New York City's Honey Dijon threw down her fierce mix of banging techno and house for the late-night crowd at Nation, the Saturday weekly at Life.
Tending more toward her harder side, she knows how to play to a crowd without compromising her own style. In just six years of DJing, she's become one of the more skilled and well-loved DJs on the big club scene. Cutting up disco, techno, hard house and a few diva tracks, she works the mixer intensely -- moving between genres in the blink of an eye, chopping up tracks with the fader and tweaking the EQ to get the dance floor cheering.
The crowd at Nation is mainly Industry veterans and novice clubbers -- a bit thuggy and square -- but there aren't too many late-night parties going on these days, so a wide range of people end up coming by.
It's hard not to be amused seeing oblivious jocks going mental for a New York drag queen playing tough, bitchy gay house music. Dijon is one of the few DJs working today who can rock a crowd like this, then a more purist audience, and not change her style much.
The sound system is loud and clean, as you'd want, but her set was interrupted by a badly skipping turntable, from which she recovered with grace.
For cool variety, consider Nasa, the home of Velcro the last Saturday of every month, which features DJs Eliot Lazor, Jonny Lee and Hudson doing the tag team thing.
Each DJ plays five songs before passing off the decks to the next, keeping the vibe varied and dynamic.
Lee favours the funkier, clubbier side of house, Lazor tends to the techier side, and Hudson goes the minimal route. A good night for those occasions when you've reached your threshold for vocal anthems but aren't ready for the harder stuff.
All the residents are technically skilled but restrained -- clean mixes without much showing off. No cover, so if your wallet has also reached its limit, you have no excuse.
Also at Nasa, Balance is a Thursday drum 'n' bass weekly showcasing a rotating lineup of established and upcoming DJs.
Not much dancing last week, but the music is good -- the focus being on the soulful side of d 'n' b, an aspect not getting much play at many d 'n' b nights. The vibe was mellow, but in a good way, with a nice mix of older and younger heads socializing and relaxing.
I appreciated the complimentary spiked watermelon, although that's not a regular feature. Note to the underemployed -- this is also a no-cover event.
Fridays, the basement of Milano is taken over by Euphonia, a house weekly concentrating on the Latin and vocal end of the spectrum. The flyers don't list the DJs, but they're all pretty decent locals, and the downstairs room is a cozy lounge with a medium-sized dance floor.
The crowd is a strange mix of random people wandering in off King West and a few house heads, but the DJs do coax the office types onto the floor for some dancing without pandering too much to the current hits.