February 16th, 2015




The Silent Slayer

23:09 PST

A gentle breeze ripples the hair on heads. The night’s wind smells of salt and water. An air of pretentiousness walks by, laughter and faint dialects speaks volumes through calmness. Ahead, pulsating “uhmps, uhmps, uhmps” is the only cue pointing towards the venue’s glass door.

“People hang out here?” A Middle-Eastern accent asks from the front driver‘s seat of his UBER registered vehicle. The bearded face turns his attention back to the GPS attached to the dash cam. “This is the address.”

At the mighty front door sits a burly body with a “fuck off” silence. He points guests into the warmth. After a name check on the prepay list, the moment arrives.

There lays 6000 square feet of industrial space, dimly lit of browns and golds, as shadows pace back and forth. Making out the figures of ball cap covered heads bopping up and down at the main bar is languid. The libation station is packed with a steady stream of thirsty patrons. Liquid gold flows from flasks and the cash register rejoices with rings. After all it is Valentine’s Night and what better companion than a strong drink. Most entertaining is a rapper-esque wearing a fedora and three-stripe tracksuit, sans gold chains, cutting a couple standing hand-in-hand, in line. He embraces the bartender and orders a round. To their right, his dance crew performs a moving version of warrior 3 across the wooden floor. Observers yell “yeah” with violent fist pumps. A dance circle has formed. Already?!?  

Additional pockets of writhing bodies contort around the peripheral of tribes; bearded men and blonde babes stare at a lanky lad beat matching on a performance stage. The room is immersed in a forward house number matched with a groovy melody that pulls additional arrivals towards the center sanctuary. The four-count switches moods. James Jasper’s “Sneaky” is a whacky number with scattered wobbles of bass throwing dancing feet for a loop.

Onstage stands a mid-size frame next to the DJ. The second guy hastily grabs the music controls. His demeanor appears distant, determined and focused. Who is this guy who appears hell bent for world domination?

 23:30 PST

That sho don’t look like no Kerri Chandler, but the records he plays sounds like Kerri Chandler. Was that not “Out To the Boonies” bouncing from the EAW subs? Kerri sho’ don’ slimmed down. He sho’ got a head of full of velvet black hair. Dang, Kerri got slanted eyes, now??? A closer inspection reveals the guy standing on stage, pulling vinyl from sleeves, wears a black jacket, black tee, and black trousers.

Future Internet research¹ reveals, the smartly dressed DJ is Mike Servito. The silent slayer is widely known at his current residency at Brooklyn’s Bunker Parties and for his guest spots at Honeysuckle San Francisco. A native Detroiter, the streets of the Motor City is where he first listened to “Planet Rock” before Michael Jackson. Growing up, Mike Huckaby’s and Derrick Carter’s genre blending techniques influenced the impressionable youth to play vinyl and mix music. Through the years, at times, the on-and-off DJ has laid down his turntables and vinyl for other pursuits. You might turn the heart away from the music but you cannot take the music out of the heart, best describes Servito’s return to his love, playing music. In today’s EDM driven force, Servito is a rarity, he feels at home playing other artist’s cuts than producing his own works and he knows his music, he adjusts the music to whom he opens for, be it techno, house or acid.   He is a quintessence of diversity.

Tonight, the music time travels back to the Midwest, Lil Louis’ “Club Lonely,” to the East Coast, Ceybil’s ”Love So Special.” Sevito has done his homework, and he is surely stealing some of Kerri’s heat. The all vinyl vintage sound showcases some of the best digs of soulful house paired with vocals this side of the Bay.

San Francisco swings, albeit not always to a soulful house sermon. Unless you follow the flock of Father Farina, Saint Miguel or Deacon Harness. Even then the soul speaks a funky singsong with a west coast jump. However, a glance around the premises reveals Generation “I” feels more at home with soulful sounds than one expected. They have been trained, very, very well. Two hours into the event, no one stands and shoots the shit, thumb-pecks texts, or spew cancerous venom into nostrils while standing on the dance floor. 

Several feet up in the air, on a platform, there stands a technician working the sound. Down below, onstage, for the past twenty minutes or so, another sound technician shuffles around the DJ and his record crates and edges in front of the shiny hardware parked at the drop of the stage. His hands cautiously plugs and unplugs wires into the receivers of 1200s and 2000s. “Ka, Ka, Boom!” A soul-stirring bass line on St. Etienne’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” shatters the sound barrier. The Masters At Work Dub ignites cheers and approvals from the ever-growing crowd.   The technician’s keen eye stares across the boards, the sound is ripe and ready for….

As You Like It Presents: KERRI CHANDLER bounces across four 9×12’ screens configured as one giant monitor. Onstage appears a familiar wide smile underneath a black skully.   Servito poses for a selfie with the party’s headliner. The legendary DJ applauds.  Indeed, Mike has done his job all too well. Just how the people can muster enough energy to endure the future chaos remains a mystery.

¹Rothlein, J. (2014, June 2). Mike Servito: The Late Shift. Retrieved February 5, 2015, from http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?2032

Words by aj dance


February 15th, 2015



Part II: Kerri Chandler

The Kaos Conductor

01:30 PST

Right off the bat, Kerri Chandler comes out swinging, he scores a home run with “Make My Heart,” featuring New Zealander vocalist Latrice Barnett. The befitting tribute scores a nod to San Francisco resident, DJ/producer Jay-J who stands onstage, alongside his buddy Kerri. The Kiko Navarro Mix is a proper demassify to West Coast house music, the game changer that ignited the world over during the late 1990’s to early 2000’s.  

The thumps of funkin’ four-counts continue its reign. A choppy drum loop builds over a swooshing backdrop of heart pounding jabs. The warped vocals mutate from white noise to crystal clear. “Girl I must warn you.” As fingers snap, feet shuffle, and shoulders swivel from left to right, the bodies in motion have no clue what is about to strike. Without warning, the music disappears from underneath fancy footwork. A drum machine drops a kick: Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison” explodes into view, only to disappear like a thief in the night. The crowd yells, having realized they been hoodwinked, by one of the greatest “Hip Hop On a RnB Tip with A Pop Appeal” anthems of all time. Hands hit the knees, the body has to rest, slowly breathe in and breathe out-is it time to change T-shirts? -the heart pounds for life.  

Research shows within the first month of life a baby’s heartbeat can beat between 70-190 beats per minute. The resting heart of an adult can beat between 60-100 beats per minute. As a person ages, the heartbeat slows down. This is true for many soulful house music parties. Ever been to a house music party where the majority of the crowd is approaching the mid-century mark? The older the DJ, the slower the BMPs: the older the crowd, the slower they dance.

Not so for Kerri Chandler, or the music he plays. The forty-something years young with a full head of hair, purpose is to make the heart beat faster and for people to dance harder. He believes in the thump. His definitive anthems rings with beats that pound at 124 to 125 BPMS, take “Hallelujiah” and “Rain” respectively, sadly the two anthems not played at this party.

Let’s be real, thumping four-on-the-floors are the lifeblood of house music.   Without the essential four counts-that are not only heard through ears but rattles the heart-one is playing funeral music. A not so fun experience that puts people to sleep. Perhaps, an eternal sleep from the house music scene. And to think why a younger generation has not gravitated to soul filled house music.

