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by m.m. zonoozy

I hate to use my favorite cultural juggernaut as a means to an end, but this article is more “missed connection” than live review.

I met you last Thursday after showing up to Washington, DC’s newest live music venue, Echostage, to see the Flying Dutchman, Armin van Buuren. I was casually, and perhaps deliberately, late enough to look fashionable when I showed up. Judging by your graceful steeze, you were probably even later. I wish I had known.

Upon arrival, the ruggedly handsome face of Panorama Productions, Zack Huhn, greets my posse and I. He ushers us in with a single preface, “You’re going to fall in love.” I suspect he is referring to the venue. Little do I know, Zack is a nightlife soothsayer. In all his wisdom, he is talking about you.

Walking into Echostage, you cannot help but have your face melt a little bit. The festival-worthy light show, booming sound system, and sheer size of the place hits us immediately. You really want to say, “Yeah, it’s cool,” but you end up yelling something way less calculated like, “I feel like a virgin!” For the sake of this article, lets pretend I went with the former.

This is the venue that Washington has been missing. With all well-deserved respect to 9:30 and beyond, until now the capacity levels of our techno-friendly establishments were all significantly much less. The place is enormous and well organized. Even at what is supposedly a third of the way finished, Echostage is drawing in big-name international electronica acts Dada Life, Avicii, Richie Hawtin, Dirty South, Ferry Corsten and Markus Shulz. Clearly, this will not be our last visit.

But tonight is all about the delight of seeing my good friend, Armin. He comes up on stage with a huge smile and wastes no time jumping into an extended play. Each build up, transition, and wave is no less than perfect than the one before. As the show progresses, it becomes increasingly apparent that this is far better than watching my roommates DJ our living room.

Echostage in itself is a brilliant move by Panorama, the production company responsible for DC’s infamous Glow series. The group bought the entire lot and have ambitious plans for renovation this winter that will convert what already seems like an impressive take on the warehouse turned rave shrine to Washington’s premier live venue for both electronic music and otherwise.

Perhaps most surprising is the quality of the crowd that made it out to the far side of New York Ave, a far cry from the usual K Street tracks. There is no shortage of skin, muscles, and really good-looking BYT contributors. Panaroma has also done their part to oil their shiny new BPM machine by providing shuttle services to the venue and increased security around the blocks.

But before we have much of an opportunity to fall into a State of Trance, Zack, our Sherpa for the night, finds us again. “Follow me” is all I really hear him say, but that is all I really need. I am sauced up and willing.

At this point, I have no idea that I am on my way to you. We weave inside, outside, and around the lights, lasers, and ethereal beats all the way to the front of the stage. There, Zack lifts the velvet rope and, with an effortless wink, guides us into the fresh air of social success.

Now, I dare not brag about going HAM on the side of the stage, but I proceed to spend a good three minutes thinking, “I’m better than you.” For that, I apologize. It’s easy to let it all go to your head at “The” Echostage…

Once the novelty of Instagraming my life wears off, we take our time to take in Armin. Just recently bumped to #2 DJ in the world by DJ MAG after an unheard of four-year title run, AVB is your favorite DJ’s favorite DJ.

Now, I hate to give you such a long preface, but I need you to know what led me to you. Finally, on my way back from grabbing a drink, there you are. At first, you are just a blur of sensually swaying neon. As I get closer, I see your slender arms covered in glow-in-the-dark Skittles bracelets, your tan skin as glittery as a disco ball, and your skirt just short enough to be terribly inappropriate anywhere else in the world. Before I know it, I am falling in love with a candy kid.

I walk over to say “hi,” but nothing comes out. My nervousness earns your smile as you grab my hand, and slide over one of your bracelets. You look up at me with bigger eyes than any I have ever seen before and gently say, “Now, you give me something.”

Well, here it is. Please find me.

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