Friday night at Roxy Blu , Phatblackpussykat threw another Voices party, bringing in Barbara Tucker to sing her hits alongside Frankie Feliciano . Tucker is probably the best-known house music vocalist, and has more anthems to her name than can be listed here. Feliciano got the crowd worked up, but Tucker took that vibe up a notch as soon as she stepped onto the tiny makeshift stage. Tons of energy and presence - she tore the roof off the joint.
The Voices series has been an interesting exercise. Too often the actual musicians in house music get overlooked in favour of the DJs who play the records, but highlighting vocalists in this way is what many veteran house DJs have been telling me for years now needs to happen. Realistically, if house ever crosses over to the mainstream again, it's going to be because of actual performers, not some guy mixing records.
Alce's soulful set
Soulutions brought Atlanta-based Kai Alce to Studio 99 Saturday night for a sweaty night of deep house goodness. Alce was raised in Detroit and learned the art of DJing by listening to pioneering radio shows like the Electrifying Mojo and working at legendary club the Music Institute. Despite his Detroit roots, Alce isn't a techno DJ. This was a deep and soulful house set more than anything else, spun with lots of technical prowess and a great ear for programming.
The raw warehouse was artfully transformed for the evening. Hanging fabric lowered the ceiling, and there was a massive wall of sound courtesy of Super Sonic. Love how they pile the bass bins so high that even if you're right next to the speakers, you're still shielded from the damaging highs and mid-range frequencies.
They keep the room really dark, which is good for the underground vibe but makes for some confusion when you can't see the face of the person you're talking to.
Great event. Look forward to Soulutions' summer season.
San Francisco's Julius Papp was scheduled to play a live set Friday at Hush/Underbar but unfortunately couldn't get his equipment past Customs. Luckily, he managed to bring (or possibly borrow) enough records to play a slick set of house music for the lively crowd. Not too banging, not too light and fluffy, just a good party mix for a packed dance floor. Hopefully, next time he'll be able to sneak his gear through.
Stopped by Studio 99 Friday for the Om Festival warm-up party, featuring the usual eclectic blend of dance music and a special surprise appearance by San Francisco's Hesohi of Imperial Dub Recordings . Quite a different vibe from the usual events that use this warehouse space - no smoking in the main room for one thing, and a decidedly hippy rave vibe overall, complete with juice bar. A decent party, and a good set by Hesohi, but I'm starting to wish local promoters would find another warehouse space to use for non-club events. Too much stuff in one location breeds boredom.