party reviews : wmc 2001 : wmc 2002

5.12.2004

Friday night in NYC. Even with the warm days the edge of winter still hangs in the air with the unseasonable chilly nights. Avalon's industrial heater was brought back outside to the velvet ropes to ward off the cold and I think the weather warded off the clubbers as well. Darryl Elmore's (NYC uber-doorman) theory: when it's nice out people spend all day out in the sun and then too tired to venture out combined with folks coveting tomorrow's potential sunshine instead of sleeping it away after a long night of clubbing. I should know, I remember losing years of Saturdays when Twilo was still open.

I've been a Nick Warren fan since his Global Underground CDs held the right amount of progressive beats and beautiful, ethereal, classic trance melodies. None of the endemic high-hat, soaring pads, filter sweeping, hands-in-the-air, formulaic trance you hear nowadays. This was back when Tranceport was still revered and "trance" was not a dirty word. He used to tour as the support DJ for fellow Bristol mates Massive Attack. The story goes that one day the Massive Attack remix of 'Les Negresses Vertes' was due, but the rest of the group was ill, so Nick stepped in and the resulting mix sold over 25,000 copies! His Twilo debut with Sander Kleinenberg was a bust and NYC clubbers have a surprisingly long memory, but I just happened to be at WMC 2001 so his reputation remained pristine in my mind.

WAY OUT WEST (live). Back to the show at hand at Avalon. They were joined on the main stage by vocalist Omi - a local Bristol girl with a sweet voice and cute little dance moves but not quite the diva that a club vocalist merits. Maybe she can grow into that role. Their set was great although there were a bit too many ambient moments with swirling melodies lost in the soaring gothic ceiling and too many breakdowns. Finally, later in the night Nick and Jody seemed to reach their stride - full throttle with an engaged dancefloor audience but it was nearly 3am. A bit late for a club that closes at 6am. You've already lost some of your core audience but I can only imagine what an artist must encounter across different clubs in different time zones on different continents. The expectations vary so much I think it's hard for anybody to find their right niche without a regular residency, but then it's the DJ's job to: read the crowd. Live PAs need a performer's enthusiasm i.e Junkie XL or Infusion (both exhibit maniacal energy, flailing arms and bouncing when performing) or you might as well be in a dark, elevated booth out-of-sight. Overall, I think the show needs a bit more energy in the music and the performances but hopefully that will come over time. Do check them out live though and from the tracks that they've debuted, their new artist album should be quite brilliant! Whatever ambient tracks may not have worked in the club are sure to sound wondrous in your iPod.

Saturday Night. A legend returns to 662 Sixth Avenue, techno auteur JEFF MILLS heralded a residency at Limelight in the early 90s and his return to Avalon marked a homecoming of sorts. The man, the myth, the machine. I have heard so much about Jeff but had seemed to miss him every time in NYC. It seemed a lot of people came out of the woodwork for this one, as only one like Jeff Mills can spur. I even spotted a couple old skool ravers who might have looked like they stepped out of 1991. His set was a fluid display of musical talent, sweeping across genres. For some reason I anticipated banging techno, sloppy mixing and mechanical speed (from all that I've heard about him), but he delivered a smooth set sprinkled with classics Bells, Strings of Life, Knights of the Jaguar and tossed in the occasional funky, house track in there. A reported lower back injury prevented him from displaying his full range of motion but I have his Exhibitionist DVD to replay all his moves form different angles if I so choose (a la porn DVDs). The DVD is a "step forward into a new era in Electronic Music" and displays Jeff Mills as a true innovator! Go buy it now!


P.S. I've given my Danny Tenaglia grand finale re-cap some more thought and a blog entry just wouldn't do it justice. Look for a bigger piece to grace the homepage as a homage to 6 Hubert Street. Don't worry - I actually took notes at the club and post-closing. Yes I was that girl standing in the smoking corral scribbling on a scrap of paper. Stay tuned!

posted on 11:56 AM

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