The art of Markus Schulz can be appreciated with a set of quality headphones and your music player of choice. Recognized as one of America’s premiere DJ talents, Markus is also a master in production and sound. Fans who have been with Markus for over twenty years as he has climbed the ranks of dance music artists around the world know that his work in the studio is some of the best in the industry. Whether it’s under his Dakota alias or as Markus Schulz, his studio albums have always been crafted with a sense of purpose and a desire for perfection. But to truly understand why Markus is one of the best in the industry today, you have to experience his art live. A Markus Schulz performance is one that transcends the art of his recordings and brings his music to life in front of his most experienced listeners. It’s important to note here that Markus Schulz fans are extremely dedicated. His core following in Los Angeles contains a lot of familiar faces that can be seen at every show in the greater LA area. It is his fans that have vaulted him into the realm of one of the genre’s most respected artists. With his follow up to 2012’s studio album Scream only a few weeks away, Markus transformed the recordings of the soon to be released Scream 2 into a carefully woven masterpiece over a three hour set at SOUND Nightclub in Hollywood on February 2nd. For the first time on the decks, Scream 2 was brought to life by it’s creator in front of the people who demand the most from him- his fans.
About an hour before midnight and the dance floor at the 550 person capacity SOUND Nightclub in Hollywood was already pushing its limits. This is the scene at most of Markus Schulz’ live performances- his fans don’t risk missing the moment when he takes the stage for the first time. This was Markus’ first stop at the new Hollywood dance club that has been open for a little over a year now. With a limited capacity setting, SOUND can get packed fast and with Markus coming to town it was going to be a tight fit. When announced as one of four special “Album Release” shows for Scream 2, it took less than two hours for every ticket to the show to be sold. The only way in without a ticket on Thursday night was through table service, and that was sold out by the time the man took the stage. Thirty minutes before midnight and the capacity crowd at SOUND parted as Markus Schulz entered the venue and made his way to the DJ booth. Shaking hands with fans as he made his way, Markus is always one to take the time to greet his loyal followers. As he made his way to the decks and began to set up, it was clear that midnight would be the start time. Here we go…
There were a few reasons to expect that this show would be a little different from the Markus shows that Los Angeles is used to experiencing. First, SOUND is a much smaller venue than his normal digs at Avalon that holds upwards of 2,000 fans. Would the smaller venue cause issues for the big sound of Markus? Only a few songs in and that clearly wasn’t a problem. The acoustics at SOUND are simply amazing and that system held up to one of the world’s greatest trance artists. A second concern was length of set. It was a Thursday night and Markus had already announced that the Scream 2 “Album Release” shows in New York and London would be getting the open to close treatment. If Markus wasn’t planning on playing from the beginning to the end in Los Angeles, what kind of show were we going to get? A three hour set would be considered one hour of over time for many of today’s EDM artists, but for Markus that could barely be the warm up. For a DJ who consistently plays five to nine hour sets around the globe, three hours of Markus initially sounded like a disappointment. In reality, that night it was perfect.
“Remember This” from the new album was perfectly placed in the center of the set and flowed masterfully to the title track “Scream” from the first album. “Mango” and “Reloaded”, two instrumental only tracks from Scream 2, soared high in the set as rave anthems. If there was any critique on the original Scream it was that some of the vocal tracks seemed out-of-place in Markus’ catalog of heavy hitting trance melodies. What some fans failed to realize was that the vocal tracks had their place on the album, but the instrumentals were some of the best rave tunes of 2012. Juxtaposed with Scream‘s hard hitting and fast paced dancers “Digital Madness” and “Finish Line”, “Mango” and “Reloaded” held their own from the new album to create that special moment during the set. Markus has talked about “that moment” in interviews before- time, place, artist and fans coming together during Markus’ shows to create that unique experience that brings the set into another realm of emotion and feeling. It was during these tracks that the room and experience was truly transformed by that moment. What once was SOUND Nightclub and a packed floor of fans dancing to the music had become something totally different. Fans with private tables were all standing on top of the back of their seats and couches, fans near the front of the crowd started to climb the five foot wall that elevated Markus in the DJ booth just to get a closer look at his work, and the fans behind the DJ booth that had been scattered around the huge LED wall at the back of the venue had now all crammed together to get as close to Markus as possible. It was that moment and the whole vibe and experience had taken a new life. Three hours perfectly crafted to introduce what Markus called some of his “favorite fans in the whole world” to the sounds of Scream 2. Success. Perfection. Markus.
Scream 2 will be released on February 21, 2014.