Archive for October 22, 2010
ALL GREAT THINGS COME TO AN END
“He keeps on blessing me/Blessing Me”
These were the lyrics to the party’s opener played by Lars Behrenroth at Connect’s final party. Connect a monthly party held every first Thursday night that for six years had been instrumental in bringing house music back to the city’s forefront during the nitelife’s, “drought years.” Maybe not so much as bringing house music back as it did to keep house music alive during those “drought years.” Had it not been for Connect, the fervent sounds of deep/jackin’/house music would have indefinitely died for it were these parties that kept the torch burning bright for dance enthusiast. Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end.
Six years earlier Connect started out as a small monthly bringing funky house DJs from around the country mainly the mid-west and southeast states to play at its parties. The barely 25 years of age founders, Mike Zarin and DJC were known as the underdogs in the underground house music scene. Many local house music elders questioned their motives as to why the two would start house music parties during the city’s anti-nitelife stance and a hard hitting house music recession. However, over the years these critics were silenced as Connect’s parties thrived. During this time Connect tried to find its signature music sound mainly focusing on the Chicago/west coast jack sound of choppy beats and tech effects played over repeated samples. Interestingly, two years later Connect drowned in the deep waters of deep house music that became synonymous within the city. From there Connect transformed into a wreaking force, bringing in top-tier international talent and throwing amazing underground house parties. People flocked to the Thursday night monthlies in support to see their international favorites. Connect was ablaze until the great recession.
It was then when Connect had to scale back on out of town/international talent. The cost of airfare, lodging expenses and DJ fees became too much. So when the international talent left, the amazing parties stopped and with it went the crowd. Connect became a bygone-the party easily swept underneath the rug and easily forgotten. Its fate doomed.
One wouldn’t suspect this to be a closing party the way German bred/Los Angeles transplant Lars Behrenroth tore up the motherboards. His head rolled around in circles as he spun the mixer’s knobs to control the groove. His upper torso bounced up and down and rocked from side to side when he was really feeling the groove. At times between mixing songs his hands flew straight in the air as if he were at a futbol game cheering the winning team. This was the power of house music.
Lars sprinkled a few Connect favorites into the mix. There was Romanthony’s dubby, “Let Me Show You Love” that had yours truly singing along and the late 1990’s Chicago classic from Voices of Life, “The Word Is Love (Just Say The Word)” the Silk’s Anthem of Life Mix. Lars laid the afro-house vibe thickly on the crowd before transitioning back to house mode before closing out the momentous night. After a heartwarming goodbye from founder Mike Zarin, Lars took to the microphone to announce the last song, a jazzy house number about love and thanks. Then a female’s beautiful soprano voice resounded throughout the room. It was the voice of Denice Williams singing the R’n’B 80’s soul hit, “Free.” Yes, the time had come to say thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon Connect and to set Connect free.
Photography by Luis V fo DEG
LES FEMMES FATALE
Around the room, African Queens draped in pink-except for the big breasted which were reduced to wearing brown tees- displayed staunch allegiance to fight breast cancer. Every shade of pink from neon, traditional, to faded and every pink pattern from solids, stripes to polka-dots were within view. If one was without the night’s monochromatic theme of hot pink Tambor tees for the Queens and brown Tambor tees for the King’s they were available for purchase in the dining section of the club with all proceeds going to a breast cancer awareness organization. The room dressed with modest pinks and browns for a common cause displayed a unified vision of all tribesters dressed in one accord awaiting Tambor’s femme fatale.
This was Tambor’s first all female DJ line-up to aid the fight against breast cancer. Earlier, the first femme fatale, Miss Kai from Capital City decked in pink and green from head to toe, smoked the room with broken beat, deep house and full on house sounds. Miss Kai’s unique blend of genre hopping caused the early birds to work up a sweet sweat before the night’s main event and special guest talent.
At last the goddess stood at least six feet plus in pumps that allowed her to hover over the crowd like a spiritual deity. In another life she could have easily been a top model but tonight she was an ass- kicking superhero about to beat the shit out of breast cancer. Her six foot frame half covered by a hot pink Tambor tee and blue denim with magical golden locks free and natural protruding from a perfectly squared face with soft doe eyes marked her arrival behind the DJ table. Mrs. Anane Vega was ready to wreak havoc and tear up the room with dirty tribal beats. Anane attacked like some comic book karate assassin with deadly kicks backed by deadly arm thrusts. She was a musical black belt; a singer, songwriter, songstress, DJ and music producer all rolled up in one that possessed unprecedented beauty only reserved for gods and goddesses. There was no stopping this Femme Fatale except for the brief second the music stopped due to technical difficulties (oops). Even then she picked up right where she left off- kicking ass musical style. She was out to leave not one soul unscathed by her musical fury. She wouldn’t stop till everyone in the room was transported to African dressed in loin clothes.
All was under her spell of majestic beauty and tribal assault. In the room the women lost their minds to their fearless musical leader and the men lost their minds beholding such beauty. Never had the tribesters witnessed a goddess from the islands off South Africa kicking ass with splendor.
Anane jacked the room with stellar beats and the occassional vocals. Some time during the heavy bass hitting night, a female’s vocal appeared from nowhere singing, “Give It 2 U.” It was the voice of uber-diva, Ultra Nate flawlessly fluttering over an orchestra laden Quentin Harris house production with no effort. Without notice, low chants of, “Oh man, Oh man,” echoed throughout the building. The male vocals seemed to rise from the ground as haunting ghosts taking everyone by surprise. It was Black Coffee’s, “JuJu” the percussion driven re-edit equipped with finger snaps that sent the tribesters into pandemonium. However, not to be outdone, Anane dropped the vocal killer, “Plastic People” the first single off her debut composition. The deep house tune with penned lyrics, “Plastic People/I See Thru Your Evil” illustrated the hearts of haters with evil intentions to do the innocent wrong.
Evidently, Anane the night’s main attraction felt relief after her “Afro-Tech” set soaked with heavy beats and tech effects took to the floor to dance during the night’s closing number-a song from another native West Coast African islander. Anane two-stepped in circles with several loyal tribesters that were all greeted with pearly smiles and hearty hugs as the song concluded. Everyone seemed especially happy to be embraced by the glamazon from the land afar. Thank God she was not aloof but possessing grace and humility not the kind of attitude one would expect from a musical ass-kicking femme fatale.
That night, breast cancer got the shit knocked out of it. Unable to stand, the ailment fled the room in an embarrassing defeat. Take that. Once again, Tambor won the battle. This time with help from Les Femme Fatale. The End.
Photography by Carlos J. Bell
Video by Ari Johnson/courtesy of Stan Zeff
Photography by Carlos Bell