The Brooklyn Mirage hosted season-closing party Cityfox Transcend and it transcended space and time as revelers partied through sunrise.
When Brooklyn Mirage announced earlier this year they would host Cityfox Transcend for its season-closing party, fans had a lot to get excited about. The event would span three stages, last 12-hours, and host a killer lineup of Cityfox talent, so this was immediately quite a draw. Then factor in the success of previous Brooklyn Mirage/Avant Gardner events like Cityfox Halloween and Cityfox Odyssey, and the anticipation was dialed up to 11.
This event exceeded expectations with the DJs all bringing their “A” game and the venue delivering yet another unique configuration to showcase the entirety of the Avant Gardner space. The promised 12-hours of music went well past the advertised 6am end time and Dixon was still going strong when the sun rose at 7 AM. Sunrise revealed the magic of Brooklyn Mirage as fans could see the golden glow of the sun reflecting off the NYC skyline. So let’s break down the 12… I mean 13+ hour event in all its glory!
After a logistics snafu with my friends, we arrived around 11 PM and unfortunately missed out on the early acts.
While an 11pm arrival meant that we were still taking in a full eight hours of musical entertainment, this was not my original plan. I like to arrive early, get the lay of the land, and soak in all the supporting acts that don’t get the love they deserve. I’ve discovered a lot of talent before they broke out by doing this. But alas, the realism of coordinating a crew and dealing with NYC commuting forced us into a different reality. I’ve already heard from some friends that I really missed out on great sets from the likes of Tony Y Not, Adana Twins, and Dory.
When we arrived, we did a quick tour of the layout to assure we knew where everything was located before the full crowd would make it harder to explore. We quickly passed through the main stage at Mirage and discovered the Village stage which I’d never seen before. Cityfox always finds nooks and crannies to set up smaller stages, but the Village was truly unique. Situated in the courtyard of a few shipping containers turned green rooms that are stacked two-high, it felt much more intimate than the other stages. It was also the one space that was jammed elbow to elbow because the vibe was perfect for a small, crowded dance party. My only regret is that I didn’t camp out here more.
We next passed through King’s Hall and stuck around for the very end of Dory’s set which brought up nostalgic endorphins with the video game-style of the closing tracks. As Dory wrapped, there was a short silence before Oliver Schories‘ set. Since I hadn’t seen anyone on this lineup live before, I wanted to take in as many of them as possible and Schories was a hit for me playing a mostly deep house set for the time we were with him.
As the midnight hour came and went, the crowd was strangely sparse for an event of this caliber.
When we noticed that the crowd wasn’t as full as we expected, we began to ponder the possible reasons, which were many. We’re all aware that as live events are returning there are way more conflicts on a given night than pre-pandemic. I confirmed with some friends the next day that they arrived at 6 PM, stayed till midnight, then bounced out to another event in progress.
There also may have also been confusion about the required vaccination status. Brooklyn Mirage has been operating its events without requiring proof of because it’s outdoors, but since Cityfox Transcend included the indoor spaces of the larger Avant Gardner facility, vaccination proof was required.
The crowd did fill in as the early morning hours approached, so there were likely some revelers that did the opposite of my friends and landed here late. It never felt empty, just a bit less full than I’d expect. So when we dropped in on Henrik Schwarz and his live set on main stage, we were happy we could get into the middle of the floor without too much challenge, yet it still had the full energy of the crowd.
When Patrick Topping began his set, I was entirely unprepared for the music that was about to wash over me like a tidal wave.
Admittedly, Patrick Topping was at the top of my must-see list for this event, but there was enough parity of talent that I wouldn’t really be disappointed if I missed out on anyone. That changed quickly as he took the stage. I think I spent the first 30 minutes of his set bouncing up and down with a dumb look stuck on my face because I just couldn’t comprehend what I was hearing. The spell was broken when my friend commented that the “2000 vibes” were so strong in this set. I thought it sounded even older than that so I started to ID tracks that confirmed her suspicion – Topping was throwing down a party like it was 1999!
