You could hear the bass from down the street. As night fell over the Hudson River, a mass of costume-clad fans appeared along the Westside highway, walking against traffic and towards the emanating pounding beats. For anyone in the area, it was clear that their destination was Pier 94, the monstrous venue transformed for the weekend into the Pier of Fear. Premiering for the first night of a doubleheader Halloweekend as Manhattan's very own bass mecca, the pier set the bar high with an impressive lineup featuring Knife Party, Tommy Trash and Kill the Noise, and supporting acts Destructo, Baauer, and Style of Eye to set stage for the madness of the weekend to come.
The event kicked off at 9pm, and the open warehouse space began to fill with bass fans donning costumes of all types. Illuminated by the flickering lasers dancing across the room, the soon-to-be sweat-drenched crowd was rambunctious and energized for the night to come. The pier's impressive setup worked perfectly in conjunction with the style of music to create the ultimate Halloween-themed scene; with such immense space, the acoustics of the bass-heavy beats bounced from wall to wall and the womp was nearly impossible to ignore. And with New York appropriately taking the reigns and serving as the first stop on the Haunted House Tour's five show run, the scene was set for the ultimate Halloween weekend kickoff.
Hard Event head honcho Destructo, whose brand partnered with RPM to produce the evening’s festivities, laid the soundtrack to the first hour of the night. Providing the best in hardstyle and electro, the LA-based DJ played off the mounting energy of the thousands filtering into the immense venue. Following acts Baauer and Style of Eye took the crowd on a journey with the finest sounds in trap, dubstep, and drum and bass, and the first few hours flew by in a bass-heavy blur. As young dubstep producer Kill the Noise came on to smash out an eclectic, funky, and envelope-pushing set, he proved the dynamic reputation he is known for to be true. Despite some technical difficulties, the artist also known as "Ewun" laid out an impressive set, complete with tracks off his new album and festival favorites like Skrillex’s "Fresh Prince" remix that we first heard and loved at Electric Zoo. As his set was wrapping up, one glance around the once vast venue showed that it was now jam-packed with fans stretching as far the eye could see. The mounting energy level was a sign that the headlining duo Knife Party was set to take the decks and kick the evening into full gear, and the crowd was ready. After all, what’s Halloween without a few stabbings?
As Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen entered the booth and cranked the bass, the fans spanning the entire length of the warehouse threw their Knife Party logo masks on and prepared for the madness that was to ensue. The set started off strong and hard hitting as the boys debuted an ID off their new EP, complete with the fierce electro flare that the duo is known for. The crowd instantly recognized the unrecognizable and responded wildly to the fresh track. Rob and Gareth countered this by transitioning into "Antidote," their epic and well-known collaboration with Swedish House Mafia, and the perfectly synched confetti canons blasted through the air and added to the epic laser show above. The image of the costume-clad crowd getting low to the hard electro beats was quite the sight to see, and it seemed as if the crowd did not stop dancing from the minute the set started. As Knife Party seamlessly transitioned through songs of all different genres, premiering the fiercest beats and playing off the crowd’s energy, they laid out banger after banger in true festival set fashion. Their hard hitting remix of the Swedes' classic "Save the World" had everyone belting out the lyrics, and "Centipede" and "Drumfire," two classics of their Rage Valley EP, provided for funky breakdowns and dubby get-downs across the arena. Of course no Knife Party set would be complete without their electro anthem, "Internet Friends," and as that recognizable iPhone ringtone blared through the speakers, the crowd went wild knowing what they were in for. The perfectly Halloween-themed song added to the spooky vibes throughout the pier, and it seemed as if time was of no essence. As the former members of Pendulum wrapped up, they kicked into drum and bass mode with the Noisia remix of the Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up," and closed out with their drumstep remix of Nero's "Crush On You." The highly anticipated headliners did not fail to impress, and proved to everyone in attendance that there really is no party like a Knife Party.
By this point the clock had struck 3 AM, and as Knife Party exited stage left, it was clear the night was not dead yet. Long-haired Aussie Tommy Trash made short work of making his presence known as he assumed position behind the decks. As the hallowed hallmarks of the Michael Myer’s classic Halloween theme filled the room, the Trash man made his intentions for the rest of the night clear. What followed was a set filled mostly with the man’s own staples, and a much-welcomed burst of melody in a night characterized by non-stop bass. The crowd was sent into a frenzy when Trash dropped of his chart-topping remix of Deadmau5’s "The Veldt," and they responded in approval as he twisted and turned through a catalogue of killer tracks from his own repertoire. Not before long, the familiar screeches of his breakthrough hit "The End" seemed to foreshadow the night’s climax. But Tommy searched for more, allowing the crowd a minute to breathe to his Florence and the Machine bootleg. Almost like a courtship from Count Dracula, the lyrics “you’ve got the love I need” even seemed to have a sinister edge this evening. From there, Tommy thought it time to break through the dark, and his single "Sunrise" seemed to signal a shift in his set, perhaps serving as an ode to let the crowd know that the remaining night was short. Without letting them think too much, however, Tommy quickly re-upped the ante and brought out his collaboration with Swedish big gun Sebastian Ingrosso, the Pier of Fear’s Saturday headliner. Their melodic anthem, “Reload” bounced around the arena and had the entire crowd chanting along to the beloved tune. Without hesitation, Trash kept the energy high as he transitioned into the now ubiquitous rework of Steve Aoki’s "Ladi Dadi," and with one last blast Trash’s hard rocking hit “Cascade” floored those still left in attendance. As a cascade of confetti fell from above, it was clear that the night was through, and the conga line of costumed fans cleared out the pier and made their way home to their own haunts.
The evening served as the perfect storm before the storm to kickoff the epic weekend, and brought to New York an abundance of fresh talent and energized fans. What started as an impressive Friday night show transformed into a full-blown mini festival; from the lesser-known openers to the infamous headliners, all the artists brought it hard, and contributed to the impressive display in bass-heavy talent. If transpiring ear ringing is any indication of a good time, consider all attendees of the Pier's Halloween premier veterans of a good time. And for any who missed out, be sure to check out the lineup of talent next time they are in town, or on the next leg of the Haunted House Tour as it makes its way through the nation in the week to come.
Slideshow photos by Michael O'Sullivan.