John Digweed

The Vagabond's John Digweed (left) and Carmel Ophir: united for a cause.

It's impossible to hyperbolize here: Brit DJ titan John Digweed — along with longtime partner Sasha — is progressive house. Digweed began DJing as a young teen in the late '70s and early '80s, but it was in the early '90s when he finally got his big break, spinning at the legendary Renaissance club in Mansfield, England. There he picked up the skeins of what would become his proggy sound, locking on house's steady four-four groove but weaving in and out with new, purely electronic sounds and textures. Either DJing with Sasha, producing with Nick Muir as Bedrock, or releasing tracks through his own Bedrock label, Digweed became the leading proponent of the style, which would dominate clubs abroad and stateside by the turn of the millennium. And while many associate him with the thump-thump of big-room sounds, Digweed (like all the best DJs) is a record sponge, with an encyclopedic collection of rare groove records. The influence of that funkiness and soul always seeps into his sets.

Digweed, though hailing from across the pond, boasts strong ties to South Florida, largely through a longtime friendship with nightlife figure Carmel Ophir. Both are co-owners of the Vagabond, along with Broward/Palm Beach club Svengali Rodney Mayo. And all of these guys are big-hearted fellows, adamant about giving back to the community. Thus, Thursday's event at the Vagabond, headlined by Digweed, is about charity, not pulling in the profits this superstar DJ can generate in his sleep. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Community Partnership for the Homeless, a nonprofit shelter that helps men, women, and children get off the streets, via health care, day care, job training, and other programs. What's more, advance tickets cost just ten dollars — partying for cheap never felt so good.

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