Groove Line

Mon. January 24, 2005 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

“Let Freedom Ring” for the Birthday Boys
The MLK Holiday weekend turned out to be a fun one indeed with plenty of star power DJs gracing the city. I was able to groove the night away on Friday, January 14, at Hydrate as DJ Escape celebrated his birthday with his loyal Chicago fan base. You should have seen him working that DJ booth to death. He had both turntables spinning, was using the on–board FX capabilities of his players like an ADD child with new toys on Christmas, and even had the sampler machine plugged in and in use. The net result was a twistedly fun audio presentation that more than pleased those of us on the dance floor.

On Sunday night, January 16, the occupants of the DJ booth at Sound-Bar were a bit more straight forward in their presentation as Frankie Knuckles and David Morales turned the place out for Knuckles’ 50th birthday celebration. Despite the airlines "misplacement" of Morales’ records causing him to be just a bit late, he had the whole club groovin’ to a sexy beat by midnight. His set was spiced up with a few classics such as CeCe Peniston’s “Finally” and Alison Limerick’s “Where Love Lives” and of course included his own current chart-topping hit “How Would U You Feel.”

After a couple of live performances by singers Lea-Lorién and Nikki Richards – two women who have lent their voices to Knuckles’ and Morales’ biggest hit singles over the years – it was time for the birthday boy to take over. And take over he did! Knuckles came out strong and had the diverse appreciative crowd - gay, straight, black, white, brown, and yellow - clapping their hands and stomping their feet to the joyous house music beat. When he played Soul Central’s remake of the Detroit techno classic “Strings Of Life,” smiles lit up on faces, bodies were in full jackin’ mode, and fists were pumping in the air for the birthday party was truly in high gear. It was a sight to behold. To those who think that real dance floor energy can only be attained with a tribal-based rhythmic attack or with the latest chart-topping hip-hop cut, Morales and Knuckles continue to prove that a house groove is more than enough... and actually it’s really all you need. (Event Photos)

Going Deep
Chicagoans already consider themselves quite fortunate to be able to hear the likes DJs Ralphi Rosario and Derrick Carter on a regular basis at clubs throughout the city. Well we can smile even a bit brighter as Sound-Bar has snared Deep Dish for a quarterly residence that begins Friday, February 11. Ali and Sharam, the duo that make up Deep Dish, are arguable the most important American figures on the dance music scene today. They own the Yoshitoshi record label, a consistent producer of high quality dance tracks (and thankfully at affordable domestic prices for U.S. DJs). Their mixed compilation CDs – on Yoshitoshi and as part of the Global Underground series – have been critically acclaimed and have significant influence on the creative direction of progressive house music in the U.S. and abroad. And most importantly, when these guys are in the DJ booth, they pack in a huge crowd and rock the dance floor. This is a real coup: big ups to John Curley, Carson, and the rest of the folks at Sound-Bar and Pure Music for adding another great dance music reason for living in Chicago.

Fireballing The Midwest
At next month’s Fireball, one of the traditions is being presented this year with a twist. The DJ Showcase event is back on Sunday night, February 20, sharing the Excalibur/Vision Nightclub complex with the Fraterni Tea/Closing Party. In addition to local DJ talent with rising profiles, Fireball will for the first time include up and coming talent from the Midwest in this year’s edition of the Showcase. DJs John Murges (Milwaukee), Josh Gram (Witchita/Houston), and Jerry Griffith (KC) will join Chicagoans Luis M, Tom McBride, and Matthew Harvat (Circuit Mom) in the Dome Room and The Lair at Vision. Additional extensions of the Fireball welcome mat has DJs Jon Herseth (Minneapolis) and Adrian Fox (St. Louis) joining DJ Dr. K and me at the after-hours Oasis Lounge at the Renaissance Hotel on the mornings of February 19 and 20. Finally, Chad Johnson (KC), Jason Lanoux (Minneapolis), and Deanne (Indy) will share Welcome Center DJing duties with Brad M. and Zach Stowers on the afternoons of February 18 and 19 at the Renaissance. Fireball has long been considered THE essential gathering for midwestern circuiteers, and so it’s only fitting that DJs from throughout the region be included as well. All info, tickets, and party passes can be obtained at

Forward Calendar
• Plez Award winner Hex Hector returns to Chicago (I hope isn’t expecting to get some sort of statue from me) this Friday, January 28, taking over the Hydrate DJ booth.
• Fast becoming a favorite here in Chicago, DJ DeMarko is at Crobar for GLEE Club on Sunday, January 30.
• Lil Louie Vega is at Sound-Bar for a record release party on Friday, February 4.
• Thursday, February 10, Smart Bar is hosting a Tsunami Relief Benefit party with Chicagoan and Grammy Award winner DJ/remixer/producer Maurice Joshua. DJ Heather, a rising global star that hails from Chicago will also be behind the decks along with several other local DJs for this very worthy cause.

Asian Circuit Cuisine
Folks have been traveling to Australia for years to get their “party-on” at the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney. Well, for those international jet-set party people another destination is soon to be added to your travelogue as the inaugural CircuitAsia takes place in Manila, Philippines from April 28 to May 2, 2005. Headlining DJs for the weekend are Brett Henrichsen (soon to be here for Fireball), Kimberly S, and Gomi. CircuitAsia is a major supporter of the Gift Foundation and supports the foundations program on AIDS. For more details go to with its very sobering intro and entertaining info pages.