John Dahlback at Glow Washington DC

It seems as though Sweden is going through a sort of musical renaissance as of late, exemplified by bands such as Miike Snow, singers like Lykke Li and in the EDM world, the Swedish House Mafia. Thursday night however belonged to one John Dahlback, whose uplifting yet stylishly gritty brand of house flooded Ultrabar Nightclub & Lounge and churned a sea of humanity. With the mixer as his trident, twisting EQ knobs, controlling loops, and dropping thunderous bass lines, Dahlback was like Poseidon controlling the waves. He was a human oscillator, modulating the frequency of the crowd with every tweak of his high pass filter, defying gravity and creating tidal waves of gamboling partygoers. It was refreshing to see a DJ walk into a booth with nothing but a pair of headphones and a CD book. His work – flow is a thing of beauty.

John Dahlback playing at Glow Washington DC's 4play Thursdays at Ultrabar

John Dahlback playing at Glow Washington DC's 4play Thursdays at Ultrabar

Watching John sway to and fro while hovering over the 1s and 2s, elbows out, fingers nimbly manipulating each and every sound… the entire process was a work of art.

Considered widely to be a house DJ, Dahlback incorporated many elements of progressive trance into his set, including Wippenberg’s “Chakalaka,” and the remix of Tocadisco and Nadia Ali’s “Better Run.” He also treated the crowd to remixes of classics like “Silence” by Delerium and “Touch Me” by Rui Da Silva & Cassandra Fox. But the party hardly stopped there. After the delightful trip down memory lane the Swede came hard with a barrage of dirty, filthy house highlighted by his own masterpiece “Pyramid.” His track selections were like different colored spotlights of sound, blinding the crowd with a myriad of intense ultraviolet rays, although it may have just been the lights and lasers coming from the booth.

The crowd at 4play

The crowd at 4play

The term epic is thrown around a lot in the world of trance but not so much when it comes to dirty house. Yet here is John Dahlback, lifting the emotions of his crowd with melodious synth chords then saucing them up with licentious bass and bawdy percussion. He is a primary example of why Sweden now has the world of EDM in a vice grip.

Contributing editor

Ravi Batanker

NEW VENUE STARTING FEBRUARY 18TH
4Play Thursdays at Ultrabar are moving to GLOW Thursdays at LIMA.  Learn More about the move to Lima Nightclub with Hernan Cattaneo kicking off the new Glow Thursdays at Lima

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