REVIEW: Nina Kraviz Goes Dark at Avant Gardner

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My first time at Avant Gardner is for a Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival (BEMF) feature: Nina Kraviz with support from Mount Kimbie. What a way to experience a venue – an unexpected DJ set from one of my favorite bands followed by badass so-dark-it’s-black techno by the industry empress.

There are few venues as perfect as The Brooklyn Mirage. I’ve previously gone into detail about the outdoor desert-themed venue when I reviewed Bonobo back in July. That happened to be my first trip to The Mirage, so I feel fortunate that upon my first trip to their sister indoor venue, Avant Gardner, I get to do a review as well.

Avant Gardner is a masterfully designed space.

Nina Kraviz at Avant Gardner

Photo credit: Chris Lavado

The venue is expansive, dark, and much like the Mirage features 3-D projection mapping that really helps advance the experience. The layout allows for an easy ebb-and-flow between dancing and grabbing drinks, and plenty of outdoor spaces to smoke or chill if you are pulling a long one. Organizers also implemented a wristband charge system, which makes ordering drinks a breeze. You can still use cash – but if you do, don’t be like the guy who cut me in line then spent a solid 45 seconds trying to count 15 dollar bills in front of me and the bartender.

Nina Kraviz music can best be described as “beautifully terrifying”.

Nina Kraviz at Avant Gardner

Photo credit: Chris Lavado

It’s heart-pumping, in-your-face techno intertwined with beautiful melodies. You think you’re safe with one song then you’re hit with another. It’s part move your body and part rage with your body, and this level of dark techno is made all the more sweeter when dished out by a fellow female. Bodies were moving, people were cheers-ing, and I ran into a couple on their honeymoon.

The DJ/founder of TRIP and Galaxiid Records is no stranger to taking listeners down the rabbit hole. She created an intoxicating blend of pure techno and upbeat tech-house, and often makes the crowd question “where will she go from here?” Raw talent and ownership over the audience are two cornerstones of Nina’s typical performances and she did not disappoint during her stop in Brooklyn.

The BEMF show was the last stop on the Russian artist’s tour of North America, after hitting up a few other festivals and select shows across the U.S. in September.

Nina was supported by one half of Mount Kimbie, the UK electronic duo most commonly associated with indie-electronic hybrids and King Krule. I’m a big fan of their live project but had yet to see a DJ set. I was pleasantly surprised to find a dark, aggressive set that could only be the opening for techno’s tsarina.

Avant Gardner showed how dark it can go, and fans enjoyed an impressive night of deep cuts, hard beats, and the best kind of fans a girl could ask for. 

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