Sasha never smiles. His face is always serious, concentrated and emanating the essence of a “boss.” Otherwise known as the tech house DJ face—smiling is not a part of the equation in these dark and heavy themes that boast minor earthquakes throughout the night.
Saturday night at Shine (Shelbourne Hotel), he decided to take everyone there for a journey of emotions pretty much unparalleled to most of his prior sets. Maybe it was the ambiance of the place—extremely dark except for a colored mood lighting here and there: where judgments are lost and emotions run free. It emphasized the saying "by cover of night" simply taken to a higher euphoric direction. Or perhaps it was the group of people that had decided not to miss out since after the Digweed slash Sasha boat rides stopped, his involvement had diminished.
Stepping up to the task of opening up for the DJ considered greater than God were Guy Gerber and Jonathan Crowe, with Three directly preceding Sasha himself. It seems as if they had discussed prior the direction Sasha was to play that night because the melodic uplifts in Three's sets were already hinting of the more to come. A packed room started dancing around until Sasha stepped up to the decks and everyone wondered, "where will you take us tonight?"
I can only describe it as what can be undoubtedly classified as the most emotionally heartbreaking sets ever played. Tracks selected simply screamed euphoria with each track and basslines that made your heart change how it was beating. The energy feeding at Shine that night wasn't in the form of physical action per say, but emotional volume. The first half of his set created that space in time where one could simply get lost inside themselves while simultaneously surrounded by countless others searching for themselves as well.
When people say that they don't like house or techno, it's because they do not see music as a vehicle for emotion. Each vibration of the sub connects us by making us move on the same rhythm, the same heartbeat. Each melodic rift so uplifting that hands raise towards the sky in an effort of demonstrating that feeling. In a sense, I believe Sasha's set was what should be called "trance" as opposed to the movement of music that derived of itself from German techno. It was entire songs that became transcended for the crowd, not just segments of vocals. Many of those tracks may be classified however more towards electronica.
While the first half of his set had us all up in tears, he made the gradual change in beat. From slower floating bass kicks came in a harder 4:4 house rhythm that signaled to the crowd, leave those tears behind and groove yourself happy. Just when it seemed like Sasha was going to finish up his set, he engaged in an hour and a half b2b set with Three, who would switch with him every ten minutes or so. Three's skills came to light when going b2b with Sasha, since it is not an easy task going up to par with one of the world's best. While still maintaining the flow, Three's tracks had a faster beat at first than Sasha's tracks until both sides matched their paces.
Feeding off the emotion on the dancefloor, Sasha loosened up. It was as if he had thought to himself "alright you bared your souls to me, I can step away from the mask." Remember, Sasha does not smile and Sasha never lights his own cigarettes. But unusually there was a grin on his face. Starting with smirks he moved onto smiles and finally getting himself into a groove, dancing himself in the booth. This good mood even reached to the point of him shaking guests' hands and showing acknowledgement of comments shouted at him. He still never lit his own cigarette.
Word of his party had brought in an all-star cast hanging in the booth or nearly stopping by. Cassy, known for her steel-cold demeanor when spinning, was dancing up a storm behind Sasha, shaking her butt and grooving in the booth as if it was the last night on earth. Ferry Corsten even dropped by Shine to feel these good vibrations that were being felt all over the club.
Watching the videos and reliving the moment makes me tear up. If I had to describe his set to someone unfamiliar with the scene I would put it as Gary Jule's Mad World with a 4/4 beat beautifully weaved into it. It's the type of set that you walk away a changed person and will never forget. All those who attended got a little lost but then a little more found.