Sunday, October 01, 2006

plastic motive on decks


Hailing from Victoria, BC, by way of Toronto, ON, Canada, Jeff Harris aka Plastic Motive has been active in the electronic music scene for well over a decade. At the age of 27, Jeff has run 3 different production companies (Sourkee, NeXstep and Blunted By Choice), as well as two very successful weekly nights (Re-Form and Funk’N Fridaze), and has played a major role in the Canadian underground electronic music scene.

Jeff began spinning under the alias Plastic Motive in 1998 and landed his first gig in little under a year. Before that he would mix cd’s and tapes at school dances and friends birthday parties. Like most DJ’s, Jeff took to music at a very young age and it was no surprise that he would aspire to share his passion with the world.
From 1999 to 2005 Plastic Motive held down DJ residency spots with 6 additional production companies (ONdaFLY, Goodfellaz, Funkadelic, Impure, Embryon and 420 Pro) all in the Southern Ontario area. He describes his style as “Nu Skool Electronic Rock n’ Roll” as he strives to stay ahead of the game with his sound. Drawing his influences from many different genres, including Ska, Punk, Industrial and Hip hop, he says “I think I have a fairly well rounded taste in music and it helps to make me a well rounded DJ..” It’s for this reason he is now entertaining international inquiries from all over the world.

Plastic Motive is fresh off of his recent stop in Shanghai, China, and has played in other such cities as Montreal, New York, Buffalo, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and Niagara Falls, among many others. Recently, Plastic Motive has been trying his hand at production, having helped on a couple remix collaborations. He says more production is definitely in his future, but for now, his main focus is to continue to throw “kick ass events” while keeping his live performance level as high as it can be. “There’ll always be more nights, more parties” he says, “I’ll just keep playing this stuff till everyone likes it! They won’t even have a choice!!”

Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for Plastic Motive on the decks near you soon. He plays hard. He plays funky. He’ll make you freak on the dance floor like you’ve never freaked before!! Breaks, beats, and heavy Bass are at the top of the menu when this man comes to town, and he’ll serve it to you Red Hot! Get ready to get it on!!!

Have a listen to Plastic Motive's Mix, "Cheese & Crackers" to get a taste of what you can expect to hear from him when he opens for Frankie Bones at the Grand Emporium on October 13, 2006!   For more information on Plastic Motive, hit him up on MySpace!



driven arnold g

Shelli Andranigian ~ Hollywood, CA - 15SEP06 - Southern California-based singer/dancer/performer Arnold G is set to release his debut CD DRIVEN: Straight to the Dance Floor, this week on A & G Records. The album covers a number of dance genres and also touches on social issues such as AIDS awareness, hate crimes and crystal meth.

Arnold G has traveled much of the world, performing in Eastern Europe, the UK and Canada along with America. He started his career as a dancer and choreographer for various recording artists in Hollywood. After a decade as a dancer, he became a print-model but his love of music brought him to singing locally in nightclubs. There he found himself winning singing contests throughout California. As a performer he has been a part of shows at The White Party in Palm Springs, Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, California and The MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

A special marketing campaign includes extensive promotion on MySpace, Internet distribution outlets and traditional one-stops. A distribution agreement was signed with Super-D for the latter (www.sdcd.com), while digital distribution outlets all over the world are additionally on board to carry DRIVEN: Straight to the Dance Floor. There will also be an awareness campaign at the upcoming Billboard Dance Music Summit to be held in Las Vegas next week.

Two of the songs from DRIVEN are currently charting on Soundclick (www.soundclick.com), an artist-driven website by and for artists. "Give It To Me Baby" went to #7 on the Electronica chart (out of 168,587 ssongs) and #3 on the Electronica -- Subgenre Dance charts. (out of 11,268 songs). "Carry On" went to #162 on Alternative (out of 91,920 songs) and #13 on Alt Power Pop (out of 4,129 songs). Another song on the record, "Ocean Dreams," went to #1 on the Electronica chart for two weeks and also topped the overall genre chart.

SoundClick is a music website that features both signed and unsigned bands, according to their website. It has been around since 1997. Well-known artists such as Janet Jackson, Sarah McLachlan, Moby, Gravediggaz, PM Dawn, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Letters To Cleo are also on the site. The driving force are hundreds of thousands of great unsigned bands looking for their big break. There are 50,000 new songs and more than 6000 new bands approved each month.

There are a few socially-aware songs on Driven, including the pop-flavored "Carry On," which talks about the importance of AIDS awareness. A special DVD will accompany the track and is a video montage of lives lost over the years. A portion of the upcoming single's proceeds will go to AIDS awareness. Meantime, other strong messages are sent through "Our Rainbow" (hate crimes) and "Angel Eyes" (crystal meth).
A promotional club tour in select markets is planned for later this year. Single releases (TBD) will be promoted to Billboard reporters and mixshow DJ's.

Check him out on Myspace.com/ArnoldG for additional information about both DRIVEN: Straight to the Dance Floor and Arnold G or contact Andranigian Media, also on MySpace!

miss nine


Justin Kleinfeld ~ New York, NY - In the heavily male dominated DJ market, it’s rare to find a female DJ who can create a huge impact on the scene in a short amount of time. Miss Nine (AKA Kristin Schrot) has not only been able to outshine and make her presence known in such a world, but she has done so all within three years of picking up a record. With her eclectic taste in music, ranging from energetic grooves with plenty of vocals to a deeper, progressive sound, Miss Nine turns heads and moves feet any where she performs. With Yoshitoshi Ibiza, Miss Nine becomes the first female to mix a compilation for Washington-based Yoshitoshi Recordings, the world-renowned leader in all genres of dance music.

