Just four years ago, California-born Joey Youngman made a name change. The then-25-year-old producer ditched the moniker “Deep House” and chose the pseudonym “Wolfgang Gartner” for his new project as a DJ. The rest, as they say, is history.
Wolfgang Gartner has played Ibiza, Ultra, Electric Daisy Carnival, the UK’s Creamfields, Australia’s Parklife and hundreds of venues in between. This year, he released his first album, jumped 14 places on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJ list and came in at No. 7 on America’s Best DJ list. So, what’s next for the seemingly unstoppable DJ? A Halloween weekend show at Segredo.
The increasingly popular Wolfgang will stop in Madison on Friday as part of his hectic North American tour. For those seeking to get close enough to touch the American DJ du jour, Segredo General Manager Shayne Miller has this piece of advice: “Get here early.”
Segredo teamed up with the student-run production company Electronic Dance Madison to get Wolfgang Gartner for Halloween as part of its Friday night co-promoting contract. With Segredo, the EDM team of University of Wisconsin seniors Jack Mulqueen and Jordan Heifitz has brought Dutch wunderkind Nicky Romero and up-and-coming Dillon Francis to Madison, and future plans include bringing Tiesto’s tourmate Hardwell at the end of semester.
“Our ultimate goal is to just have a packed house every Friday where different groups of people end up in the same place sharing a similar passion – having a good time in a nightclub environment listening to the world’s most famous DJs,” said Heifitz, EDM co-founder and former DJ.
Fans predict the Wolfgang Gartner show will meet that goal.
As an 18-plus venue, Segredo keeps out the drama of all-ages shows but still invites a fairly mixed bag. If the recent AC Slater appearance is any indication, the Wolfgang show will draw nervous freshman boys, 21-year-old girls who just want to dance, frat boys, computer nerds and drug-enthusiasts that have gravitated to the genre. And they will all be in costume.
So why make electronic music with all its freaks the genre of choice for Segredo?
“When we first got in here, we didn’t know what we were doing. And then last April, a gentleman named Avicii decided to come play for us,” Miller said wryly. “When the light bulb finally went on, it was like storms of bulbs just popping.”
Those light bulbs led to a monster sound system, brand new lights and plans to apply for an increased capacity and install a larger stage. For now, the 605-person venue will provide an intimate setting for Wolfgang Gartner’s show, a vast improvement from the 50,000-person festivals he has played and a rare treat for a small town from a Top 100 DJ.
It is hard to say if the newly released hip-hop influenced album Weekend in America will be a saving grace for the often lukewarmly-reviewed performer, but Madisonians who love such tracks as “Illmerica” and “Animal Rights” may well overlook the fact that he lacks the charisma of Tiesto or Skrillex, especially if costumes and alcohol are involved.
Along with a make or break for Wolfgang Gartner’s Madison fan base, the show will be a test for Segredo, a club well beyond the Mad Ave days but still occasionally plagued by the past club’s stigma. EDM also has something at stake, for this show may determine what DJs they can bring in the future. Luckily for all parties involved, anything can happen on a Madison Halloween, and the sheer exuberance of a crowd that has for once been given good music on the holiday might be all it takes for the stars to align. The fun part will be watching it unfold.
Wolfgang Gartner will spin at Segredo in Madison Friday. The show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the door. Go to www.segredomadison.com for more information.
The sentence beginning with “Along with a make or break for Wolfgang Gartner’s Madison fan base” has been amended for clarity.