Not so in San Francisco, where hipsters and yuppies rule against the age of reason. After all, gentrification is an ugly word. However, young people purchasing and renovating an old space, turn club in a blight area pays off. It shows on the faces of the young-in the twinkle of their eye and in the sparkle of their pearly white smiles-as they dance, blow money on drinks and whatever guilty pleasures arise. In an underground club that sits in the upcoming design district, money is no option. Of course this is no five-star resort hotel advertising bottle poppin’ ballers in VIP, but a more justified experience of a soulful get down to underground music. This is where Asian techs, college preps, bearded hipsters and drunk girls come to party. On the menu, the house special: A happy family poo-poo platter.    

There is no division-no black section in the rear or white section up front. Better yet, in Saint Frank, there are no Asians over hear, no Latinos over there, with whites dotting all points in between. There is no division of age. Grey hairs dance amongst floppy bangs. This is the face of the 21st century smart club, where alcohol sales stop at…

02:00 PST

The room goes dark. One look left and to the right reveals the venue’s two bars are closed with shades drawn over the countertops. No more spirits for this crowd, unless the kind from the music.

As Angie Stone’s “I Wasn’t Kidding,” plays cricket’s chirp. The sea of nameless faces appear unfamiliar with the Scott Wozniak and Timmy Regisford Shelter Version, partly because these youngsters were gawking at MySpace and listening to Kanye West on their 5th Generation iPods ten years earlier when the remix was conceived. However, Kerri gives it to the babes, by playing classics they need to hear.

Classics like, “Ba, da, da, da, da, dah…Ba, da, da, da,” sings a band of trumpets, “Thump, thump,” A drum speaks. A lo-fi bass line drives the groove to discotheque. Teddy Pendergrass sings “You Can’t Hide from Yourself.” The energy in the room shifts to organized chaos. Dancing bodies feel the need to shed their skin and run around the room spiritually naked. Patrice Rushen’s “Looking For You” brings a smile to the face of a nearby, nearly sleeping security guard. On the Joey Negro Extended Disco Mix the sudden sounds of chords surprises. A riff of keys play over an instrumentation of sparse drums that is not in the original mix. Look onstage. Kerri is playing a Korg. Live!!!.

“Kerri is killing it!”

“Who?!?” asks a young man with a vacant expression staring at the stage.

“Kerri Chandler. He is Kerri Chandler!”

Kerri ‘Kaoz’ Chandler was born into a musical family. His father, especially, fed his musical palette and trained his musical ear by giving him a start at playing music in a Jersey nightclub. That opportunity led to additional DJ gigs and stints in New York’s various music scenes from soul to rap. After a tragic experience, Kerri turned his full attention to producing house music. His productions forged the blueprint of futuristic underground sounds back in the early 1990s, a time when semi-house producers copycatted their way onto the charts. The Kerri sound: brass horns, bubbling bass lines, cowbells and steady buildups are instantly recognizable around the world yet they are sacred to the soul. How one produces a vast music catalog from jazz to video games and yet remains true to his morals is the tale of folklores. He is an in demand, must-have DJ/music producer/remixer who plays frequently around the globe than in his backyard.   

“San Francisco it has been a long time.” He lowly announces minus a Jersey accent.  

Horns blast over a four-count that shakes the floor. “Atmospheric Beats” slowly builds to a towering crescendo of jazz house. The soul-stirring classic introduces the next song with a similar tempo. The System’s “You’re In My System” breaks the beats for a solo opener of Rhodes keys. When the song breaks for a spoken rap, the crowd applauds with handclaps. “You’re In My Soul, I Just Can’t Get Enough of Your…” Rightly spoken, the people can’t get enough of the ‘Kaoz.” Cajmere’s “Brighter Days,” (Underground Goodies Mix) ignites more screams. If that is not enough, the vocal version drops as vocalist Dajae leads the crowd singing “Lift Me Up.” As Sunday morning handclaps and gospel wails uplift spirits, Johnny Corporate’s “Sunday Shoutin’” takes the dancers to church. A young lady shimmy shakes in a solid gold sequence dress as if she has the Holy Ghost. Sporadic bursts of energy, allows the body the ability to house dance to harder-tinged anthems and relax on more mellow tracks. Surely, Kerri is beat driven and unapologetic, but he too knows when to give his audience a breather as on Veja Vee Khali’s “Spiritual Elevation.”

If there was ever a DJ’s DJ, Kerri is that guy. “I’m so honored to see so many people. My friends are here beside me,” speaks his calm yet resounding voice. “They come from Leeds, NYC, and Florida.”

A real legend gives honor to whom honor is due. Mr. V, standing next to Kerri, speaks, “Jus Dance,” into a microphone over a deep masterpiece that drops knees to the wooden floor. One dancer shoves his back and then his head onto the wooden floor and lays prostrated for an even deeper experience. Piano keys and a sassy sax swirl through the soundscape, making this not only one unforgettable moment but one of the deepest tracks played thus far. San Francisco’s house pioneer, David Harness, who is in the house, is honored with his interpretation of Black Coffee’s “JuJu.” The Harlum (short for Harness and Chris Lum) Mix beats are jacked up on steroids, making Afro-house fun to dance to.  

 04:00 PST

As the music should abruptly end, blinding lights should flood the floor, and security should all but assault guests to exit through the back door, Kerri continues to conduct the Kaoz like a philharmonic director gone mad. There is no stopping this guy. With a wave of his hand he directs the beat to bellow on “Hallelujah,” but his right palm shuns the vocals of Shirley Ceaser. He instructs the cowbell to chime on “Bar-A-Tyme.” Then he commands, “You will obey every word of Kerri Chandler,” as “Bar-A-Tyme,” morphs into a killer monster. “Your every will is not your own.” The twenty-five bodies left dancing agree. Their bodies washed in perspiration.

“Kerri turn it down. Turn it down” Mr. V interrupts. Victor Font takes note of the chaos and puts on the brakes. “Yo San Francisco, it’s been a minute.” V turns around. “Kerri, turn it down.” The volume drops only a half notch. “Yo San Francisco, its Valentines Day. You got to show some love, to the man, Kerri Chandler.” Mouths cheer and hands clap. The music gains momentum into a filtered fury.

Mr. V continues, “Yo lets give Kerri a present. Kerri I want you to play your favorite song of all time. It don’t have to be house. It could be RnB, soul or whatever.”

After a second, chiming bells and a mid-tempo four count stumbles into the sound scape, “The Blackness,” announces a tenor.  “This is my favorite song,” says Kerri. At 4:30 pst, Sound of Blackness’ “Optimistic” (Never Say Die 12” Mix) ushers a dancing body of the club on an very unforgettable night.  Hallelujah!   

Words by aj dance


December 28th, 2014



The House That Chicago and Detroit Built


“How do you stay motivated in the midst of everything going on?” Preachy vocals ask. Young ladies nibble nervously at the paint on their fingernails while the fellas draw their BAEs toward their waists. The sea of half-naked bodies has experienced several opening DJ sets throughout the evening. Various visages appear worn but the majority of eyes stare with dilated pupils. The crowd becomes more fidgety as the voice preaches on. “How do you build your personal momentum and get in the zone?” The Eric Tomas “Rope-A-Dope” sample not only opens Disclosure’s Grammy nominated album, Settle but their live DJ set. Thirty-seconds later, the bombastic voice breaks free for a thump and a clap. “When A Fire Starts to Burn” it burns. Smart devices soar upward to record the Disclosure logo burning on five high-definition stadium monitors. A resounding cheer of approval erupts from mouths of babes. Literally these decorated kids, some who are dressed like infants, are babies. A football team logo of a blue star with a white and blue outline is etched onto the back of a ball cap that oscillates left to right. Someone standing next to me is so excited they deem it appropriate to light up. In the Dallas Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center chewing gum and lip-balm are prohibited but not marijuana?