Kristin Schrot began her career, not as a deejay, but as a model. At 16, she made it to the finals of one of the largest modeling pageants in Germany, and soon after secured a worldwide contract with Elite Model Management. Longing for more, her passion for music led Kristin to move to Amsterdam where she dubbed herself Miss Nine and began pursuing a career in the electronic industry.

At the end of 2005, Miss Nine was asked to join Bullitt Bookings, the reputable agency of A-list deejays such as Deep Dish, Nic Fanciulli, and Danny Howells. This merger has allowed Miss Nine to explode onto the forefront of the DJ scene. Currently touring with Deep Dish, Miss Nine performs around the world, spinning at clubs such as Pacha in Ibiza, Space in Miami, Avalon in LA, Crobar in New York, and Ministry of Sound in London, with her fan base multiplying by the minute. This summer, Miss Nine was one of 2 residents for Yoshitoshi@Pacha parties in Ibiza opening for Deep Dish.

While enduring this exhausting tour schedule, Miss Nine still works full time as model for Elite. Modeling also takes her across the globe as the highlight of various photo shoots and ad campaigns for designers like Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, Lancome, Custo, and Pepe Jeans. She has appeared on the cover of several magazines, most notably Elle Magazine in Amsterdam.

Yoshitoshi Ibiza is released on Yoshitoshi Recordings on October 24, 2006. Miss Nine will be touring worldwide to promote this flawless and magnetic mix, so make sure to check www.bullittbookings.com and catch the queen of the decks at a venue near you!

For more information, check out Miss-Nine.com or RephlektorInk.com!

october loom


Brent Crampton ~ Omaha, Ne – A monthly dance event with world-beat music featuring DJ's Brent Crampton, Greg Jackson with live percussionist Shif-D and host, Jay Kline. Presenting an original concept in music and dance, the event is geared towards eclectic music while transcending demographics. loom will take place at Espana Tapas Bar (6064 Maple St.) on October 5, from 9 p.m. - 1 a.m., with a $5 cover charge. Community instruments will be available for dancers, and a special late-night tapas menu with drink specials. This month feature’s the loom residents on the mixing board all night long plus live Salsa and Rueda performances by Salserodalante Dancers.

Salsa and Rueda?

From the beat of an African drum and the summer sun-drenched landscape of Cuba came the Afro-Cuban seduction known as salsa. Much of the music at loom is directly inspired by the cultural explosion that followed in Cuba, the Barrio’s in New York, all Latin communities and eventually throughout the world.
As an ode to this dynamic and beautiful music, we’ve sought out the self-appointed Salsa Ambassadors of Omaha, Blandon Joiner and Jennifer Sibley with Salserodalante Productions, to bless the dance floor with their LA-style salsa moves.

In addition, they’ll be performing the rarely seen Rueda style of dancing. Rueda, which means “wheel,” is a fluid and ever-changing type of salsa round dance first developed in Havana, Cuba in the ‘60s by Guaracheros de Regia. Multiple pairs of partners form a circle and perform a choreographed and spontaneous dance which is dictated by a caller who literally calls out and displays hand-signs to instruct the dancers on where to go. From there, anything can happen. Partners rapidly switch, unison hand gestures occur, complicated and flashy dance moves ensue.

a five foot powerhouse


Stacey East ~ Interview with Heather Heart ~ Heather Heart and I sat down for coffee. It was almost 4:20 and we began the interview. I was looking at a publisher, DJ, record store owner, label owner, producer, and mom. This small dynamo created the first static global forum for the underground to meet, through the only underground manual "UnderOneSky" or "UOS."

"I put my entire being into the music to educate and give voice. Publishing grainy interviews from Underground Resistance to letters from Moby, UOS was the only "zine" of its kind. There was always some rage, people were very candid with me and I printed a lot of controversial letters. Record labels, DJ's and fans alike would battle on the pages of UOS. All the important record stores in England, Germany, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Holland, to name some, sold copies. The world was behind my effort. I mean this was when the scene first blossomed, just before all the politics came into play. When I interviewed "UR" in ' 91, it was so raw…" this was before Jeff Mills left UR, when Rob Hood used to MC for them. At some of the first parties there were many young DJ's such as Woody Mc Bride, Barada and Kurt from Drop Bass who would drive from as far as Wisconsin to attend Storm Raves and relied on UOS for record listings. I was every department, I was graphics, sales, advertising and printing, at first I wasn't making any money at all. I was doing it because there were people that would ride a motorcycle in the rain from New Hampshire to Brooklyn who couldn't live without it - New Hampshire later developed a very nice scene.

As a DJ Heather Heart traveled the world in the early 90s, she recalled a party in London "climbing up a wrought iron ladder to the rooftops. The promoters were from India and had grown up in ashrams. The feel of the party was extraordinary - people were dancing on the roof and on the roofs surrounding us." Fascinated, I asked her about some of her other experiences abroad.

"In Germany, at Tresor, I had a great time. It's an incredible venue, an old bank. We were all hanging out in the hotel (all of whom shall remain nameless) and one of the DJ's had passed out in the room. They dressed him up in makeup and girls clothes, fishnets and everything, it was so funny when Blake Baxter walked in and said 'oh ! I must be in the wrong room' and walked out.

