Benny Benassi In Gainesville
Author’s Note: We incorrectly reported that Benassi left the show at around 1 a.m., following some technical difficulties. Our apologies! He came back after a break backstage and played, uninterrupted, for another 30 minutes or so. Sometimes, mistakes happen.
Mr. Electroman himself, Benny Benassi, stopped by to rock Gainesville Friday, July 1. Courtesy of Dynasty, it was the first in a massive series of events this month in Gville. Judging by the crowd in attendance, this town is ready for it.
By 11 p.m., the place was packed. The crowd was pretty bro-y, can’t lie. They even had the locally founded company Brohats set up at the entrance, pushing their brightly-colored party slogan caps to everyone who walked in. (If you haven’t seen their RAGE and SWAG hats in your town yet, just wait, you will.)
As the local opening DJ played low-key boom boom house tracks, the Florida Theatre continued to fill up with ragers, who continued to fill their bellies with alcohol and, I’m gonna go ahead and say, other things.
The show was almost cancelled when police got all huffy about capacity. The front half of the place was so scrunched full of people, they announced they’d have to shut it down if some didn’t move towards the back, give each other a little breathing room. The show wasn’t cancelled, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t cram more people in by the end.
The stage itself was a madhouse. Extra cash granted access to the best seats in the house, and there must have been about 30-40 people up there dancing and making a ruckus. From the back, all you saw was a crowd of dancing shadows, silhouetted by green and blue lasers.
Benassi finally took over the decks at midnight. Everyone crowded to be near the man. Camera phone flashes filled the air like spazzing fireflies. The crowd below started chanting, “Benny, Benny, Benny,” one that would repeat itself throughout the evening.
Right away, he brought jams with some electro house, working the party vibe quickly into a frenetic craze. Benassi is an older player of the scene, but as I learned last year at Electric Zoo, he still knows how to keep the party going. He’s not the flashiest performer or mixer, but he can hold his own as a selector among his younger peers.
Benassi smiled and nodded his head, sipping on some lemon tea, but all around him was mayhem. About 10 beach balls were thrown into the crowd, many of which bounced off my head and the decks themselves. VIPs near the front of the stage handed bottles of liquor out to the screaming girls on the other side of the barrier.
Before long, the front rows said fuck it and jumped up on the front speakers. What started as about six girls trying to get a better view quickly became about 30 people shoving themselves onto whatever standing room they could find. I was sandwiched between the stage barrier and the man himself, hiding under the out-stretched arms of crazy fans trying to reach the DJ, who seemed to accept the adoration in a very zen-master kind of way.
“Oh my god, I’m so close to Benassi. Take my picture with Benassi,” some girl was yelling. And as the energy rose, suddenly, boom, it stopped.
The music just died. The first time. It would happen four times in one hour. Like, mid-build up, you know what was coming was good, then silence. Benassi would grab the mic, say some “thank you”s and “excuse me”s in his broken English and Italian accent.
Everyone was a pretty good sport about it. It never took more than a few minutes to get the music back up, but I can imagine it sucks to go through all the trouble of working the crowd, just to have the energy level dropped by technical difficulties. Benassi get the chance to work in his biggest hit off his new album, Cinema, without any trouble. The place went crazy as he mixed the popular Skrillex remix in and out of his own original mix. Probably the highlight of the set.
Apparently, Benassi wasn’t having the musical black-outs and walked off the stage during the fourth and final fail. All in all, he only played for an hour. The local DJ opener came back on for a bit as Benassi took a break backstage, but he came back out to play some more, dropping his signature track Satisfaction to everyone’s amusement.
Before the end of the night, the opening DJ would come back on to play for the last few minutes, and when the music finally died the crowd shouted for “one more song!” But it was too late, Benassi had left the building and the night had come to a close.
All in all, Gainesville had fun, but the show was not without its setbacks. Benassi said it best on his twitter that night.
“(SIC)some technical problem tonight guys .energy power came and went Thanks 4 your patience . in the end it was a beautiful show.” Woosah Benassi, woosah.
Benny Benassi feat. Gary Go – Cinema
Benny Benassi feat. T Pain – Electroman