It doesn't matter where you come from or where you're headed — if you make the inner-city scene Saturday night, you make Back Door Bamby at The Vagabond. Why? Well, for one thing, because it's a party with a pedigree, and there are damn few of those left anymore. And for another, because there might be no place left in town where a bevy of absolute crazies and kooks are not only encouraged to come out and wreak havoc, but also paid to do so. Mostly, though, if you hit BDB, it's because a dame named DJ Shannon is holding court in the club's main room, booming the kinda bounce that brings the weekend to its knees — and back to its feet.
Born in Berkeley and raised in Oakland, Shannon comes to her head-spinning with the kind of organic street cred only those neighboring Cali towns can provoke. Call it enlightened urbanism — she's the kind of city chick who keeps her mind wide open. And lately Shannon's mind has widened from a trademark collision of kitsch and classics, smack and trash, to include some of the deepest, freakiest beats in house. Take Son of Raw's "A Black Man in Space," tech-house kingpin Dennis Ferrar's sax-wielding roar through the cosmos. The mood is straight out of the honorific homage of Jazzmatazz, while the thump is pure Lil' Louis. Add that over-the-top narrative which whispers through the thick of things, and you've got the makings of one mighty floor-shaker.
Which is probably why it remains one of Shannon's favorites, as does anything by Little Louie Vega, or something wicked such as Wawa's "No Problem" or anything by the insane Deadmau5. Any of the above will move any crowd anywhere, Shannon claims, and she should know.
DJ Shannon: Mondays at Dream. Saturdays at Back Door Bamby at The Vagabond.
But don't think the lass is limited to a "house sound with lots of surprises." Like her heady days at the immortal Hercules (another party with pedigree, and sadly now defunct), or her star turns at Crobar (from open to close), Groove Jet, 821 (two true legendaries), or — go girl! — Score, Shannon will drop what it takes to knock off your block. Not to mention your preconceived notions of which beats best make the night utterly unbeatable. Bet on it.
DJ Shannon's current top five:
1. "Where's Your Head At? (The Jean Elan Remix)," Basement Jaxx
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2. "Breath," Thomas Gold
3. "Red Hot," Sinden and Solid
4. "Wow," Micky Slim
5. "Reach (TV Rock Remix)," Lil' Mo' Yin Yang