Monday, February 28, 2011

Event Reviews: Black Coffee, Chosen Few, City Beat Loft Sessions

Over the last few weeks I’ve been out mainly because there have been a few things of significant interest that lured me toward being in attendance.

Black Coffee at The Shrine
South African House Music Producer and DJ Black Coffee invaded The Shrine for Bang Sundays with Resident DJ Terry Hunter.  With a packed house I surprisingly did not have a great time.
Reason being is I ended up not getting to the event until midnight, which was around the time when I thought Coffee’s set would start.  Instead when I arrive he’s already been into his set for a little more than an hour.  Upon arrival a few friends tell me he’s been killing it and is about to get off.  Immediately I’m salty.  Then during the next 30 minutes he played people decided to bring their own instruments to accompany him musically.  Most of the time this is somewhat tolerable, but since I was already irritated and the “crowd instruments” did not go with his sound, my frustration grew even more.

So 30 minutes passes and Terry Hunter get’s on.  Over the years I have considered Terry Hunter to be one of my favorite DJs.  However, this time I was disappointed more so with his selections. DJ skills very much intact, I just wasn’t feeling the selections. 
After Black Coffee had the crowd grooving, and primed for some more really dope music, Terry began playing crowd favorites.  Now I realize that the crowd at this particular event is not accustomed to hearing anything outside of what is familiar to them, but when they are responding to dope music they may not have ever heard, the next DJ in line should seize the opportunity to enlighten them and BEAT! That is a perfect excuse for a DJ to play all the cuts they’ve wanted to play, but can’t for fear that it may be beyond the crowd’s musical sensibilities. Coffee had already proven that the crowd would groove to music they don’t know.  It would’ve been ideal for Terry to step right in and make the transition seamless and keep the momentum going as he has done so many times over the years.  Another thing that is disappointing is the mind state of the current “househead”. These are the same people who were once thirsty for music that was fresh, new, and avant-garde to them back in the day and now only want to hear the same old songs.  Attention Old School House Head Robots: There is a whole world out there that exists beyond 1988. Open your mind and experience modern day goodness!

Nevertheless, there were certain parts of the night where I was entertained.  One of my friends who is not thoroughly into underground music and actually admits having Mike Jones, T- Pain, and Lil Wayne on his Ipod was pissed when crowd favorites were being played after Black Coffee was done.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of my friends who delve into mainstream music on a regular basis dance so hard on the dance floor and then get so pissed when the music changed. During most experiences people who aren’t familiar with newer House music would want to hear the old school club favorites but Coffee was beating so hard it makes even the simplest music mind progress and evolve to a higher level.  My favorite quote from him for the night was, “Dog, what happened? Why the f#*k am I listening to Teddy Pendergrass right now? Why isn’t this n—ga beating? WTF”!

The Chosen Few Picnic
This is the type of event to go hang out with friends and the expectations for listening to new music was not very high on my radar. Not to say the music was bad, because it wasn't.  It was just alot of songs that I've heard all too frequently over the last 30 years and was nothing to really look forward to. After all, this has been subtitled as "the old school house picnic" so its only fitting to play mostly old school house music. Some new joints would've been nice but oh well.  The music went pretty much as calculated and from what I could hear during a brief moment, Frankie Knuckles played a good set. I couldn't really tell what he was playing but the momentum and vibe of his set stood out enough to lead me to believe he was beating.
Nevertheless, my mission on this day wasn't as much about the music as it was about me getting my "stroll on" in a non-beligerent mild mannered drunken buzzed kinda way.  Many moments this afternoon were filled with drinking, eating, and mingling.  This event reminded me of Freaknic in the early 90s except for the fact that there was all house music, plenty of food (free food from tent hopping), and I’m now older and much better behaved.  The drank was one of the constants that did not change, just my quality of drank. 
It was also dope that I could bike there since it’s near the crib and didn’t have to worry about parking.  Overall I had a great time and it was really fun spending time with and bumping into friends I hadn’t seen in ages as well as friends I see on a regular basis.  Although, a few of my friends frown upon this event because of the lack of cutting edge music and the large crowds, I always look forward to it every year and always have a great time.
Can't wait til next year.

“Gathering Of Tribes” City Beat Loft Session #1
After The Chosen Few Picnic, I headed north to play at “Gathering Of Tribes” City Beat Loft Session #1 featuring DJs Ron Trent, Jevon Jackson, Specter, and yours truly.  After being at the picnic in intervals of 1pm-4pm running out of drank, going home and getting more drank and arriving back at 5pm-8pm, I was pooped.  Not to mention there was a real need to allow water to be my friend from 7-8pm.  By the time I headed out again for a night that would prompt me being awake until 7am, I had sobered up but was now dealing with an early evening hangover.  So I get to the party not functioning at 100% and am having to play through pain like Derrick Rose in the playoffs. After more water, some soothing soulful sounds, and a chair massage after my set it’s now 2am and my headache has finally subsided.  I am now ready to thoroughly enjoy myself.

Here’s details about my enjoyment process…
First we’ll start with the crowd.  Great turnout as the crowd was very multi-cultural with people from Chicago as well as other cities and countries who were visiting for the weekend and eager for musical nourishment. There were plenty of beautiful people in the building especially the ladies. There was also a fair share of dancers getting their groove on.
The Sound System and Sounds were also great as all of the DJs played good sets.  After the first hour of Ron Trent’s closing set my feet were too tired for me to even think about continuing to dance so I just sat back and listened. 

Once again, ALL of the DJ sets were dope, but I haven’t heard Ron beat a set like that in a minute. Having the opportunity to hear him consistently he definitely does his thing regularly, but this set was something special. The feeling reminded me of many of the real dope underground warehouse parties I frequented in the late 90’s and early part of this century while I was living in Atlanta experiencing legendary sets from Kai Alce, DJ Kemit, and Ron Trent when he would visit the ATL. His set completely characterized that vibe and the movement of that era and brought it to fruition present day.

Although, the music was the cornerstone for my thoughts regarding this event, there were so many other factors about the night that helped make this such a memorable and unique night.
In summing things up, if you missed this party you missed an all around banger!
Stay tuned for more City Beat Sessions and City Beat Loft Sessions in the near future.

Thanks for reading!

Peace and Blessings,

If you don’t know you betta ask somebody!...JLC