The Phoenix Landing, Thursday night Drum n Bass, and Wine
by eddie
and pavel
a quality can wait production
 
Summer 2003 (index)
18 September 2003 *Crook and MDOC (elements, US), Entropy (BHPC, MSP, elemental compounds, planet muzik, ingrooves) thoughts of pavel
Before I describe the events that transpired during this evening, I have to admit that after the past two amazing weeks of Drum'n'Bass, my expectations were high, and my hopes were low. "I really want it to be as good as last time, but is it possible to have three perfect nights in a row?", I was thinking... Apparently, at Phoenix Landing, nothing is outside the realm of possibility.

Subtle Dr and I decided to get together right after work for a dinner and a game of Go. I lost to the Grand Master again, although by 40 points fewer than the last time I futilely attempted to challenge him. When we were ready to leave, we both looked so sleepy that my dear wife encouraged us to skip it and get some rest instead. We were on a mission however, and no minor (or major) inconvenience was going to stop us.

We've decided on a new tradition of listening to a DnB mix on our way to Cambridge, and who better to provide us with such mix than Subtle Dr himself. This night was a beta test of this new ritual, and I installed a subwoofer in my car just for the occastion. Eddie plugged in his iPod and off we were. Please download the mix and let us know what you think.

Upon arrival, we had to fight for parking and only managed to grab a spot even more conspicuous than the last time, which made our wine tasting even more... exciting. Wine of the day was Italian Red: Salice Salentino, Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC, Rosso), Taurino Riserva 1999. With the first sip, I realized that this was no ordinary wine (at a rather ordinary price, I must add). The depth of character was simply stunning. From the moment it entered my mouth, to its last lingering thread of aftertaste five minutes later, this wine caressed me with wave after wave of varied and highly pleasurable sensations. The taste was reminiscent of sour cherry juice with elements of grape and oak, but it was the texture that really stunned me. Thick and pulpy, the wine practically begged to be eaten, rather than drunk(drinked???); I could only wish I had a juicy New York Steak cooked rare to complement it. In fact, I was very sorry to drink it quickly, but we did have a job to do, and we were intent at doing it well.

Our job of course, was to sample yet another night of Drum'n'Bass at the Phoenix Landing. This time, the bouncer recognized us, treating us as regulars and even letting us slip in without paying (I still don't know why). Crook and MDOC were on tap for the opening set, doing an admirable job at tagteamming. With the shot of vodka out of the way, Subtle Dr and myself proceeded to make our way to the dancefloor. We started out back behind a couple of really tall dudes who made dancing a dangerous proposition. I squeezed my way to the spot reserved for Quality Can Wait and Dr. followed me. There, we let it loose to the masterful mix of Crook and MDOC as they hit us with a selection of fairly popular tunes, mixing with great skill, and keeping the dancefloor crowded. I took some time to observe MDOC, who always delights me with his displays of pure extasy, swept away by the very tunes he was spinning.

I quickly established rapport with a dude in a blue t-shirt, who was one of the better and more energetic dancers on the floor. I must mention that of the regulars, only Arnold was present.

DJ du jour was Entropy (check out his site). His first tune was super high-NRG almost-Happy Hardore track. It was followed by another high-NRG track, and then another, and so on, and so forth. I gave up trying to dance continuously after the fifth of sixth track, took some time to roam around the club and to check out the crowd. Many people were standing around singly, just watching the spectacle, not moving. Some people seemed to be having deep conversations, which perpelxed me due to the deafening sound level. Having rested a while, I danced some more, quickly tiring again and taking a seat next to the dude in a blue t-shirt.

Then I became an unwilling observer of an event that I completely unexpected from the Phoenix Landing crowd. A girl dancing in front of the stage ripped off her top, handed it over to the DJ, and continued dancing...
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Another girl attempted to do the same, but apparently her top wasn't so easy to rip off, and she gave up after a while...
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It's not at all unlikely that a good portion of the tonight's crowd were Entropy's fans. They seemed to know each other in a way that Phoenix Landing regulars know each other, and they seemed to be pretty bored during the opening set, itching to see their idol.

Carrying the unrelenting energy through the rest of the evening, Entropy was anxious to continue his set even after the lights came on. One of the resident DJ carefully turned off his toys and asked the crowd to politely thank the DJ (which we, naturally, obliged).