"The most incredible gig I ever played was Sativae in Scotland. It was the sickest crowd I ever played to, they were totally mental. The vibe just hung over the room, I mean you could see it and every once in a while they were screaming 'Revolution!' It was hot! In Austria, there were 13,000 people there - the DJ booth was 6 stories up in the air. There were video screens because no one could see the DJ's from the ground floor. There was a stage with fire throwers and MC's, announcing each DJ. Adam Beyer was supposed to go on but was caught in traffic, and so they gave me his time slot. When I went on they announced me as Adam Beyer. I was so pissed!"

"I've played in so many different places, from the boondocks of
Wisconsin to the beaches of Hawaii ( I wanted to stay there and buy an ice-cream truck ). I've played at a racetrack, an ancient wine cellar, a supermarket…"

I could see the worldliness in her face, it was evident that all her travels were a great influence on her success. She was definitely someone who was well versed in the music.

"I had worked for distributors from '93 – '95 so when the time came to open Sonic Groove with Frankie Bones and Adam X I fell into it naturally. There were very few stores that carried techno, Sonic Groove was the only store dedicated entirely to techno. When we began our mail order department things really took off and people all over the United States relied on us for very difficult to find and rare records. Our database became incredibly specific, if you were to need a discography for Derrick May or Dave Tarrida you could find it in our database."

Heather is such an active participant in the scene, I imagined that the six months or so that she had taken off to have her daughter would have driven her crazy. Actually, I remember seeing her spin a triple tag team with partners Frankie and Adam in Exit NYC at eight months pregnant. It was not a scene easily forgotten – Heather, in a red dress and bulging belly, bopping over the tables, obviously in a groove.

"I was very down about where the scene had gone, but I think it's been better in recent years, people are more into the music again. I definitely have a renewed enthusiasm. When we played Seattle for the Sonic Groove CD release tour "Defined" on Instinct Records, the party was really quality - big and vibey, Bones and I did an awesome tag team set and the crowd was totally into it. It was my first time playing in Seattle. Actually the whole tour went very well considering it took place right after 9/11 in October / November ' 01."

Heather is an underground superstar, I'd have been remiss not to ask her about "Better Living Through Circuitry" which I caught on Showtime one day at 3:00 in the afternoon. Imagine my surprise, flipping through channels and suddenly I see Heather Heart - "It was really quality music then, it's so diluted now – I mean there are 100 new records every week" she's saying outside her store on record row in the west village.

"Better Living Through Circuitry was fun to do. I got to express my views on the scene and I got a lot of positive feedback, also they used a track I did with Adam as part of the film's soundtrack. I've heard that we (Sonic Groove) were mentioned in the directors cut, but I haven't seen that myself."

I am again struck, this time by how much this little dynamo has to be proud of.

"We were really excited about playing the DEMF (Detroit Electronic Music Festival) … in the city where it all started, and I'm so proud that the board chose us."

What else from this 5' powerhouse?

"I am relocating to San Francisco and I'm very much looking forward to playing more on the west coast, as well as having a big new space to put together my studio!"

For more information, visit her MySpace or just go to EastMusicGroup.co

danny does dallas seven

Nathan McWaters ~  Dallas, TX - 23SEPT06 - In the fickle and dynamic world that is house music, there are few who have missed the name Danny Howells in their foray into that particular genre of EDM. In fact, it could be argued that Danny Howells is a man with a penchant for redefining just what house is with every album he releases and every venue he spins at. He also has this nasty habit of being attractive to several different varieties of EDM fanatic: househeads sharing the dance floor with trancers, technoids, and prog-devils, all thrust into a veritable vortex of music that appeal to the masses on multiple levels. From his work with Bedrock, Global Underground, and Azuli, Danny has traveled the world and blown crowds away with mix sets that defy description into any particular genre, be it house, trance, or tribal. For all his work with others, he stands alone.


As with what usually happens with me whenever the huge names come rolling within a 200-mile radius of Fort Hood, I had plenty of warning that Danny was going to drop anchor in Dallas and commence to kicking up a typhoon or two. For all my respect for his talent, though (I had known him from his work with Nick Warren, primarily), I wasn’t certain I wanted to go, especially since the venue was Club Seven, sister to Club One, and that was unfamiliar turf. So I did a bit of research into the matter about the venue, noted the advance ticket price, calculated fuel costs, and basically tried to convince myself that at this stage in the game, seeing Danny Howells live was not only a worthwhile cause, but a darn good mission as well. After the Tiesto event in Austin, I wanted another big act to cross my path before I flew out. In spite of these reasons, even after the numbers came out on the winning end I was still holding back. I needed a sign, an occasion that might only happen once in what could turn out to be the remains of a short lifetime. . .something spontaneous, unplanned, and wildly unexpected. I’ve always been a big Fan of the Plan, and am leery of off-the-cuff maneuvering with things like this due to the Murphy Factor that increases proportionally to every un-thought-out decision one makes, but that was precisely what I needed to tip the scales into a position even I couldn’t turn down, for any reason.

