Groove Line

Fri. September 23, 2005 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

Same Old Thing
From most accounts, Labor Day was a mixed bag of the good, the bad, and the ugly on the Chicago nightlife party scene with the bad and the ugly being far too prominent. While other major cities around the country had event-filled calendars, Chicago was again offering pretty much more of the same. Places were a bit more crowded in light of the fact that it was a holiday weekend, but there wasn't much going on that put a spotlight on this great city we live in. We are definitely in a rut here and how we get out of it seems to be the $64,000 question. There are folks who really are trying hard to bring quality nightlife alternatives to the city, but those efforts - for a variety of reasons - seemingly fall short and miss the mark. With the Summer coming to an end, let's hope that there will be a new leash on Chicago's party life come the Fall.

Across the Lake 4 Labor Day
Due in part to Chicago's plodding nightlife calendar, boyz a plenty hit the road and headed to Saugatuck, Michigan to end the summer in grand style and fashion over Labor Day weekend. The crowds were large and impressive at the Dunes Resort and at The Farm Party as DJs Lydia Prim, Mark Valleese, Greg Drescher, and Tom McBride collectively pumped funky fresh beats all weekend long for folks not only from the Midwest but also from both coasts. Yes, western Michigan benefited from the influx of some who were forced to change their plans after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, but a fun time was already well in the making for this weekend in Saugatuck.

Fresh Ears & Open Minds
In the aftermath of Market Days I have had several friends come to me and say how pleasantly surprised they were with Victor Calderone's set that Sunday at Crobar. For a variety of reasons, including the bad-mouthing of Victor by others who don't like his unrepentant tribal style, there were lots of folks who went to the Evolve party expecting to have to "put up" or "bear with" the music. Instead, they heard a legendary DJ put together a hard-charging set that was fun, exciting, and energetic. And with hardly a diva vocal anthem within hearing range. As one T-dance queen put it: "Calderone was amazing! I never knew pots and pans could sound so good!"

Folks who populate dance floors should understand that most DJs grow and mature over the years and that their DJing styles will evolve. As well, most party people will experience changes in their own dance music likes and dislikes over time. Thus someone whom you once thought of as a hack in the DJ booth may end up becoming one of your favorites, and conversely a previous DJing god may become less impressive as the years pass. Therefore, I strongly suggest that on occasion all pre-conceived notions and ideas about DJs be put aside, replaced by updated info from your fresh ears and an open mind. You might be surprised at what you discover and experience.

Get Your Passports Ready
While rumors are growing strong that the party calendar for 2006 will not have it's traditional February Chicago listing, the folks north of the border in Montreal are preparing to push the party envelope next month with the 15th edition of the Black & Blue Festival. The main event on October 9th, called the Xtreme Ball this year, is again back at Olympic Stadium with Danny Tenaglia and Chus & Ceballos (pictured) as the headlining DJs. While for true dance music lovers (and if you don't know who Tenaglia and C&C are, you honestly aren't much of a dance music fan) this is a heavenly electronica lineup; for those who simply like to dance, attend a fabulous party, and/or visit a great city, Black & Blue is a can't miss event.

Music You Can Use

"No Strings" – Lola (Sobe Entertainment)
Another anonymously named female singer crooning about sex? Taking a very M4M or Manhunt oriented approach, Lola wants to have a "No Strings" liaison because the object of her desire has what she wants and needs. She conveys this message in several different remix versions by the likes of Peter Presta, Josh Harris (his Safe Sex mix is my favorite) and Atlantis-760.

Brasil – Salomé de Bahia (Yellow Productions / Tommy Boy)
When you mix this Brazilian diva with Parisian producer Bob Sinclair, an album as exquisite and captivating as Brasil is no great surprise. The deep house and world beat aficionados will surely thrive off the blend of samba, mambo, bossa nova, and salsa that's presented here on the CD. But alas, this long-player is for all as the energy from a track such as "Outra Lugar" will send any and all crowds and dance floors into groove heaven. The music from Brasil is destined to resonate with those who hear it: a perfect rhythmic end to the summer.

Danceculture – mixed by Tracy Young (Ferosh)
A frequent visitor to the DJ booths in Chicago, the Miami-based Young has recently released this continuously mixed CD which she states "is a true representation of the music I am currently playing." Known to the world in general as the DJ who spun at Madonna's wedding in Scotland as well as at Britney Spears's 21st birthday bash, those in the know describe Young as one of the most unique and innovative DJs on today's dance music scene. Danceculture is produced by Young's own label, Ferosh, and features exclusive remixes of Madonna's "Easy Ride," Cyndi Lauper's "Walk On By," and Chaka Khan's "I Believe." While Young somewhat laments the fact that this was a two year project in the making, many of her fans – old and new - will agree that the resultant output was well worth the wait.

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Photo of Victor Calderone at Crobar courtesy Jessika Sterling