What can I say about the night? The music was top notch. The only complaint I can make regarding Entropy's set is that it was TOO HIGH-NRG. I know it wasn't just me as no one in the club was able to dance to his whole set. If you are reading this, you need to give us some slow tunes so we can rest, man! Crook and MDOC got the crowd primed, and Entropy got us exhausted. The crowd, although mostly unfamiliar, was exciting and ... how shall I put it... spicy.

That's three great night's in a row. I just hope, really hope, Cause4Concern lives up to his hype. Check back next week to see whether he will.
 
18 September 2003 *Crook and MDOC (elements, US), Entropy (BHPC, MSP, elemental compounds, planet muzik, ingrooves) thoughts of eddie
So, I'm dancing pretty fast with the beats, having found myself comfortable with Entropy and his tracks, and I notice that pavel is grinning in a way that makes me need to know what he is looking at. So I turn to see the girl who has stripped off her shirt and bra, throwing the latter (red) up to the DJ, and is now dancing with her hair neatly over her breasts, somewhat occluding any improper viewing. Somewhat, I say. Of course, it's also dark. Of course, only 7 or 8 people are even in a position to see this event. Of course, some of them are probably drunk and don't notice anything amiss or unusual. But you see, I've fallen outside of all of these listed groups.

Reminding me, in a kind of pointed way, of something I read earlier that day on Entropy's website. There, he had an interesting, if not spectacularly written, statement about how he regarded the electronic music scene. In particular, he wrote that the scene should be changing so fast, that drum'n'bass was already obsolete in its current incarnation by the time you read that sentence, and something else had taken its place. I think he was saying that creativity and the essence of 'underground' music could not afford to stand still for even one moment in this highly class-oriented, clique-y, consumeristic society. Music is gobbled up by the overproducers so fast, that you have to be different at every moment in order to be... different.

Though, now looking back further, nothing really could have been more different than what has come before, than this evening's wine: Salice Salentino, Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC, Rosso), Taurino Riserva 1999. An amazing wine, with a sour, but pleasant taste that begs for more description than I can offer. It was heavy, almost unfiltered just as the bottle said, with an explosion of exotic flavors that were hard to catalog and count, sitting in a Saab at almost midnight, yet again under the harsh glow of the metal halide burning away under a sharp arc of electricity. Though the sourness threw up yellow flags, I have to say that I was delighted by this wine, and would drink it again, hopefully accompanied by good friends, and good strong food, like pan-blackened rib eye, or garlic encrusted filet mignon. I get a slight sense that I can tell this is a 1999, and not a 2002. But, we need more red wines under our belts until we can say this for sure.

Speaking of meat, I would say that I agree with Entropy's suggestion to a large extent, as it seems to me that drum'n'bass is not something that can withstand becoming a commodity item, without losing just what makes it drum'n'bass for me. Because for me, drum'n'bass is subversive in a way that I have always felt myself to be subversive.

And so I have mixed feelings about the partially naked woman, dancing while subverting the establishment. In one way, this is the spirit of the thing, to break down some boundaries and have a good time; be a little subversive at any age, with any methodology you choose. On the other hand, I was unable to stop myself from thinking that this was a play for attention from an Entropy-fan -- someone you might call a 'groupie' if you were being... callous? Accurate? Of course, I don't know if any of this is true. There might have been no subversion intended or displayed: it could have been that she was just hot, and was so drunk that she didn't realize she was doing anything amiss. She might not have been a groupie: it is possible that she'd never been to drum'n'bass at all, and was just being a crazy college student trying to 'blow off some steam.' I honestly don't know. I can only tell you where my mind went on its own strange paths.

My own path leading me to drum'n'bass night via my mix, which you can now listen to if you click on the link on the left for 'mixes.' It came out better than I had expected, and I was so excited to note that the second song MDOC played when we arrived at the club was 'Feel It' -- which was one of the tracks in my mix. It's always nice to know you are picking records that Real DJs pick. And MDOC and Crook provided a very pleasant warm-up for Entropy. Entropy, who wrote some interesting things, showed up at the club looking like he'd done too many drugs in a previous life, who played tracks that absolutely pushed at the boundaries of drum'n'bass, pushed at the very boundaries of dance itself, exhausted me thoroughly, making me wish there was no such thing as a 4.5 mile run, or sleep, or waking up in the morning.

