At the start of the season, Cityfox was an experience I had missed out on the previous year. Needless to say, I was super excited to attend the opener on July 4, but it ended up being a disappointing day for me. After that, I decided to attend the Cityfox event with Dixon and Âme because I am a big Dixon fan. Music aside, it was not a pleasant experience. As Cityfox announced their closing date and lineup, most of my friends (and most of Boston) decided that they were all attending, so I begrudgingly joined in.
For those who have never been to a Cityfox event or to the Brooklyn Mirage, that is unfortunate, however, not the end of the world. Cityfox had some pretty cool events happening last year in 2014, they had about nine events. Last fall Cityfox hosted The Cityfox Den and Studio AV. I had missed out on them but had heard some pretty amazing things so naturally going this season was a must. The Brooklyn Mirage is a temporary venue built for the summer season and this closing event was the last show to be put on before they scrap it.
The venue is pretty cool, I will admit. A giant warehouse in a pretty deserted area of Brooklyn near the navy yard with false concrete walls and a wired fence. The venue had two rooms indoor and a stage outdoors. During the first few events, they utilized the giant main room named, “The Den” and the smaller roomed called, “The King’s Hall” (my ). The Brooklyn Mirage facilitated a large space with two towers to climb so that you can overlook the entire outdoor area along with a pretty sick view of Brooklyn rooftops along with the NYC skyline.
My friends and I arrived at the venue fairly early, approximately around 4 PM as Mike Khoury was playing to an empty venue. The venue had not changed much since the last two times I had been there (not including All Day I Dream). I particularly enjoyed the Brooklyn Mirage when it is empty, it felt as if those already there were charging up to truly enjoy the full line-up that was being offered. My friends and I began enjoying the music from the start and danced way into Naveen G’s set. The venue stayed fairly spacious and manageable up until about 7:30 PM.
Once the dusk settled, the number of patrons almost tripled in size and things got very tight. There was still some space to move, but once it got dark it was hard to navigate the crowd between all the strobes and dancing bodies. Between Aril Brikha and Alexi Delano's set, things got a little crazy as the crowd began to thicken and the music began to get a little warp-like. As much as I would like to give more of a review on the music, I don’t find that to be a fair assessment since music is arbitrary and varies based on the individual's taste. What I can review is the overall event and point out some of the issues I found. On that note let me bring up the bathroom situation.
Every time a Cityfox event occurs, you will find a long list of commentary on the topic of bathroom handling during the show. It was far below subpar. There have been three other Cityfox events and every single one of them has failed in finding a better system for the bathrooms. Aside from the port-a-potties looking as if they have been changed since the last few events, by the end of the night things were far beyond disgusting and completely out of hand. The only thing I had to be grateful for was the sole fact that I am a female and we never have had a single line for the bathroom. I cannot say the same for the gentlemen who at some point had to wait on a line that extended from their side of the bathrooms to the women’s side and then back.
The venue team had to make a run for toilet paper because no one did the math and stocked up on enough T-Pee to last the entire night. Which meant that there was a time at which you could not have maintained a decent level of hygiene in a place that was literally swimming in sludge and mud. The first time around, fine, you get a pass because it's hard to predict, but after three events, not including the non-Cityfox shows, this is highly unacceptable. You know how many tickets are sold and you can do a general analysis based on previous events. This was very poor planning, yet again.
Another thing to point out was the severe lack of competent security. Cityfox events are particularly notorious for the high level of drug usage. Bringing back that semi-legal warehouse party atmosphere is a very exciting and extremely attractive concept, however, if you are aware of your patrons’ intentions (and you know you are) then there needs to be a level of responsibility taken upon to protect them. Throughout the night and into the wee morning, all I could see was fists being placed under noses and a lot of expressionless faces.
Another issue was the re-entry policy. In the past, Cityfox has had re-entry up until 1 AM. That was always a welcoming thought because partying from 3 PM until 7 AM without the luxury of being able to go home and take a break is insane. If this was a festival, I can understand not having re-entry, but it was not. We are dancing and prancing in a confined environment on top of each other, with bathrooms that are pretty much secreting human excrement. It may have made things much easier to manage for the venue, but it totally degraded the experience.
The outside area, where Adriatique headlined was packed and my friends and I would do little jigs through the crowd to make it from one side to the other. We were careful to note step or bump into people while others who were completely faded would just plow through the crowd, shoving and stepping all over my feet. People are tossing garbage on the floor making it impossible to dance because now I am tripping over various bottles and Redbull cans.
Eventually as it began to get very chilly outside despite the packed floor and sweaty bodies spazzing all around me, I went to enjoy Mightykat inside the King’s Hall. This happens to be my favorite area of the Brooklyn Mirage. The King’s Hall is a long and wide space inside of the warehouse housing the event. It has a gorgeous décor of wicker lamps and orange filtered windows. There were LED strobes that ran all across the ceiling from front to back. The floor is carpeted which is a very pleasant change from the concrete thumping outside.
For me, Mightykat followed by Frank & Tony were the highlights of the night, music-wise. The crowd that was inside the King's Hall felt different from those pumping to Alexi Delano and Adriatique. Though we were inside, there seemed to be more space and a lot more respect to boundaries. In the back towards the exit to the outdoors, was a lounge area complete with couches and cushions were I had at some point took a moment to recuperate. I would like to think that those were cleaned in between events, but I tried not to dwell on that.
Spending a majority of the event inside the King's Hall, my fellow troopers and I decided to close off the night with Adriatique. The duo did a pretty awesome job closing the event, a few attendees dubbed it as "interstellar". I can say that I agree, the music had everyone floating in and out of our heads and then dancing even though we were all exhausted. Feet thumping and butts shaking, the event came to an end (FINALLY?!) a little past 7 AM. Did I mention this was a 15-hour event?
Reynard and Cityfox did a pretty amazing thing by building the Brooklyn Mirage and creating this exotic environment within the urban jungle itself. It was a unique experience to say the least and they sure as hell have raised the bar for the scene in NYC and we truly could not have gone any higher. However, that does not excuse some the things not detailed properly throughout the summer season. As consumers, yeah, we can tolerate way more than we should for the love of music, but why should we?
Reynard made money off of their events and the venue despite how much they invested and the least they could have done was provide an environment that as safe and provided better restroom facilities. Is that an easy request? Of course not, but I think as good patrons it's well deserved. This Cityfox Experience was by far the least unpleasant of all the ones I have attended this season and as much as my friend's enjoyed the event (and I enjoyed being with them), I was not completely satisfied. My experience at the Brooklyn Mirage during the All Day I Dream closing was far more superior in style and cultivation. But, to each their own.