Carl Craig was not fucking around. It was Valentine’s Day and the legendary producer and remixer dropped his Grammy nominated remix of the Junior Boys’ ‘Like a Child’ only a few minutes after he took the decks. I was in Cielo’s heated outdoor area catching up with some friends when the instantly recognizable synth line started to rise out of the less-than-soundproof glass. I didn’t go back in immediately, but I took note: Craig seemed eager to make up for what was generally regarded as an unmemorable show the last time he was in New York City. By the time he was done, Craig had convinced just about everyone in the room that he was still one of the acknowledged kings of techno.
The knock on Craig as a DJ has always been his resistance to the long mix. This set was no different. While Craig would often blend two records together relatively seamlessly, he would just as frequently throw something out when the beat dropped out from the previous track. Luckily, Craig was a first-rate selector this night, pulling out tracks from dance music’s past (remixes of ‘Strings of Life’ and Giorgio Moroder’s ‘The Chase’), its present (Craig’s take on LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Sound of Silver’ and Faze Action’s ‘In the Trees’) and its future (some of the most amazing tracks that I heard will undoubtedly be forthcoming on Planet E).
The crowd seemed to agree: for a Thursday night—and on Valentine’s Day, no less—Demon Days was well-attended and the majority stayed until around 3 a.m. At that point, the crowd started to thin and Craig started to actively entice revelers to stay. The final two tracks of the night were Ame’s remix of Etienne Jaumet’s ‘Repeat Again After Me’ and Radio Slave’s massive ‘Bell Clap Dance’. Through Cielo’s excellent soundsystem both sounded positively epic, cymbals spraying like wooden splinters, bass round and full. Like much of the night, it had an air of inevitability to it: I hoped he might play the anthemic ‘Bell Clap Dance’ after hearing ‘Like a Child’ so early on in the night. But it was hardly a let-down to have my wishes come true. Instead, it was more akin to have a lover do all your favorite things in one night. In other words, a perfect Valentine’s Day.