Despite the unappealing whiff the music remains the focus.


Layers of pounding percussions make way for a marching four-on-the-floor that beckons earlier Chicago underground warehouse parties with far superior acoustics.

For a hefty music festival the acoustics sound anemic almost weightless. More bottoms, a heavier bass, and high-definition sonics would enhance the Grammy nominated “F for You” disguised beneath bubbly drums and hissing hi-hats. A more defined soundscape would thrust the body forward when the tom-toms drop allowing Howard Lawrence’s understated vocals to send a rushing shock to the heart providing a F-ing mind blowing bass drop.

Actually, the visuals are the money. At the climax on “F for You” (Remix) fireballs shoot towards the ceiling. The sight of fog hovering overhead makes jaws drop. On cue Disclosure’s outline face dances from screen to screen. Laser lights flood the stage and then paints the audience electric green. The gregarious theatrics is controlled by the event’s nucleus, a 500 square feet booth located in the center of the room.


Then a dog crawls by on all fours, some kid is dressed in a head-to-toe dog costume. There dances a grey rat, sorry but this year a dead mouse appears nowhere on the line-up. There is no shortage of tomfoolery in this world.

In the land of God, guns, and Ford trucks there is Lights All Night. The two-day indoor rave-ahem, festival-in its fifth year, features the crème de la crop of EDM giants playing in four separated spaces. The Drop. The Deep. The Turn Up. The Mothership 2.0. It is within the Mothership 2.0 where class plays hierarchy.  Onstage stands the DJ rock god, below is the alter, there stands his worshippers hurdled in a massive lump, the girls who cry tears and the boys who fist-pump, the dancers and the hicks with glow sticks prance around the inner sanctuary as the very important people stare afar from their exclusive gated community-the VIP-in the outer sanctuary. All the while, security monitors the pulse of the room.  

A pulse that thumps to a thud a few songs later. Around the inner sanctuary, furry boots and skinny jeans sit in clicks on the concrete floor. Perhaps the venue’s lack of intimacy is to blame? The Lawrence brother, yes a lone brother and not the awesome twosome, stands behind an entirely too huge arsenal. He appears dwarfed and too far away to woo the crowd. “Dallas are you still with me?”


His black T-shirt turns from left to right. His hands appear to punch and twist knobs. Sadly, this crowd will never know if he is playing music live or not. Disclosure is not the best of DJs. Their technical mixing can be clunky but at least you know they are not aided by computer software for beat matching.   But that is on those Boiler Room videos. God only knows what happens when one is erected ten feet in the air.

A hiccup burps from the speaker. A skid-ity-clat, clat, bubbles until it bursts underneath a breathy falsetto. As vocalist Sasha Kimbal battles the voices in her head the music drops into existence and the room’s thermostat rises. Disclose-minus-the-sure turns the tide by playing vocals, a much-needed welcome to the mainly instrumental affair thus far.    

To keep the people’s energy level boiling it appears this crowd needs more apeshit. Something that Disclosure is not. Disclosure is more 1990’s house than today’s cake face antics.  

Disclosure’s rise-to-fame dates back to 2008 a time when the two brothers, Howard and Guy Lawrence first listened to electronic music. Feeding their veins dubstep, brostep, and electro did not make the cut. So the Surrey natives explored the rich history pages of electronic dance music. Their discovery led them to the steel and automotive factories buried beneath the rubble of Midwest America. The musical movement birthed from the original EDM fathers during the post disco era yielded fruitful results. The Lawrence brother’s sound: the house and techno that Chicago and Detroit built. A sound that remains relevant and reverent. That is why you will hear in their live DJ set.  

“Jack…Jack….Jack…Jack Your body,” the Steve “Silk” Hurley classic playing over a sample of Maurice Joshua’s “This is Acid.”

Chi-town’s diva Dajae wailing, “Lift Me Up” on Cajmere’s “Brighter Days.” Alumni house heads appreciate the Underground Goodie Mix. EDM lovers scratch their heads. Disclosure feeds filet mignon to Happy Meal eaters.  

“This is something new.” The confident voice hypes to faces covered in candy masks resembling Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat. The four-to-floor thumps at 130 BPM with chopped effects recalling juke house birthed on Chicago’s South Side. “Shake That Ass” a voice whispers that commands derrieres bounce as if quivering outdoors in the 30 degrees air.

The scent of sex lingers in the air like cheap eau de toilette. From the guy dancing in yellow short shorts to a woman’s breasts trying to escape her furry bikini. The couple swapping spit next to me. The couple dry humping in front of me. The couple swaying in one another’s arms behind me.

When the one-half of Disclosure is not paying homage to the pioneers of house and techno, he markets his song that reached number two on the United Kingdom Singles Charts. “White Noise”-the song’s accompanying music video was filmed in an abandoned warehouse in Detroit-causes SuperDanceBros to high-five one another as their bare chests slam against bare chests. One bro, wearing a glowing mask of an Inca god, tries to recruit other guys to join their mating ritual.

“If house is a nation, I want to be president.” DJ Roland Clark’s presents Urban Soul speaks on “President House.”   For thirty deafening seconds the music disappears. “If house is a nation, I want to be president,” the voice repeats like a hundred times. Dancing feet halt. Mouths are silenced. Faces appear confused. What is a house nation?   Tribal drums thump but these thumps sound more manufactured on the latest music software than played organically.  The congas bring out the Latinas, dressed provocatively in carnival fashion wearing no more than dental floss and mile-high feathered headdresses.  Mexico flags wave in the air. A Puerto Rican flag is wrapped around the male genitalia of a barely twenty-year-young lad. This party proves American born Mexicans are representing in mass numbers. The latest Spanglish generation has abandoned salsa dancing to writhe their legs over one another. A movement that continuously appeared over the past sixty minutes across the conference hall. Glossy sneakers kick front to back and twists in and out with bouts of spasms.   “Security! Please, call a paramedic.” These younglings have restless leg syndrome. I’m told no paramedic is needed. “This is called the shuffle.” Dazed and confused, I reply, “Calling that a shuffle is (explicit).”

And why must the running man make a comeback?

And to think Generation X proclaims that Generation Eat. Sleep. Rave. Repeat. is only concerned with snapping selfies than actually dancing at raves. Ah, they do dance. It’s a dance by a different name.



The tribal dance comes to a grinding halt. “Dallas, sing your heart out to this next song.” “Now I’ve Got You In My Space,” neon glowing lips sing in return. Disclosure closes out the set with “Latch” their top ten hit that made them a household name.  

“Do ya want one more?” He asks with his British accent sounding more evident than at anytime during the night. “Only if you want it.”

