“Yo! What up?”

“Deez Nuts 4 president!”


“Give me a huuugggg.”

Pearly white smiles sparkled underneath the halogens of streetlights. The heart leaped with joy during each warm embrace. Like hugging long lost relatives at a family reunion during Labor Day Weekend. Instead of ribs and slaw, long white tees, halters and pumps were the fixin’s.   A show of who’s who was in “lookatme” mode. Selfie time!!! Of course with friends. Conversations quickly turned to; weight loss, air flight trips and future hookups. The annual Atlanta Weekender festivities had already commenced outside, along Edgewood Boulevard, in front of addresses 485 and 483, respectively. The magic suspended in the air, straddled beneath the Waning Gibbous.

Following the pulsating “umpsh, umpsh, umpsh,” into the brick and mortar revealed no disco ball, or cat-n-mouse laser display that distinguished the obscurity. If not for the bar lit in the soft hue of carrot the room would be aphotic. Ahead, at the DJ booth the guiding light was found. The sonics eschewed from two JBLs. There he stood, the man partitioned from his gatherers.

The buzzcut he wore might have been new, but Kai Alce needed no introduction.  NYC born, Detroit raised, ATL transplant-an acronym for his N.D.ATL Muzik imprint-served as cultural virtues that crowned him “Atlanta’s Maverick of Distinctive House Music.” Although the DJ/producer/label owner resents titles and is laconic, he clearly spoke through the music. You “Can’t Hold It Back,” he suggested with a slight grin when playing the Jovonn titled track. The now-anthem ignited flames on the floor.   Blink and miss the horde of Distinctive-ites who canned-sausage the space in front of the DJ booth; hands on the floor, derrieres in the air, their feet swiveled in circles. That was the power of the four-count, a heavy bass line, and a repeated refrain.  

There she danced in the corner. Her dress sparkled as metallic blues shimmied against the speaker cabinet. Her beauty mirrored the portrait of the 1970’s Blaxploitation heroine projected onto the back wall of the room.   As her silhouette weaved in and out of shadows, she mouthed “Dance Like You’ve Been Here.” The DJ Beloved Remix of Miranda Nicole’s N.D.ATL Muzik’s recording debut played like a beacon to a siren’s prey.

The music skipped counts on UBQ Project’s “We Can Make It.” Visages appeared stunned?!? Folks, this was an all vinyl affair. Heedlessly, hunched against the wall and consuming prime real estate was a young man who pecked on not one but two smartphones. Stationed on the DJ wall, a drinking glass slid off and shattered jagged debris across the baby-powdered floor. Dancing up front, and center the DJ booth became unbearable. So dance space was traded back room for near the venue’s front door. Where the temperature felt cooler, the air breathable, and the cement floor fit to slide across.

At some point in time, when professional photographers dipped in and out of space-pockets trying to capture the perfect snapshot of a dancer doing a burpee in harem pants: time, place and space framed an apex. The music abstract yet concrete. The conductor inseparable from the conduit.  The curator indistinguishable from the virtuoso.   A casual encounter turned fanatical dance.



You can take Theo Parrish out of Chicago but taking Chicago out of Theo Parrish presents an entirely difficult challenge. Born in the nation’s capital, bred in the Windy City, the DJ/producer was influenced by Chi-town’s first and second generation house music provocateurs. His first DJ gig and production work came early, age thirteen. Thereafter, the young musicologist would study in Kansas City where he received a degree in Sound Sculpture before calling the Motor City his home since the mid 1990’s.

Chicago played theme on the Sound Signature C.E.O.’s opening selections. Peven Everett cooed “How Bad I Want Ya,” a sentiment Theo posed to the crowd before slaying the dancers with Steve Poindexter’s genius “Computer Madness.”

Say Parrish, and the name resounds around the world, synonymously with techno/house. Theo’s music is badass: never mollified for the masses yet ballsy enough to challenge the bullocks of the underground. His left field verbose is taste acquired. The palette of his international worshippers: his native land not so much. Those who understood Parrish’s quiddity were those left dancing: those who failed translation made there way outdoors for a smoke or next door.  


Inside the restaurant guised dance space the music played Afro, deep, and slower at 124 beats per minute. At DJ Kemit’s Soul Makossa party, bodies gyrated and writhed from the DJ Booth to dining stations in the back of the rectangular space. Yet, there was ample space to join in the spirit of dance.  A far cry from earlier when people stood in line to get in the door. Percussions elevated Elements of Life “Children of the World.” The beat crawled to 120 BPM on Hiatus Kaiyote’s “Breathing Underwater“(DJ Spinna Galactic Soul Remix). The thumps packed punch on Steve Silk Hurley featuring Sharon Pass’ “The Word Is Love” (Silk’s Anthem 7 inch Mix). The classic pulled the salt and pepper hairs onto the floor as the music danced down memory lane with vintage Col. Abrams’, “I’m Not Gonna Let.”

“YEAAAHHH!” The moms and pops yelled to the Shuffle It Up Mix. DJ/producer Alton Miller spoke to the age forty and over, Detroit style. “I’m so going back to check out Theo next door.” Said a thirty years young Jersey resident.


The snare hissed. The beating of congas beat faintly in the distance. The strings of an acoustic guitar plucked ever-so-gently across a romping bass line that straddled over four counts, then dropped as the rhythm crescendo into a melodious movement that guided dancing sneakers across the craters on the floor.

“THEO!” A high-pitched voice yelled. Arms besieged over the booth’s wall. Then the house lights shined brightly. Pupils were enlarged. A motley of colored visages that once danced in shadows was now exposed. No one cared. The people danced on. The music played on.

A bearded guy dressed in all black appeared next to Theo and gave him the cutthroat. Another security chief, this one with his facial gestures buried beneath a ball cap, bolted to the DJ booth and told the maestro to “stop.”

“I can’t.” Theo lipped back. “The record ain’t finished playin’.”

The crowd “booed” the burly guards: they “yayed” the DJ. Complying with security’s demand, the music stopped. As security walked away, the sneaky Theo pressed play. A four-count thumped. Security turned around and told him to cut the music. For a second time the music was hushed.

“Look. He mad (sic).”

With his back towards the dancers, Theo cursed underneath his breath. His hairy arms swung out, half-heartedly, to the sides in anger. The “I Want to Go See” type on his tee said it best. Theo was going to see, something, somewhere. Sadly it was out the venue’s front door.

The second night of the Atlanta Weekender closed with less of a bang and more of a swift-kick in the arse. If Atlanta is grown enough to host its own version of a holiday Weekender then Atlanta needs to step it up with a 4 am or later bar closing time. Atlanta, the time is nigh. Please, quit stopping the music.

words by aj dance

visual by aj art

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