As part of his 24 date North America tour promoting November’s iconic Damage Control, British DJ Mat Zo stopped in New York City to play an extremely packed, energetic show at the famous Pacha NYC venue. Four years in the making, Matan Zohar has released an incredible album, and translated it well into his live performance.
Damage Control is an amalgam of electronic genres, as Zo isn’t much a fan of rigid contexts for albums, which was more than noticeable in his legendary Essential Mix released on BBC’s Radio 1 back in February. His nearly four-hour set, starting at 2:15am, was noticeably more bombastic and he effortlessly kept the crowd dancing all throughout the night at such ungodly hours in the morning.
The show began with Pacha’s house DJ, who played for two hours. Opening after him was Treasure Fingers, who played an eclectic, disco-infused set —even including an aerial silk dancer near the end of his performance. I was surprised that the first hour of Zo’s set didn’t include any new songs. However, being that it was my first time at the world-renowned Pacha, I didn’t expect the show to last until 6am! With a four hour set, Zo really knew how to keep the crowd stimulated and fired up throughout the night until the wee hours.
Zo began with smash-hits from the likes of Wolfgang Gartner and Tommy Trash, Pryda, Kill Paris, and Above and Beyond. It wasn’t until the second hour that we started to hear the first wave of Damage Control songs beginning with EZ, which is a down-tempo version of his Number One collaborative hit with Porter Robinson, Easy. Later in the night he played a mashup of Strobe by Deadmau5 with acapella from Above & Beyond’s Sun & Moon, to which he dropped the acapella and had full reign of the crowd as they filled in the chorus in its absence. Another great mashup involved Zo’s extended mix of Pyramid Scheme with the breakdown of Above & Beyond’s Walter White, before driving back into Pyramid Scheme’s upbeat explosion. Gradually throughout the night, more songs emerged from Mat Zo’s new album, including: Time On Your Side, Time Dilation, Lucid Dreams, The Sky, Hurricane, Caller ID, and Easy.
Mat Zo has previously gone on record stating that he would rather play Pacha than attend it, due to the nature of bottle-service clubs, and that sometimes the crowd isn’t always there for the music, rather to partake in a flamboyant expression of wealth. Ultimately, it was a night where everyone was truly there for the music, as the venue was absolutely packed with four floors of people dancing, and an even more crowded main dance room with absolutely killer LED visuals.
The night was full of sheer joy, dancing until you were exhausted, and then dancing some more. While Damage Control is a one-of-a-kind album that defies being pegged by genre or era, its translation into a live DJ set proved to be stellar and a rare example of prime DJ skill. Be sure to keep an eye out for Mat Zo in 2014, as he’s set to become a massive international name in the EDM scene.