A reverb effect sounds as synthesizers sweep over a stark drum kick. Eyebrows shift upward. Eyes bulge. Bright smiles light up the room. This might be the best song he has played all night, someone thinks, if not the most recognizable song of the night, someone else thinks. A sea of hands charge the air as if playing gangsta at a rap concert. “Sorry Ms. Jackson.” “Ooh,” the crowd sings after the music fades. “Dallas can I get a…..” “Ever, Forever, Ever, the crowd sings at the appropriate time. What a becoming tribute to the ATLiens.  

“I’m Guy, one-half of Disclosure. I had a blast. Thanks for coming out.” The young man announces before disappearing into black.


Why younger brother Howard was amiss remains unclear. Guy, the older Lawrence brother aired a self-confidence as to suggest he was groomed to DJ solo. Having to play music and please a crowd of hundreds can be burdensome when you are accustomed to sharing the spotlight. No small feat for a twenty-three years young fresh face with a five o’ clock shadow. The ability to conquer the small allows Disclosure to conquer mountain peaks where their counterparts trip and fall. Their ability to wholly take their craft seriously; producing music with intrinsic value, creating a critically acclaimed compilation, performing live while playing actual instruments and paying homage to the old-skool in their DJ outfit justifies means. Their will to revive house music’s golden years and repackage it to their generation is a testament. Disclosure is not freshmen playing on a varsity team: they are the team. They create the rules, the plays and they score! These two brothers just might be the saviors of house music.    

Words and Visuals by AJ Dance

Ten Reasons How Disclosure Ruled House Music In 2014 While You Slept.

December 22nd, 2014

The UK lads ruled house music and deep house music in 2014. “WHO?”  You house music purists ask.  Here are ten reasons how they accomplished this accolade while you slept.

10. Madonna really???


9. Usher is kissed by a Disclosure remix.


8. A Billboard trade magazine cover.


7. They are the next generation responsible for taking deep/soulful house music to the mainstream.

6. The Queen of Hip Hop goes house on the Disclosure produced “Right Now” and “Follow” singles on her critically acclaimed “The London Sessions.”


5. Disclosure’s “Latch” launched songster Sam Smith into superstardom.


4. “Rest in peace Frankie Knuckles, an inspirational pioneer of the music we love.” -Disclosure


3. Disclosure’s “F for You” featuring Mary J. Blige earns a GRAMMY nomination.


2. “Latch” becomes a surprise summer hit in the States.


1. Disclosure is AJ Dance’s artist/DJ/producer and remixer of 2014 and “Latch” is his favorite house song of the year, although the song was released in October 2012.  Anyways, congratulations!


Legends of House 1: Kevin Saunderson 15.11.14

November 17th, 2014

Legends of House Techno meets acid house

Legends of House

Legend 1: Kevin Saunderson


 “You can’t smoke cigarettes in here.”

“Yes you can.”

“But I really thought you couldn’t…..”

“Yep.  You really can.”

“C’mon you are killing me.”

The smell of ash hangs low and thickens the air.  Had not some city ordinance previously banned killerates from public places?  Funny the city bans everything else.  Besides, what is the allure to smoke cancer sticks while grooving to music?  Do patrons really need a puff to enjoy the sounds, especially the sounds of house music?  This is the most unholy matrimony.

“Actually, you’re thinking of the “drum” crowd that doesn’t smoke when they dance here.” 

“Hmmmm, “ Research on second-hand smoke and lung cancer concludes the tiny killers should be banned from all public places.  When smokers are thirty years of age and over carcinogens docks years off their life.  Plus it doesn’t make them appear any more hipsters.  One might say, I have the right to die as I choose, however do not jeopardize the right of life of those around you.  Ever notice the one chain-smoker that follows your every move like a predatory stalker?  The one that pulls out the stick and puffs right into your personal space, no matter where you sit, stand, or dance.  Ever experience the perfect moment when you reach dance epiphany and suddenly you, “Cough. Cough?”  Do everyone a favor and smoke outdoors.  

On one hand, one can argue that if you don’t like the gross rules of the nightlife then don’t partake.  However, the choice is not so cut and paste when a techno music legend makes a rare appearance in town a must-attend event.


“Made In Detroit” tees, plaid shirts and black-rimmed specs canvas the room.  College students fist pump adjacent parents: sparse faces of ecru and olive dot among vast pallid visages.  Behind a black column, a bearded hipster sets his glass of liquor on the floor.  Underneath the smoky haze and pulsating strobe lights that leaves the floor green, a sea of pearly white pupils stare at a stage.  Missing are electric guitars, live drums kits, synths and a hairy mop with plucked lips screaming into a microphone.  Instead two CD players, a mixer and equalizer are the instruments of choice.  Behind the arsenal stands a figure-tall, dark, and dressed in black.  He is who everyone in attendance is ready to experience. 

A four-on-the-floor thumps at full volume before disappearing into the dark.  Warm pads springs to life.  Like the prodigal son, classic house comes leaping home.  Many appear, by the lack of fist pumps, to be vaguely familiar.  Only the dancing is fully engaged.  Time travels back to baggy pants and PLURs: the bygone years of Generation X’s rave soundtrack.  If classic chords beckon feet to move, warm vocals commands mouths to sing,  “Your Love.”  Mouths mimic lyrics, as to say, if memory serves correctly, I used to know every word to this track.  The legendary DJ opens his musical mantra with his back catalog that proves he shines with the great.    

Lest you are unfamiliar and fail to understand the significance, let us dust off the pages of techno music’s biography.   Kevin Saunderson was born, and up to age 9 bred in Brooklyn, NY.  His family then traded sights of the Brooklyn Bridge for the Ambassador Bridge having moved west, Midwest, to suburbia Detroit.  Kevin’s high school years proved pivotal as he connected with music enthusiasts Juan Atkins and Derek May without knowing they would soon craft the blueprint for an underground movement.  After a short stint as a college football player, Kevin departed sports to pursue his love music.  Thus, he became an in-demand DJ who traveled the world.  The label imprint KMS-Kevin Maurice Saunderson-established him as a burgeoning music producer of a distinguished electronic camp.  It was his group, Inner City that created a cult following with vocal techno “Big Fun” and “Good Life” fame. Fast forward to present day, Kevin Saunderson is revered as one of the founding fathers, pioneers and pillars of techno music. 

Kiddie-corner the room the bald DJ stands hunched over shiny hardware.  His black tee brushes against knobs and faders.  His fingers flip CDs, press buttons, and slides switches in a single take. The maestro preps to deliver his best scenario: a repertoire of genre-defining sounds. Deep house sojourns on The Journeymen’s “Close to Me”, deep tech on Culoe De Song’s “Y.O.U.D.,” vocal house croons, “I Need You” that stirs the crowd to realize they need Kevin Saunderson just as much, Andrez “Based On A True Story” (Dub Mix) stomps across the cement floor, “Chicago” that Northside funky house sound causes bodies to writhe in jackin’ jolts, “Detroit,” Kevin’s hood, as in Detroit Techno plays at 135 BPMs and higher as Ovenous & Atjazz’s “Soldiers” speaks over marching drums.  Kevin takes a step back.  He beams a blinding smile.  He is having too much fun.  His stacked frame sways from left to right to his mental metronome.  Suddenly the sounds of recognizable synths sweep the soundscape.  It’s the song that made Kevin and Inner City household names “Good Life,” (Techno Mix) a worthy dose of tech-soul that closes out the set.