One dropped into my lap a week prior to the gig that made it all worth it: I wasn’t going to be alone this time. It turns out I wasn’t the only one looking for an excursion into the realm of the not-so-well-planned. Enter David McGlothlin, spontaneity incarnate, Dallas virgin, and also fan-of-Danny Howells. It didn’t take a lot of arm-twisting over anything except his willingness to travel 5.5 hours, logistics of time/space factors integral to in-Dallas road travel, a designated linkup point and time on arrival, the ticket purchase through Groovetickets, and a certain wish list of "Things That Must Be Done", and we were in it to win it. Old habits die hard, though, and I wanted perfection on this one. I so much as begged even the weather not to botch this up. Nothing and no one dared cast an occultation over this adventure, or there would be calamities of Biblical proportions in response. A bunch of Google maps later, I was certain of victory over even my ingrained and innate knowledge of the "Art of Getting Lost in Big Cities". I then prayed that Dallas wouldn’t kill David as it has so many other neophytes into its demesne. Having driven Baghdad before, even I am not comfortable driving in Dallas, Texas.

Club Seven lies within a seven-block radius of Lizard Lounge, in the Deep Ellum district of Dallas, near the old city. I had never crossed its property line before, but from the website description and the word of those who had been there before, it could mass a thousand souls in its confines without offending a fire marshal, sported three bars, an elevated DJ platform in the middle of the dance floor, a roped-off VIP section, and a bathroom with an actual attendant inside it. I bought it all except the bathroom attendant part; it was too outlandish even for a Dallas club. We arrived at Seven at about 2230 hours, half an hour after the doors opened. Things had gone pretty stellar by that point, but our first brush with calamity was moments to come. We had no sooner reached the Will Call when it struck.

Danny was trapped in Chicago, waiting on his flight. Through circumstances beyond his control, the weather in Illinois, and several delays, he wasn’t even going into the air until midnight. That meant he was going to be very late. Full Access, the production company that booked Danny, was very forthcoming about it, didn’t try and hide anything from anyone, and even went so far as to post flyers all over the exterior of Seven (and the interior) mentioning that Danny was going to be late, time of arrival undetermined. They even offered to give me my money back and still allow access. I declined the refund; Danny Howells is worth a wait, and from the sound of things, DJ Kean was warming up a nicely house-y blend of his own.
Seven languished in vacancy for about an hour after we got there, which was nice in a certain way and disturbing in others; Danny Howells is going to spin and the club is empty? Travesty. I had expected better from Dallas. Seven turned out to be smaller than I had envisioned it, but that may have been simply due to the amount of furniture that was scattered throughout the club. As it turned out, there was a bathroom attendant, who even sold gum, mints, and other sundries as he handed you paper towels after you washed your hands. I recommend the mints.

DJ Kean was someone who I’d never seen live before, but like so many other Texas talents, his name had been dropped into my ear before. An old-school Seb Fontaine-influenced house DJ that was languishing in bedroom-DJ squalor until his linkup with Willie Trimmer of 12inchPimps, he had come from his residency at Fuse to open with stuff that would flow nicely into Danny’s usual fare. He was also a man who had been set up from the get-go; not only was the headliner going to be very late and Kean had to cover down to fill the void, but he was also booked to spin the afterparty at Eden Afterhours at the Jaguar’s Gold club about ten miles away from Seven, starting at 0400. He was in for a long, rough night, whether he knew it or not. Still, he dropped a solid house set, chock full of familiar tunes that I couldn’t ID to save my life, and a bunch of others I’d never heard before. Seven began to fill at about 2330 or so, and all of a sudden, Kean had a crowd instead of an almost-empty dance floor. He set a tone in the first thirty minutes and simply maintained it... for the next four hours. The club kept getting more and more crowded as the night went on, and if anyone was having an issue with Danny being delayed, they must have been few and far between, because the club was still packed at 0300 when Danny finally arrived. Kean accomplished his mission, looking for all the world like a gunfight survivor when he was finally relieved. He poured serious energy into that set and kept the crowd there.

As I said, Danny arrived at 0300, apologetic, seemingly quite embarrassed to have been so tardy even though everyone knew it wasn’t his fault and that he’d just spent almost ten hours stuck at Chicago O’Hare, fuming at one of the bars over the whole debacle. If anyone had any animosity about it, they had left long since, and the throng that remained was enslaved to Danny Howells after one smile and the headphone plug-in. I knew not to expect him to just drop tracks from his “24:7” album or anything like that; like Nick Warren, he’s notorious for unleashing the unexpected. What he gave Dallas for the next hour-and-a-half was like one extended, long, sick build that just kept getting bigger and bigger until I thought people’s heads were going to burst from the pressure. The tales of Danny Howells spinning for four-plus hours at gigs are well-known; he crammed that same level of energy into this set with what little time he had left, and Seven kept its doors open another half-hour after closing just to eke out a little more time for him. The crowd went nowhere, riveted into the groove. Hernan Cattaneo wields that same kind of energy, but Danny Howells is a wizard at intensifying it to an almost razor-frequency expectation, transmitted through one massive build after another into tunes that simply don’t let you go once they kick off. I ran my camera batteries out again trying to keep up; I should probably just expect it as habitual now.

Danny’s encore was on the same level as the set itself. Moby’s “Go (Trentmoeller Remix)” was buried deep into it and was a hit, but the one that tore the crowd apart was the final track, a little something from his GU: NuBreed album: “Mindstream (Mind the Bend the Mind)” by Meat Beat Manifesto. Absolutely a smash. It’s a pity that time ran itself out, but we were all pretty well cooked and amped by that point. I had nothing left to even give to the Eden Afterparty, so I skipped it and headed back south, whilst David went back north. The next day, Danny dropped an apology letter about the late arrival onto DallasDanceMusic.com, promising to book another venue soon for a “proper set”.

