REVIEW: BLACK Music and Art Project at Avant Gardner


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Despite the unseasonably cold weather, BLACK, The Music and Art Project, was heating up inside Avant Gardner.

Corny jokes aside, BLACK was a crowd pleaser this past weekend. In a city where parties can become repetitive, BLACK’s blend of global acts and local artists created an event New Yorkers actually wanted to attend. This was reinforced by the sizeable crowd pouring in late on a Thursday. Weeknights can be tough, especially when paired with a Friday night event, but BLACK pulled in a Friday crowd on a Thursday and this can be attributed unequivocally to its uniqueness. It was pretty damn cool.

Photo by @larufoto – Luis Antonio Ruiz

Thursday night was headlined OURI, Jacques Greene (both from Montreal) and French duo The Blaze. While I missed OURI (who, from her soundcloud, sounds baller as fuck), Jacques Greene and The Blaze did not disappoint. Jacques Greene is an NYC regular who often pops up around the city with his unique blend of electronica, house, and techno. He played an intoxicating mix of Burn For You by Kreo that brought me right back to 2006 (the track was actually released in 2002, but I was only 11 so I had to catch up). It was the most fun I’ve had dancing in a while.

The Blaze closed out the night, and you could tell by a packed venue (and the generally late arrival of party goers) that they were the main event. The duo sets themselves apart by creating emotional, poetic music grounded in house and techno beats. They often describe their music by feelings, not instruments or melodies, which is why Thursday night’s performance felt more like a group catharsis than a dance party. But in reality, they were one and the same.

BLACK wouldn’t be BLACK without the transformative art experience.

This is one way they’re setting themselves apart from your average Brooklyn warehouse show. BLACK featured local and international artists in installations throughout Avant Gardner and Kings Hall.

Photo by @larufoto – Luis Antonio Ruiz

Shohei Fujimoto and Glenn Kaino created enticing grand entrance installations for concert-goers. Children of the Light’s rotating glowing triangle was an anchor for the dance floor. VIP attendees were treated to a Daata Editions and Phillips digital art showcase. And in King’s Hall, Florence To created an entirely immersive experience of music and light, inviting attendees to sit back, look around, and simply listen.

BLACK created a safe space for attendees to dance, explore, play, and disrupt. With the help of some incredible musicians, artists, and the production power of Matte Projects (and a special shout-out to venue favorite Avant Gardner), BLACK successfully made its epic return to Brooklyn. And the WOTN staff will definitely be back for more.