How Eric Prydz and a legendary club owner just made The Bronx an EDM hot spot

A massive, Swedish astronaut hologram above a crowd at Eric Prydz’s show. (Anthony Black)

Arguably the coolest dance show worldwide surfaced in The Bronx.

Dance music has always had a strong niche in Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn — but a new frontier has emerged in NYC thanks to a DJ legend, famed promoter, and a converted manure warehouse in the South Bronx.

Now much more sanitary, the New York Expo Center on the waterfront of industrial Hunts Point is a venue that attracted one of the most coveted acts in all of electronic dance music (EDM), a Swede by the name of Eric Prydz.

He didn’t just spin any ordinary techno set in The Bronx, though. Prydz debuted his record setting, holographic light show to North America for the very first time from Dec. 27-29.

 Titled HOLO, it caused this hidden gem of a venue to sell out three straight nights in just a matter of hours, attracting an audience from all 50 states, and countries worldwide. 

The show’s setup is quite elaborate, to say the least. Prydz’s stage was built within two ceiling-to-floor walls of light paneling that are so high tech they even resemble the facade of the Death Star. 

Those massive fixtures were only one portion of over 600 moving light fixtures spread throughout the large scale warehouse, according Eddie Dean, a New York Expo Center frequent tenant and owner of the event company DEG.

One of Prydz’s intergalactic holograms.
(Anthony Mooney)

“The building and production on this show is like nothing we’ve ever done,” Dean said, commending Prydz’s team for constantly being on a “high, serious, and detailed level” during the elaborate setup for HOLO.

Due to the massive scale and complex constructed needed, HOLO might have not even happened in New York if Dean hadn’t recently acquired the ex-fertilizer plant in an area without a dance club in miles. 

Dean, who owns the club Schimanski in Brooklyn and formerly world renowned Pacha in Manhattan,  stumbled upon The Bronx in an effort “to replace Manhattan,” specifically the Hudson River locked venue Pier 94—where Dean was instrumental in debuting the late and famed Avicii to NYC some years ago. 

Noting that Manhattan and much of Brooklyn are oversaturated club markets, Dean said he was tipped off to “check out The Bronx” for inspiration. 

He then found the waterfront Hunts Point property and began bringing acts such as Travis Scott and a Halloween show of fellow DJs Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and others as way to “lay the ground work” that started migrating the dance scene uptown since 2017.

“That first show with Travis Scott was nerve racking,” Dean said.

Like Mike & Dimitri Vegas’ Nov. 2 show in The Bronx.
(Eric Cunningham)

Comparing the borough to that of Berlin and other Euro-dance hotspots, Dean said that The Bronx has an “underground feel” as a new frontier for dance and clubbing. 

“Eric and his team really embraced that,” Dean said while adding that the local community board even supported the venture. 

“The Bronx support has been great, we haven’t gotten any pushback,” he continued. “I think that’s a testament to the power of music.” 

Fast forward to the end of 2019 and this Bronx venue is the talk of the dance music world, especially after Prydz’s three straight nights of HOLO. 

“It can become a global music destination,” Dean said while recounting the high numbers of international tickets that were sold for Prydz. 

Meanwhile for the legendary act, these sold-out New York shows also capped a major milestone. 

It was three nights of unreleased music under Prydz’s three aliases, high energy, and an electric dance show in which the likes of NYC had not yet seen. 

Prydz didn’t say a word while on stage and hardly played any of his well known hits— yet captured a full audience with seamless transitions, hard (and I mean hard) kick-drums, and of course visuals that are like no other. 

Towards the show’s conclusion, Prydz did play some crowd favorites that literally brought the expo center to a fever pitch; specially when he spun his own magnum opus, Opus. 

Prydz has also openly admitted that he loses money on HOLO due to its construction, maintenance, and other costs but does the shows anyway as a massive thank you to his fans that literally came from as far as Alaska and Hawaii to see the DJ.

“He’s always one upping himself and his shows,” Dean said about Prydz.

Prior to the debut, Dean also said he wanted to see the three nights “go perfectly,” which from this reporter’s perspective they certainly did in fact. It was a stellar show that many will be seeing upon a hopeful return to the Big Apple.

The Bronx was buzzing, people were dancing, and that’s a continuing trend as another EDM powerhouse, the trio Above & Beyond rang in the New Year at the New York Expo Center. 

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