I've always liked the movie 'Fight Club.' The first rule of drum'n'bass night: do not talk about drum'n'bass night. Oops. But, I just can't help myself, when it is this good. It's gotten to the point where maybe it's become good enough that it is unchangeably good, that even when bad things happen, they will seem good. Well probably not. That's just the... anti-romantic in me talking. Because nothing can be less romantic than stasis.

Nothing? Perhaps.
 
11 September 2003 *Lenore (elements, US), Impulse (Sinthetix, Renegade Hardware, Subtitles, DSCI4 [Washington DC]) thoughts of pavel
The traditional parking lot was completely full, in stark contrast with our previous visit. We had to drive around a bit until a spot became available, unfortunately right near the entrance into the lot, with a huge street lamp (Metal Halide, no doubt) above. This unwelcome location made our wine tasting very conspicuous, and every passer by felt obligated to lock gaze on us for at least ten seconds. I kept my eyes peered out for cops, and luckily, there weren't any.

Wine of choice was... Pinot Gris from a domestic (Californian) winery. I frequently spoil myself with a bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio, but I've never heard of Pinot Gris. It must be the same type of wine, as the taste proved remarkably similar. Unlike the other white wines we've samples so far, this juice had no extraneous flavors; just grapes and alcohol. There was no kick; no matter how much I tried to swallow in one gulp. A very smooth wine indeed. I made a note to myself that holding white wine in the mouth does nothing to the flavor. There is a bit of a tingling sensation from the natural carbonation, but the taste itself is very mild and stable. In contrast, red wines tend to morph when held under the tongue, displaying a gamut of flavors and textures. This Pinot Gris is the first white wine I can recommend for both sipping with a meal and gulping down in preparation for a great night of D'n'B.

When we made our entrance into Phoenix Landing, Lenore was on decks, spinning a hard tune by Bulletproof, called Nephelim, which helped us gulp down the now customary shot of Vodka (which was about three times the usual volume this night! Thanks, bartender!) and get us in the mood.

We quickly made our way to our usual spot in front of the stage and started grooving. With Lenore, it's pretty much a sure thing. Her set was no nonsense D'n'B goodness that kept us going until it was time for the guest to measure up.

DJ Impulse struck me as a skinny narrow shouldered dude with a nose ring and a peculiar hairdo. His hair was collected into narrow spikes looking like sharp pencils sticking out of his head, maybe 30 or 40 in all, swept back as if he had been riding a motorcycle really fast without a helmet. Together with his overly enthusiastic dancing, his head bobbed above the turntables like a bouncy porcupine. Lenore ended her set with a very fast dancy tune; quite a challenge for Mr. Porcupine. When he took over the controls, he didn't insert a long enough pause or start his set with a few warm-up tunes and as a result, his opening was rough; the tracks didn't flow together; it was difficult to predict the music's undulations, and it was hard to keep dancing. I, as well as most others on the floor, took a chill attitude and relaxed while the DJ got up to pace. I took the opportunity to give kudos to Lenore for her great set. Fortunately, I didn't get to relax for long (hey, I can relax at home, that's not why I come here!). Impulse quickly warmed up, and the rest of the night was top grade. He was mixing between two turntables and two fancy CD players, and a few times there was skipping that didn't sound at all like vinyl mistracking. It didn't detract from his set at all; might have as well been done on purpose.

Of the regulars, Arnold, the Japanese Blond Guy, and Big Boot dude were present. The place was moderately crowded, and there appeared to be two sections of dancers most of the time. One section was next to our spot, with about seven or eight people grooving around us. Beyond them, there was a line of people just standing and watching, and farther yet, there was another group of dancers. Peculiarly, despite the fact that SubtleDr and myself are some of the oldest people there (Arnold is probably THE oldest), at times, we were the only ones really grooving. The gen-Yers are all whimps!

In the closing twenty minutes, Impulse put down some of the most relentless tracks in his repertoire. SubtleDr and I were just begging for a break, but there was none to be had; one hard track was followed by another and that one by yet another. The last five minutes were especially brutal, and I was quite thankful when someone knocked out the power by hitting a power strip with their foot (conspiracy perhaps???). When the power was restored, the lights came on, and Impulse quickly wound down his set.

