If a man could make love to a machine, this is it...

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New York Bowery Ballroom


New York Bowery Ballroom

[a]BT[/a]’s car has just pulled up to the kerb and already intensity swirls around him like the morning’s trash. A frantic employee rushes out of the car and tells the bouncer who tries to stop him that “the artist” has arrived and he’s running late. Said celeb – also known as Brian Transeau – is hurried in, and 30 minutes later, he blazes onstage for an hour of the most hard-earned trance New York has ever seen.

If man could make love to a machine, this is it. [a]BT[/a] attacks his synthesisers with wedding-night fervour, pounding their keys until everyone in the room whoops with delight. He constantly commands the crowd to get more into it, but they don’t need his encouragement. From the opening number, ESCM‘s ‘Love, Peace and Grease’, it’s clear that they adore him and will do anything he says.

Likewise, [a]BT[/a] gets off on their enthusiastic responses, leading to a sort of ridiculous lovefest between the performer and his fans. He tickles the crowd with mixes of ‘Dreaming’, ‘Flaming June’ and ‘Mercury and Solace’; strains of Tori Amos sneak in on ‘Blue Skies’ and after some early mike troubles, Soul Coughing‘s Michael Doughty sings ‘Never Gonna Come Back Down’ during a too-brief encore.

The show, which started off with sets by Liquid Todd and DJ Rap, leaves New Yorkers as drenched as [a]BT[/a] himself, who tonight has proven to be the hardest working man in trance. OK, he can be over the top – like when he raises his arms heavenward or when he yells “come on!” with the intensity of a drill sergeant – but it fits with the passion of his performance.

And so when [a]BT[/a] triumphantly exclaims “fuck yeah!” at the end of his gig, it’s not just the equivalent of a post-coital smoke. It’s a Tuesday night thankful to have tasted the weekend’s good life.