Clé Day Club
September 4, 2016
Houston's EDM fans had several decisions to make on the day before Labor Day, as several big names were playing in town. Pete Tong and Fedde LeGrand had club sets at Clé Day Club and Proof Rooftop Lounge, respectively, while Knife Party and Dillon Francis headed to the larger Revention Music Center and Stereo Live (again, respectively).
Tong, a consummate tastemaker, is responsible for spreading some of the greatest dance tracks of the electronic generation. As noted in his press release, "Few individuals in the world of dance music can claim the kind of influence Pete Tong has had over the last 20 years, with an unparalleled ear for new talent."
The influence Tong brings to the electronic-music world is more about the world's dance floors than the main stages of festivals. On Sunday, people showed they were feeling his beats by crowding Clé's dance floor and grooving in front of the pool. People don't stand around waiting for the drop at his shows; his crowds constantly gyrate their hips, heels and shoulders.
Tong appeared to have a laser-like focus when manipulating his equipment, while frequently scanning the crowd to gain a sense of what to cue up next on the decks. He didn't throw cakes or spray bottles of champagne, though we're not knocking those things because they can be fun too. This was by far a more mature crowd with a refined palate. Imagine a fine Scotch rather than a shot of Fireball — in the musical sense, of course. This wasn’t a show that went hard with popular radio hits you might hear from other big DJs, though a person with a refined ear would be able to pick up the specific songs Tong was spinning.
Among the things that make shows great at Clé is the production, supervised by Daniel Reyes, the club's hard-working man behind the scenes. He makes certain the sound system is pitch-perfect and the visual elements are in sync with the talent behind the decks. Additionally, the themed dancers provided by Lady L Productions are always amazing and bring an element to the day club that inherently encourages others to dance as well.
People were playing in the pool, dancing outside the cabanas and drinking it all up. But while the crowd's ears may have been tuned into Tong as he spun “Cosmic” by Latmun, for example, most eyes were on the Clé Angels. After delivering drinks and bottles throughout the afternoon, these ladies finally let loose and went for a dip in the pool at the end of the night.
Tong was a man of few words, basically wishing Houston a fantastic Labor Day and saying "thank you." A few times he would slap hands or give fist bumps with fans. His set focused on more recent tracks, such as the fitting “Up & Down” by Charles Ramirez as the sun was setting. The only thing that was seemingly missing was hearing the BBC Radio 1 host say, "Right now it’s time for this week’s essential tune..."
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His hypnotizing beats kept everyone moving around the pool and sweating even as the evening temperature began dropping slightly. By the end of the night, the only disappointment true electronic-music fans left with was that the party couldn't continue. They wanted more as the legendary mixmaster bid adieu, but he was "All Gone" to his next adventure.
Personal Bias: I had a very lucid dream in which Tong asked me to be his personal photographer, and I got to document his adventures across the globe entertaining the world.
Pete Tong's "Essential Summer" Spotify Playlist: