On point Turning Point
A Man Called Warwick's Turning Point party at the Gladstone Hotel is for many of its fans a monthly ritual, as it's really the only night devoted to rare vintage tropical funk, played loud on a baby-powdered hardwood dance floor.
Not that there aren't a good number of first-timers every month, but they enter into a party where those who are passionate about it outnumber the curiosity seekers.
At last Saturday's party, Warwick had no guests, so it was his unique vision all night, flowing across several continents and decades. He's never going to win any awards for his mixing technique, but he keeps people dancing, which is the important thing. The live percussionists playing in the crowd worked really well at some points and not so much at others, depending on the type of song.
DJ nights based on obscure funk generally see pretty modest numbers, so it's puzzling why Turning Point has enjoyed such consistent success. It's undeniably a good formula even if it's hard to pin down why.
Detroit's Alton Miller is known for preferring the deeper end of house, but even with that in mind the vibe at Gypsy Co-op Friday was overly mellow, approaching sleepy at times.
To be fair, Gypsy Co-op is more of a lounge and restaurant than a club, and as is often the case, the house crowd doesn't show up until relatively late, which leaves lots of time to play warming-up music and not much for party tunes.
Ended up hearing him play a second set a couple of hours later at the after-party, where the mood was considerably more upbeat - not that he moved over to the aggressive side for the late-night set. In fact, he played more classics and disco than at the official gig, which was mainly chilled-out deep house.
DJing is mostly about reacting to the mood of the room, and in that light the earlier set was completely appropriate for the vibe. On the other hand, a DJ does have the power to push the atmosphere in certain directions. He could have woken up the crowd at Gypsy Co-op had he done that a bit earlier in the evening.
The weekly Beso Jodido party hosted the record release for Noah Pred's newest offering under his Shen moniker Thursday at the Chelsea Room.
Shen is Pred's dub-reggae-influenced downtempo project, borrowing beats from hiphop, bass lines and echoes from dub, and textures and sounds from techno. For this occasion he brought along his laptop to perform live, bathing the small lounge in throbbing bass.
Downtempo doesn't always translate that well in a club situation, but the decision to do the release there worked out well. The crowd is largely techno-centric, but the night's music policy is much more open-format and the mood pretty chilled out, so his electronic dub sounds found more receptive ears than they might have otherwise.
He's got some interesting sounds and ideas going on, but I found myself wishing there were more vocals to give some focus to the grooves.