Slake & Arnej Put Together A Powerhouse of an Evening

Arnej Slake

Two names.  One of them is a venue, the other, a trance DJ who garnered extremely high praise as “one of the best” by Armin van Buuren less than two years prior to the EDM explosion in the United States.   You won’t find these names commonly uttered by main stage festival attendees, but to those whose knowledge gets a little bit deeper, or for those who are brave enough to “see what else is out there,” this combination was an powerhouse matchup worth going out of your way to see this past Friday night.

For those in attendance at Armin Only in Madison Square Garden on Friday night, Slake was literally right around the corner, and they were hosting a Slake signature “open to close” set from Arnej, which came free with an Armin Only ticket. After all, to walk into a situation with no expectations and no reputation, leaves the ultimate blank slate for which we an artist or a venue can use to completely shock and impress us.

From the moment you step into the club, you’re greeted with a narrow hallway, and must duck through a few corridors before the floor opens up to what my local NYC friends lovingly call “the dungeon,” a pit-row lined with two 30 feet widths, and a DJ booth matched by a small bar and VIP area in the back.  The walls have two matching cages, where local partiers can flock to let out some demons, and the disco ball is wrapped in razor wire.  It would appear the venue had more area at its disposal, but given the time of night, nearly 3am, this dungeon seemed a fitting location for us to ride our night out.

Arnej Slake

Simply put, this dungeon is a haven for degenerates.

Except, it’s not the crowd you’ll see there…at all.

The over 21 crowd Slake attracts was a generally respectful and friendly bunch (even for 3am where things traditionally start to get really weird), knowledgeable about the music, and not easily swooned by the glitz and glam of a massive laser light show and a name they’ve “kind of heard on the radio.”  It’s a venue for the purists, the people who can handle a set with an hour build and five more hours of Arnej, and the many who have come before him, exploring the depths of his own musical range, taking listeners from uplift, to depths of grit and grime.  Although I wasn’t able to get the full open to close experience, everything I was fortunate enough to see in my short time there speaks volumes about this club.

Slake seems poised to continue down the path they’re currently on, having found their niche as a club that caters to the underground, backed by a promotions team that has a very clear ear for talent both on and off the Beatport top 100. For those more interested in checking out Arnej, his Trancemission Prague 2013 set was quite an expedition.