Archive for June 23, 2012

LARS BEHRENROTH 22.06.12

June 23, 2012

LARS BEHRENROTH

“HELL YEAAAAH!” The white chick screams in a black party dress. The overly intoxicated blonde blows kisses that flutter and dissipate before its arrival to the DJ in the DJ booth.

“YEAAAAH!” She squeals again with the fervor of a high pitch hyena’s howl. Was she about to throw one hand up in the air to make the AC/DC hand gestures while bopping her head up and down reminiscent Beavis and Butthead?

“YEAAAH!” She explodes. This time around she fixes her eyes on her comely companion; a gay guy. Wait a minute, the two aren’t together? Oops. Ms. Thang swings her long blonde locks from left to right. Bashfully, he ignores her boisterous attempts and keeps dancing. She reaches out and holds his love handles. He’s not having it. Nervously, he turns his head to his right for an apercu and wonders where he can run to hide. Nonetheless, he’s trapped by the throngs of people. He savagely ignores her attempt by moving his feet at a quicker pace swaying from left to right. The party girl brushes her two hands across his pectorals. He’s still not having it. Then out of desperation she bends over unto the floor and there you have it folks….white panties plastered against a pasty thigh.

This tomfoolery marks the effrontery makings of the drama that ensues in front of the DJ booth. Why is it when a headlining DJ plays the first song everyone appears out of thin air and charges to the front of the DJ booth when the space is already chockablock? PEOPLE. PLEASE, use a bit of judgment. Is your vision that impaired you utterly fail to recognize there is no room in the inn? Does a, “NO VACANCY” sign need to be slapped across your face? Are you that ASININE? Or maybe you just don’t give a F*%$. The notion that there’s enough room on the dance floor does not apply, in this case, to the interior of the restaurant shaped like a shoebox. PEOPLE. Please, arrive earlier during the party to secure prime real-estate on the dance floor. On the contrary, that’s the joke. You PEOPLE don’t show up to dance. Instead, you PEOPLE take up space and stand on the floor as “WTF” star-struck DJ whores. PEOPLE. C’mon, are you serious? Please, stand elsewhere or be prepared to be pushed elsewhere. End.

Now back to the regularly scheduled program.

After one summer night’s noctilucent performance of thundering sounds, sporadic flashes of lights and the crying of tears, the Sound Table started the party. The music ushered KOT’s, “Finally” with Julie McKnight on vocals that stirred the nostalgic of minds. From four sound ambassadors stationed throughout the eatery thumped prestigious harmonies of the bittersweet nectar of house music’s bygone golden-era. A sugary concocted coat of cheers and melt-in-your-face dance moves played spectacle to curious palettes. What was this entire ruckus about? It was for the beloved sounds of soulful house music. The music that conjures the ability to speak the heart’s native tongue traversed through the woven tapestry of dance. In a world of soulless microwaveable consumption the pure sounds of soulful organic electronics proved gloriously epicurean.

It’s after 1pm and local legend Kai Alce has concluded one impressive classic house journey transcending time and space. Finally, the party’s guest headliner, the Deeper Shades of House creator, appeared in the elevated DJ booth marked by a neon green back wall that brilliantly painted the hearts of those gathered; deeper shades of green. From the exposed brick wall to the bar’s wooden countertops, eyes of awe and fists held tight to the heart, projected themes of DJ worship. Had the DSOH hero transformed into a new DJ demigod? The west coast resident had spellbound the crowd’s every essence of atomic energy and sculpted it into a combustible force. That force was so potent and ready to explode like musical confetti upon the backdrop of clanking cocktail glasses against porcelain small plates. The time had come for the musical styling of the honored guest and distinguished fellowman; Mr. Lars Behrenroth.

It’s always a great time when “Mr. Good Time” Lars Behrenroth plays. Lars no longer a stranger of the city has taken on extended family status. He’s the more-than-welcomed family member that when he arrives in town receives a royal red carpet rollout or at best a home cooked meal of the tastiest grilled cheese sandwiches. The gregarious cousin was in town to celebrate and share the ten year anniversary of his Deeper Shades of House imprint. That vision has spawned an Internet podcast, music label, community website and brand merchandise of tees and armbands. The brand had survived a turbulent decade when music formants transitioned from digital to clouds, when major underground dance labels ceased operations and turntables succumbed to mini-storage pods. This epic milestone; survival of the fittest, was alone worth the celebrating.

