Once upon a time, the Hotel Astor was a hotbed of activity amid a thriving alternative South Beach scene. Fast-forward a couple decades, and the glamorous spot has fallen off the map as well as SoBe's "alternative" reputation.
But culture, just like fashion, moves in circles.
"Wherever there's lack, there's opportunity," says Patrick Walsh, local DJ and party promoter behind the Astor's spankin' new Mutant Beat Supper Club Thursdays. "I know a lot of people who live on the beach who would love a place to go to that's more their speed, that isn't this commercial, super-club thing. I felt there was a market hidden."
Veterans of the nightlife scene may remember Mutant Beat Supper Club from its first incarnation at Will Call. It was Walsh's try at giving local DJs a place to spread their wings and get a little weird. He ran the party for about a year until nabbing a serious-face day job and going on hiatus.
He still had the itch to give Miami's talent a space for the strange, though, so when his buddy Ariel Beato, former manager of Do Not Sit on the Furniture, hit him up lookin' for someone to program the newly-renovated Astor Social Club, it was a go.
"It's a really cool spot, this kind of basement, small venue with a lot of character, a good vibe to it, and a really nice sound system," he says. "I took a look and fell in love. This is where my Mutant Beat party should have been from the beginning."
Mutant Beat takes its name from the Mutant Disco of New York City's early '80s dance scene, heralded by cult-classic Ze Records. The label's compolitations Frankenstein'd disco grooves with stranger sounds and genres, creating a catchy, kitschy sound of their own.
"I have a lot of friends who have a very eclectic taste and a broader range of collection," he says, "but there isn't a place to properly play it or a venue that's interested in that kind of music. I wanted to present my own pet project where I can bring in DJs whose taste I respect and provide a place to get weird with it."
Beat freaks get into the no-cover weekly through a back door and head past the dude in the kitchen washing dishes to get their fix of different delights. With a mix of DJs and vibes each week, nothing is set in stone. You might hear deep house, electro, sometimes disco, or maybe techno. It doesn't really matter, as long as it's solid.
"I'm encouraging them to get a little weird with it, to play what they want to play and not necessarily what the audience is asking for," Walsh says. "It's not the genre that creates the party. It's the overall energy."
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SHOW ME HOW
Mutant Beat Supper Club, feat. El Chad, Lumin, Patrick Walsh. Thursday, Feb. 5, at the Hotel Astor Social Club, 956 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Ages 21 and up. The party starts at 9 pm and cover is free. Call 305-531-8081 or visit hotelastor.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.