In conclusion, I must say that the night was awesome. The crowd was extra friendly this time, Lenore was her usual amazing self, and Impulse showed us that guys can **sometimes** DJ as well as girls.
 
11 September 2003 *Lenore (elements, US), Impulse (Sinthetix, Renegade Hardware, Subtitles, DSCI4 [Washington DC]) thoughts of eddie
Apparently, there is something to be said for spending the extra few dollars on a bottle of wine. Today we had the low-mid-priced Rancho Zabaco Pinot Gris (Sonoma Coast, 2001 Reserve). This was a pure, clear, refreshing white wine that reminded me in a funny way of our first red Zinfandel from several weeks back. What these two wines have in common is the straightforwardnes of their taste, and the complete lack of an embarassing aftertaste. This wine completely lacked the trademark powdery sweetness of last week's white blush. I would say it rose to higher ground: it was drier, smoother, easier to drink slow or fast, and was just generally a delight. And I happen to like the bottle graphic as well: a red silhouette of a man with a blanket egging on an orange silhouette of a bull. All in all, a classy wine with character enough to be recommended for all occasions.

Tonight began with me suffering at the hands of a complete breakdown of my schedule, causing me to fail to produce tonight's mix. I know, I know. You're all very disappointed. But please do not do anything rash, like protesting in the streets or chaining yourselves to trees. It will be alright. I'll come back at ya next week, the gods permitting.

So we loaded up into the Saab and took off, with my traditional three Red Bulls and a Gatorade in tow. Once in Cambridge, we drank up under the conspicuous glare of a street lamp (so far, our record is perfect: 6 or so tastings, 0 arrests; go us!) and headed inside.

It is something of a comfort these days to note Lenore on the turntables. You know you're in good hands -- literally! The place was pretty full of people, and pavel and I took some time out to enjoy our new vodka shot habit, with lemon, and slowly we made our way to the back behind our usual spot. It was fairly easy to find the beat, as tonight, Lenore wasn't pulling any punches, as she doused the audience with one forceful groove after another. I'm almost tempted to stop reviewing Lenore, really, unless she does something really out of the ordinary (like that time she accidentally turned off all the sound in her mix; it was pretty funny watching her turn bright red under the already red glow of the revolving DJ lights). How many more times can you listen to me explain that she rules? One interesting thing did happen though, after her set. Lenore was actually out in the audience doing a little bouncing, and pavel summoned the nerve and talked to her briefly, congratulating her on the set. I thought that was not only a nice gesture, but also, it shows pavel is coming out of his shell. So if you see him running around the dance floor, take some time out to say 'hi' -- apparently, he's quite the social butterfly now! ;)

Anyway, many of our usual regulars were hanging out -- though the girl that usually goes with Japanese Blond Guy has not been around lately. In an interesting turn, Short-Haired Blonde Girl was present (the one from Gee), and after some mutual spying, she and a guy I am assuming is her Beau came over to our part of the floor and grooved for a short while with us. But they left very shortly after. Boots was sort of hanging with us, I thought, too, and I'm starting to think that the corner pavel and I now own is getting to be an established Spot on the Floor. If you know what I mean.

Impulse took the stage on the heels of some pretty powerful tracks from Lenore, and my first impression was that a giant porcupine was attacking the DJs. His spiky hair could have been nothing other than a conscious attempt to imitate porcupine quills, and he lept and bounded all over the stage from the start. It was a little distracting, at first, because he had a few timing issues trying to take over from where Lenore left off, as he did without inserting a break or any kind of transition song. But not too long into the set, he righted himself. Apparently he was playing all his own stuff, which was actually pretty impressive. For the last 20 or 30 minutes, the dancefloor was vibrating with 175BPM+ beats that just didn't quit, pause, or break. I was exhausted! In a funny bit of dancefloor satire, pavel and I were about the only two people who danced the *whole* two sets -- and we're OLD. So, this all falls nicely into line with my new decision to throw off any assumptions about my age, and go where my spirit takes me.

Final verdict? This night ranks up there with last week, and the Lenore night from before Gee (seeing a pattern, anyone?), and makes it really easy to get up the energy to go again next week. Hopefully I'll have a mix for ya by then. Have a day.
 
