- Nick McManus
Nick at Night: BK Mirage Season Opener, Cityfox: Regenerate
Adriatique (top) with their fans at the conclusion of their headlining set for Cityfox: Regenerate at Avant Gardner,
5/12/19 at 4:30a.
Saturday night's rain didn't stop lavish party promoters Cityfox from hosting Regenerate, part of Brooklyn Mirage's opening weekend. Regenerate was venue Avant Gardner's first party of the year to unite BK Mirage's outdoor stage with its adjoining Great and King's Halls. The event's international roster climaxed with Swiss DJ's Adriatique spinning house and techno for an audience that grew like a garden under the spring rain.
Arriving at Avant Gardner under a cloudy dusk, we saw the venue's crews putting on the final touches while we spoke with Jermaine Santiago who was running the guest-list entrance. "Last night we had [South African DJ] Black Coffee open up Mirage and it was bananas!" When we asked what time, the party went till Santiago informed us that "it went till 4:30a which is when all the events will end this year as opposed to 6 or 7am like we used to. Instead of late nights we're gonna focus on putting on more shows."
Brooklyn Mirage's new Garden and Forest Lounges for this year debuted this weekend with the aim of their guests taking a fancier drop while dining in style. Food and Beverage Director Martin Naughton explained to us what's new. "We doubled the size of the of bars out here and inside at the Garden Lounge. Plus, we've expanded our cocktail menu which is gonna be unmatched in a venue this size."
Garden Lounge Food Manager Chris MacLaughlin (right pic, at left) with his pizza oven alongside music producer Joseph Levine (left pic, second from right) as he shared a pizza.
While painstakingly making pizzas from a menu he curated, Brooklyn Mirage's in-house executive chef, Chris McLaughlin told us how his 12" pies were named after his favorite classic pro-wrestlers. We went for the "Savage" (named after Macho Man Randy Savage) that was topped with sausage, mushrooms, smoked mozzarella and Calabrese peppers. “I came up with pizzas I like to make for myself," McLaughlin told us. "Like the Savage, when I'm at home I always add sausage and mushroom. It's the best."
Regenerate's doors opened at 6:30pm and the first guests strolled in as Rachel Torro started up Brooklyn Mirage's stage. Early-bird partier John Keller was with his circle of friends and they all had their venue-provided ponchos in hand as it started to drizzle. Keller is a huge fan of the venue and said, "it's the season opener, you gotta be here for this." When asked about the show's he's seen there, Keller was quick with an answer. "Oh, it was Anjunabeats last year. That night changed my life forever."
Similar emotions were felt onstage as Rachel Torro described how happy she was to be performing that night. "To say I'm extremely excited to be here is an understatement. I've been following Cityfox's [music] label and event experience for years and I'm still pinching myself that I get to be a small part of it."
With clouds limiting the sunset, we ascended towards Brooklyn Mirage's top-most parapets to see the Manhattan skyline before it disappeared from view. There were tourist-style telescopes up there that brought us closer not only to the distant buildings and but also to the party below for ultimate in people-watching.
Trading our scopes for screens, we watched "Jet Lag", a 360-degree projection-mapped installation by art collective 404.zero in the Great Hall. The experience was right out of a planetarium theater, complete with seats and surround sound. Local musician Dru Cutler told us about it as he sat cozy with his friends. "It's spiritual...I've been watching it for 10 minutes and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon."
Over the secluded Village stage, DJ Hiyawatha was blowing out his birthday candles while spinning a pair of Pioneer decks. After speaking with him before his set, it came as no surprise that the former Webster Hall Girls & Boys party resident would spin there on his big day. "Brooklyn Mirage is quite literally one of the most incredible live music venues in NYC today and has created a whole new experience for the fans," he said. "The team at Cityfox has consistently pushed the boundaries on line-ups, production and the overall vibe of what a true night out in NYC should be."
16BL took over the Village next with deep-house grooves that held his dancers in rapture under soft raindrops. Canada's Clarian performed afterwards accompanied by a synth-keyboardist and electronic violinist. As the three played under a small stage cover, they were tucked together as tight as their mobbed-up dance floor. Asked about his set afterwards, Clarian told us "it was hot n' wet, just the way I like it."
DJ and producer Lauren Ritter set off the music in King's Hall before Germany's singer-songwriter Monolink coupled his guitar with his electronic melodies. Ritter, a native New Yorker, told us about Cityfox's appreciation of local DJ's in addition to their global ones. "They curate lineups that seek out amazing international artists while still keeping a focus on Brooklyn's local talent."
Germans Adam Port and &ME followed Monolink for their second back-to-back set of the night after one on BK Mirage's stage before handing the stage over to Great Britain's Patrick Topping. Before his set we spoke with fellow Briton Patrick Topping who was there with his former Long Island University classmates and flew in just to see Topping spin. "I'm a huge fan and I've seen him in venues all over the UK, tonight's gonna be awesome and I'm excited to see with him with my friends."
The grandeur of Brooklyn Mirage opened to the audience as the skies opened up from above. Under a porch umbrella, veteran DJ's Anja Schneider and Recondite, unleashed a torrent of beats that overpowered the elements. "The rain can be challenging because you have to motivate the crowd that much more," Recondite told us as he dried off after his set. "But tonight, was good. It rained here just like this last year when I played with Tale of Us for the Afterlife party. The fact that [Avant Gardner] holds so many options is pretty special. It can be indoor, outdoor or even clubby."
Adriatique, who also played in last year's rain for the Afterlife party, kept the outdoor venue packed for an audience that was dancing in their soaked shoes. In the midst of it all was another on-stage birthday, this time for Brooklyn Mirage's designer Marc Dizon who was having the time of his life in a place he helped create. Dizon designed the space in just seven weeks and has described the venue as "a vessel to transport patrons out of Bushwick. We rode the line between something nostalgic and something futuristic. Architecturally, it was our answer to creating something monumental."