The Grand Theatre, site of last Saturday's screening party for Gambling, Gods And LSD is exceptionally surreal. It's a big old theatre with three rooms, the two smaller ones movie theatres with seats. The largest room has had the seats removed, and it functions well as a multi-level dance floor.
The film screened in one of the smaller rooms, while the second small room was the chill-out space, featuring DJs and projections. The big room was where the real action was. It was illuminated by multiple 60s-style psychedelic projections.
Jonah Sharp, the headlining DJ, is known to most as the man behind Spacetime Continuum and San Francisco's Reflective Records. He'd disappeared from the scene over the past few years to concentrate on his family but has resurfaced and resurrected his label.
His mind-blowing set incorporated live performance of some of his own new material on laptop as well as DJing, and gleefully ignored all genre boundaries. And no matter how weird he got, the dance floor was willing to go along with it.
After he wrapped up his set, the beaming Sharp remarked in amazement, "They were ready for anything I threw at them tonight."
A live set by local breakbeat enthusiasts Telefunk Soundsystem followed Sharp. They fused elements of acid techno, electro and hiphop into a constantly shape-shifting soundscape.
Telefunk were celebrating the independent release of the live recording of their set at last year's OM festival. It's more downtempo and organic than the stuff they're currently working on -- more suited to home listening.
mix motion stars
Though John Tejada was the headliner earlier on Saturday at the Mockingbird, the real star of that party was the projections, mixed and manipulated live by Mix Motion, who expertly synched the motion of the digital video and animations to the beat of the music and kept the imagery changing constantly. Very impressive.
The crowd for Tejada was a good one. He brought along his laptop, which he used with the Final Scratch interface to spin digital files using the turntables as controllers.
Tejada's a very good technical DJ, but that may have been working against him this time around. He often mixed out of a track just as the crowd was getting into it, so while the music was good, that elusive vibe seemed to be missing.
Late in the evening he surprised many techno heads in the room with a short drum 'n' bass set, but the remaining partiers took the tempo shift in stride.
The Movement crew took a chance last Friday, and it paid off. Instead of booking a big international name as a headliner, they went back to their roots and made it a residents-only night. They managed to pull out a good-sized crowd -- larger, in fact, than some of their high-profile guests.
This was more like the classic Movement vibe, so it felt strange that founding member A Man Called Warwick was absent. He's decided to part ways with the group to concentrate on his own events.
Jason Ulrich's Clean parties have moved to Una Mas from the Mockingbird, and it's a good thing.
The turnout Friday night was close to what he used to get, but because Una Mas is split into two floors the party felt cozier and the dance floor looked fuller. Nice event to hit up for your dose of mellow deep house, disco, nu-jazz and soul, although booking it the same night as the similarly themed Movement party might not be the wisest choice.