Having been obfuscated over time by the veil of controversy that invariably follows many of the high-profile incidents that have taken place over the course of the past year or so, the South Beach club circuit has garnered a reputation of intolerance toward performers that veer from the conventional electro-laden EDM format. While these occurrences may well have been isolated and infrequent, they seem to be quite at odds with the burgeoning underground techno scene that has simultaneously been proliferating itself to the very same big room venues in question. Prior to his playing at Story Nightclub for the first time, Danny Tenaglia, a legend whose career has spanned three decades, and whose sound has never ceased to encompass myriad genres over that course of time, took to his Facebook fan page, echoing these very same sentiments, stating: “HAPPY to see that Miami has really been looking UP with bringing cool names on the techno scene to mainstream venues! … I’m just so happy to see things are finally coming around and not just some isolated incidents here and there! BRING ON DA NEW.” These words could not have run any truer.
In a continuation of what has been a bevy of tremendous bookings as of late, the collaborative promotional team of LINK and MiamiRebels hit yet another home run, bringing the storied titan to a massively-scaled venue, in the wake of his retirement from DJing just this past year. It could not have been a more appropriate return to the Miami club circuit for Tenaglia, who relished in the opportunity, and turned in a truly astonishing performance that once again reiterated for everyone who happened to have had the privilege of being in attendance, just why it is that he is known as “The Godfather of House.” The crowd was rather slow to rush in, streaming in steadily over the course of the evening, while the LINK/MiamiRebels resident DJs, Danyelino and Hardline provided the soundtrack for the earlier part of the proceedings. They provided not only an effective precursor for what was to come, but truly shined in their own right, alternating between some abstract, more funk-infused grooves, and some harder, bass-laden driving tech. The track selection, as always, is completely out of the norm, and the interplay between the residents is a breath of fresh air, to say the least. Tenaglia took to the decks at around 1 AM, announcing his intention to “get right into it” to the cheering crowd gathered below his elevated platform.
While he may have started rather slowly, building into his set with some distinctly tropical drum-laden beats, he soon ratcheted the intensity to heights that not only engaged not only the body, but also the mind, in complete synchronicity. His whirring, at times abstract synth patterns could alternate from periods of expressionistic shapelessness, playing against the almost constantly pounding bass, to calculated volleys that poured down without cease. There is no question that Tenaglia’s experience has gifted him with a firm mastery of the ability to shift not only between genres, but also between tonalities. His ability to mix is seamless to the point of being immaculate, sporting a layered textural pattern that gives the music a depth that would likely not be there given a lesser-experienced hand. Admittedly, it was difficult to conceive of the notion that this was a man who had given every indication of leaving his craft behind indefinitely, for it had seemed as though he hadn’t stopped at all. But in much the same way that you cannot take a fish out of the ocean, it appears as though you can never take the music out of Danny Tenaglia, and with good reason, for the world would probably be a little bit less bright without it.