Scores of hands ripple the air as a body triple spins and jump upwards.  Not one soul is musically immune to bouts of satisfaction.  This is the music that beckons discerning electronic music lovers journey from Florida and trek from Nashville.  Local neo-technoites and EDM enthusiasts were schooled on the humble beginnings of a global massive front.  The fifty-year young DJ educated the crowd.  In return he receives a heartfelt dancing ovation with thundering handclaps. 

Meanwhile the drink that the bearded hipster previously set on the ground falls sideways on the cement.  Pieces of sharp glass swim everywhere.  Aw great, a sticky dance floor.  Damn, no one thought to bring the baby powder.

Check out Legend of House 2: DJ Pierre

Words by AJ Dance

Legends of House 2: DJ Pierre 15.11.14

November 16th, 2014

Legends of House Techno meets acid house

Legends of House

Legend 2: DJ Pierre


A hefty bear hug is exchanged between the two music buddies.  The DJ transition goes smooth and so much unannounced.  Onstage stands a full-haired man working the musical hardware. He appears far younger than his age.  A closer inspection reveals fine wrinkles that spread like branches of life from his eyes.  He has charm, a jovial wit that radiates as bright as his smile.  House legend number two takes aim.  He appears ready to please.

Heavy-charged techno thumps are exchanged for hissing snares of sexy house meant to inspire more lounging than fist pumping.  Five-minutes later, sensuality is shattered by divas wailing boldly over bouncing keys.  The instantly recognizable Todd Terry featuring Jocelyn Brown and Martha Walsh’s classic makes mouths sing “Keep On Jumpin’.”  As the hook plays the bottoms drop and the big room sound floods the dance floor.  Never has the crowd heard the song played with emphasis.  The classics continue on Meli’sa Morgan’s “Still In Love With You” (MAW Mix) that brings out house dancers not previously noticed during the party.  With one armed out stretched and the other arm folded behind her head, she vogues as her dance partner squat walks around her.

Four months earlier, a defining shift occurred in the city’s underground party scene.  A global-acclaimed DJ debuted his Phutur3 party, named after his late 1980’s Phuture guise.  The monthly series set to showcase local and global DJ talent.  The party proved an underground alternative to the god-complex DJ that rules mainstream nightlife culture, and has since drawn a steady stream of growing faithful supporters of the afro-acid movement.

For those familiar with acid house, DJ Pierre springs to mind.  After all, he is considered one of the patriarchs of acid house.  Pierre’s origin began in the Windy City where as a young child his attention shifted from repairing electronics to studying music.  During the mid 1980’s, when Chicago had as many house/techno DJs as churches on street corners, Pierre followed suit and became a fixture playing warehouse parties. From there he tried his luck at producing and remixing songs.  His luck paid off on the critically acclaimed “Acid Tracks” that led him to working at Strictly Rhythm records in NYC for fifteen years before relocating to the dirty south for family matters.

“Look at the stage.”  Another former Chicago DJ points out.  A vast array of rumps shakes and swings onstage.  Smartphones capture selfies as smiles shine for group photos.  “Hate to burst their bubble but this ain’t no Boiler Room broadcast.”

 DJ Pierre continues to put the P-in-the-air.  If house music ever had a subgenre called P-Funk DJ Pierre would be god.  “Never, Never, Never………” squeals a high-pitched soprano at the top of her lungs.  The man-of-the-hour warps the vocals and grinds out a gospel dub of Floorplan AKA Robert Hood’s “Never Grow Old, that takes the dancers to chucccch.  Hoots and hollers spew from the mouths of babes.  Cue Robert Owen’s “I’ll Be Your Friend” that gets grimy.  Eddie Amador’s “House Music” receives a down and dirty remix that drops knees to the floor.  The legendary producer/remixer is not done yet.  He pulls out the big guns on “Big Fun” from the party’s predecessor Kevin Saunderson.  The sounds of programmable drums, Roland TR-808’s, hover over the crowd like buzzing helicopters.  Spitfire splatters of drums rapidly assault the dancers like military soldiers spraying tear gas at Ferguson protestors.  “Acid…Breathe In, Breathe In” a lowly voice whispers into ears of dancers dripping beads of sweat. Perspiration becomes an accessory that drapes the neck and chest.   As the music intensifies so does the room’s thermostat. “Time for an adult beverage,” notes one drenched dancer.  Only the bar can keep frantic pace with the music.  As Pierre drops hit after hit, bartenders pour drink after drink.  Ringing cash registers sounds like extra instrumentation to the beat.  The music goes edgy and darker with slashing synths and beefed-up BPMs.  Hardcore acid.   Neo-techno/EDM heads be schooled at how the 20th century paged today’s Electro and said, “Give me back my beats.”  Yesterday’s originators inspire today’s generators as evidence on Osunlade’s “Idiosyncracy,” with its techy undertones and robotic overtones.  Whopping guitar riffs and orchestrated strings swirl over a looped four-on-the-floor that pronounce disco house’s revenge.  Paying homage to his beloved hometown roots, DJ Pierre closes the party.  The time reads 3:30 am.

 “Whew, what a night.  I reek of smoke.”

“Me too.”

“The smell is all over my clothes.  Not to mention trapped in my hair.”

“I hear ya.  Although, I must admit, this event was worth every cigarette smoked.”

Words by AJ Dance

CELEBRATE-Atlanta’s Premier Party 14.06.14

June 15th, 2014


DJ 1derful, AKA Joseph King, and his crew; DJ BE, Deigratia and Allison Pickens charges the city’s saturated soulful house music market with an alternative guise-a Saturday day party. His day parties are unique in that no two parties are the same. Be the celebration’s exhaustive list of local guest DJs to its unique grounds. The Atlanta premier party’s home is located at the city’s oldest department store cornered at the cross section of Edgewood and Boulevard. The brick and mortar contains two distinct floors, a bar and DJ space downstairs in the Department Store and a bar with a live band stage upstairs in Erosol. Erosol the Department Store’s old charm antique has been replaced with contemporary furnishings; refurbished wooden floors, pastel color painted walls and black and white visuals that hang on exposed walls. A professional soundboard sits in the room’s rear where a DJ scurries to adjust the highs, mids and lows. No disco ball hangs over the floor only breast-shaped lanterns. For other eye-popping views look out the large window to catch a bustling Old Fourth Ward bask in her majestic glory.

Downstairs libations are poured and gossip is overheard. The bar is packed with handshakes, hugs and smiles. On a leather couch a dad, mom and child pose for a family portrait. The air feels light, the conversations are relaxed that adds personality to the ground floor’s character. Upstairs, the early bird’s, twenty or more individuals, are scattered throughout the room. Voices are stuck in conversation and eyes are glued to mobile screens. One couple provides all the dance floor excitement. Their feet shuffling as their arms create ripples in the air.

Within the hour, green wrist bands fill the room. The graying of hairs and withering hairlines are on full display. A quick glance at faces pits pearly whites against fine wrinkles. The majority of the patrons present are approaching their mid-century mark. Blame it not on the boogie but the daylight hours that provide a high-definition lens of shocking features given to shrink in dark rooms at night.

