Despite the impending doom threatening from above, NYC’s grey skies stayed dry this last Saturday, October 6th, allowing Ibiza United’s Black & White Festival to go on with its almost unbeatable lineup of underground stars. Details leading up to the event were vague at best, and an ostensible legal hiccup involving its promoters only added to the somewhat sketchy aura surrounding the festival. Despite the murky organization, with names like Jamie Jones, Butch, Carl Craig, and Derrick Carter on the bill, it was clear that the music at the Black & White Festival would be top notch. With a goal of bringing the vibe of Jones’ Paradise residency at DC-10 in Ibiza, the bar was set high for the two-day festival.
With our skepticism in check, we boarded the ferry to begin the journey to Governor’s Island, a tricky venue for an October show given its outdoor beachfront location. Encouraging, however, were the black-clothed attendees, representing a demographic that was a far cry from the neon-clad hoards generally seen clambering to the island for its commercial festivals. This crowd knew what it was doing, which made for a pleasant and community-like atmosphere not seen at other shows over the course of the summer, which played host to Gareth Emery, Thomas Gold, and Benny Benassi amongst many others. So far, so good.
Upon arrival, the crowd was already grooving to the prime house sounds of Bülent Gürler, better known as Butch. Known for his wide range of music spanning a variety of genres, Butch named Jones’ Hot Creations label as one of his favorite to release on—which he will soon do in the form of an experimental EP. Sitting down with Butch after his set, he noted that although he is not often in the US, he agreed that the underground scene is growing stateside. However, he hopes the scene doesn’t expand exponentially, saying, “I think it doesn’t have to be big. It’s cool when it’s small so it’s really underground then,” which is perhaps a thought that fans at festivals such as Black & White would agree with. If the baby ravers stay away, the professionals can play—a mentality that this festival definitely embodied. Butch’s funky set was a perfect compliment to the diminishing sun, one way the setting evoked memories of Ibiza. And rumor has it he will be touring the US more regularly in the near future, a sure treat for any house fan.
As the night grew chillier, the crowd heated up as Antonio Piacquadio, Carl Craig, and Jamie Jones took the decks in succession. Although Jones did not execute on his promised four-hour set, he played solidly for two and a half hours until the midnight curfew arrived. Absent from his set was the wackiness that occasionally manifests itself during his sets—but when he’s on, he’s on, and as the headliner on Saturday, he showed why he was voted Resident Advisor’s #1 DJ of 2011. Unfortunately, by the last half hour of the show, there were arguably more people on stage than in the crowd, but for everyone there, it was a party.
Photos by Cheyenne Bosco