a wall by Reas at Bar
photo by Jose D. Duran
I had big hopes for yesterday evening, hoping to check out most of the downtown circuit. There was the Louie Vega WMC party at the Vagabond, the free Ed Banger party at Bar, the Smog vs. Basshead party at White Room, Steve Lawler's Viva party on the Space terrace, and the Blue Collar showcase up at Electric Pickle which featured everyone good from dirtybird.
However, I screwed it all up by violating several cardinal WMC rules. First, never, ever wear high heeled anything, even if you foolishly think that because they're boots, that somehow makes things different. No matter how comfortable they are for hours one through three, you will be cursing yourself around hour five or six. Second, don't eat junk food, even if it's free -- combined with liquor, that crap will catch up with you and weigh you down. Stay light on your feet with protein and produce. Third, ration the Red Bull, again, even if it's free. Even if you're vibrating, the drink's half-life effectiveness starts shrinking after you've had, oh, four, even if they've been spread out.
So yeah, I violated all of those, but after the Digweed sunset cruise docked around 9 p.m., I figured it was better to keep going than take an intermission. Since I was with some friends who lived on the beach, we decided, since we were in the neighborhood, to pass by Cinema, which had a free party going on that advertised some DJ sets from the Trouble & Bass crew. It was only about 10:30 at this point, so I knew nobody big would be on, but I figured the music would at least be similar through the evening....
Wrong. Whoever was spinning totally disregarded the fact that there were only about 20 people there, playing some kind of scary banging trance/happy-house hybrid that included an unfortunate, super-high-BPM remix of "Boom Boom Pow." The drinks were only $8 -- cheap for South Beach -- but they were so weak that if I cared, I might have asked for another pour. And the crowd here was also confounding: straight-up candy ravers beamed in from 1999, complete with plastic bracelets, UFO pants, and dayglo-green oversized streetwear T-shirts. Where were they hiding!? I'm told the T&B guys did finally go on late-night, but that the candy ravers only multiplied.
I probably should have gone down to Grand Central to check out the free Fool's Gold party, but feeling lazy and with feet hurting, I figured I'd just park around Fourteenth Street and walk around to some of the spots around there. I stopped by Bar first, to see how the free Ed Banger party was doing. Again, it was only like 11:30 and too early, although it was a good spot to chill out and use a bathroom without outrageous lines. Local guy Damaged Goods was spinning, although he was going a little too loud and banging for the time of evening and size of the crowd. Still, he did drop at least one really cool standout track at this time: some remix of Wiley's track with Emeli Sande, "Never Be Your Woman," which takes that old '90s White Town novelty hit and flips it with reverse-warp basslines and ragga flavor.
At this point, I had the foolish idea that I could waltz over to Space and check out Steve Lawler's Viva party on the terrace, regardless of whatever was going on downstairs, which was, apparently, a DJ Boris marathon. (Yikes). I used to go to Space all the time as a teenager -- if you think they let in a lot of underage girls now, it was even more lax seven to 10 years ago -- but for obvious reasons, haven't exactly been much in recent years. The Terrace has certainly been stepping its booking game up, though, branching into techno and tech-house that's edgy by Space standards.
Not sure who's actually managing to go in there, though, who appreciates those bookings. I was supposed to be on Steve Lawler's guest list, but three different bouncers (not door gatekeepers, maybe I should have tried harder) told me there was no list, and I could wait in the general admission line to try my luck at the entrance. Amusingly, nobody I spoke to even immediately knew who Steve Lawler was. Staring out at the sea of Christian Audigier that was the disorganized crowd of hopeful punters trying to squeeze up to the door, I decided it wasn't worth arguing and headed back to Bar to try to regroup.
By now, it was a little after 1 a.m., and Damaged Goods was playing some dubstep that was going down pretty well. The crowd was growing and the vibe was pretty friendly, but there was no sign of any of the headliners. It seemed more like a particularly good night out at Bar, rather than a different-from-usual night during Winter Music Conference. Things were going to pop off late, it seemed, but I was tired, and my feet were hurting, so I lost the battle of will versus body and gave up for the evening. Better luck tonight, when I'll be sure to wear flats and save the Red Bulls for late.