Review by: Ian Micallef
Governor’s Island, a short ferry ride off the tip of New York City, has only recently turned into one of the biggest EDM hotspots of the Northeast. This summer’s lineup has dramatically increased and improved upon last year's. There were bigger names, a stronger setup, and even more shows. Governor's Island has already seen such stars as Benny Benassi, Laidback Luke, Dash Berlin, and Alesso this summer. Additionally, Thomas Gold and Gareth Emrey will be also be headed to the once abandoned island in the coming months.
With all the excitement surrounding these well-known acts, it might have been easy for a DJ or two to slip through the cracks. This weekend's Juicy New York, headlined by Robbie Rivera, was one of the least buzzed about events, yet quite possibly one of the most incredible EDM concerts I have ever attended.
Robbie’s opening acts consisted of many incredibly talented, yet wildly under-rated tech house and progressive house DJs. Manuel De La Mare took the stage at 4 p.m. with a tech-house set that drew a huge crowd from the first arriving ferries. Stefano Noferini played another 90-minute tech-house set that made audience members groove and jive away.
An interesting turn of tempo came with the sounds of progressive and electro house - provided by DJs Paige and EDX who were sandwiched between the other two tech DJs. Adding these bolder, more defined sounds into the mix allowed the crowd to rage hard under the sun for some electro and progressive tracks, and then rest and groove for the much simpler and slower tech house sets.
At promptly 9:00 p.m. Robbie Rivera jumped on the decks for a non-stop banging set. What’s special about Rivera is his unique ability to incorporate a range of sounds into his sets - making his sound dynamic and ever-changing. The tracks from his set started with tech house, graduated into tribal, dropped into Dutch house, climbed into dubstep, fell into progressive house, pulled into trance, and dropped again into a hard electro-beat.
Two of the biggest moments were when he performed his Juicy Music remixes of the Violent Femmes hit song “Blister in the Sun” and later Guru Josh Project’s “Infinity” track. Classics were remixed and mashed together into a perfect harmony that left the crowd screaming for more. There were no genre-boundaries, and yet it just worked. No matter what the track was or the genre, Rivera was able to get the crowd moving to it.
Those two hours flew by. Robbie Rivera & Friends turned out to be that diamond in the rough - an underrated act that completely over-delivered. While many big names will perform on the island this summer, Robbie Rivera’s sound will reverberate in the big tent for weeks to come.