Time Warp’s last stop of their 25th anniversary tour came to New York City for the first time since 2015 last weekend. The legendary techno festival celebrated such a milestone this year by throwing unreal parties in Germany (their home base), Brazil, and finally finishing it off here in the United States. Time Warp USA boasted a lineup that was chock-full of some of the best selectors in the entire world, and as a developing techno enthusiast myself, I had to see this one go down.
Techno has always been a beloved genre in certain locations around the world, but it’s just recently starting to make a big resurgence in the United States. The states do have their fair share of respected stages for techno such as Detroit’s Movement Festival, Ultra Music Festival, and certain clubs like Space Miami, but Time Warp may be considered one of the most prestigious events for the genre in the world right now. With this knowledge, I was heading into the New York Expo Center with exceedingly high expectations from every artist, and I still managed to be absolutely blown away by the performances I saw that weekend.
The first thing that I took notice of when stepping into the venue was the incredible design of Floor 1 (the main stage). Not only did they have cloud/bubble-like objects covering the entire ceiling, but an array of powerful lights scattered throughout the entire room. From a distance back from the stage, it felt like you were inside the belly of monstrous spaceship. The sound that was set up in that room was also perhaps some of the best I’ve ever heard outside of a night club. Each and every kick drum was so satisfying. The bass vibrated everything in its wake. It was the perfect setup for an all-night marathon.
After checking out Floor 2, a smaller room with another stimulating presentation, I got acclimated to my surroundings for this 9-hour affair. I settled in to what was going to be two full rounds of some of the most impressive DJ sets I had ever seen.
With such a stacked lineup, the schedule was set up where there were virtually no breaks to be had. The night may have started to progress into morning (the event ran from 10:00pm-7:00am), but you would have had no idea. The energy continued to rise and rise.
Without further ado, here are the five most mind-blowing performances I witnessed at Time Warp USA:
Peggy may serenade us with some of her groovy productions like “Starry Night,” but when she gets behind the decks, she is a brutal force to be reckoned with. Those that are a fan of her original work may not expect the gritty, guttural bangers she whips out during her set, but just take a look at these two cuts that turned her crowd into a frenzy:
This eccentric, lovable, party animal may have shown up a half hour late to his set, but he quickly redeemed himself by throwing on some of the most unique techno I’ve ever heard. Ricardo Villalobos is an underground icon in the techno community, and had Floor 2 at total capacity for his legendary set.
One of techno’s OGs. Richie has transcended from the world of normal DJing with all the different gadgets that he fiddles with live on stage. While most of the DJs at Time Warp had a full posse behind the booth, many stood back in awe has Richie entranced the thousands in attendance with his specific variety of high-tempo, soul-sucking beats. There was a segment of time during this set where I literally just stood there and watched in amazement.
Maceo Plex may be one of the most celebrated producers in all of techno. His vibe has such a specific ring to it. With evil, robotic sounding vocal samples, relentless bass, and the concentrated red lighting in the venue, Maceo Plex was assuming the form of an indestructible techno super-villain, and everybody in attendance was at his mercy.
Tunisian superstar Loco Dice was on closing duties (5:00am-7:00am) for the entire festival up, against the famed Nina Kraviz on the second night. Even though he was the DJ I had seen the most prior to this event, I had to see what he was going to bring to such a prestigious stage. With energy levels running low, Loco Dice fully sent it with fast-paced house/techno heaters that kept the crowd wide awake until the very end. In fact, Loco Dice couldn’t seem to pry himself away from the decks. He had bid farewell to the crowd a handful of times, but we all kept demanding more, and he ended up sticking around over an hour after the event had officially ended to give the people what they wanted. It was the perfect ending to such an epic event. The video below took place at 8:00am: