Happy Pride!

Tue. June 20, 2006 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

Happy Pride!
Another fun Pride week is upon us here in Chicago and there will be lots to see and do, culminating with the 37th Annual Pride Parade on Sunday, June 25th. Once the last parade float has passed you by, be sure to stop by Cesar’s on Broadway for the Parade After-Party sponsored by the Tribune’s Red Eye and Miss Foozie will serve as host with Greg Haus and yours truly spinning the tunes. And for a late night celebration, Crobar is turning a shade of pink with DJ Hex`Hector in the booth.

Deutsche Clarification
In my last column I lamented about the fact that there was no place in Boystown to dance to some "jacked-up house" music. Well, that’s not exactly true as I was pleasantly reminded upon a recent Thursday night visit to Berlin – the nightclub on Belmont, not the city in Germany. DJ Heather Doble was serving up solid state house beats without a care in the world about a Kelly Clarkson remix. Current resident DJs such as Doble and the handsome Greg Haus help maintain Berlin status as one of the best dance clubs in the city and I highly encourage you all to check it out sometime.

The folks at Apple in charge of iTunes have steadily been making life much more pleasurable for dance music enthusiasts. They are offering a large number of continuous mixes, including many of the Om compilations, in an iPod friendly format. As well, the RCA Music Group has continued to release on iTunes out-of-print dance classics and previously unreleased remixes of contemporary hits. Just type “dance vault” on the iTunes home page to access the RCA DANCE VAULT series and you’ll see plenty of artists and songs that will surely keep your toes a tapping and hips a shaking – and oh yeah, hands in the air.

[Note: On Thursday, June 22, 2006, there will be an RCA Dance Vault / iTunes promotional giveaway at Pride Night at Cesar’s on Broadway. Several $10 iTunes gift cards will be raffled of throughout the night. ]

IML Revisted –
Save for the much publicized crystal meth bust, lots of fun seemed to be had by all, especially on dance floors, during IML weekend last month. I was out of town for most of the weekend, but my trusted peeps tell me that the IML Victory Party at the House of Blues with DJ Bill Bennett was the best one in years. The Onyx party with DJ Andre Hatchett was the most fun of the hotel gatherings while Chi Chi LaRue and DJ Oskar provided a surprisingly good and contrasting 1-2 punch at Circuit for the Military Ball. And to end the weekend in traditional proper fashion, the Black & Blue Ball with DJ Matthew Harvat was another solid effort. All in all, it was quite a good party showing for Chicago and bodes well for Pride, the Gay Games (see below), and Market Days. Hopefully this is an indicator that gay Chicago is getting its dance party mojo back.

"Hey Mr DJ?"
The songs I’ve been playing recently that have caused the most visits to the DJ booth with “What’s the name of that song?” inquiries:

“Open Fire” by Tony Massera (Sexy Rexy) – This driving energized house track is at the very top of my current playlist and has ignited my dance floors like no other track in quite a long time. It has a booming groovy bass beat on the low end, staccato melodic horns on the high side, and a pleading soulful male vocal track bringing it all together.

“I Need U” by Cajmere featuring Dajae (Cajual Records) – The funky Mark Grant mix of this song came out last year, yet it still has the power to sneak up on folks and cause even the most rhythmically challenged to dance on the beat.

“Right Before My Eyes” by Southside Hustlers (Data / Effin Records) – This global dance music hit - about a woman realizing that true love has already happened for her - is best served in the Club Mix with it’s simple piano hook and infectious general house groove. A great summer tune.

“Buttons” (Ranny's Peak Hour Mix) by The Pussycat Dolls - The girls provided the hit dance track of last summer and seem to have another big one on their hands with them.

Well Wishes
Mucho get well wishes to Kevin Aviance, the dance music singer/performer who was brutally attacked in New York City an apparent gay-bashing incident. Aviance, who performed at the Fireball main event in 2004, suffered a broken jaw after being kicked repeatedly by young men who yelled anti-gay slurs. Four men have been arrested in connection with the attack.

An Embarassment of Riches
The question now is which big-name DJ won’t be in town spinning at some point during the 10 day span around the Gay Games, July 14 - 23. The list so far includes Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, Danny Tenaglia, Derrick Carter, Manny Lehman, Ralphi Rosario, Abel, Junior Vasquez, Victor Calderone, Joe Gauthreaux, and Brett Henrichsen. Impressive indeed!

Spotlight Compilation CD –

House of Om: Colette & DJ Heather (Om)
The House of Om series gets better and better with each installment and they’ve hit a another home run slam with this new 2-cd set. Colette does the honors on CD1, following up her vocal artist album from last year with a silky smooth continuous mix full of light electro and acid house touches. She demonstrates that she is just as talented behind the decks as she is behind the mic. DJ Heather, a resident DJ at Fabric in London and here in Chicago at Smart Bar, guides CD2 as expertly as she does a dance floor. The mix is a tight cohesive blend of funky house tracks with some “boompty” thrown in for good measure. This House of Om release deserves to be added to the others that should already be in your collection.