Hearing complaints about the interweb? Some dance music intellectuals and high profile artists fear the end of ‘our’ culture; big brother spying and all of that. Seriously, I don’t know what they‘re on about – it’s a blessing without a curse. Okay, maybe the curse is that you actually don’t have to step out the house anymore to experience the highs and lows of a good night (or any other time) out anymore. But you do get to know the oddest places around the world: community centres in Newark or Southall, antiseptic studios where a lonesome DJ does his thing, clubs long gone and grown-up people doing strange dances in dark basements. Here are some of them.
Rahaan at Bring The Heat’s first 2004 party
This is a YouTube party classic if ever there was one. Chicago’s edit expert Rahaan truly brings the heat in this black and white report. And you get it all: killer blends (from Made In The USA into Mach’s “On and On”), people whooping it up and extraordinary dance moves. If you persevere until the very end, you will see a man doing the most bizarre and beautiful one-legged windmill dance ever to be recorded on camera.
Naeem Johnson at NJPAC: Sonic Superstars Pt. 1
The next grown-up dance leads us from the Windy City straight into the Garden State. New Jersey’s club music history is unquestionable, and Naeem Johnson has been part of it since his teenage years. Deejaying at Tony Humphries’ Zanzibar and for WBLS, he’s one of the American jocks that gets a Japanese tour once a year, and is a pillar of the Jersey house sound. Here, you can see why. I actually have no idea how he is doing what he is doing in this video. Going effortlessly from Jean Carne’s “Free Love” into Labelle “What Can I Do For You”, the way Naeem blends is completely beyond me. Now, everyone: “Peace!”
Zanzibar Chapter 25
Speaking of Jersey house, this is pretty rare footage from one of house music’s most talked about and legendary clubs. Lacking any signs of debauchery, this is just a ram-jammed dance floor dry bumping during a live recording for Kiss FM. The description says that it’s Tony Humphries playing, but I believe it’s actually Kevin O going back and forth between two mixes of World Power’s “I’m Happy” featuring the great Althea McQueen. Lights, bass, action!
DJ Harvey at Sarcastic Disco 4
The one and only bearded one. There is actually not much to see here except for the blurry pictures of a DJ ending a presumably long party at the break of dawn – or noon – with a tape machine, a bottle of whiskey and Laid Back’s “Fly Away/Walking Into Sunshine” in very fine style.
Joe Claussell at Lincoln Park – July 28th, 2007
I’m not sure how to find the right words for this one. Was it the science fiction author William Gibson who wrote about humans having sexual intercourse with machines? Claussell definitely puts his DJ isolator to the test during this 1 minute and 16 seconds of pure, undiluted Body & Soul high priest voodoo.
Aba Shanti at Southall Community Centre – March 16th , 2007
The realest deal. Aba Shanti in a Southall Community Centre with the sirens going off! It doesn’t get more hardcore than that. Please send an email to editorial if you can spot any women. British gentlemen’s club eccentricity expanded into the immigrated dub religion. We are one.
Prins Thomas in the Mixmag DJ Lab
Please move on, there is nothing to be seen here – except for one DJ, well, deejaying. This is the essence of a guy playing records. It just happens to be in a fancy bedroom studio with neon lights, without the party. No fists pumping, no air jumping and no Cadenza moves from one of the best. Balm for the soul and for the ears. Prins Thomas, I salute you.