Michael Jackson’s “You Can’t Win” causes aged feet to dance. The sounds of Chicago native DJ Tony Jakks, stay firmly Blue Lights in the Basement until the crowd chants “Hey Hey,” Dennis Ferrer’s yesteryear anthem.

A band of salt and pepper hair, cropped to a swoosh, appears on stage. DJ Deb stands hunched over and sprawled over the decks. She steadies are index finger that hovers over a red light for a few seconds. On the eighth count she releases her finger to press the button that plays the next track. Where DJ Roland Clark aspires to be “President House,” a Martha Wash a cappella makes mouths sing “I Don’t Know Anybody Else,” while Kenny Bobien’s “I Shall Not Be Moved” takes Celebrate to church. The music  is all four-to-the-floor hardcore with a dash of old skool/vocal house and deep house thumps. The Jamaican born DJ one-hour set sets the room ablaze. The baby powder falls to the floor.  The people dance.  The people sweat.  

“Who is the first person to show proof that you are here at the party on a social networking site?” The brainchild of Celebrate-Atlanta’s Premier Party, DJ 1derful asks over the microphone. He sounds like a loveable teddy bear ready for a big hug. He grins with ease as if throwing parties is a summer breeze.

Several months earlier, Joseph and his crew were riding their wave of a moderately successful monthly night soiree at an East Atlanta Village eatery. One Friday night, Joseph and his team loyal arrived at the venue to set up for their gig only to find the establishment’s doors locked without prior warning of the venue’s closure. When one door closes, a new door opens. During a business trip to Texas, Joseph discovered a gem in Houston’s party market. Hmmm, a light bulb moment occurred. A few months later DJ 1derful would test his revelation at the “brick building on the corner,” thanks to the advice of his friend Deigratia. At 2 pm on a February afternoon, Erosol the Department Store opened its stores for its grand debut- Celebrate-the premier Saturday party of its kind.

“Meeee!” A woman with cropped hair screams. The all-too-happy-woman dressed in all white runs up to the DJ stage. She shoves her mobile device in front of DJ 1derful’s blinding smile.

“Congratulations! We have a winner.” It is this winning spirit where Celebrate excels above the average run-of-the-mill carousing. Rather or not one wins a raffle prize; of a local music grab bag or a mega-chain retail gift card, everyone who attends Celebrate feels like a winner. One house music enthusiast eloquently explains her winning formula, “I can party during the day, go home, eat dinner and go to bed at a reasonable time.”

Words by aj dance/Visuals by aj dance


June 1st, 2014



10.  He was born and raised in the birthplace of house music-Chicago.

9.  His remixes are built from the ground-up,contains live instruments and re-cut vocals.  

8.  He has remixed pop/R&B/gospel royalties from Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Chris Brown to Yolanda Adams.

7.  He made Britney Spears sound soulful.

6.  He has remixed most of Destiny’s Child’s entire catalog.

5.  Beyonce is to Maurice Joshua as Mariah Carey is to David Morales.

4.  Listen to Mary Mary’s “Shackles (Praise You)” (Maurice’s Carnival 2000 Mix).

3.  He is just a life-loving fun guy to be around.

2. He crafted the classic “This Is Acid.”

1.  He won a 2004 GRAMMY award for his remix of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love.”

Words by AJ Dance/Visual by Michelle Dawes Birt for Real Chicks Rock


April 8th, 2014


Frankie Knuckles

I dreaded the day when I would lose the Godfather of House Music. My heart suggests I am selfish to hold on to a life as if that life belonged solely to me especially when that life was not mine to begin with. Although I can’t possess another’s life, I can cherish their treasure left behind. So I’m told.

I wish this could be another blog entry of epic proportions. Perhaps this could be a review of Frankie’s 59 years young birthday bash. A spectacular where David Morales and Louie Vega provided the fireworks at a club on Chicago’s Northside on a blistery January, Sunday night during MLK weekend. I wish this was a moving review of Frankie’s long overdue return to Atlanta. Sadly this is not. So I try to type in mere words what made Frankie my Superman of house music, a sort of sentiment to comfort my dancing feet that mourn.  


Frankie Knuckles commanded a thirty year old dancer to drive ten hours north to the birthplace of house music to attend a two day music festival titled MOVE. The first ever Chicago International House Music Festival featured a list of up and coming DJs along with the who’s who of Chicago and NYC house music markets, all friends of Mr. Knuckles. Everyone gathered at the Charter One Pavilion on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan to experience a relatively unknown DJ from Africa, DJ Glenn Lewis open the event, to see Barbara Tucker parade around with her entourage, to hear Dajae wail, “Brighter Days,” to dance in the rain to Maurice Joshua playing Mary Mary’s “Shackles,” to witness Frankie’s longtime manager, Frederick Dunson play the role of P.R. to finesse, to gawk at Jamie Principle sing and play his piano, to be blindsided by Lady D flashing her thousand watt smile as she crafted her funky house imprint, to experience Danny Teanglia close the first night and watch David Morales wolf potato chips while DJing the second night. The dancer stared at the stage awestruck. His two eyes sparkled underneath the starry night. He had arrived. His house music hero would soon take the main stage.

Fourteen years earlier, my young and impressionable ears discovered a new house sound played on commercial radio. I was a fan of house music and commercial house music remixes. Madonna, Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey belted over manufactured four-on-the-floors, courtesy of recording labels. However, this new house sound arrived on radio playlists dressed in a tux rather than Karl Kani. The sound had class. Piano riffs, warm chords, orchestrated strings and a Hammond B-3 all sounded like Holy Ghost music made for Saturday nights. And I was thirsty for more. I soon discovered the sound’s architect while reading the linear notes on back of a CD maxi-single sleeve.  His moniker, Frankie Knuckles, his crew, Def Mix.  I became obsessed; a Frankie feign. I was Frankie this and Frankie that. I even dreamed of working with the guy in a recording studio remixing this song and that song.  At the age of sixteen, this Midwestern boy had not-a-clue of club land-to me The Sound Factory was just a remix title-as the skeletal structures of the Warehouse and Power Plant stood only four hours away by automobile.

You see, I sneaked into Frankie’s threshold through transmitted airwaves. Smooth Jazz stations played “The Whistle Song.” BET played the video. “Tears” played on late night weekend radio mix shows.

Thankfully, Frankie’s remixes were released at speeds faster than compact discs were pressed. Who can forget the first time hearing the Sounds Of Blackness “The Pressure (Part 1)” (Classic 12 Mix)? My favorites; Lisa Stansfield’s “Change,” Vanessa Williams’ “Comfort Zone,” En Vogue’s “You Don’t Have To Worry,” Chante Moore’s, “This Time,” Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson’s “The Best Things In Life Are Free,” Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You,” Quincy Jones’ “Stomp” and Toni Braxton’s “Un-break My Heart.” Even Michael Bolton and Ace of Base could not escape Frankie’s re-touch. His music would be highly-regarded and heavily revered by the Gramophone Recording And Modern Music with a win in the Remixer of The Year, Non-Classical category. At the close of the century, the Def Mix sound defined 1990’s house music and Frankie Knuckles emerged as, “The Godfather of House Music.


