Boogie Boutique at Cluster Studios, 1/29/11
Ejay Toledo tore it down with several other favorites.
Courtesy of Ejay Toledo
The crew behind Spellbound Music put on yet another fantastic event, from the unusual (and fabulously decked out) location to the high quality of the music. The two-room event had a communal feel; while Ivy, Styles Davis and Khalib rotating all night in the Disco Boutique, and Hoang, Tony Rodelli, Ejay and Jevne sharing the the House Boutique decks.
In true old-school underground form, the venue was slightly difficult to find -- a warehouse-style space in a long row of warehouse-style spaces not immediately accessible from a main road. But on approach, with windows rolled down, the sassy house beats were easily audible from the car, making it clear where this party was at.
At 11 p.m., Ivy was spinning jazzy, smooth house with a retro '80s edge and soaring female vocals. The Disco Boutique was aptly named, taking much inspiration from that era in music; every time I wandered back to the room, no matter who was spinning, there was a heavy New Wave-influence to the sound, poppy and uplifting.
The Disco Boutique was an intimate room right off the main entrance to the event, which opened into a large space with chairs, a scattered table or two, and the bar entrance where two gentlemen were pouring stiff drinks for the crowd.
Meanwhile, down a short stretch of hallway (with illuminated walls) was the aptly named House Boutique; while the DJ of the moment spun in front of a red lamp, partygoers wandered in and out, staying for a while to sample the gorgeous house beats, ranging from straight-up deep house to tribal house and stopping off at several places in between. Hoang opened with some Chicago-style classic beats (with a decided West Coast influence), followed by the funky and soulful Tony Rodelli, Spellbound's own Ejay and then special guest Jevne, the Minnesota-based producer/DJ known for playing live bass during his sets and editing the sound together as he spins.
All of the artists threw down superb sets -- which is no surprise, considering the tendency for musicians to mingle and mix with the crowd in between their own timeslots; when you're trying to impress not just your audience, but also your fellow musicians, with your work, the overall quality of the music gets bumped up a level. And these DJs are all ready (and willing) to play all night long. Another home run by the hometown Spellbound crew.
Critic's Notebook: Personal Bias: I've always been more a downtempo girl than a house-head, but I've also always thoroughly enjoyed every event I've had the pleasure to attend with this crew. Another solid night.
Random Detail: Drink tickets -- two for $5 -- netted some seriously strong beverages, including the rum-and-Coke/vodka-and-Sprite pre-mixed cocktails we tried. (And confidential to the bartenders: I know I promised to come back every hour and re-take that photo in order to document the progressing debauchery. Sorry, guys, I got distracted.)
By The Way: Kudos to Angelina for using lighting, fabric and other tricks to create a party atmosphere inside a warehouse.
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