I considered the mission a success after that. A late Danny Howells is better than no Danny Howells at all; a Danny Howells promise for more later is like getting an IOU from God.

kenneth thomas all night


Nathan McWaters ~ Austin, TX - 01Sep06 - Of course there would be an afterparty. In fact, there was an “Official Tiesto Afterparty” being advertised two weeks before the event itself. Anyone who is even remotely familiar with EDM’s breed of afterparty for major players in the industry should be able to smell right through that line: there was no way Tiesto was going to come off of a two-hour set in front of who-knew-how-many thousands of slavering Austinites to travel to another venue, just waiting to be jumped by those selfsame slavering throng. It simply would not do, so the promoters did the usual thing and threw up a false front for the location of the afterparty, and bait the trap with another headliner to give the screen a 3-dimensional aspect. It may have worked on some, but not everybody, and certainly not I. Fact was, I didn’t care if Tiesto showed up or not; it was the talent lineup they were already promising that caught my attention.

Dave Molina and Bruce Gibbons drove in from San Antonio to open for Kenneth Thomas, who had opened for Tiesto just an hour beforehand. I had expressed a doubt to Kenneth after his set at Tiesto was done as to whether or not he had enough juice left in his batteries to open for Tijs and then turn around and drop another two-hour set that would be just as good. He challenged me to see for myself, and I had every intention of doing so.

Alley 416 is what you get when Sky Lounge closes off its main floor for renovation and renames itself Spin, but is still interested in making money from the Austin EDM scene. There had been a vicious rumor that in spite of selling out the venue with the likes of Ferry Corsten and Hernan Cattaneo, EDM wasn’t bringing enough into Sky’s coffers to keep it alive, and the owner had decided to turn it into an ‘80s retro club to cater to richer, older locals.

As is turned out, this wasn’t the case, though the renaming did come with a renovation of the main level; there was nothing wrong with the second floor, though, and while the main doors were locked and sealed, the back door into the alley behind 416 Congress Ave. was wide open at $10 for cover. Having gotten into Tiesto for free and been well-pleased, I gladly paid it to get a second dose of Kenneth Thomas. Alley 416 was well-prepared for the post-Tiesto rush, as there were cases of water sitting in the hallway that people could just grab; when those ran out, the bar charged for them.

In spite of the leak that Tiesto was actually going to be at Karma after his set and not at Alley 416, there were about 400 or so that went to Alley 416 anyway. After the herd was culled with the confirmation that Tiesto would not be making an appearance after all, 300 still stood fast. Dave Molina and Bruce Gibbons were tag-teaming on the decks, with the floor being blazed by green lasers courtesy of Lost Tribe; they were scheduled for a two-hour block themselves, and they brought folks to their already-Tiesto-tortured feet with a pretty strong prog/trance set. Think Booka Shade and Junkie XL and that’s about the feel of it.

I hadn’t seen Molina since Hernan Cattaneo’s gig, so I spent a good chunk of time catching up with him and filling him in on how Tiesto did. Bruce Gibbons, whom I possess several mixes from, but never had caught him spinning live and it was pretty easy to see why he was integrated into Unit Circle down in San Antonio; he could play off of Dave Molina forever, and his skills are formidable in their own right.

I was again confronted with the age-old enemy of photography: smoke machines. I realize it was necessary to fill the world with particulate matter to enhance the effect of the lasers, but it was very out of control this time. When there’s enough smoke to cut off all visual information outside of ten feet, then there is entirely too much smoke. Alley 416 was a haze for most of the afterparty.

Kenneth Thomas appeared early, and decided to start off early, too. He seemed a little taken aback by the amount of people present, and what Dave and Bruce were dropping to keep them on their feet. Armed with this knowledge, he proceeded to follow accordingly, putting up a pretty raw house/trance blend that was really more trance-y than even what Dave and Bruce had thrown in, but it worked. As the hours progressed, the crowd had begun thinning out due to pure exhaustion and the bar closing at 0200, but the hardcore 100 or so remained through Kenneth’s whole set, showing great appreciation by mass-occupying as much floor space as humanly possible. I couldn’t trackspot a darn thing from his contribution to the afterparty, though I suspect the remix he dropped of Oceanlab’s “Satellite” may have been a Kenneth Thomas original; I have about five different versions of that single, and none of them match the one he played as his finale. I still haven’t found it, and that vexes me.

At around 0430, Alley 416 began shutdown operations, and the 100 dwindled down to about 45 or thereabouts. I caught up with Kenneth after his set, and he mentioned that he had been expecting a different sort of tone altogether from his openers. He had come prepared to drop a more minimal/electro set from what he did at Tiesto, but when he heard Junkie XL being played, he changed his whole scheme back to trance based off of that alone. I figured I had seen/done enough for the night after that point, and was totally thrashed already, so I bounced out of there and back to Fort Hood, fingertips still buzzing from the back-to-back stellar events of the evening. It was all worth it; I had found my sunrise.

in search of sunrise in austin


Nathan McWaters ~  Austin, TX - 01SEP06 - The heralds had proclaimed the coming of the thing long in advance: ‘Tiesto is playing in Austin’. Dutifully, I recycled that same news onto phocas.net’s forum, a sort of “Hey, guess who ELSE is coming to Texas in September?” aside note just because it’s not every day that the proclaimed #1 DJ In The World, a loaded sobriquet at the best of times, comes to visit; but then, this is also Texas, where nothing is considered to be a small affair, and whose internecine club warfare managed to book Paul van Dyk and John Digweed in two different cities on the same night in September, so perhaps it wasn’t too farfetched a thing to want to show off a bit on the phocas forum.