On May 25, 2007, my last day of working with obnoxious eighth graders, I received the best gift that any Frankie fan could ever receive, a night with Frankie Knuckles. The Godfather was scheduled to make a rare appearance in Atlanta. I took this as God’s blessing for having to put up with rudely adolescents for an entire school year. That night, I dressed in head to toe white. After a lengthy debate with myself, I left my white fedora in the car. I figured I would have no need for the head piece. Fail. After paying the twenty dollar door fee I walked into the night club. My eyes bucked at the spacious almost empty wooden floor. I checked my phone, 11:00 pm. Still early. Frankie was already in the mix, painting the landscape with his signature sound. What a treat, no opening DJ but four hours of unadulterated Frankie. My ears fell victim to the music. Kim English singing “C’est la Vie” (Scott Wozniak Mix) aroused me to walk through the foyer’s door and dance straight into the arms of the dance floor’s embrace. I felt loved!

Shakira and Beyonce sang “Beautiful Liar,” The Pussycat Dolls whined “Stickwitu,” Marc Evans crooned “The Way That You Love Me” (Dim’s T.S.O.P Version), DJ MeMe provided the disco on Fish Go Deep’s “Cure and Cause” while Kenny Bobien declared “I Shall Not Be Moved.” Frankie had that knack of mixing fragments; the commercial with the white labels, house with disco and the sacred with the secular into one cohesive catalog, much like his remixes.

The minister of music stood perched in the DJ booth high off the dance floor. You could get a nose bleed staring up that high for too long. Being a seasoned professional, Frankie drew the dancing mass into an act of intimate engagement. Be it alumni house heads sporting “I heart NY logos,” Chicago’s Southsiders head bopping, current B-boys spinning and former rave girls twirling, blue-eyed blonde haired gays yelling, and big mommas swinging weaves, everyone danced to Frankie’s “The Whistle Song” with bright smiles.

At ten to three the music stopped. Surprise! Frankie’s devotees received a heart attack; a chance to meet and greet the amiable legend. My moment had arrived. I shook my hero’s hand and all I could muster from the depths of my heart was a shaky, “Thank you for coming to Atlanta.”

What Frankie Knuckles Did For Me

Frankie was there to comfort me after MJ’s death. On July 3, 2009, days after MJ’s tragic news shocked the world, I ventured to Chicago. I contemplated the trip. I had no funds, no prospects and little hope. Besides, I was in no mood for dancing, loud music or MJ tributes. However, I felt compelled to trek east on Interstate 90 to the Green Dolphin’s Boom Boom Room. As usual I arrived early. So I waited outdoors. I listened to the sounds of muffled bass ricochet off the inner walls. “Ba Da Do Do Do, Ba Da Do Do Do.” I recognized the Eddy Grant sampled bass line playing inside the club. As a teenager, I had played the same bass line over and over again.

I paid the door fee and entered the empty foyer. Frankie was playing Michael Jackson’s “In The Closet.” Here I am in shambles and not wanting to hear any of MJ’s music. Yet, Frankie welcomed me into the club with his very own Mission Mix. Talk about chivalry. Chills surged up my spine. How could I not return the favor? So I willed my feet to shuffle from right to left. I stretched my arm muscles allowing my body to warm up to the knocks and slams of closet doors. Frankie had got the best of me.

If that sneaky move weren’t enough, hours later when the room swiveled in circular motion and the brick walls dripped perspiration; Frankie would floor me. He played “You Are Not Alone;” the eleven minute MJ tribute brought the house down with tears. To hear the Godfather of House play his Franctified remix, a befitting tribute, to the King of Pop was cemented in my memory forever.

I left Green Dolphin forever changed. I proclaimed that I would make it out of that challenged-filled season a victor. See, this is what Frankie did for me. Frankie created and played the music that uplifted me to higher heights, he called my spirit to soar with the angels and he challenged my feet to dance a different dance.

Through the years, I waited for Frankie’s return to play in Atlanta. In hindsight the hope kept me dancing through the years. I often thought, “Soon Frankie will yet again bless this city with his most precious gift, house music.” After all, Frankie said, “I love playing in Atlanta. I will play here again.” That’s what Frankie told me that special night when I first met him years earlier. Sure every DJ promises to play in your city, again. Naivety believes this promise comforts fans; the jaded believes a DJ is really saying “fuck off” and “get outta my face.” But no, Frankie was not the latter. The Godfather was more humble than god-plex. He was more approachable than distant. He smiled when he had reason(s) to frown. Frankie could have turned his back and gave you the hand. But no, his best attributes were that he never gave up on house music and he never gave up on you. After the recording industry went digital and their calls for remixes stopped, he crafted his Director’s Cut guise with fellow DJ/producer/writer/remixer Eric Kupper. He churned out purchasable downloads of remixes and original material of Whitney Houston’s, “Million Dollar Bill,” The Jackson 5’s “Forever Came Today, Lil Louis’ “Fable,” Candi Staton’s “Hallelujiah Anyway,” B Slade’s “Get Over U,” and Inaya Day’s “Let’s Stay Home.” Even after facing medical conditions that would have wheelchair other DJs into retirement; he toured the world. Frankie pumped his blood into the heart of soulful house music until the very end. Frankie was that man. The man that I will never have the pleasure to see or hear play live again.

Words by AJ Dance

LOUIE VEGA & ANANE 15.02.14 Part I

February 26th, 2014



Part 1

Black Curtain

There hang long black drapes in one corner of the room, next to the DJ stage and behind the global bazaar. 

A steady stream of bodies treks from out the curtain.

Gofers fetch drinks from the bar before they disappear back into the curtain.

A group of hourglass curves exit the curtain with glowing smiles.

Those left on the outside watch curiously.                                           

Something goes on behind those large black drapes.

You can feel the energy.

Is this some makeshift private VIP, roped off from the common soul?

Or a moon ritual?


Louie Vega Main.jpg 

Louie Vega

Always, Louie Vega brings the unadulterated soulful house music sound that capsizes at 126 beats per minute.  Foot heavy four-on-the floors slap the faces of dancers.  His sound is not for the faint.  Or for the soft of feet that prance on the tips of toes as ballerinas.  These days, ears have to be conditioned to tolerate stuttered 808’s as hamstrings have to be fully stretched to endure the wear and tear that shall soon follow.   In all, this is Louie’s tribute to his old school roots, when late 80’s house and early 90’s house ruled.  His momentum takes you back to the Devil’s Nest in the Bronx.  A time when vocal house pit the Jacksons against First Choice.  Anyone for Lynn Lockamy?  Inaya Day?  Duane Harden?  To fully understand Louie is to fully understand the sum of his parts.  Vega Records.  Roots remixes.  EOL essentials.  Fania T-shirts?  Louie is not shy to spotlight his ethos.  Louie Vega revolves around Louie’s world. He is a heavyweight in the industry, a revered leader among his peers.  When Louie speaks, people actually jot notes.    People just don’t happen to dance to Louie Vega in the mix.  They are subconsciously pulled into his black hole.  Rather or not education on the dance floor is your dogma.  You will be schooled.       


Aww, look, the darling couple sits on stage.  His body is pinned against hers.  Their body language speaks love.  She pulls out her smartphone encased in candy apple red.  “Click.”  The selfie captures two loving souls.   That’s cute.  However, the crowd is ready to experience what they dropped Gs for. 

