Groove Line

Mon. September 27, 2004 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

Summer Recap
Now that we are about to say goodbye to summer, let’s take a quick look back at a few of the dance music high points as I saw and heard them.

Best Dance Music Compilation CD - There were a bunch of stuff that came out, most of which were fairly formulaic packagings of the songs you hear in the clubs. However, there are two offerings that especially stand out in my mind. Their extremely high quality ensures that they’ll be played by discriminating dance music fans for a long time to come. There’s DJ Vibe’s Underground Sound of Lisbon (Star 69 Records) and Live At Om – Derrick Carter & Mark Farina (Om Records). The former is a sexy underground progressive house mix, while the latter is Chicago jack house music at its finest. You can’t go wrong with either.

Best Dance Music Single - While Rosabel’s “Cha Cha Heels” (Tommy Boy) and Dave Armstrong’s “Make Your Move” (Vendetta) probably got the most club play this past summer, in my opinion the undisputed song of the summer was “Lola’s Theme” by Shapeshifters (Positiva). This may be the best dance track produced in several years (since King of Tomorrow’s “Finally”). It’s that good. And with a terrific bunch of remixes by the likes of Victor Calderone and Eric Prdyz, it put smiles on a wide variety of dance floors around the world.

Best DJ Performance at a Club – Hex Hector at Sound-Bar on the Sunday of the 4th of July weekend was supreme.

Best DJ Performance Outdoors – Derrick Carter was a perfect choice to kick-off the City of Chicago’s Summerdance DJ series in Grant Park. He again proved why the word “legendary” is so often used to describe him.

Event/Party – The Sunday night of the Northalsted Market Days weekend at Crobar with DJ Roland Belmares was just plain FUN!

Dimitri in the House
Legendary DJ of the French Disco House movement, Dimitri from Paris, was at Sound-Bar on September 5, and was in fine form. After a tremendous set by the opening DJ, Dimitri eased the adoring crowd with a full hour that never exceeded 120 bpm (beats per minute). Neither dull nor boring, this deliberate pace was as sexy and groovy as they come. Then he showed that he’s more than just a DJ for the lounge elite and blistered the dance floor with a surprising amount of energy and peakish excitement in his track selections. All in all, it was quite an interesting night with one of the more popular global DJs around.

Scissor What?
In case you haven’t heard, the latest sensation on the live band front rocking both gay and straight crowds alike is Scissor Sisters, a quintet out of New York. I purposefully didn’t listen to their new self-titled CD (on Universal) before attending their recent show at the Metro so as not to come with any preconceived notions about them, good or bad. Well, I’ll be playing that CD a ton now as I really did like what I heard up on the Metro stage: an interestring mix of genre-bending tracks that was somewhat rock, somewhat disco-y, a bit punk-alternative, and some other descriptors I can’t quite put words to. This group has great energy and with several out and proud gay members of the group, they have already connected to the listening ear of the community that wants more than just the latest dance remix heard on Queer As Folk. I’d suggest that you not sleep on Scissor Sisters as I suspect they’ll be making their musical presence - and probably cultural presence as well – known for the foreseeable future.

Music Alert!
Joss Stone is a blue-eyed English soul sister who last year wowed the world with her debut CD Soul Sessions (S-Curve Records). Well, she’s back and coming on strong with her second effort Mind Body & Soul, which just came out. If you appreciate the likes of Angie Stone (no relation) and Jill Scott, Norah Jones and Sarah MaLachlan, or Anita Baker and Betty Wright, then you’ll want to hitch a ride on the Joss Stone bandwagon.

For you dancing fools, the folks at Star 69 Records keep pumping out the product. A definite item on your shopping list should be the Star 69 Extended Mixes 4 CD which is in stores now. It’s a compilation of full-length extended Star 69 mixes never before available on CD, featuring Amuka, Made By Monkeys, Peter Rauhofer, Presta & Stakey, Celeda, and more. While it's the perfect DJ tool, it’s also a great buy for those wanting to hear new interpretation of some of the recent chart-toppers from Peter Rauhofer’s label.

NYC Dispatch
Speaking of Mr. Rauhofer, I had the opportunity to hear him spin at Roxy on a recent trip to the Big Apple. Wow! What an incredibly great time I had. The crowd at Roxy was stunningly beautiful and Rauhofer’s set was a demonstration of a DJ at the top of his game. He played the newest and freshest tribal fare (Size Queen’s “Tribal Madness” and Calderone’s smoldering remix of “Lola’s Theme”) mixed with classic circuit tracks (“Meet Her At The Love Parade” and Junior’s “X ‘99”). He also brought bright smiles to the older faces on the dance floor with well-placed nuggets of foundation house music: Chicago and New York/Jersey circa 1989. It’s been a while since Rauhofer has spun in Chicago.
Editor's Note: DJ Peter Rauhofer will be spinning in Chicago Sunday, October 31st at Sound-Bar.

For a complete weekend of NYC clubbing experience – it was so nice to be in a city that truly appreciates nightclubbing – I started out on a Friday night by checking out Susan Morabito at SBNY (aka Splash) with her progressive underground, almost trancey at times, sound. I actually prefer the former layout of this venue, but once all the construction is complete, I’m sure it will still be a cool place to party, dance and cruise. It was to the Avalon on Sunday night for Chad Jack, where I got a better appreciation for why folks are favorably comparing his style of DJing to that of Junior Vasquez. He works hard in the booth to bring added dynamics and complexity to his set, keeping the dance floor energized and engaged.
You’ll surely be hearing more from him on the national scene.