Posts Tagged ‘The Gathering’

MASTER KEV 02.02.13

February 12, 2013


     There are a lot of people here! (pause) Not dancing.

Seven years earlier a gift enriched this magnificent metropolis.  At a time when many soulful/deep house music gatherings danced on the edge of extinction one man stepped out from the ashes to heed the call.  His name Ramon, his moniker Rawsoul, his vision The Gathering, hit the city’s underground soulful house community with a much-needed punch.  Naysayers and haters were wary; the dedication to helm a party, in the city too busy partying to even care, was no small feat.  The Gathering weathered storms.  Gone its former abodes; the warehouse, a studio, a coffee shop, and a restaurant’s basement all traded for the cozy confides of a restaurant’s Space2.  Successfully, since conception the party has hosted a wide spectrum of DJs plus cultivated a family atmosphere of house music lovers.  Over the course of time, one essential element remains intact, The Gathering is love.

Nestled within the walls of Space2, at The Gathering’s seven year bash, the love in the air spells w-e-l-c-o-m-e.   Warmth radiates from family faces collecting dollars at the door.  However, out of concern, a word of encouragement is uttered.  A further walk into the venue unfolds a curious manifest.      

Their accents speak louder than words.  His southern drawl from Music City USA and hers the thick throat finesse from France. Furry vests paired with ties dot the room.  A bare mid-drift walks by.  Despite the outdoor’s temperature reading thirty-six degrees, indoors the temperature hovers at seventy-five degrees.  Heat blasts on those gathered.  One kid dances in between and out of the dense throngs of hot flesh.  His drunken behavior is such that he bursts several party balloons-that decorate the premises-for what must be some form of amusement.  Bartender, no more PBR’s for this fella.  Despite the shenanigans the party is at a standstill-much like bumper-to-bumper traffic on 285. 

However, there is no stalled hooptie or no twenty car pile-up.  Just a bunch of bodies parked on the dance floor.   In semi-circle fashion, like at a drive-in theater except “Everyone’s Favorite Photographer” John Croom’s visuals from the Gathering’s past seven years provides the entertainment.

Piano keys play staccato style that run amuck, orchestrated strings twirl to climatic heights, as a warm melody approaches.  Anyone for Lil’ Louis,’ “Fable?” (Denise).  No one answers.  No one moves.  Hometown hero Kai Alce tirelessly works the musical dashboard to deaf ears.  Eyes of every shade of hue stare expressionless, as if hypnotized, at the slideshow splattered on the unfinished plastered wall.  Folks this ain’t no Peven Everett concert.  Next, the NDATL headphone wearer tries to make the audience feel “special.”  Fail.  All eyes continue their obsessive loyalty to the wall of holes.  Must be the crowd is stuck in neutral.  Kai slams the brakes, jams the musical gear shift into reverse, and heads into classic house territory.  No one cares.  The dumbfounded stares continue.  The slideshow repeats for the umpteenth time.  C’mon.  Really?.?  Can the Scottish duo the Nightcrawlers’ “Push The Feeling On” (MK Club Mix) save the party?  Perhaps.  Slowly, a handful of feet shuffle.  The zombie like trance might wear off.  Maybe signs of life on the floor will show.  Season soul sensation Donnie’s “Olmec Save Us” (Yoruba Soul) into the mix and bam!!!  The party is off to a late start.     

After midnight, DJ turned Chef Sir Thomas honors The Gathering with a vanilla icing chocolate cake. 

“Happy Anniversary To You, Happy Anniversary To You, Happy Anniversary To The Gathering, Happy Anniversary To You.”  The crowd should sing.  But they don’t.  

Suddenly a figure wearing a checkered cap, dressed in a blue tee, and blue denim appears onstage.  The crowd grows silent and rushes to the front of the DJ stage.  The figure alongside Ramon Rawsoul and Kai Alce inspects the DJ equipment.  Two Pioneer CD players.  Check.  One Technics 1200 turntable.  Check.  A state-of-the-art mixer.  Check.  The figure’s hand steadily plugs a USB into the left Pioneer’s port.  This action confirms all systems ago.  The dashboard’s control panel comes to life.  The time is nigh. 

The figure needs no introduction.  He’s the DJ’s DJ.  West Coast house music pioneer, Marques Wyatt dubbed him “the brutha from another mutha.”  The DJ/producer/remixer is constantly name checked on linear notes.  He is a NYC night-life legend.  He is Master Kev.     