04 September 2003 Lenore (elements, US) thoughts of pavel
As I get ready to put my impressions of this night on paper, I am faced with a dilemma: how often can one write about the same DJ, especially if one's opinion of that DJ varies little between performances. I can throw around many superlatives to describe Lenore's set, but is that truly necessary if you've read my previous reviews? I think not. For tonight's review, I will shift my focus to my personal experiences and thoughts.

I've been trying to determine the single most important factor in my enjoyment of a night at Phoenix Landing. Some nights, I seem to have the energy to go on forever and to suspend my disbelief no matter who is the DJ. Other nights, I can't lift a leg without getting an ache, struggling not to fall asleep. As an experiment, I took care not to exert myself at all during the day. I made sure to get plenty of sleep the night before. Skipped the draconian workout that Zero and I undertake practically every afternoon. Did my best to avoid getting worried about work. Thanks to my efforts, by the evening I felt that I was absolutely ready to have a great experience.

After work, instead of going our separate ways and meeting up just prior to the trip into Cambridge, Subtle Dr. and I had dinner together, in the company of my Significant Other, Jenya. Then I attempted to challenge the Grand Master in a game of Go, failing rather miserably, losing by more than a hundred points despite a hefty nine point handicap. During the game, we chilled out to some D'n'B streaming from BassDrive. When it came time to start our journey, I was practically dancing to the beats in my head.

Driving at night always feels like a psychedelic experience; I imagine that I am piloting a space ship through a myriad of stars. This night felt even more unreal as I let my imagination run wild.

The parking lot had an insane number of empty spaces. Strange for the first week of classes at this college city.

The wine of choice for the night was White Zinfandel + Chardonnay mix (80%/20%). Nicely chilled, the first impression was very favorable. Tasting practically like slightly sour grape/apple/strawberry juice, this wine was ridiculously easy to drink. Easy that is, for the first few sips, after which the real character came to the surface. The aftertaste wasn't exactly pleasant, and when, by accident, I let the wine touch the back of my tongue on its way down, I was instantly launched into a wave of convulsions. Subtle Dr. did as well, and in fact, I have a picture to prove it. The last glass was gulped as if it was hard liquor; with disregard to taste and discomfort. Just get it down the hatch ASAP.

We took my camera and went to take some pictures. Mass Ave. at night; exterior of the club; the dancing crowd; the DJ (Crook). Our friend (we wish) Arnold (pic) came out especially well. As a photographer, I was mobbed by some girl who was dancing next to the stage while I photographed DJ Crook (you can see her on the pic). She came up to me and started asking weird questions, such as "why are you taking a picture of the DJ?", and "what settings are you using?" Considering that there was a huge speaker blaring heavy Drum'n'Bass a couple of feet away, I didn't want to lounge around and explain why I am using manual focus set to infinity, color balance set to 4100k, exposure set to 8 seconds, with flash synched to the end of that exposure. Next time, Subtle Dr. is taking pictures.

We went back to the car to unburden ourselves of our gear (such as the camera and Subtle Dr.'s wallet), and quickly returned to the club. The buzz from the wine was wearing off quickly, so we went for reinforcements in the form of a vodka shot. It did its job.

There were quite a few people from the last time (not quite regulars), including the Concrete Column Dude doing his concrete column dance, as well as many regulars, such as Arnold and the Blonde Japanese Guy. DJ Crook did the opening set, and the crowd was wild. I found that I needed to go to the back of the dance floor, far away from the stage, to start to dance. Once we got into the groove, we quickly progressed into our usual spot, by the right speaker, where we spent the rest of the night in a wild aerobic frenzy.

It turned out to be one of the best nights so far; comparable only to the previous Elements Residents night. Crook had a stellar performance, and Goddess of D'n'B Lenore hit top marks as usual. Even the Blonde Japanese Guy, who usually stands right in front of the DJ just bobbing his head, was inspired to dance like crazy this time.
 
04 September 2003 Lenore (elements, US) thoughts of eddie
Damn, I love reading pavel reviews -- they always inspire me to write my own. And as I stand here at my new DJ table, self-crafted, spinning some Total Science in preparation for the creating of my new weekly mix (see next week's review!), I find myself compelled to talk about the night at the 'Landing, even with a 6am surfing appointment looming while my clock happily reminds me it's already 12:30.