I hadn’t actually intended to go to this, really. Tiesto, like I said, is something of a sinister name to rancorous EDMers in the States, some of it perhaps justified due to past experiences where certain expectations were not met, some of it attributed to his reputation of being a sort of prima donna to work with and impossible to please. His track record in a live setting is a mixed-bag of emotions, ranging from awe-striking to nauseating; the same crowd that can call him “a no-talent sell-out” and Photoshops his face into a visage of the Devil also voted him “#1 DJ In The World” for five years running, and fills stadiums with tens of thousands of themselves. I had never seen Tiesto in person before, and from what I knew and had heard of his work, I reasoned that my life would not end if I opted not to pay $35 for an advance ticket. It was also in a venue I wasn’t familiar with: Austin Music Hall is a converted warehouse near the water treatment plant in downtown Austin, and its usual bookings are rock concerts.

A little bit of cajoling, a press-pass and a sweetening of the pot by the inclusions of Sean Carnahan and Kenneth Thomas as the openers, and I folded like an origami crane. I had never before optioned on the “You’re press, you’re getting in for free” perk that I used to grouse about other people getting to take advantage of; indeed, I did and still do take pride in paying my fair share into venues. I grabbed for this one, though, because even I’m reluctant to drop nearly half a hundred dollars to see a DJ spin, and if the whole thing went sour, at least I could console myself with “At least I didn’t pay for it.

The sun was setting on Austin when I arrived, found semi-decent parking on a Friday night downtown, and headed over to link up with my point of contact. Surveying the growing line of ticket holders, I quickly passed through security was in.

The Austin Music Hall required a significant amount of reconnoitering. It really is a converted warehouse, with a full stage, two bars, light systems all over the ceiling, and a second VIP level that is warded against all intruders by security people immune to sweet-talk and just as serious about keeping the rabble out as the Secret Service is. It is an immense space, capable of containing a listed 3000-person capacity before it becomes a fire hazard. Aside from Longhorn Stadium, I don’t think there was a place they could have opted to host Tiesto and the horde better suited. It was filling even as the first beats began thumping out of the massive speaker banks positioned on either side of the stage.

Sean Carnahan has been spinning out of Houston for a good while now, and is a pretty well-known name throughout all of Texas ever since his college days in Austin. He has been known to get picked up to open for giants in cities all over the state, as well as in a few others. He had been the original opening choice for Hernan Cattaneo when he played at Sky earlier this year, he co-owns Tastylick Studios with Randall Jones, is on the Balance Record Pool, and is so integrated with EDM and music in particular throughout the South that it’s practically a given that he’s had a residency in virtually every venue in every major city with a scene from Miami to Las Vegas. He came to this event loaded for lions, tigers, and bears, and at 2100 hours, he began hunting season. I was still taking shots and trying to find a “happy spot”, so I didn’t put a lot of effort into track spotting for his set, but he had nearly a thousand people on the immense dance floor before he finished. A curious blend of tech-house and trance had the crowd already burning calories, and Sean was obviously into it as well.

It was during Sean’s set that I realized some drawbacks to the AMH and its setup. Firstly, the stage is not only gigantic, it is tall. Tall enough that when you put a podium with video screens onto it, from the front row of the crowd, you as the DJ are nearly obscured, and there’s a good 10 meters of distance between you and the audience from the center of the stage. It is the most impersonal setup I have ever encountered in a venue before. The DJ is up there, virtually alone, and the masses are down in a pit and far away. Getting a shot from the audience level at all was accomplished only by two twists of fate: I am tall, and Sean is tall. There are no elevated positions anywhere on the main floor to overcome the height of the stage and the DJ podium, and the VIP section is on the far side of the warehouse’s entire length. Add in that the smoke and dry ice machines were all on stage with the DJ, the speakers, the light system controls, and the nifty projection screens, and it looked more like an exercise in camouflage, cover and concealment than anything else. Shooting the crowd would be easy; shooting the DJ was going to be a pain.

I ended up doing a lot of blind shooting, raising my hand in the air and triggering the camera at random to get some kind of elevation. I was looking very forward to getting some time up on stage once Tiesto took control and I had access to a backstage pass. I got a couple of decent shots of Sean, sweating like a beast and doing his thing using the small repertoire of tricks my measly little digi-cam comes with, but mostly plied the crowd, getting candid shots to capture the scene as best as possible.

Note: smoke machines + 2000 people + humidity from a 90-degree Texas evening = fog. Before Sean relinquished deck control, there were almost 2000 people in the AMH, all on the dance floor or crowding the bars for bottles of water or *insert drink here*, and despite the AMH having a no smoking policy in effect, there was a haze that was visible to the naked eye even in the scant lighting. Made flash work a true pain, but the hurting was still to come.

Sean finished out his set to an extremely appreciative crowd, and he looked like he had run a marathon when he was done. He definitely proved he can hang with the big dogs, if there had been any doubts. His set got the entire place dancing like there was ass in their pants, to coin a phrase from a certain comic strip. Lostep’s “Burma (Pillow One Remix)” heralded the arrival of Kenneth Thomas to the decks on the heels of Sean’s absolutely stellar set.

