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Paul Mann: DJ Benny Benassi Spins at Tonic Nightclub

Electronic music master makes a rare club appearance in Santa Barbara

Veteran Italian electro house DJ Benny Benassi made a rare club appearance in Santa Barbara on Sept. 16.

The sold-out show at Tonic Nightclub was teaming with wide-eyed techno fans when Benassi began to play his set just before midnight.

With Benassi used to playing in front of tens of thousands of ravers, it was an unusual opportunity to share an intimate space with the Grammy-winning electronic music master. Although he is best known for his 2002 club hit “Satisfaction,” Benassi began as a disc jockey in the 1980s, before many in his young audience of adulate fans were even born.

In a testament to his talent, he remains one of the most popular DJs in the world — decades after he began spinning in trendy Italian nightclubs.

His new video, “Benny Benassi vs. Iggy Pop (Electro Sixteen),” is one of the most popular YouTube downloads. It mixes his trademark hard-core techno sound with the classic Iggy Pop tune. He is also about to release his fifth studio album, Spaceship.

He performed an ear-piercing 100-minute set at the State Street club, whipping the audience into a dance frenzy. Playing until the house lights came on announcing the 1:30 a.m. Santa Barbara downtown dance curfew, he left the crowd desperate for more music and chanting his name over and over.

No doubt the appreciative crowd would have danced until dawn given the opportunity, caught up in the spell of one of the most prominent techno dance wizards in the world.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributor.

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