Above & Beyond Bring Group Therapy To Atlantic City

Posted by on February 7, 2014

above & beyond atlantic city
Still riding high from incredibly successful release of their stunning acoustic album, Above & Beyond came to the Tri-State area during Super Bowl weekend for a dose of Group Therapy at HQ Nightclub in Atlantic City. They have very few upcoming shows on the docket for this spring, so I knew that this one was a must attend, notably just after the acoustic album. I saw them in DC the weekend after they released Group Therapy, so this is becoming a tradition of mine to see them live after they release an album. I see no reason to stop. Stream the album below and read on for the rest of the review.

I had never been to HQ in Revel, so I had no idea what to expect, besides the presumption that it would be a swanky club designed for the wealthy, casino-going, bottle service types. I was not wrong, with a full allotment of VIP tables flanking the entire dance floor and VIP mezzanine area looking down on the action below. Revel, the casino is in deep financial trouble, so on this “sold out”night, it was no surprise to see it over sold and door situation getting into the dance floor from the stairs totally FUBAR. Luckily I got in before it got too bad and did not leave until A&B relinquished hold of the club at 3am. The crowd, best described as “very Jersey”, a heaven or hell proposition for most, knew the words to all of their tunes, a point of pride for me when I am at a show.

Tony and Paavo came to the stage at 1am to raucous applause and launched right into it with a favorite of their’s Mat Zo’s “The Sky” before gliding through selections like Arty’s still unreleased remix of “Hey Now” and the anthemic sing-a-long club mix of “Alchemy”. They quickly breezed through a vintage hour of Group Therapy, mixing in Anjuna favorites, new tunes from themselves and their label mates and classic sing-a-long tracks, culminating in a high energy twofor — the bootleg of “Heart Is King” vs Arty’s remix of “Punk” & REM’s “Losing My Religion” and then their festival friendly bootleg of John Christian’s “Flight 643” and “Sun In Your Eyes”.

above & beyond atlantic city 2

Having the club in the palm of their hand, they slowly ramped it back down, tune by tune, calling on a lucky fan member for the still not kitsch “Push The Button” moment during “Sun & Moon”. I was very interested to see if they would bring out some acoustic in a club, and much to my and everyone around me’s delight they ended their set on a patented slow note, opting instead of something like “Good For Me” or “On A Good Day”, but the “Satellite / Stealing Time” mash from the acoustic album. 3am rolled around and the packed club was left bewildered at where the time had gone with another dose of Group Therapy delivered by the omnipotent Above & Beyond.

Above & Beyond don’t just read a room, they create the room. They have the power to totally take over any space they are playing, whether it is a Bar Mitzvah for 100 (can’t say this has ever happened, but it is safe to assume it could) or a festival main stage with 50,000 screaming fans. Group Therapy has a mass appeal that is neither intentionally commercial or derivative designed for the masses, it is as authentic as it gets and that one reason why the trio has been so successful.

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