Like a swan’s tears dropping into tranquil waters, Japanese violinist, Chieko Kinbara’s dramatics bleeds all over Josh Milan’s heartfelt “Just Like Love.”  The Timmy Regisford and Adam Rios tropical beat builds to a muddled rise.  The train is running off the tracks.  Can anyone help?  To the rescue he comes.  Where?  To the right of the stage.  His two eyes peep over three Pioneers.  His waist and upper torso bends over the CD players.  The man is dressed in a black tee and sporting his signature stingy-brim fedora.  A tattooed tribal arrow points towards his hand that turns shiny knobs, while his right hand cups a silver earphone.  His stance commands all attention.    

A few facial visages appear stunned.  Perhaps the sight of their idol standing a few feet away smacks them.  Or is it the beat?  The “oonz, oonz, oonz,” clocks at high speeds.  All courtesy of a power kick drum, hissing snares and a heart pounding bass thump.  Bodies erk and jerk.  Inquiries of confusion contort eyebrows.  Smoky vocals sing that adds additional confusion.  The beat overpowers the messenger.  Louie understands.  He adjusts the controls.  Fail.  So, two heavyweights move a monitor closer to Vega’s post for greater sound definition.  The light bulb idea works.

“I was At The Club, somewhere near the bar.” Lynn Lockamy never sounded better in surround sound.  Her accappella plays over the same sixteen counts that startled minutes earlier.  The crowd gets it.  They sing, “When I saw that man.”          

Somewhere the secular intersects the spiritual.  A juxtapose that possesses one dancer to bolt up the stage and back down stage in nanoseconds.  “Can I preach to you?”  Arms thrust into the air.  Hands beat speakers.  Mops of hair wiggle from side-to-side.  People are short of falling out in the spirit.  Whatever Louie laced this “Can I preach to you?” acapella, sets the people free.  Earlier hesitations of premature expectations are now fully abandoned.  The people melt in the hands of Louie.  The room is ripe and ready to receive. 

“Hey, hey, hey, hey.”  A familiar voice beckons from the audio’s output.  “It’s Not Over,” sings a First Choice soundclip.   The score’s highs pull to the fore, the bass drops into oblivion that leaves the mids pitched against white noise.  Orchestrated strings pull the melody back into existence.  A moody electric guitar speaks with a twang.  The disco re-edit is the Gamble and Huff produced Jackson’s “Show You The Way To Go” vs. MFSB “The Sound of Philadephia” that sucks the room right into Louie’s black hole.

Mr. Vega is eager to show off his universe.  His world is full of stars.  Louie Vega staring Duane Harden, Louie Vega staring Bucie and Louie Vega staring Julie…the list goes on and on and on.  God love him.  Louie is always staring someone. 

If Louie had to play one summative oeuvre it would be Louie Vega starring Duane Harden’s “Never Stop.”  The Sunset Ritual Version lyrically laced with positivity uplifts the room to a higher state.  When lead vocalist Duane Harden backs Cindy Mizelle to sing ”Lift You Up,” the atmosphere erupts with explosives.  Louie could pack his crates, grab his wife and make a run for the door.  The crowd would never know they were robbed. 

Thankfully, the GRAMMY award winner proves why he is the hardest working man in soulful/deep/house music and continues to drop hits.  He plays his Piano Dub of the Native Sons “City Lights.”  Don’t get too comfortable with Inaya Day yelling, “Hey, Hey.”  Louie throws a curve ball.  When the outro bass line filters to low-fi, in comes Louie’s Factory Mix Part 1 for even more hi-fidelity bass trickery.  This guy won’t even stick to playing one of his remixes: he goes in to play two of his remixes.        

A key in F-minor bumps over 125 BPMs.  Is it filler time?  Louie allows the crowd to breathe.  After all, a professional knows not to wear his or her guests out in twenty minutes.  So he cools the school with the ‘Princess of House’ on “Angels Are Watching Over Me“ his Vega Old School UN Instrumental.    

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” The ever recognizable accent of Tambor’s founding father DJ Stan Zeff announces with microphone in hand.  “Let’s give a warm Tambor welcome for the second time to….. “


Anane Vega

The force of Anane does not pull in the opposite direction but rather digs deeper into the waters that birthed her voice of ancestral soul.   Her Cape Verde, two tiny archipelagos to the left of the Motherland’s shores, roots is her narrative.  At one point growls and chirps resonates through the room.  At safer beats per minute, one dancer feels compelled to join the flock rushing center stage to lay eyes on the DJ. 

The male and female species are rarely treated to lay eyes on a Glamazon.  Let alone a Glamazon DJ.  A simple gesture as pulling her sandy blond locks back into a tail captivates the room.  The “Bem Ma Mi” singer radiates a glow that blings brighter than the ‘Rock’ gold chain hanging around her elongated neck.  Voices whisper, “Beauty is only skin deep.”  But in Anane’s case her God give beauty is layered not linear.  Not one to rest solely on her symmetrical cheekbones, the singer, DJ, wife, philanthropist and most recent entrepreneur proves she has skills.  The music she plays is self-evident, realized and afro driven.  A fact her partner-no, not Antonello Coghe-acknowledges in eye distant.  A head nod to her hubby at work provides approval for him to chime in the fun.   The two stationed at polar opposites of the mixing spectrum align their chakras into one cohesive body.  Impressive, breathtaking and sometimes all over the place is what the two display.  A husband and wife DJ tag team.  After all, Louie and Anane are house music’s Jay and Bey.      

“Flowers bloomin, mornin’ dew and the beauty seems to say…..A velvet voice sings.  “It’s a pleasure when you treasure all that’s new and true and gay.”  Rhythm and Blues lovers recognize the voice they grew up with as Luther Vandross.  Then from nowhere, Glow’s “Change of Love” goes from straight disco to proper Jersey house.  Dancing feet keep pace for the second verse.  Until a voice announces, “We gon take it back.” 

Where Anane stops:  Louie starts.  Electric synths jabs staccato punches.  The volume slowly ascends.  The ears of elders recognize the ear candy.  “Say are you happy” an angelic voice asks.  Feet stomp the floor.  Arms thrust into the air.  “Have you been down to the club that the worldly people love.”

Perhaps this Moon Ritual is not the “Club Lonely (Lonely People)” that Lil’ Louis envisioned.  Black, brown, tan, yellow, beige and peach faces dot wall to wall.  People are adorned with their spouse, people whisper amongst friends and even the single dance hand in hand.  No one appears to be lonely.

A few counts later the medley switches tides but stays true old school.  “Can You Hit It/Hit It,” a powerhouse vocal repeats.  Again the crowd goes AWOL.  “Brighter Daaaaaaayyyyy.”  Singer Dajae wails into the air for an extended frame on the Cajmere’s Underground Goodies Mix.  Lads take note a professional not only knows the right song to play at the right time but the right remix to play of the song. 

Earth People’s “Dance” floors feet and silences every criticism.  “I Got Something for your mind, your body and soul.”  A First Choice sound clip brags.  The party man does not stop there he continues throwing down classic heat from Chitown to the 5 Boroughs.  But around the corner lurks eyes that glow with fire in the dark.  A force flies from the speakers.  Knees crash onto the concrete.  Acid house spews its vengeance.   

BLACKOUT.  One dancer is stretched out between a speaker box and a railing. 





Visuals & Words by AJ Dance




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