Hearts Revolution, known for their Ice Cream truckery and electro rockery, kicked off the evening with a great set. Female vocals and electro backing tracks were punctuated by tight live drums.
Gang Gang Dance
At an almost impossible to gain entry show at Santos Party House, Gang Gang Dance put on a mesmerizing performance that was well-packed with an exceptional sound system. However, the peculiar set left me wondering where some of the new studio album tracks.
After Santos, Richie Panic brought down the house at Annex - crazy dance party style. His DJ set we exceptionally energetic and fortunately without the obligatory NYC hype guy.
Meanwhilst over in West Village at the unmarked basement club Love, Unruly Records held a staggeringly rostered showcase. "When you think Baltimore Club, think Unruly," so the saying goes, and Love was the perfect spot for their event. Surrounding the dancefloor are some four or five columns of subwoofers at least ten feet high, packing enough bass to physically knock over a small baby, or at least a large kitten.
Everything was going swimmingly over at the Unruly showcase, but my spidey sense started hassling me and I hailed a cab bound for the Soulwax show at Irving Plaza. I arrived just in time for the opening DJ to finish, and found a spot on the balcony behind the sound booth right as BBC Radio 1's Pete Tong (the event's host) introduced Soulwax.
I was pretty psyched going into this. Soulwax was originally a studio band and a moniker used for remix production; some four or five years ago they released a pretty decent album. The real kicker though was an album they put out remixing their own tracks called Nite Versions, of which you've probably sweat and air-humped to if you go out dancing to electro music. And it was that album that they based their live band on; performing remixes made in the studio for a live setting.
People whose musical opinions I respect a lot have said Soulwax are one of the best bands they've seen, so my expectations were pretty high. As far as a band playing dance music, it turned out to be about as great as it could get. All the weird squelches and beeps their tracks are peppered with you could see being created by knob twists on vintage analog synths, and the live drumming added just the right amount of kinetics. Songs flowed together like a DJ set, and all the band members wore matching white suits for a quesi-Swedish (they're Belgian, actually) level of fashion and musical precision combined.
As Soulwax finished and the collective jaw was picked from the floor, Pete Tong spun the evening's closing set. This marked the third time in the night I'd head A-Trak and Laidback Luke's "Shake 'Em Down", once at each venue I hit up.
At around 4:30 while dancing I met a seemly and friendly Colombian, who upon learning I was a DJ introduced me to her group of friends, all involved in the Northeastern minimal techno scene. I went to an after hours spot with them but arrived just as the party was closing, but did agree to head out to deeper Queens for an afterparty (they seemed fun and hay; why not? CMJ woo!). The rest of the evening—and morning, as it was—got spent happily snacking on the worst jelly beans I have ever eaten, being the only native English speaker in the apartment, talking about drugs and music, and so so much minimal techno.
Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, Anne Lee (Blow Up LA) and I headed over to James' Fucking Friedman's (Throne of Blood) showcase again at Santos. 2 Live Crew was playing upstairs - totally KILLING it btw - with some classics "Face Down Ass up that's the way we like to fuck" blaring as we entered the venue. After the set, legendary UK DJ Greg Wilson amazed everyone with a reel-to-reel and laptop set. Playing unique soul and proto-disco house, sampled, scratched and played back on the 1/4" reel-to-reel, Wilson's set inspired everyone to dance like they'd gone bat shit crazy - even 2 Live Crew, who came downstairs to join the party.