The Deeper Shades maestro started off with a jazzy underground house number. Psychedelic harmonies met chill Ibiza grooves that danced over a mid-tempo four-count. However, the floor warmer did little for the crowd. Soon slashing synths sliced in three-count syncopations through the soundscape as the wobble of beats sent seismic shockwaves through the space. Omar’s, “Lay It Down” (Andre Lodemann Mix) capitalized on the intellectual stirrings that sets parties into motion. The night’s money shot came courtesy of Lars in action boldly going where few DJ’s dare conceptualize. The choppy four-count disappeared and the music’s volume dropped down to a soft whisper. With the bass muted, the highs pitched, the vocals were filtered to a hypnotic warping of cacophony. Oh shit. Was Lars about to strip? Was he about to “Lay It Down” so long and hard that certain men’s magazine would deem this “porn-house?” In mid-sweat, the Deeper Sex of House persona slowly leaned to the right with his right shoulder cocked in mid air (preparing to go in and to make you scream). His broad upper torso gyrated in a slow wind of circular motions as he slowly and gently stroked the groove. He bent his knees and dropped a couple of inches downward and went inside, into the groove that is. A sexual innuendo oozed from his aura as he seemed to perform rhythmic thrusts of copulation with the music. The crowd at this point was all screams of ecstasy lost in unbridled lust. Most panted for breathes of fresh air as they were worked over to the point of exhaustion. Lars with eyes glued shut, covered his upper lip with the lower lip and protruded his jaw that pronounced pure cocksure. Nothing could break such stiff concentration. He was in it to win it and he wasn’t coming out until the crowd wet themselves, with sweat that is. The man was in baby-making mode and pleasing every orifice of the body. He grimaced, and made “the stank” face as if his groin spontaneously exploded with the joys of his labor and he was rewarded with the best gift, an orgasm, of the house music kind. At that point, on one precise count the beat alongside the music slammed down on the crowd and all were fucked uncontrollably out of their minds. Faces rolled backwards. Heads dropped towards the floor. Arms flung in the air. Bodies bounced up and down aplomb fleshy poles. “You Play Dat Ish!” was heard over orgasmic screams. This was one big orgy and one man had “Laid It Down” and impregnated the mutha. This was baby-making music, of the house music kind. Damn and this was only the second song.

After the fu*ktastic climax, the vibe settled into classic house music territory. After the steady annoyance of dance floor antics and shenanigans, in the back of the restaurant where dinning tables mingled with their counterparts; dining chairs, sat vacant prime real-estate. Once the dinning tables were pushed towards and almost out of the bay windows and their counterparts the chairs moved to separate locations, a band of house music’s finest aficionados turned the party out and danced the night away. It took little time for the eclectic music producer to segue into the deep rhythms of afro-house with a sample of Wyoma’s lecturing vocals on At One’s, “African Healing Dance.” Next up, Chicago’s Very Own, Glenn Underground’s, “Indians Bagpipes” caused the party’s second ruckus. A spectacular display of leg thrusts plunging through the air, writhed bodies kissing the floor, fancy footwork shuffling on wooden tiles and dignified African dance interpretations that mind-boggled spectators of diverse ages, ethnicities and genders. The imagery provided a defining moment to the phenomenon known as underground deep house music. As if their souls were groomed by exotic Indian rhythms joyously dancing over soft handclaps the spirit of dance sprung forth and brought smiles to those watching on the sidelines. “You Play That Ish” screamed one soul on fire. Soon after, Deeper Shades Recordings remix package of South African outfit Liquideep’s, “Feel It” (Andre Lodemann Mix) kept the action alive as the patrons on the dance floor slowly ebbed. From “gangsta house” to “sexy house” the deepness continued with a sample from Argy’s, “Upon Ourselves” as Bajka’s spoken vocals soared over, Liquideep’s, “Feel It” (Instrumental) of soft chimes and deep percussions. The night belonged to the musical spirit of Glenn Underground with another deep interpretation, “Mental Piano Dub” from his “Simple Black Resurrection” EP. A nod to opening DJ Kai Alce seemed appropriate as Kai used to bang the anthem at parties that sent people into dizzying fits. That night, likewise, the tune stirred up an intensive exploration of emotions of self lead by the swirling of piano keys over cowbells. On a somberly note, enough to sober a drunk, the 2004 classic from the late Nkemdilin “Kemdi” Amadiume singing on Handcrafted Soul’s, I’m Still A Dancer” provided nostalgic of days and dances on dance floors gone by. The mid-tempo number was the last house song played in the cross-pollination of classic house killers meets afro-house deepness.
Once again, Mr. Lars “DSOH” Behrenroth attacked the deep house world of deep house heads and left no stone untouched. The rather outspoken cousin stayed true to his roots and delivered a powerhouse set sure to please the mental memories of many for years to go. Happy Birthday DOSH with hopes for another fruitful ten years.

