Saturday Afternoon: Danny Tenaglia at the IndepenDance Pool Party at the Surfcomber

Danny Tenaglia
IndepenDance Pool Party
Saturday, July 4, 2009
The Surfcomber Hotel, Miami Beach

Better Than:
Any other Fourth of July pool party in South Florida.  

If dance music happens to be your thing, then the place to be this last Saturday was the IndepenDance Pool Party at the Surfcomber Hotel. The main attraction was, of course, a headlining set by the legendary Danny Tenaglia. Boasting a well-deserved rep as one of the top DJs in the world, Tenaglia -- or DT, as his many fans fondly call him--  remains one hell of a live spinner, and his Saturday party set was another exceptional showcase of his formidable DJ skills.  

Arriving to massive cheers at 4 p.m., the trim and smiling Tenaglia, wearing a black long-sleeve shirt and a diamond-encrusted crucifix, began mixing tribal beats with bits of Michael Jackson's "Rock With You." Thus launched a set that was, as expected, long and soulful. The artful, fresh mix incorporated everything from techno, house, tribal, and even tropical beats. 

What often makes or breaks these types of DJ pool parties is the crowd and, gladly, the afternoon's audience was a cool mix of gay and straight, with young and older club "kids" enjoying a gorgeously sunny day out at the beach. Another plus was that people seem to have been pacing themselves; I didn't observe anyone passing out (thank goodness), or worse, being thrown out from the hotel for "excessive partying."     

After two hours of out of the ordinary psychedelic groves, the always on-point Tenaglia busted out 2002's Narcotic Thrust classic "Safe From Harm." The place, of course, went mad, and the energy level remained high throughout the rest of his seamless four-hour set. And while talking and interacting with his audience all the way through the afternoon, DT made another solid case for DJing as an art form. In this new digital era where we are used to anyone becoming an instant laptop jockey, it was refreshing to watch a true master work on the plates and bring joy to a huge crowd.

Critic's Notebook  

Personal Bias: In my opinion, Off the Wall is Michael Jackson's best record, so I was happy that Tenaglia randomly and perfectly sprinkled tracks from it throughout his set.

Random Detail: Danny Tenaglia prefers to spin CDs for his sets, and uses state-of-the-art Pioneer digital decks to do his mixing.  

By The Way: After 11 p.m. the party moved to the Cameo, where DT was set to spin the event's official afterparty.

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Jose Davila