Posts Tagged ‘dance’

FRANÇOIS K 28.01.17

January 30, 2017

FRANÇOIS K

Staying Woke

“Everybody it’s January 28, 2017.”

“Yayyyyy!” A sea of voices yells.

“If you think I’m going to play music that puts you to sleep. I’m not! There is some $hit that is happening out THERE and I want you to WAKE UP!!!,” shouts an accented baritone, drowned by more “whewwwws” and “yaaayyyys.” His voice shakes with concern and rightfully so. His stare fixated on the audience as his finger reaches down and presses play. On cue, knocking percussions beats underneath a Lowrey organ’s chords as Timmy Thomas croons, “Why Can’t We Live Together?”

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Down the stairs and around the corner, shoulders brush against arms that wave for strangers to follow as feet try to tread open space to dance. Absent are cropped circles with impressive head spinners making statements. There are more bodies standing upright than slant in movements. A sea of porcelain visages stare, engaged at a performance stage. Witnessing the energy emanating from one man. A legend in action already imprints the dance floor.

I Want To See, reads his black tee. His hulky frame stands huddled between a laptop and Pure Groove monitors. His hands swing on deck. As his thumb and index finger tweaks channels across metallic machines the music steadily intensifies to an erupting crescendo of sonic explosions.  Gershon Jackson’s “Take It Easy,”  The Mike Dunn Blackball Ezee Mix delivers bass drops to the balls before transitioning into the pitter-patter of African drums that elevates Mr. Finger’s “Can You Feel It.” Where most DJs create drama to create audience hype this DJ needs neither. His “processing techniques” created live is how he works the music; he mutes the groove; he filters arrangements; he compresses the drums; after all he is a master crafter of the music he plays. He may not be the hottest viral sensation but digging though the crates of popular music, you will be hard pressed not to find his name credited as a producer, remixer, or drummer.

François Kervorkian’s discography is much revered among music aficionados and well respected among club heads. His big break arrived in the late 1970’s with a dub of D-Train’s “Keep On,” his 80’s repertoire spans productions for rock seminal Depache Mode to U2, to his leap back as a forerunning DJ playing electronic sounds in the 1990’s. Tonight, there is one aspect that speaks loudest in his biography. Having recently celebrated 40 years of living in this so-called United States of America. Monsieur Kevorkian is an immigrant.

Which only further amplifies why playing Timmy Thomas, “Why Can’t We Live Together” matters. The music goes silent. “Say What/Say What/Say What/I Woke Up From This Dream” a voice spits over 80 BPM of psychedelic funk. Laurent Garneir’s “First Reaction (V2)” asks, “What’s On Your Mind?” Immigration Reform? A Refugee Ban? A wall? The spoken word of drummer Sangoma Everett pulls minds into deep thought. After all, music should challenge.

And challenging music is at the heart of the native French DJ. While some naysay Bruno Mars’ music playing at an underground party, “24K Magic” sparkles brilliantly into Francois’ open-mindedness. Tributes abound too. Studio 54 represents with Herb Albert’s “Rotation” and Odyssey’s “Inside Out” to posthumous icons Prince, “Wanna Be Your Lover (Live Version),” and Wham “Everything She Wants.” One finds introspection in listening to Lolita Holloway’s a cappella of “Hit and Run” before Eddie Amour proclaims “Not Everyone Understands House Music.” An organ fueled dub of the Jungle Brother’s classic “I’ll House You” packs the fun while the self-awakening poetry of Mutabaruka’s “Dis Poem”- particularly the line “The Ku Klux Klan riots in Brixton Atlanta”-energizes the room.      

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Bodies are still glued to one another with sweat as neon music notes dance across the wall atop the bar as hints of nicotine straddles the air. Social media posts read, “I was turned away at the front door.” Earlier in the night there was even a line that snaked down the street to the venue’s front door. For everyone who entered received a seat at the table. Their pallets feasted on treasures-Chicago house, Detroit techno, NYC deep, London electro and Soweto’s Afro. The feast was succulent. The music dynamic. This musical exchange was not for the exclusive elite, but inclusive for all to experience. Music itself is the language of freedom that François K beckons to wake up people. In these polarizing times, where weekly worldwide protests are the new black, it is important to stay woke. If we sleep, our right to assemble, dance, and play music might banish.

GORGON CITY 06.11.15

November 12, 2015

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After the music comes to an abrupt stop, the sound of metal grinding its teeth on meth explodes into the air. As if nails were scratching a chalkboard, the drums scowl with a nasty drawl. This is grime music, the choice sound of U.K.’s underground edge. Seconds later the grime thrusts straight, four-counts that is, into the arms of acid. All the while, the sight of purple and pink lasers pushes toward the ceiling and pulls to the floor again in erratic shifts. The performance stage’s dynamics border haywire. In the audience an army of fists arises. Voices cheer. Welcome to…

GORGON CITY

Thoughts of Gorgon City swallowing you whole would seem most appropriate. Given so, Gorgon’s Greek root gorgós translates: dreadful. Recall in Greek mythology, the three monster sisters? Stheno, Euryale and the stone-turning Medusa were Gorgons. Monsters! Terror! And dread! Oh my. You will be hard pressed to find any hint of hideous in Gorgon City. The only Gorgon in sight is a printed Medusa silhouette head on T-shirts selling for $20.

