Tuesday, March 16th

Tue. March 16, 2004 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

The Intro

Ok, I know I did The Intro in my column last time around, but we’re changing the name of the column. Thus a new Intro is needed. Why change the name, you ask. Well, the previous name I had chosen for this column of mine, “Sound Scene,” was just a bit too close to the name of Kii Kii’s column, “Scene and Be Scene.” So after a bit of brainstorming with the big boys at (CP), we’ve come up with “Groove Line” as the new title under which I’ll write pretty much whatever I want. That’s the nice thing about being Music Editor. Anyway, we’ll try to stick with this name for longer than one edition.

I mentioned in my one and only previously named column that we had big plans in the works with regard to broadening our coverage of music at CP. You’ll see that in the very near future as the next column of reviews will deal with music categories more commonly described as pop and adult contemporary. Dance fiends, I mean fans, don’t worry, we’ll still be giving you plenty of info here at CP on the latest tracks making you groove at the club, in the car, or at home. The dance music reviews will be in rotation with other genres.

My Saturday Night

I would tell you about my dinner with friends at Sushi Samba, but I’m the Music Editor not the Food Critic. Does CP even have a Food Critic? (Editors Note: watch for the new Food Critic... coming soon!) Anyway, my mini-review this downtown eatery: Prices were steep; Drinks were stiff; Atmosphere & Ambience was energetic and a bit loud; Food was excellent; and Service was far from excellent. I mean very far from it.

After the food came the clubbing and on this particular night, a rainy one at that, I was well rewarded. First was DJ Ralphi Rosario at Hydrate Chicago. He was playing some really good music expertly keeping the very diverse and fun crowd enthused and dancing. My favorite cuts of the night from Ralphi were the new remix (the one by Airmale) of "Unique" on Star 69 Records (it's got some nasty funk to it!) as well as a delicious faster-paced mix of “Milkshake” by Kelis.

After a few of hours at Hydrate Chicago, I excused myself and went solo to Smart Bar (the basement dance club of the Metro) to hear Kaskade (he's from San Fran and a DJ/artist on the Om Records label) and DJ Colette (from Chicago). It was mostly a straight crowd, the place was packed, the music (house music of the deep, underground, and banging varieties) was pumping, and folks were just plain groovin' and vibein' to the beat. The music was very different from what Ralphi was playing (not as tribally or big room sounding), but it still had great energy.

It was interesting to hear Kaskade play his huge hit from last year, "It's You, It's Me," at the peak point of his set on a Saturday night. I've played that same song much earlier in my sets as I'm building toward a peak for gay crowds. It works for him in that setting at Smart Bar because first of all it's a quality track, and secondly because the crowd was very "House-sophisticated" and knowledgeable about his music.

The very pretty DJ Colette kept the pace going as she banged out cut after cut in her unique style, which includes, at times, her singing along with the track she's playing. Sounds gimmicky, but trust me when I say that it works: she's a legit talent as a DJ and has a beautiful voice.

For those of you looking to dance to groovier, more soulful house music - a sound that unfortunately at times, especially on a Saturday night, can be difficult to find on Boystown dance floors – I highly recommend that you check out Smart Bar (on Clark Street just north of Waveland Avenue). This place, which has been an electronic dance music haven for many years, has a great mix of local, national, and international DJs gracing its DJ booth in order to please its various enlightened crowds. From underground, to Detroit techno, to deep house, to classic Chicago-style house, Smart Bar delivers the goods.

Bits and Pieces

Congrats to Star 69 Records for their selection as Record Label of the Year at the DanceStar USA 2004 Awards held in Miami at Winter Music Conference (WMC) last week. This label, headed up by Peter Rauhofer, has been a supporter of’s music coverage and we congratulate them on this achievement.

Dance track making me smile the most currently: “Magic Potion” by Tone 7 (Vibal). This tribal track, produced by Tedd Patterson is FIERCE!!!!!!!!!

Soon to be released CDs I’m anxiously anticipating: Barring any other “malfunctions,” Janet Jackson’s Damita Jo hits stores on March 30th. … Based on the current chart-topping success of the singles “Yeah!” and “Burn,” Usher looks to have a huge hit on his hands with Confession, in stores March 23rd. … Remember the brother act Hanson? After six years, they are finally back with Underneath, which drops on April 20th.

Best of the progressive house that I’ve been playing of late is the vocal mix of “Sonice” by Cannus, Colors & Legaz (Almibar). This is a real pretty piece of music.

Word from Miami and South Beach: Junior Vasquez didn’t deliver his headlining performance at the Freedom Area of the Ultra-Fest during WMC. There appears to be a complicated story as to the reason why (there’s always complications when it involves Junior), but at least he was able to show up later during the weekend at Blow. … While the weather wasn’t the best during Winter Party, the music was blazing hot with DJs Victor Calderone, Manny Lehman, Tracy Young, and Abel having notable performances. The latter two will be in Chicago this Spring at Crobar Chicago.

In the category of underground house music, “Everyone’s Sleeping Today” has been getting enthusiastic response from folks. This song, on Om Records, is by Rithma.

The Good-Bye

Here’s another change. Last time I said that you all could catch me DJing on Sunday nights at Cell Block. Well that’s no longer the case. I’ll be popping up at Cell Block on another night of the week starting next month and will let you know the details when available. Meanwhile, you can still hear my groove at Ezuli on Mondays for the Recovery Supper Club (6pm – 2 am).

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