Groove Line

Tue. January 17, 2006 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

"And the winner is..." Part 1 conducted its 2005 Circuit Awards during December with several local winners. Ralphi Rosario’s Hot Freak Vox Mix of the Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha” won for Best Dance Remix while home girl Suzanne Palmer beat out Madonna and Mariah for Artist of the Year. And while Fireball is no longer, the last edition in February garnered three nominations: the Main Event and the Sunday morning Oasis Lounge did not prevail in their respective Best Circuit Party and Best Afterhours Event categories, but Kristine W’s won for best Circuit Performance. Finally, while Circuit MOM did not win for Best Drag Artist, the truth is that she should have been inducted into the Circuit Hall of Fame.

A Mighty (predictable) Weekend
The DJ line-up for One Mighty Weekend in Orlando during Gay Days (June 2-4, 2006) has been announced and it includes the usual cast of circuit DJ characters: Lehman, Young, Henrichsen, Knapp, Moran, Calagna, Bishop, Kimberly S, and Belmares. While they are all solid choices, the overall line-up is a sad reminder of how the gay party scene is stuck in a musical rut. Thank goodness for the folks north of the border – specifically those who are involved with Montreal’s Black & Blue festival – as they seem to be the only ones who try to avoid formulaic line-ups, actually making an effort at providing an interesting and diverse array of DJing talent.

Good Things To Come?
While New Year’s Eve in Chicago was pretty standard, and maybe even a bit ho-hum, New Year’s Day night was sizzling DJ Abel spun the New Year’s Gay Party at Crobar. The Miami Maestro’s high energy set was filled with fierce tribal and anthem goodies and peppered with “oh-no-he-didn’t-just-play-that!” classics, bringing smiles to all who were there celebrating the start of a new year. In my estimation the New Year’s Gay Party was better than anything that came our way in 2005 and hopefully signals a resurgence in Chicago’s nightlife for the upcoming year.

And the winner is..." Part 2

Here is what you all have been waiting for: the 2005 Plez Awards ! "The envelope please."

Best Dance Music Compilation CD (House Music Division): House of Om – Groove Junkies (Om Records). For the second year in a row Om Records produces the winner in this category with this spectacular 2-disc set. This is an “A+” effort filled with soulful, groovy tracks that will plaster a perpetual smile on your face. Honorable mentions in this category goes to Heartbeat Volume 2 mixed by Julius Papp (Loveslap Recordings) and the second disc of Pure Pacha 2005 mixed by Sarah Main (Om).

Best Dance Music Compilation CD (Gay Club/Circuit Music Division): Live @ Roxy 4 – Peter Rauhofer (Star 69 Records). Overall, this was a weak category this past year, but Roxy 4 was a stand-out release that weaved funky electro stylings throughout tough, dark tribal tracks to create a sexy groove that was oh so fun and appealing. Rauhofer – both in the studio and in the DJ booth – has been at the top of his game over the past few years and Roxy 4 is prime evidence of that fact.

Deserving more than just an honorable mention in this category is Party Groove: Fireball Volume 3 mixed by DJ Paulo (Centaur), a tribal-icious treat full of pounding rhythms and beats.

Best Dance Music Single: “Most Precious Love” by Blaze featuring Barbara Tucker (King Street). From the moment I heard the DF 3000 Future Remix of this track - with its gospel house piano chords and Madame Tucker’s rousing vocal performance - as an advanced promo in 2004, I knew it would be a hit. And once it was officially released in 2005 – both initially and in various remix forms throughout the year – it became an instant chart-topper, captivating and energizing dance floors of all types around the world. I unapologetically played this song at just about every gig I had this past year and foresee playing it plenty of times in 2006.

A very close runner-up in this category was the sexiest song of the year: “Spanish Hustler” by Tom de Neef. Honorable mentions include New Order’s “Krafty,” David Guetta’s “World Is Mine,” Madonna’s “Hung Up,” “Lose Control” by Missy Elliott, “Grateful” by Dennis Ferrer featuring Kenny Bobien, “Sound Of The Drum” by Suzanne Palmer, and “Oh Yeah” by DJ Paulo.

Best Dance Remix: “Don’t Forget About Us” (Tony Moran & Warren Rigg Dance Floor Anthem Mix) – Mariah Carey (Island). This is a peak-hour diva vocal anthem at its very best. Honorable mention goes to the Victor Calderone and Mac Quayle’s remix of Depeche Mode’s “Precious” and Ralphi Rosario’s Hot Freak Vox Mix of “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls.

Best Non-Dance Single: “Gold Digger” Kanye West feat Jamie Foxx (Roc-A-Fella). Technically this isn’t a dance/electronica song, but every time this great party song was played, regardless of the crowd, the dance floor filled up.

Best DJ Performance (City of Chicago Division): Legends Frankie Knuckles and David Morales were absolutely supreme back in February for Frankie’s 50th birthday celebration at Sound-Bar. An incredible night!

Best DJ Performance (Rest of the World Division): Those of us who experienced Victor Calderone at Montreal’s Club Stereo for the Black & Blue Recovery Party in October will not soon, if ever, forget his brilliance in the DJ booth.

Best Event/Party (City of Chicago Division): The Monday night Black & Blue Ball at Excalibur during May’s IML was a terrific end to the weekend with DJ Matthew Harvat (aka Circuit MOM) doing a bang-up job.

Best Event/Party (Rest of the World Division): DJ Manny Lehman was relentless and unmerciful at the Sunday night Magic Journeys afterhours party at Arabian Nights during Gay Days Orlando. There should be a law against having so much fun!

Best Weekly Chicago Residency/Event: Boom Boom Room @ Green Dolphin Street presented by Music 101. Resident DJs Lego, Michael Serafini, Just Joey and Uncle Milty help to make this Monday night staple is the best weekly party in all of Chicago.