Photography by AJ Dance

DANNY KRIVIT 16.06.12

June 17, 2012

DANNY KRIVIT

A “WHOMP, WHOMP, BOOM!!!” shattered the peaceful summer night air and exploded like bombs over Baghdad onto the neighborhood streets in vicinity of the venue. At the establishment’s framed wooden front door the sub-terrain voice of bass greeted civilians. Once indoors the subwoofers sounded off clear and crisps, “THUMPS” marching off to war. Seismic waves of decibels sliced through the heart. The soundscape had leveled the battlefield with an apocalyptic “BOOM!”

“YEAH, it’s the NEW mixer sponsored by Bozak!” yelled Tambor’s third in rank with enough joviality to fuel an Army Abrams M1A1 battle tank. “I can’t wait for Danny to hear it!”

Except for being in the company of the frequent bass explosions that rocked the venue, the capacious space felt peculiarly lonely. Behind the music artillery, Commander Stanzeff worked a numbered of Tambor’s foot soldiers stationed at various points throughout the base. The Tambor-in-chief, in Re-Edit mode, strategically crafted current cuts of Quentin Harris’/Margaret Grace’s, “My Joy,” 3 Amigo’s/Susu Bobien’s, “You Bring Me Joy”( Guy Robin Mix) and Peven Everett’s, “Stuck” (Phil Asher’s Soul Heaven Version). Tambor’s troops responded with valiant praise. On the contrary, certain imponderability perplexed of certain lacks. Was it the institutional decor? The sleeping disco ball? The missing strobe light theatrics? Or simply, the MIA house heads?

My Love Song

There is something about the color of love when Danny Krivit shows up to play at Tambor. Red seemed to be the coincidental unofficial uniform color of choice. Red tees, red polos, red pants and red minis showed up to party. Two years prior, Danny threw down at Tambor’s Passion Party where the room was besieged with every hue of lust. Although the venue and many faces have since changed, the vibe had not. Many came expecting to experience a night of passion. And some more than others got that.

Provocative females pranced around practically naked provoking passionate eyes to protrude from both sexes. Hands fondled breasts. Two favorite dancers, one male the other female, disappeared before the party’s guest of honour manned the decks. An older gentleman gripped and groped his female companion with moves that should be left at “Swinging Richards.” Yes, something freaky was in the air. After all, they don’t call this the “Summer Party” for nothing. It is the time when the zeitgeber beckons, “It’s Mating Season.”

The Big Apple’s Danny Krivit appeared onstage in his uniformed 718 Sessions black tee. Sergeant Body & Soul stood armed and dangerous gripped with firearms, of the music kind, ready to slay Tambor. With a lovable teddy bear visage easy enough to fool-his demeanor proved all militant. Without warning, the sock it to em’ and knock em’ out DJ played drill sergeant. With a shuffle of his neck from side to side; the bass dropped and the highs were pitched to roughhouse the audience. The in-demand music hero wasted no time discharging jazz vocalist Gregory Porter’s, “1960 What?(Opopolo Bass & Rerub)” onto the brigade. Surprise! The soft-opener spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E for a few Paradise Garage vets that expected a more disco anthem. Next, DJN Project’s featuring Theo Larson and Quadir, “Afro-Hard” pumped beats like machetes fired off in an African jungle. The third song proved victorious for the Garage heads of old hence, Ten City’s, “Fantasy.” Danny cut the music. The people sung, “I’m Sitting On Top of the World/Whenever You’re Around Me” the famous lyrics from Skyy’s (AKA New York Skyy) “Here’s To You”. The 20th century jam played with production help from the 21st century remix masters N-Joy and John Morales. Danny in playful mode continued to have fun with the audience and dropped the music and vocals for additional sing-a-long support from Tambor’s troops. Global beats banged courtesy of Distant People’s featuring Nickson, “My Love Song” (Libation Mix by Ian Friday) one of the smoothest gems discovered that night. There’s just something about the color of love when Danny plays love songs at Tambor. Given song legend Kenny Bobien in the house, standing next to the DJ stage texting, Danny played a moving tribute to the king of gospel house with “The Light.” Later, Kenny’s wife Stephanie Cooke’s tribute arrived, (apropos in the house) Love Will” (Roots Vocal Mix) the Latin-flavored percussion driven jam that took dancers on a makeshift Navy cruise around the Caribbean Islands. Occasionally, vocal house was abandoned for instrumental driven tracks which displayed variety for a panoply of palettes to enjoy. During one disco house excursion the crowd seemed lost in translation; preoccupied with distractions. Therefore, moving towards the back of the facility to dance the atmosphere reeked of cooked crack. The music faded as the beginnings to a Roland drum loop sounded. Whitney Houston’s voice came into full view from a hazy stir. As Danny dropped the music the crowd sung, “Love Will Save The Day” which sounded more like shouts from the top of their lungs. The 12” inch version made for a great dance among friends on a white powdered dust covered floor. The dance down memory lane continued with Geraldine Hunt’s, “Can’t Fake The Feeling” from 1980. The jam had people wanting to pull out their roller-skates. Back to the present, Danny decided to bless the audience with a reprise of Distant People’s featuring Nickson, “My Love Song” (Libation Mix by Ian Friday). Once again, there is something about the color of love when Danny plays love songs.