The speed limit reads 125 BPMs.  Pistons hum. The party’s throttle kicks into high gear.  Monotonous chords that wallop against 808s come to a screeching halt. An understated drum kick starts.  Vocals whisper “Piano In The Dark.”  This is Nick Curly’s haunting groove remixed by the Yoruba Soul purists.  Oddly, DJ Master Kev plays the opening number at safe speeds of 120 BPMs.  Shifting into 3rd gear, Jill Scott’s “Crown Royal” (Timmy Regisford & Quentin Harris) heavy bass line blasts onto the soundscape.  Surprise! Don’t expect to sing “Crown Royal on Ice.”  This is the instrumental.  One dancer yells, “More vocals.  More vocals.”  Her wish is Master Kev’s command.  Instead of Jilly from Philly singing, her contemporary, the late Luther Vandross sings one of his classics over the T&Q treatment.  It’s a two-for-one creation, the mashups, that DJ Master Kev is widely known to unleash and wreck havoc on crowds.  Vocals courtesy of Honeycomb’s Josh Milan produced by Japanese house head Namy’s “From Now On” rides over a dirty house beat that pumps at higher speeds.  The premier of hometown wunderkind Salah Ananse with newcomer Paul Vincent on vocals “Toxic” (Salah Ananse Afrique Electrique Dub) shifts the room into a feverish fit not registered prior that night.  The dancers summon the ancestors as they writhe on the floor.  Homage to producers in the house continues with DJ Roland Clark’s spoken words on DJ Le Roi’s “I Get Deep,” that stutters with tremolos and splits the room in two like a diced atom.  Music from South Africa’s Ralf Gum and Monique Bingham’s “Take Me to My Love” drops and explodes. Ms. Biggah Bingham’s vocals are whipped into a dizzying swirl that has the dancers dance on and on and on and on but they never catch up.  Perhaps, Master Kev tries too hard with Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”  The DJ drops the music to let Stevie Nicks and the crowd sing: “Thunder Happens Only When It’s Raining.”  Only, no one sings along.  The classic plays way too long and never catches on.  Oh well, maybe next time.   Rufus and Chaka Kahn show up in the mix with “Any Love” over techie vrooms.  Master Kev saves the best for last with folk guitars strumming underneath African vocals sung in native tongue.                                   

Already the digital clock reads 2:30 pm.  The Gathering’s founder, Ramon Rawsoul, appears onstage ready to control the vessel’s music.  Master Kev appears relentless to surrender.  Indeed MK does slay the room with some vocal/folk funk that is rare in these parts.  Appropriately, Ramon Rawsoul is the man of honor who best serves to close out his party.  So, the sweater & tie DJ takes the rein, adds a 4/4 count, and increases the BPMs.  He drives the music to Africa where handclaps and afro-chants dance with subtle tech.  South Africa’s Zakes Bantwini’s “Wasting My Time” (Rocco Dance Floor Mix) wastes no time slaying the dancers left on the floor.  The song’s razor-sharp synths crescendo to spill blood on the dance floor.  Music worlds collide on Usher’s “Climax” remixed by Jo’burg’s G’Sparks Spilulu. The late Nkemdilin “Kemdi” Amadiume sings on Handcrafted Soul’s “I’m Still A Dancer” to the handful of dancers left on the dance floor.  Sadly, the show must end before Byron Moore completes “Life Starts Today.”  Three am arrives; its closing time.            

Great times were had with Master Kev as camera’s flashed and gratitude was exchanged.  The Gathering was a phenomenal success.  Well attended and well executed.  The experience ranked up there on the party’s top five.  Hopefully, next time, there is more dance space and less obstructions.  DJ K Mixx’s (welcome back) subwoofers sat in a funky space, right front and center the DJ booth, not allowing those that prefer to worship at the alter to do so.  Also, here is to smoother concrete with no craters.  The dance floor had more potholes than a downtown street after a harsh winter.  Attorney Ken Nugent would say, “One fall, that’s all.”      

In the words of Ramon Rawsoul, “Other parties are like mega churches everyone goes there.  But The Gathering is like the small church you grew up in.  It’s family.” The Gathering is that and more.  The place you call home.  The place you go back to when you need the real deal.  The place you go to feel the love.       

Cheers to The Gathering’s next seven years.

Words and photography by AJ Dance


August 3, 2012

Chicago’s Julius The Mad Thinker of 3 Degrees Global will make an apperance in Atlanta, GA on Saturday August4, at the Sound Table for a special intimate night of music. Check out what the Mad Thinker is currently working on and his outlook for Saturday night’s visit.

Interview by AJ Dance

1. What is Julius The Mad Thinker currently working on?

Quite a bit!

For event production, I’m confirming the last of the production and entertainment details for events leading to and happening during the Mi Casa Holiday(MCH) Season 4 Finale in Playa del Carmen, Mx. Some of the details include approving lights and sound, selecting visuals, approving decorations, artist time slots, script writing for On-Screen Talent, building and developing new and current relationships with restaurants, artists, groups and administrations such as the new Mexican Government appointees.

For music production, I’ve written 3 new songs. “Wife Lover Friend”(WLF), “Purpose to Life” & “Proud to Be”. We’re(Aid to the SouLLess team) just about to record vocals on “WLF” with a phenomenal voice named Kaye Fox. I’m also collaborating on a future Terry Hunter song.

