sci-fi avenger, face of the new generation of electronic dance music. Zab isn’t just a jukebox; he’s a manipulator of sound. Armed with CDJ 2000s, Ableton Live, a DJM 800, some triggers, an iPad.. wait, what? That’s right, an iPad! And of course his EFX unit. It all made me feel inadequate as a DJ, but hey, that’s why he’s on top and I’ve all but given up. Sigh.

Zabiela threw down his standard dark progressive, breaks and tech blend, pounding out his own drum beats on the EFX, twisting the synths and chopping up the songs like he’s the master at a musical hibachi. Bouncing up and down like the Energizer bunny on a pogo stick, James had the dancefloor in his hand and whomped our asses back and forth across the room. The place exploded when our collective mind was teased and tickled then bent back on itself  as he slowly melted into dubstep before twisting it into some frantic drum & bass and downshifting back into some chugging tech… My God; amazing! Solid set throughout the night; a true DJ knows not only how to geek out on the gear, he can work the crowd. And James Zabiela made it look easy!

Check out a few more pics on my Facebook page ~

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