Cityfox Revives the Brooklyn Underground with DJ Tennis, Adriatique

The recurring Cityfox event breathed new life into the warehouse party scene.

Thugfucker plays to the Cityfox: Enclave crowd.

Adriatique plays to the Cityfox: Enclave crowd.

Just when New York techno and house heads were (once again) convinced that the underground circuit had gone under, Cityfox came out of involuntary hibernation last weekend for a rousing Bushwick warehouse party.

Cityfox, a Zurich-based label named for that city’s debauched and decidedly un-Swiss club, last popped up in Brooklyn during a Christmastime blizzard. But that event—co-promoted as usual by listed—ran afoul of a nebulous bureaucratic agency that promoters claim was formed to shut down off-the-grid dance music marathons.

A slew of similar raids followed. Meanwhile, underground promoters like Verboten and BlkMarket Membership increasingly stuck to the “proper” venues sprouting along the Williamsburg waterfront. (Verboten’s eponymous dance club opened last month at 54 North 11th Street.) That was all well and good, but picky partiers missed the grimy warehouse vibe, that milieu’s liberal closing hours and its relatively permissive stance on the supplements needed to endure them.

So it was with some trepidation that the hordes showed up outside 114 Scott Avenue last Saturday for The Cityfox Experience: Enclave with DJs Naveen GMano Le Tough, Adriatique, DJ Tennis and Thugfucker. At 1 a.m., a line rumored to be three hours long snaked within a barren parking lot across from the venue. After a failed, pathetic attempt to pull rank, my friends and I briefly retreated to post-The Edge Williamsburg until the line died down.

Once inside, it was clear that reaching overcapacity had not been an issue. The cavernous industrial digs included several bars (none of which served alcohol past 4 a.m.), benches to crash on and the most consistent Brooklyn warehouse party trademark: interminable porta-potty lines.

Following hometown listed resident Naveen G’s opening set and toward the start of the party, the label’s own Swiss house duo Adriatique had hit a high point with Polina’s “Agents of Time.” That track title aptly described the feel of a night and not-so-early morning that recalled a Bushwick whose multiple weekly raves—forgive the term—went mostly unnoticed by authorities when they had fewer residents to call in noise complaints. I noticed a couple of cops in the vicinity, but over 1,000 attendees—split more evenly between the sexes than the typical warehouse party sausage fest—bopped and shuffled without major incident.

DJ Tennis’ polarizing set came at primetime between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. and peaked when he deployed Ten Walls’ “Walking With Elephants.” The buoyant crowd swelled around the big room’s midsection, where one ancient, straight-outta-Irvine-Welsh raver relic mounted the fearsome and (refreshingly, for this type of venue) crystalline KV2 speakers.

As the sun began its dreaded rise, the men behind Thugfucker (onetime local Greg Oreck and Icelander Holmar Filipsson) ramped it up a notch. Co-founders with DJ Tennis (aka Manfredi Romano) of the Life and Death imprint, Thugfucker argued that despite some cyclical setbacks, the city’s underground was still very much alive with a rousing and discordant mix of Fear’s “New York’s Alright if you Like Saxophones.”

The party faithful ignored the dyspeptic lyrics (“New York’s alright if you wanna get pushed in front of the subway…if you like drunks in your doorway”), but Cityfox: Enclave had made them believe New York may be alright after all.