Kenneth Thomas is already a burgeoning “future big name” in EDM, if he isn’t a big name already. Perfecto’s newest talent signatory, he’s been burning up venues, pumping sets over the airwaves, and headlining events of his own all over the United States. Coming out of probably the most anti-progressive/anti-trance city in the nation, he dragged trance shrieking and clawing back into Detroit’s scene, and established himself as a progressive/trance force to be reckoned with. He also isn’t afraid to confess a huge Oakenfold influence in his rise, and wields both DJ and producer powers with singular skill. As an opener for Tiesto, his selection was almost perfect; his style would be diverse enough to please a notoriously fickle Austin EDM crowd, and yet not be so off-the-wall that it would clash with Tiesto’s own brand of epic trance. He was also selling t-shirts, one of which I happily bought and wore immediately.

I had never gotten to catch a Kenneth Thomas set prior to this; circumstances had kept him as one of those DJs who keeps coming back to Texas, but would spin at times that were certain to conflict with my schedule. I got to hear about how good he was from the local DJs that had opened/closed for him or shared deck time with him. I knew him from his “The Orange Room” and “Ghost In The Machine” tracks, not to mention some of who had been playing his tracks in their mixes; Nick Warren comes to immediate mind, as does Deep Dish. He did not disappoint. Dropping tracks like James Zabiela’s “Weird Science”, Audiojack’s “Robot”, and a really strange track that borrowed heavily from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” with a female lyricist that I couldn’t readily identify, he set up a tone that went on for a solid two hours and never let up.

While he was spinning, I was shooting, but lo and behold, a new obstacle had to be reckoned with: Kenneth Thomas is not tall. The DJ podium and those screens shielded virtually every shot that I took of him unless I had be face mashed up against one of the speakers and he leaned over the right side of the decks to open up for the shot. I lost some hearing, but I think I managed to get a couple of decent pictures while he was up there. He was nice enough to do a pose shot with me afterwards, which helped, but I alternated his set between being enmeshed in glorious trance and cursing the AMH for making this mission a sniper’s trial. Kenneth still had some work to do that evening before his next stop took him to Dallas to open for The Thrillseekers; he was slated to headline the Official Tiesto Afterparty at Alley 416 for another two hour set. I joked and asked him if he had enough smoke left after what he had done with the horde already, and he just beamed and told me I had to find out for myself. I was sold.


The AMH was packed full before Kenneth got off the decks, and it was a veritable sweatbox. I estimate there were nearly 3,000 people on the dance floor when Tiesto made his appearance, orange polo shirt and all, and the place just blew up. During both Sean’s and Kenneth’s set, there were folks falling out all over the place from the heat and the calorie-burn, and they infested the walls trying to catch a break for large portions of the evening. Tiesto steps on stage and shoots off one charisma-laced grin, and suddenly no one is sitting propped up by a wall. I don’t think the man had even plugged his headphones in when the crowd started chanting his name. After a set like the one Kenneth had just gotten done unleashing, I began to have my doubts about whether or not Tiesto would be able to top it, or even to rise to that level of energy; as it turns out, that was a lot like doubting Darth Vader is bad enough to wear all that black.


Tiesto dropped his first track, and then it was like living inside one gigantic aria that lasted over two hours, with two encores. The man is a technical genius, can read a crowd like a stock market ticker, has perfect timing, and can project charisma like a tractor beam and suck you right into his world. If he were a demagogue, his religion could probably dominate the globe. There were people weeping, overcome with emotion as he almost casually caressed the soul of the crowd with music. I had never seen anything like it before; it would have been honestly disturbing if it wasn’t so much fun to watch.


He brought a lot of his own tracks out for this, as was expected. He laid down “Flight 643 (Richard Durand Remix)”, “Dance4Life”, and when he kicked on “Lethal Industry” I thought there was going to be a PLUR riot. He also threw down a lot of other people’s stuff, which I had been led to believe he didn’t do all that often, but he was definitely working his mix mojo this evening. “4LB” by Divini & Warning, Karen Overton’s “Your Loving Arms (Club Mix)”, and what sounded suspiciously like Cicada’s “The Things You Say” were in the recipe. He also threw down his collaborative with BT “Loves Comes Again”, which was a pleasant surprise and one the crowd went berserk over.

About halfway through, Donnie handed off his backstage pass and gave me the ROE for how to behave while I was up there. I think he was a little concerned that I was going to do something fanboy-ish and try and hump Tiesto’s CD case or something. After some assurances, I was finally up on in the elevated position, on stage, with Tiesto spinning. I just started snapping off shots at the crowd and at Tiesto, staying behind the speakers throughout to be as unobtrusive as possible. I think I was up there for a good ten minutes before I figured Donnie might want his pass back, and I vamoosed and blended back into the moving mass of bodies. I heard on my way back there that the bars had run out of bottled water.

Tiesto played two encores, one of which was the ubiquitous “Adagio for Strings (Tiesto Mix)” by William Orbit, and the other one I couldn’t ID but it followed along the same trend. In between the encores, he walked the length of the stage and shook hands with the entire front row; I thought his security were all going to whelp kittens right there on stage out of terror that someone would grab hold and yank Tiesto right into the crowd, but it didn’t happen. The only thing that got torn apart at this gig was the Austin Music Hall.

