A DJ's Christmas Story

Christopher Lawrence and Judge Jules are visited by the ghosts of house

This is Jules's first trip downtown. He had planned a cameo at Space once before, to hear his pal Teneglia spin on the patio, but the DJ's guest list was so booked there was no room for another star. Tonight the Judge is prepared for his own fans waiting inside Space.

"Theoretically I can play a wide range of styles," he says. "My predominant main-room sound is accessible techno and trance, a bit of a combination of the two. But I will throw in some funky house, too, depending on the crowd I've got."

Judge Jules on his bench
Judge Jules on his bench

Does he have a direction for the evening?

"I'd need to start playing," he shrugs. "Usually I spin the first two records and then plot from there. Some DJs overromanticize their job and claim to be taking people on some fantastic journey. Screw that. I bang 'em there and leave 'em there!"

It's about the music.

2:30 a.m. Having smiled for the cameras and said enough thanks to those proclaiming him to be "their absolute favorite DJ," Jules twists through the crowd, climbs the stairs to the booth, and assesses his canvas. Hired female dancers, done up in neon pink and green, mount trembling boxes and shift with mannequinlike maneuvers. The dance floor turns its collective head toward Jules as fingers point and more flashbulbs split the darkness. As promised Jules kicks them in the teeth by launching a drum-heavy segue from a Deep Dish mix that stirs new hysteria across the club.

3:25 a.m. Although the Liquid crowd has thinned some, Lawrence continues to entice the dedicated with tracks more melodic than his typical techno style but with no less intensity. At times dropping the pitch a speed or two, Lawrence maintains his grip with the edgy breaks he mixes into the dense sonic landscape of extended hooks.

Tonight both DJs obviously are more intrigued with the progression of electronic dance, but neither will betray his roots. As the beats clank and thump to the technologies of the future, soul still seeps through the plastic and wax to touch swaying human bodies. Whatever you call it ... that's what house is about.

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