In the bowels of the Masquerade where Hell and Purgatory are playmates, the heart of Gorgon City beats upstairs. In Heaven! Yes, Heaven. Heaven is 10,000 square feet of conspicuous space guarded by exposed walls. Heaven bares a stage-a massive stage. Where metal beams protrude vertically into the air, like exaggerated frames of future skyscrapers, which are connected to more beams that run horizontally across the stage like railroad tracks. Four-way resembling traffic lights perform stop and go commands on the edges of the platform. Where three light traffic signals are not enough and four lights are a must, Gorgon City is a fortified fortress.

A fortress partitioned by a gate where Gorgon City’s denizens are separated from the elevated action. Their stares gaze upward, eagerly awaiting the sight of their alderman. The creative counsel responsible for unbridled screams.

“ATLANTAAAA!!! Are. You. READY?” A voice calls from the stage. Lights out! The room goes black. Bodies are heard moving about in the shadows. For one mili-minute voices fall silent….until. Lights flash like a bolt of lightening. A game of green turned white fluorescents floods the stage to the back of the room. A spectacular LED show blinds retinas. “BOOOMMM!!!” A crackling explosion drops from speaker cabinets. The sound of bass jolts the heart. The pitter-patter of live drums crescendo as an approaching freight train.

A shield of dense vapor breaks away, revealing two youthful faces; one bearded the other with a light goatee. Their hands glide and pluck at controls, steering their sonic youth in forward directions. They stare at each other from their DJ techno pods that are separated by an actual acoustic drum kit played by a live drummer. Imagine music played live, merged electronically with ‘Live and Push.’ This is the future of house music realized in the 21st century.

Kye “Foamo” Gibbon and Mat “RackNRuin” Robson-Scott provides more than Gorgon City’s soundtrack, the duo is Gorgon City. Both are British, raised in North London, and never gave much inkling to music or music careers as lads. Whilst teenagers their music tastes were more diverse than their traditional rearing: Kye in hip-hop and Mat in punk. Their mutual attraction to jungle, AKA drum-n-bass led them to pursue DJ stints as monikers “Foamo” and “RackNRuin.” Separately signing with the same DJ agency, unbeknownst at the time, paid off when one night, the two met at a club and purposed to record together. After success, the two now named Gorgon City signed with the powerhouse Black Butter Records that fronted them vocalists such as Tanzania born and South Shields resident LuLu James.

Onstage appears her hourglass figure. Her elongated fingers clasp a microphone. The mocha-skinned beauty sashays as her long mane brushes against her back. The solid black multi-pattern white print dress she wears is wrapped around her frame so tight that she might have to be scissor out of it by nights end. She lowers her legs until she sits atop her wedge heels. With her back straight she sings, “We Used To Be Real.”

The purists could argue so. Where Gorgon City’s earlier work paid tribute to Athena and Thor as underground themes, it was their vocal number “Real” that danced onto the UK Singles Chart. The duos tasting of commercial success dictated 2014’s “Sirens” be all pop house. A trend currently followed by several British duo DJs, the most successful to date, two brothers hailing from Reigate, Surrey, England.

DISCLOSURE*

A month earlier, on a balmy early October night, Disclosure stepped onstage at Atlanta, Georgia’s historic Tabernacle. Guy and Howard took to their swiveling techno pods. Their smiles promised the greatest. What could ever go wrong? This stop marked the fourteenth date on their “Caracal” U.S. tour.  “Superego” jump-started their set. “Omen” erupted in flames. “F for You” proved well with Howard’s chops where “Jaded” felt remote. After several bubbling numbers, the pop fizzled. “Willing and Able” stalled. “Nocturnal” failed to impress, even as the lads were air lifted and played electric guitars. “I heard their first album is better than the second album.” A blue-eye with blond highlights spectator whispered. Perhaps so, as “Bang That” and “When A Fire Starts To Burn” thrust the performance into hyper rave. With the stage lit, actual pyrotechnics exploded against erratic laser beams. A thunderous applause erupted as gigantic monitors played an animated Gregory Porter lipping “Holding On.” “Caracal” the concert exceled the moment Lionbabe’s Jillian Harvey strutted onstage and sung “Hourglass.” Her birdwalk and high kicks stole the show. American born Brendan Reilly appeared and sung the hell out of, “Moving Mountains” and brought the chuuuuh to the Tabernacle. Side note, Google him. All before the two Lawrence brothers disappeared into the black and reemerged with “Latch” the show closer.