There was no major theatrical disco close-out. No final thirty-minute music set devoted to Salsoul. Heck, the late Donna Summer didn’t appear in the mix. Proper house tracks seasoned here and there with vocals, afro-house punched at higher BPM’s and a dash of disco made an oscillating body of work. Danny wasted little effort playing afterthoughts of yesteryear but rather focused much attention on house music’s current climate. The “King of the Re-Edit” seemed more engaged in Body & Soul’s inner-makings than the architectural framework of Paradise Garage. The roller skating jams were left behind at the rink and music requests went ignored, even to the tune of MFSB’s “Love Is The Message.” What a valor undertaking, “My Love Song” was the new “LITM”. That night, house music’s prestigious Medal of Honor went to…… Mr. Danny Krivit. After all, there is something to Danny Krivit when he plays love songs at Tambor.

All Photography by AJ Dance

DAVID HARNESS & STACEY PULLEN 02.06.12

June 3, 2012

DAVID HARNESS/STACEY PULLEN

BLACK ROOM

Was this House In The Park 2008? The Gathering’s founder Atlanta’s Ramon Rawsoul banged hits from Sunshine Anderson’s,Force of Nature(Blaze Roots Mix), Sergio Mendes’ featuring Ledisi “Waters of March” (DJ Spinna Mix), dunnEASY’s with Monique Bingham “Won’t Stop,” and Peven Everett’s “Church” (International Sting Mix) with a couple of current selections from the likes of Reel People’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s magnetic “Golden Lady” with golden voiced Tony Momrelle providing lead to B-more house trailblazers Ron Hall and Thommy Davis with “Fugue In Baltimore.” Even Canadian born R&B outfitter Melanie Fiona showed up in the mix with a clever deep house treatment to her aught hit “It Kills Me.” Another killer, the room’s temperature that hovered somewhere in hell felt more fit for a summer’s dance outdoors at House In The Park-minus the sun-than indoors in a stripped-down barebones venue. Had someone forgot to blast the AC? The Black Room was burning hot and not in a great way. The Black Room wasn’t close to being crowded. Yet that didn’t stop those in attendance from sweating like pigs in a blanket. The Black attendance, a massive body of fifty souls or so, peeked between midnight and thirty minutes thereafter. Sweat rags showed up, hand held flyers waved hot air on necks as moist palms wiped the sweat off brows, arms glistened with perspiration and T-shirts were drenched. Mysteriously, the crowd evaporated in thin air. Perhaps the lack was due to the heat, the women’s bathroom with no working lights and a busted door lock, the mass of people smoking tar on the lung cancerous back patio,  the techno party next door in the White Room in the restaurant or the incessant reticent grouses of the impatient asking, “When is the guest DJ to appear? It’s taking way too long.”

After one in the morning too long. By the time the night’s headliner, David Harness arrived onstage to play the party’s energy had long dried up like lotion on eczema-stricken skin.  The Harlum music producer clad in a black tee and jeans had his work cut out. The task would not be easy. Hard work and persistent perseverance would have to win over the scattered crowd. So the saying goes, “The show must go on.” And it did. Here’s to hopes that the San Francisco-an would pull out some cleverly produced west coast gems from his bag of tricks to save the night. After much anticipation the first song played to impress the people. FAILED. A few dancers snapped fingers and swayed from left to right while one foot soldier shuffled his feet in fancy semi-circles that astonished spectators. Sadly, this was not enough to jolt the party. The Realm’s featuring Tony Momrelle, “Time” (Frankie Feliciano Classic Vocal). FAILED. The Muthafunkaz’s featuring Sheila Ford and Marc Evans, “Oh I (Miss You)” (Atjazz Love Soul Mix). FAILED. C’mon people what would it take? It would take the fourth song with its deep, dark and heavy thumping bass line and a titillating voice that counted “1, 2, 3, 4” to work up the crowd into sudorific. It worked! People actually came to life. Hips gyrated, breads swung in the air and bodies groped the floor to pure madness. Another anthem kept the crowd rocking; DJ Zinhle featuring Busiswa Gqulu’s “My Name Is” that brought some heated dancehall/reggae flavor to the party with butts thrown in mid-air romping about like hippos drinking at a water well. The crowd cheered to Grammy-nominated Gregory Porter’s, “1960 What?” (Opolopo Kick & Bass Rerub) extended with a rousing trumpet solo that rode over a house beat. The party was again recharged. Cheers to David for playing his astounding interpretation of Jill Scott’s heartfelt, “Here My Call.” The crowd’s cheers soared high into the heavens when the infectious opening piano bar resounded throughout the room, however, the excitement quickly hushed and left for a struggling effort of dance. What a disappointment. All hope seemed lost. So, the party was swiftly abandoned for a livelier atmosphere next door.

