The Knockdown Center
Surrounded by the fog-filled techno dominated dance floors currently ubiquitous across Brooklyn and Queens, you can’t help but forget New York City is and has always been a disco town.
This is the home of David Mancuso’s Loft, the Paradise Garage, “Love Is The Message,” and Body and Soul after all. Hell, even Brooklyn rave and hardcore pioneers Frankie Bones and Lenny Dee were sampling tracks like Love Committee’s “Just As Long As I Got You” for their early “Warehouse Rave Remix(s).” Despite this city’s role in creating disco and inspiring, incubating, and exploding house, the current club landscape wants techno, hard and banging as can be, and they’re willing to pay for it.
So there’s something both exciting and subtly confusing about La Luna; a fourteen-hour long house and disco day festival produced by local nightlife minded creative agency MATTE Projects. Best known for their ambitious budgets, dramatic theming and attractive audience of working professionals, MATTE presumably envisioned La Luna as a sunnier companion to the agency’s annual overground techno party BLACK (Not to be confused with New York’s forty-year running gay circuit the Black Party). Originally called Full Moon festival, the festival’s first two years featured lineups that mixed acts like Vic Mensa and Whitney with Larry Heard and James Murphy. This year’s edition has doubled down on the dance floor with a hearty mix of boogie friendly DJs and live acts.
Anchored by an ambitiously sized disco ball, the outdoor Solaar stage’s smart curation could’ve easily doubled for the main stage with local hero and Love Injection founder Barbie Bertisch kicking things off. Beats In Space star Powder and sleaze impresario DJ Harvey followed after, delivering compact sets for the selectors typically known for their extended sets.
On the main stage, Moodymann played records like he was in his living room. Opening with Jai Paul’s modern classic “BTSTU,” there’s a subtle stand-off-ish quality to the gently crooned “don’t fuck with me.” Masked in black fishnet, the infamous producer/DJ casually let off everything from Detroit mixtape rap to a hilariously forced sing-a-long to Fatima Yamaha’s “What’s a Girl To Do” to an at times perplexed crowd. Moodymann’s sets make time for laughter, joy, and challenge in a wholly unique fashion.
With the evening’s headliner The Black Madonna unexpectedly tied up in airport customs hell, consummate professional DJ Tennis brought this boutique festival to a close with an extended set. A return to the city’s roots at a time when its club scene is fixated firmly on the future.