Last night, Cervantes' threw a hell of party with J. Wail and Chuck Morris, Future Simple Project, Eminence Ensemble and Flinch. Nothing like free, loud music and good people (well, save for ones who got in a fight) on a packed floor. Made this night of debauchery totally worth braving the random snow.
The flier stated clearly: EARLY DOORS 7PM. But in the age of smart phones, who pays attention to fliers anymore? Apparently lot a people, because the floor at The Otherside was steadily filling with bodies as a DJ (Kazcko?) ripped through various Bassnectar tracks, adding random electronic sounds from his personal collection into the song before he was ejected for trying to sip booze from the stage -- a no-no unless you have a bracelet indicating that you're 21. He did not, and so he was removed.
Following his untimely departure and a quick filler-set by Rodway, out came Matamorphic (aka Matt Melsen). At first, he plugged his computer in and went for it right away with some help from his drummer. Then, out of nowhere -- or perhaps amidst the table shift -- the music was cut completely. Matt sweated but made the best of it by picking up the microphone for a freestyle that actually turned out to be one of the highlights of the evening.
When the sound was fixed (after a six-minute straight freestyle), Matt treated everyone to some self-produced beats, which were a little slow at times, but with the drummer keeping pace, the energy stayed up. But you know what's important, he didn't crack. Instead, he seized an opportunity to display some of his other talents, and it totally worked.
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Dirt Monkey was spinning the Ballroom, readying the place for Future Simple Project, J. Wail and Flinch. And by spinning, we mean he was really spinning, mixing music on actual turntables. Okay, so they were CD turntables, but that's more than what a lot of dance DJs are mixing on these days. Monkey is not one of those people, and it was nice to see a change of scenery, rather than the glowing apple of Steve Jobs eye staring down at you.
Future Simple Project walked out on stage at the tail end of Monkey's set, which he ended with a new Jantsen track, and the place erupted as expected. Miraja and Mikey Fisher, the duo that make up FSP, are freshly back Stateside after playing Envision Festival in Costa Rica. Musically, FSP's opening was a soft touch of bass with an extra side of strings.
They gradually built the beat, adding and removing until it was a melodic dub track sprinkled with lyrics. A remixed version of "Music" by Madonna was sped up and laid over one of their own produced tracks, which was impressive in that it didn't incorporating too much of that gurgling bass. FSP closed with its version of Olive's "You're Not Alone," a lovely, lyrical melody sung slowly, which was then trampled by FSP's own monster of sound.
A loud crash at the front door startled a lot of people and a fight ensued. The reason, per mumbles and hearsay in the crowd, was that one dude punched a girl in the face, then another dude punched that dude, and so on. As security forced it outside quickly, blood drops could be seen, and it was apparent we were all about to get ringside seats for the bout. Long story short, one kid left with a busted nose and everyone else seemed okay, minus a few aches. One fight is not bad for St. Patty's Day, though.
Eminence Ensemble was onstage at the Otherside at this point, opening with "Dr. Dre Betta Pray," showcasing the diverse skills of Blake Mobley on the keyboards. The act picked up the pace a few songs in, teasing everyone with false drops and then continuing into a rising riff.
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J. Wail and Chuck Morris were setting up/rearranging following FSP's set. J Wail. (aka Jonah Lipsky) played with Morris at City Hall recently on New Years and has since been maintaining his role as CEO of Bridging the Music. Co-headlining and promoting kept him noticeably busy all night, but once he got settled behind his tables with his bass guitar in hand, he and Morris jammed out.
By then, unfortunately the fight cleared out a good portion of the place, and once people stepped outside -- or were forced to -- they started to drive off. Lipsky thanked everyone before DJ Ishe stepped up onstage with one question; "Where all my dubsteppers at?"
He proceeded to introduce Flinch, an LA based dubstep DJ, and then gave him full reign over the place. The lighting for the night in the Ballroom was spot on, exquisitely executed in both the J.Wail/Morris' set and Flinch's. Catching the opening songs of Flinch's was a treat, but the last Lightrail was passing through 25th and Welton street station, and that was my ride.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: I was real excited for FSP, but left quite more intrigued by J. Wail and Flinch. Free music is the best. Random Detail: Flame dancers, aerial dancers and live art everywhere.