STACEY PULLEN

WHITE ROOM

In the White Room an adrenaline rush of combustible charged protons and neutrons slammed into the electric atmosphere. The White Room was loud. Really loud. Conversations mingled over techno beats. “Thumps” and “Booms” shattered the sound sphere. From the front of the illuminated DJ booth to the center of the room party patrons seemed confused. The spectators stood as if management prohibited them of dance. Literally, the people stood frozen as if their feet were glued to the concrete floor. Of course the space was packed tight with heads afraid they’d spill their beers. Anyways the frozen appeared peculiarly perplexed with star struck visages of what the DJ would do next. As the President of House Music would preach, “Ask not what the DJ can do for you but ask what you can do for the DJ.” More than likely the DJ would reply, “DANCE!”

Towards the room’s mid-section to the rear old-school ravers gathered. Arms weaved in and out of fluid motions, off-brand sneakers spun around in circles and wide-legged pants glided in what tight space permitted. The White Room’s faces resembled a white sea sprinkled with a few browns here and there. However, the majority of the color in the White Room reflected from the painted walls and the clothes the mass wore. Hmmm. Something disturbing abounded with the visual. Why the separate Black Room adjacent to the White Room? Why the musical segregation in the 21st century?* After all, the international acclaimed DJ playing in the neon green hued DJ booth was none other than Detroit’s legendary Stacey Pullen.

The in-demand Detroit techno wiz held the White Room suspended in trance with hard beats, electro riffs and harmonious chords of soulful melodic rhythms. Histrionics bounced over tech-heavy synths as electric cheers squealed from the crowd. The dread head Pullen played cliff hanger drops and frenzied build-ups that worked the crowd over. The people pulsated violently with beer bottles held high in air. The room’s thermal energy erupted off the charts. The crowd exploded stir-crazy; the kind of electric buzz only reserved for at outdoor EDM festivals. The second generation Detroit techno pioneer kept the crowd’s pulse on full throttle and continuously played a rollercoaster wave of breaks and slams that delivered a bodily blood rush in 2.2 seconds. Those thrill seekers loved the emotion that squeezed every once out of their endorphin bags.

Also, the music wasn’t the only energy in effect. In the center of the room a tipsy couple swapped wet tongues. A drunk blond aroused her inebriated boy toy by pulling at his phallus, all the while trying to pull down his pants against his request. Yes the freaks were out and sex was in the air. At the bar, libations poured and spirits soared. Hazy drunks stumbled from the front door to the bathroom. Love it or hate it, real parties are made of this; ENERGY. There were no sleeping heads to be found in the building.

DAVID HARNESS

BLACK ROOM

Back in the Black. Jill Scott’s, “Rolling Hills” (Shelter Mix) had feet dancing on the sidewalk outside of the venue. Blue-eyed Brit Jonny Montana’s featuring vocalist Dawn William’s, “New Me” pumped in the background to a handful of dancers and a few spectators winding down the night. However, Frankie Knuckles’, “The Whistle Song” reenergized the dancers and kept the party grooving thirty minutes passed closing time. Ramon Rawsoul closed out the night with Byron Moore’s, Life Starts Today” (Padapella) and a jazzy house number. After the final note played it was time to call it a night. Of course, the party had its missteps. Too bad the Black Room came unprepared to give their all. Once again, “Ask not what the DJ can do for you but ask what you can do for the DJ.”

*Perhaps musical tastes are to blame. The Black Room prefers BMPs under 120 and the White Room prefers BMPs over 120. The Black Room prefers house over the White Room’s preference for techno. Maybe it was the $15 cover charge for the White Room and the $5 cover charge for the Black Room. Whatever the case it’s the 21st century people, let’s get over it.

All Photography by John Crooms