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New York City – Emancipator took over Times Square this past Saturday night in NYC with nary a Dirty Elmo or Desnuda in sight.

Playing the crossroads of the Big Apple is no small feat and this electronic ensemble—fronted by producer Douglas Appling—packed a crowd-pleasing punch at the newly named Playstation Theater (formerly Best Buy Theater). The venue looked to be at a happy capacity with a room full of dreadlocks, hula hoops and easy-breezy swayers, down to have a solid good time.

Most interesting: Barely a selfie in sight! Maybe these kids were just there to be present… finally, a crowd truly desiring to stay in the moment and enjoy!

Emancipator is dubbed as a downtempo outfit and is currently touring in ensemble form, which includes the on-site addition of a variety of instruments including violin, oboe, saxophone and….you guessed it, ukelele! This on-stage combo provided a fine and attentive diversion from your usual “hands-in-the-air” DJ.

Emancipated: Douglas Appling & violinist Ilya Goldberg. | Photo Ben Moon
Emancipated: Douglas Appling & violinist Ilya Goldberg. | Photo Ben Moon

As anticipated, the set began promptly 11 p.m., with Appling as main DJ, surrounded by a stage peppered with his well-curated, full-on arrangement. Opening with “All in Here,” the night was off to a strong start. After this, we heard faves like “Diamonds,” “Rattlesnakes,” and “Ocelot,” as well as “Valhalla” and “Evergreen.” It was full-on, sensational set, full of hot tracks from the recent Seven Seas album.

As the evening wore on, instruments came and went, building and breaking down the energy of the room. Excitingly, we were visited on multiple occasions by vocalist Madelyn Grant, who makes a variety of memorable appearances of Emancipator tracks.

Overall, the night met a variety of expectations, offering a calm and melodious refuge to your standard, bro-filled escapade. Look no further than Emancipator next time you want to get down for the sake of just that – getting down.


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