On Friday July 7th 2000 I made my US DJing debut at San Diego’s DRAGON LOUNGE night.
The gig arose through a handy email from another DJ in the US, one Joe Sweeney from North Carolina (thanx J!). He had visited the CRYONIX website and liked what we were doing and extended an offer of a set if I should ever happen to be stateside.
As it happened I was due to be in sunny California at the beginning of July for a business trip – the annual pilgrimage to silicon valley to visit my suppliers. Joe in-turn hooked me up with a guy in San Diego by the name of DJ B-Side….who just so happened to run a nu skool breaks and drum ‘n’ bass night in San Diego.
Well, to cut a long story slightly short, B-Side (aka Ben – yep another one!!) and I exchanged a couple of emails and it was confirmed that I would be doing a back-2-back set with monsieur B-Side between 11pm-1am (prime time!) at their 7th July night….this was a last minute booking but they still went and got the flyers reprinted with my name on ’em. Quality! 😉
First DJ up on the night was an up and coming San Diegan by the name of MANTIS. His style of music was very similar to my own with a very heavy leaning towards the more progressive end of the breaks spektrum. A good DJ and definitely one to look out for should you ever be out that way. As you can see the club was a little heavily fogged! But trust me there is a DJ in there somewhere.
The decor for the club was really interesting with a general oriental theme about it. The mural that you can see behind the turntables ran the entirety of a 25ft wall and was some of the best graffiti I’ve ever seen! Pure class.
The resident MC for the night was BUCKSHOT…or MAN MOUNTAIN as I ended up calling him. He was HUGE!!! He was also a pretty good MC, and I hate MCs (except for Mr Wong who I make special dispensation for!). Talk about get the crowd going!
Talking of the crowd…totally unlike a UK club crowd. Where as in the UK people tend to stand around waiting for something to happen for the first couple of hours of the night, the American crowd start dancing the moment they enter the club! It’s sooo coo-el – even the warm up DJ has a good sized crowd for his set!!
The attitude of the crowd was also very reminiscent of the old raves of the late 80’s early 90’s in the fact that every one was very open and friendly. One stoopid thing about the whole Californian clubbing experience is that you are not allowed to smoke inside the club….you have to go out into the car park!!!
Even more stoopid than that is the fact that you are not allowed to take open containers of alcohol (ie. your beer) outside into the street! Therefor you have to leave your beer inside whilst you go out for a smoke!!!
By the time that 11 o’clock came around the club was nicely filling up and I’d met some coo-el people who were really interested to hear that I’d come from the UK to play at the event.
There were actually two guys who had come all the way from Dallas (about 800 miles!) to come to the night ’cause they’d heard that a UK DJ was playing!! MAD, that’s like driving from Reading to Aberdeen for a night out!
It was really nice to see that the breaks scene in the US isn’t too far behind that of the UK. Though they were just far enough so that the tunes that I took with me were all unheard of to them…thankfully they really got into the style.
Yep, that’s me..and look I got an onlooker!!!
The strangest, and most flattering, thing to happen during my set was when the crowd started chanting “Haze, Haze, Haze” over and over again in the middle of my set!! It was really wierd…but nice too. ;p
The three and pass routine that B-Side and myself employed worked really well. The blend of my progre-ssive stuff and his darker stuff was very much like Jurassik and mine’s sessions at Cryonix back home!
Let me say a few words about my host – DJ B-Side. What a quality fella! He, and his friends, really made me feel at home during my stay and I hope to offer the same service to them should they venture over the pond in this direction. As a DJ B-Side has been playing the same length of time as myself and seems to have been into the same kinds of music as myself too.
He’s currently the US breaks scene’s rising star with gigs alongside Adam Freeland, Uberzone and Simply Jeff in the near future. Style wise he’s very competent and mixes fluidly whatever the style (I’ve got his new demo at home and it’s a quality mix of breaks and tech house!).
Definitely a Haze favourite!
After B-Side and I finished our set it was the turn of the drum ‘n’ bass crew to shake the place. And I do mean SHAKE the place! The people that provided the soundsystem for the night – PROFOUND SOUND SYSTEMS – did a seriously good job of looseing all of my teeth! Really good rig…nice and bassy.
Try as we could we were completely unable to make the system sound distorted…f**k knows what sort of compression equipment they were running. Whatever it was it was good. Very good! First d’nber up was FURY – all the way from Denver, Colorado. Another nice guy and also another good DJ. He played a real nice mix of hard n fast jungle (lots of cause for concern and bad company stuff!! – lovely) which whipped the already enthusiastic crowd into even more of a frenzy. Helped along by the orders being issued by MC Buckshot.
Last up was ALLEYCAT from San Francisco. A pretty good female DJ who dropped some of my all time favourite tracks – all be it new remixes of ’em! I will never tire of hearing Terrorist of Champion Sound – mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!! All in all a brilliant night. And to top it all off I was offered several other gigs whilst I was in the US. Unfortunately due to prior engagements I was only able to do one of them – on Saturday 8th at the amusingly entitled COSMIC BOWL in San Diego.
Cosmic Bowl was a real interesting night. A much more intimate, bar like event, which isn’t suprising as it took place in the bar of a bowling alley!!!! It was very bizzare to walk into a bowling alley like you see on the movies and hear tearing drum n bass blasting out from the building! Fred Flintstone never went bowling here – though he should’ve done! 😉
I got given a coo-el tour of the workings of a bowling alley…which was actually quite fascinating! No really, it was!! The best part of the night was just getting to hang out with the natives. Oh, and to play a corking breaks set for an hour, musn’t forget that! So, all that’s left for me to do is to say thanx to Ben (B-SIDE), Guage, Pete (MC BUCKSHOT), Mantis and his girlfriend, Alleycat, Fury, Jolt, all of Ben’s mates whose names I have shamelessly forgotten (sorry!) and to all the people that attended the gigs.