What made Patrick Topping’s throwback to the millennium new year’s celebration doubly intriguing is that he would weave in individual modern tunes and new releases so seamlessly. In between throwback tracks from the late ’90s like “Up To No Good” by Porn Kings and “It’s Time To Get Funky” from Da Klubb Kings he laced in “Coming For You” from Eats Everything which was just released this year. Topping kept us dancing brilliantly as he followed a clear theme in his set and occasionally tossed in unexpected surprises. This was definitely my most memorable set of the night, but some heavy hitters that followed came darn close to taking the crown.
Next up was Âme who took a sharp left turn that put me on uncertain footing, then fully satisfied over the course of 75 minutes.
When set times were announced, I was a little disappointed to see that Âme was only listed for an hour and fifteen minutes, especially when their often b2b partner, Dixon, was listed for 2.5 hours (and ultimately played for almost 4). I was speculating that the start of Dixon’s set might be an announced b2b. But, alas, Âme was, in fact, a shorter set – yet one that was such a fascinating bridge between Patrick Topping and Dixon as it was entirely live.
Âme opened their set in the most minimal tech style and it was soon obvious that this was going to carry through the full set. A friend of mine joked that many of the “kids” wouldn’t understand this minimal style and would bail, but ultimately when Âme finished at 3:30 the crowd was still at its peak. This set was an example of “just what we didn’t know we needed.” After Patrick Topping dropped club banger after club banger, we needed a palate cleanser before entering the final hours of the early morning. This set left me drooling and I cannot wait to see Âme another time as I expect the duo has a lot of tricks up their sleeve and no two sets are ever the same.
Only as Âme was completing their set did I realize I hadn’t moved from main stage for over four hours.
My original plans to catch a little of all the different sets had now been thwarted, so I committed to hearing Dixon‘s opening and then catching some of Serge Devant before returning for the event closing from Dixon. Well, those plans were dashed as well because Dixon dug in deep and played a straight-down-the-middle techno set that is only best enjoyed without interruption.
We ultimately did interrupt slightly to grab some grub before the food court closed at 4am, but luckily Dixon was playing in the speakers there so we felt like we were still a part of it. Speaking of food, Cityfox had two concessions with the tongue in cheek names City Parlor and Fox Hole. While the fare was solid, if somewhat predictable, the truffle aioli fries were a decent standout.
As Dixon played on (and on) well past the previously stated 6am end time, things began truly get magical.
We first noticed that the moon was a crescent and the angle in the sky made it a smile that was shining down on us as we danced to heavy techno. Then as dawn found us in the exhaustion of a long dance party, the glow on the horizon to the east and the golden reflection on the NYC skyline to the west gave us the energy needed to keep going. I may have left clubs into the morning sun, but rarely have I had the pleasure of an open-air venue to experience the sunrise in all its glory while dancing away to driving beats. If you’ve never done this before, I command you, go forth and find a way!
Cityfox once again delivered an immersive and jam packed event, but Transcend strayed from the Cityfox formula in one notable way.
When we first arrived and toured the venue, there was a notable change from previous Cityfox events. Past events were visually seamlessly immersive with every space, be it stage, food court, hall, bar, or otherwise. Transcend did not provide an integrated and immersive experience. However, let me be clear that I’m not sure this is a bad thing, but simply a change that needed noting.
Where the Halloween and NYE experiences in 2019 were so programmed and almost overwhelming, I found Transcend to be more like an old-school warehouse rave with one of the stages in the open air. I personally enjoyed this vibe quite a lot, but I can also see where more projection mapping on the main stage, for example, may have been appealing as the hours waned.
While it might be nice to know before going in which style event you are entering, Cityfox will never disappoint. Be it warehouse-style or over-the-top production, in the end, it is no matter. The talent will always deliver and the crowd just cannot help but dance the night away. So get yourself to a Cityfox party when you can, I promise you will not regret it!