“Atlanta this is so far the best show.” Bragged Guy-the younger of the two brothers. Honestly this was far from their best show played in Atlanta. The Disclosure concert lacked star power. Real star power. Not to say, the band-of-brothers are not on the road to stardom, or stars themselves. But when your music plays the soundtrack to the stars, then the stars had better show and perform live. *

“If I Had A Dime and Dollar, For Every Motherf…..”raps a gravely voice. As vocalist Josh Barry steps out, he spews a few bars from “6AM.” The former Britain’s Got Talent contestant takes his place alongside LuLu James. The two make the perfect pairing; her bangs, his dreads, both dressed in complimenting black and white, as they sing “We Were Meant To Stand Out From The Crowd” into each other’s eyes on “Elevate.” On the smash-up of Peven Everett’s “Gabriel,” interwoven with Whitney Houston’s “It’s Not Right but It’s Okay” the two come off sincere and genuine.

Don’t get it twisted like the serpents twisting on Medusa’s heads. Gorgon City is vocal house as much as Gorgon City is one entire dance party. Where the people actually dance in Gorgon City is on the outer banks of the standing crowd where a young man slams his body to every count on Omni Trio’s “Renegade Snares.” This is Mat “RackNRuin’s” roots-his best attempt that challenges the audience to dance on double counts.

Crowd pleasers continue. “Ready For Your Love”-Gorgon City’s highest UK chart-topper to date-whips bodies into motion, one twenty-something wearing a man bun mouths every lyric to “Imagination” and a alumni raver sings “Here For You,” her left arm flinging in the air as her torso shifts left to right, her face reads, “F-U-C-K off, I’m diva extraordinaire.

The diva driven powerhouse vocals on “Go All Night,” the most apropos song for a party that could have went all night, closes the party. As the sound of single stroke drumming builds into a frantic frenzy, synthesizers play sharp chords for a true rock star ending. Gorgon City closes with a bang! In a world of British dance music competitors, one winner is crowned.  Where Disclosure has attained rock star status, Gorgon City performs like rock stars.

*Contains excerpts from Disclosure 05.10.15 review on ajdancelegacy.com words by aj dance.

words: aj dance

DISCLOSURE Live 05.10

October 6, 2015

Long before The Beatles stepped foot onto American soil, the British Invasion had long occurred. Look no further than the indigenous peoples. Britain’s hunger for world dominance, a British World Order is no covert. Evidence today: James Bond, David Beckham, Adele. Even so, America’s house music community was not immune to a leveraged buyout. The Brits accepted early Chicago imports that served as blueprints for their very own commercializing of house and acid in the late 80’s. Their brand of copy & conquer continued well into the latest century. Today, a slew of fresh-faced blokes are discovered, dissected, and signed to major recording labels at fiber-optic speeds. From social media to Shoreditch no cobblestone is left untouched. At the forefront of acquisition stars Disclosure: the regal face of millennial dance. With a polished PR script that reads: two brothers hailing from Regail, Surrey, musically educated, plays instruments, acquired MySpace stardom, signed with an indie-label, and remixed a songstress that charted in music magazines, online, and commercially, after all, is what the machine is made of. Perhaps more settling, on June 3, 2013, their full-length release “Settle” and earlier released single “Latch”(ed) Disclosure as dance music’s emperors, except in the land that birthed their sound. In America the saying goes without saying, you only make it once you land on the American charts, a landing Disclosure accomplished fifty years after the more proper titled British “Music” Invasion should have been coined.  

On a balmy early October night, Disclosure stepped onstage at Atlanta, Georgia’s historic Tabernacle. Guy and Howard took to their swiveling techno pods. Their smiles promised the greatest. What could ever go wrong? This stop marked the fourteenth date on their “Caracal” U.S. tour.  “Superego” jump-started their set. “Omen” erupted in flames. “F for You” proved well with Howard’s chops where “Jaded” felt remote. After several bubbling numbers, the pop fizzled. “Willing and Able” stalled. “Nocturnal” failed to impress, even as the lads were air lifted and played electric guitars. “I heard their first album is better than the second album.” A blue-eye with blond highlights spectator whispered. Perhaps so, as “Bang That” and “When A Fire Starts To Burn” thrust the performance into hyper rave. With the stage lit, actual pyrotechnics exploded against erratic laser beams. A thunderous applause erupted as gigantic monitors played an animated Gregory Porter lipping “Holding On.” “Caracal” the concert exceled the moment Lionbabe’s Jillian Harvey strutted onstage and sung “Hourglass.” Her bird walk and high kicks stole the show. American born Brendan Reilly appeared and sung the hell out of, “Moving Mountains” and brought the chuuuuh to the Tabernacle.   Side note, Google him. All before the two Lawrence brothers disappeared into the black and reemerged with “Latch” the show closer.

“Atlanta this is so far the best show.” Bragged Guy-the younger brother. Honestly this was far from their best show played in Atlanta. The Disclosure concert lacked star power. Real star power. Not to say, the band-of-brothers are not on the road to stardom, or stars themselves. But when your music plays the soundtrack to the stars, then the stars had better show and perform live.

words: aj dance

visuals: aj dance