For Tour Schedule – I’m looking forward to being back with Ramon Rawsoul & Kai Alce in Atlanta of course, playing alongside Mark Farina @ Marquee dayclub in Vegas this month, being back in Vegas in September with my man Keith Evan for the awesome OASIS event production we’ve been working on, at the end of September, the Mi Casa Holiday send off at The Vagabond in Miami, and the incredible Mi Casa Holiday Season Finale in Playa. Later in the year, I have a big Chicago event acknowledging the 3Degrees Global 13yr anniversary feat. 3Degrees Residents with special guest Black Coffee, and this winter back scouting for MCH Asia.

2. What is Mi Casa Holiday?

Mi Casa Su Casa refers to Mi Casa Es Su Casa Holiday or MCH(Mi Casa Holiday). MCH is an annual season of destination music events that lead to an explosive weekend Finale in Playa del Carmen, Mx. The Season Finale features a unique itinerary of events, amazing artists, and friendly yet passionate globetrotters from around the world. This year’s Season Finale will be held Oct. 4-7. Check out the tentative program!

3. Can people still register for the Mi Casa Holiday Finalle?

Yes! Http:// / For inquiries in the Atlanta region,
contact Mi Casa Holiday planner Nina Ananse – or

4. What goodies do you have in store for Atlanta?

Beautiful music, extreme passion, and a lot of positive energy 🙂

Chicago’s Julius The Mad Thinker of 3 Degrees Global will make an apperance in Atlanta, GA on Saturday August4, at the Sound Table for a special intimate night of music. Check out what the Mad Thinker is currently working on and his outlook for Saturday night’s visit.

JAMIE 3:26 05.05.12

May 6, 2012

JAMIE 3:26

The Chicago Invasion Continued…..

A treasure trove stood before the eyes. Back at Space2, along the wall behind the makeshift DJ platform hung historic prospectus from club land’s bygone era. On the exposed wall Lil Louis hung next to Ron Hardy that hung next to Parrish Thomas. The decorated display was a who’s who in Chicago house music history. A time when house music was a lifestyle during the opulent 1980’s hey day. One of those pioneers-a second generation Chicago DJ-guest headlined at Chicago native/Atlanta resident Ramon Rawsoul’s monthly, “The Gathering.”

Jamie 3:26 (pronounced three too six) showed up like a prize-fighter. The Chicagoan moved cocksure and swiftly mimicking a South Side Chicago boxer. Like he had something to prove. When a DJ opens with Chicago’s outspoken Peven Everett’s, “Simmer” (Timmy Regisford Mix) there’s nothing to prove. The second generation house master’s brilliancy shined through a panoply of beats from award nominated genres. Runner-ups included broken beat, afro-house, classic house, vocal house and underground tracks. The party’s reigning champion went to Chicago’s South Side disco. That disco, the soundtrack to the uninhibited 1970’s, caused pandemonium in front of the makeshift DJ booth. A small crowd of forty-plus year olds had gathered and waged animalistic war. Imagine moms and pops imitating wild African animals in heat. Had the savages worn animal fur the textured pieces would have been skinned-bare. Leopard print bell bottoms? Destroyed. Ripped to shreds. Oversized afros? Gone. Torn off heads. Sounds of high-pitched hyena sibilants, cackling howls and roaring growls were heard courtesy the brute. Carnivorous claws sliced the air, the shaking of heads-possessed-jerked from left to right as teeth gnashed. A ravage spectacle of outright barbarism consumed the room. People, Please Clear The Area. Move away from the predators. The prey was bound to die.

Jamie packed a punch. The silver-haired mixologist delivered several rounds of blows to the audience. Take Diana Ross’, “Love Hangover.” The bass disappeared. The highs were tweaked and played at high decibels. Then BAM!!! (The crowd loses it.) The bass slammed the place. Precisely on eight-counts, the beat thumped harder, louder and more powerful than ever. On Anto Vitale’s,Theorma Del Faya(Tea Party Vocal) Jamie bobbed and weaved, anchored one shoulder upright as a boxer protecting his/her face from an incoming right hook. Peek-a-Boo. Jamie bounced up and down on the balls of his heels with a swift shuffle of the feet as all twelve fingers danced on the mixer. This is the type of DJ that anticipates what the crowd needs (not wants) and causes the audience to follow. Too bad the entertaining match would last for only TWO brief rounds (hours). The South Sider hadn’t made it to a T.K.O. Had the people got their money’s worth?  Why invite a legend from over seven-hundred miles away to play for only TWO hours? Are the fees worth spent having a guest headliner play less than three hours? Assuming so, this mind buckling trend seems to be spreading like wild fire in clubs across the country. Resident DJs are insisting on closing out their parties. Honestly, the majority of the crowd comes out to witness the event’s special guest talent. With that said, the people would have loved MORE Jamie 3:26. Here is to next time and hopes of more Jamie. After all it’s not often we get a chance to experience such a music legend.

Photography by AJ Dance

The Chicago Invasion Continued…..