Tiesto catches a lot of grief from the EDM community for not being an evolutionary or even a revolutionary DJ/producer, his sound hearkening back to the late ‘90s rather than the more “modern” progressive sound. After a set like the one he dropped, one that had 3,000 hardcore Austinites walking out of the AMH with wobbling knees and giddy looks on their faces, I think it’s only a matter of perfection being slower to evolve than the mediocre.

frankie bones in KC

Sometime in the mid-to-late 80s, I heard his name whispered, at times in unison with his soon to be popular Brooklyn brothers, The Beastie Boys. Word on the street was that his music held that same explosive energy and he could juggle tracks on a pair of records as if he were born for that sole purpose. Unknown then was just how far his influence would spread and how many people's lives he would touch and change forever.
It began with Fourth Floor, Nugroove Records and the "Bonesbreaks Vinyls" that captured the imagination of the rapidly evolving European rave scene. Playing to 25,000 London ravers in 1989, he quickly exploded across most of Europe, reigniting a passion about dance music by adding his own unique fuel to the fire.
Returning to the United States, through his series of parties in New York, Storm Rave, he unknowingly fathered a culture in this country that continues to be a source for new and innovative sounds and experiences for dance music worldwide.

To this day, with a musical influence that spans multiple generations, he continues to create and inspire through collaboration on all levels of the industry in his never-ending quest to advance open-mindedness about and towards dance music and culture throughout the world.

With as extensive a career as he has witnessed so far, and as diverse an artist as he is, it would be hard to put into words exactly who he is now. In his own words, "I'm not the same person I was 5 minutes ago, nevermind 5 years ago." If you really want to know more about Frankie Bones, the best thing to do is to read his own words on MySpace. The five entries in his Blog will lay it all down for you while you check out some of the music he has made. Then come out on Friday the 13th in Kansas City and meet the man and let him play some music for you, in a way you have never heard it before, in a way that can only be Frankie Bones!



Friday, October 13, 2006
~phocas~ & Disco Productions present...
w/
Plastic Motive
NeXstep Entertainment
Victoria, BC
&
Solaris
phocas.net
Kansas City
@
the Grand Emporium
3832 Main Street
Kansas City, MO

october 2006 editor note

As evidenced in this photo, I am quite certain that they are onto my intentions with this "photo with DJ", that I ultimately use for this column every month. Everyone jumped in on this one, and I am quite happy they did. It will always be a reminder of a good night spent with good friends in celebration of my birthday. Though John arrived late after a delay caused by United Airlines, he still played one of the best 45 minute sets that I have heard in a long time.

The cover this month and the story that go with it are dedicated to a man who's reputation precedes him. The shot is actually one that I took about four years ago at a party down in the east bottoms called "Midnight Drive". Anyone that was there that night knows that Frankie can definitely lay it down and we definitely look forward to hosting him this coming Friday the 13th.

In a couple of the other stories this month, we get glimpse of a very long night for our writer Nathan, down in Texas with Tiesto and Kenneth Thomas. It sounds as if he had very good time and I found myself just a bit jealous that I did not make the trip myself.

That kicked off this past month in photos, as well as a small benefit I was a part of in Kansas City, called "Enlightenment". This was a two part fundraiser for a documentary being done on the politically torn African country of Sudan. You can find out more about the documentary by visiting the MySpacepage that was set up for it, or for a more in-depth study of the struggle there, visit the BBC.

Speaking of struggles, it seems that Skybox will never be open again. The entire month of September has definitely been a trial for the re-opening of the club formerly known as Kabal Restaurant & Nightclub. Week after week, hopes of re-opening have been dashed against the rocks and has caused more than enough grief for those employed there who rely on a regular paycheck. As well, local promoter Bill Pile (u:Move), with bookings stretching out through February of next year, has been forced to move some of the more popular acts to competing clubs, such as Kaskade at Grand Emporium and DJ P at Club NV. Things do appear to be looking up though and I suspect that they will very likely reopen sometime in October.

We did have a lot of fun with Kaskade at the Grand Emporium though and followed up the following weekend with a fabulous night of Drum & Bass at "Future Funkadelic". In between, I made a special trip out to Lawrence for an interesting night at the Jazzhaus with my good friend AC opening for a really great up and coming band, Order of Kaos. Their Psychadelic Funk seemed to be just what my soul needed.

Other notable events in September, featured "Rewind & Listen Again" in Omaha, a night dedicated to retro-80's and on the same night St Louis, they flashed back to retr0-70s themed even, "A Night at Studio 54" featuring Roy Davis Jr. Meanwhile, deep in the heart of Texas, Danny Howells played a late set to for an eagerly awaiting crowd.

Finally, though at the time of this writing Shaun has not yet uploaded the photos, we topped off the month with a reappearance in Kansas City by Trance idol, Paul Oakenfold. Though I was not overly ecstatic about hearing him yet again in Kansas City, I made the trip anyhow. I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised that he played with much more enthusiasm than he did in his last appearance here and technically, played as though he actually cared this time. In direct reflection and response, the crowd at Club NV pumped their fists and danced like there was no tomorrow.

October will be full of equally interesting adventures, leading up to the party-night frenzy of Halloween weekend. There's already a bunch of things to choose from in the Kansas City metro area and all points beyond. Keep your eye on the calendar, because we add new stuff all the time. Otherwise, I will see you at the midway holiday, Friday the 13th for the return of the legendary Frankie Bones!

october 2006 issue