Last Friday I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Lane 8 perform a sold-out show at San Francisco’s Mezzanine. For those close to me, you’ll realize this is hardly the first time I’ve seen him live and you might ask me “so what?”. Sure, I saw Lane 8 less than one week prior at Lightning in a Bottle, and before that at CRSSD Festival and Holy Ship, but these were not nearly the same experiences as what went down last week.
The concept behind Lane 8’s show was “This Never Happened” (#TNH). The idea being that it would be a cell phone and camera-free show, bringing back an emphasis on the music, the visual experience, and human connection. This concept is not new as there are clubs around the world, such as Brooklyn’s Output, that don’t allow phones and you WILL get yelled at by security to put them away. These days we tend to be glued to our phones, busy trying to capture the moment on Social Media instead of truly experiencing events real time (I’m 100% guilty of this), and Lane 8’s call to action was to reverse the trends and get back to the music.
We live at a time when distractions from reality are never further away than our fingertips. Our phones offer us unlimited stimulation and temporary comfort. The possibilities of technology are endless, but they also limit the possibility…the possibility to truly experience and submit to the moment.
Upon arriving at Mezzanine, attendees were asked to pull out their phones so staff members could put a piece of tape over the cameras. A second inspection when you walked inside would guarantee your entry or else you’d have to go back outside to take the proper measures. I was curious how this situation would play out and I was glad to see there were security staff walking around inside making sure people were abiding by the rules. I even got yelled at because I was texting a friend who was due to meet us at the venue, and the bouncer was certainly not joking around. It was great that the crowd was giving stink eyes to people who weren’t caught by security on their phones, as everyone seemed to be in this together.
Musically, this was one of the best sets I’ve seen Lane 8 play. Lane 8 clocked about three hours on the decks, with flawless mixing that took us on a musical journey. Lots of Lane 8’s gems were played, as well as softer melodic tunes, only to be brought back up with speaker-rattling Techno tracks (Cirez D, for example, was represented). The musical flow of the set was really great in my opinion due to the ebbs and flows of the song selection – I enjoy both Lane 8’s melodic side and his tendency to play Techno bangers.
From a crowd perspective, there were vibes all around. Lane 8 attracts an educated audience, many of whom know him from his Anjunadeep days, gaining popularity thanks to Above & Beyond. But it’s not just the Group Therapy crowd that seeks out Lane 8 these days – it’s now Shipfam and Techno-lovers and fans of well-crafted House music in general (and there’s no shortage of that in San Francisco).
It was truly an honor to attend this show and I hope the #TNH trend continues on a regular basis, both with Lane 8 and other members of the dance community. Looking forward to the next one!