The evening's wine was Beringer (North Coast, 2002), an 80/20 blush mix of white Zinfandel and Chardonnay. What a strange wine this was, even well-chilled. I will have to confess I am, after many thoughts on the matter throughout my life, not a fan of the blushes. This one was very quirky. When I started drinking, I remember thinking that it was quite sweet and pleasantly smooth. I was about to proclaim wine victory in our choice for the evening, when I noticed that taste that always irritates me about blushes -- that sort of stale, puckered taste that leaves the tongue feeling like it just licked a bit of bitter cardboard -- bitter, sugary, cardboard. The taste I'm referring to is a hollow, soulless taste that nags and nags at your tastebuds until you wince. Wince, I tell you, which is just what I did, and which pavel was so happy to capture on film and link to his review! So, a very weird wine, and a mental note to stay away from the blushes, and we were off to the races.

Camera in tow, we went in for some shots of this hang out that we are here talking about every week. I confess now a desire to bring the camera every time. Not only because having pictures of some of the cool people at the 'Landing is really nice, but because within about 2 minutes of being there, pavel was accosted by a fairly attractive young woman, whose pretense was asking silly questions about the camera. Now, as everyone is no doubt aware, both pavel and I are pretty damn fly. But in this instance, he was the holder of the Magic Camera (it really is quite big), and so, his mojo was amplified by, I dunno, a zillion times. It gives me pause that next week when I bring in the camera, no attractive woman will be welcoming me and asking me about my aperture. But allow me to wallow in self-pity some other time -- right now it's time to talk about the show!

Crook was on deck, and though in the past I've wondered whether he had any of the so-desired 'mad skillz' that I have seen in MDOC and Lenore, he was definitely on-target tonight. The speed of the music was good, and in stark transition to last week's crowd, the people here were hardcore. They were serious, friendly, aggressive, fun. I think that more than anything else except the DJ, the crowd matters most. And I liked this crowd.

pavel and I were buzzing slightly from our recent shot of vodka, so we were mellowed but not yet grooving fully in the music, so we had to start from the back where people were not hurtling across the floor in fits of music-inspired madness. Not long after this point, it seems in retrospect, Lenore took the stage and we gravitated towards the massive pile of speakers where we usually dance.

Now, it goes without saying that Lenore kicked everyone's asses. In the spotlight, she reflects the light back out at us, and blinds us with the beats. So instead of heaping gratuitious compliment over obsequious pandering, let me instead talk about the last track she played, whose name I don't know (note to my readers: I also do not know the name of the track that is really mellow and goes "do... a DOO... do CHICKA do... do CHICKA do CHICKA do CHIKA do... do... a DOO..." If you know this track, please tell me its name and the artist who does it!). I would have guessed that this track would be called 'Take My Soul,' which is what the female vocalist says over the heartbreaking acoustic guitar riff, sandwiched between drum'n'bass drives that take you into another dimension of dance -- one where you are praying at every moment that you don't lose your balance and come crashing down to the dirty, glassy floor. As an aspiring DJ, I have to say that I was schooled tonight in the fine, gentle art of closing down a set. So let me say something in detail about this idea.

Here are some of the important parts of a set: (a) opening up, (b) bringing on the speed, (c) slowing it all down, and (d) closing. All of these parts take some skill. Opening up is difficult because you have to strike the right balance between a mellow come-on, where people won't be alienated by the brute force of your attack, and of laying the groundwork for the speed that you are about to bring on. Bringing on the speed can be tough because it's all about crowd timing and reading, and making transitions that do not, again, alienate the dancers. Slowing it all down is tough, because you have to know when to do it, how often, and you have to avoid boring people. That, and it's hard to find really good tracks to use as slow-downs. But closing... closing is the most exciting and scary part. You want to leave something in the minds of the listeners that will uplift and remain for a long time. You will be remembered for your closing. It's also nice if the track can have slow and fast passages, because then it feels like an incredible build-up and explosion -- to abuse a metaphor, it's climactic.

Lenore busted out with 'Take My Soul' (if anyone reading knows the artist or correct track name, please share). This was the exact right closing track for the evening. The guitar riff is heavenly. The female vocalist sounds appropriately pleading when she asks us to take her soul. It's like the sad, nostalgic, pleading of people who are on the bumpy road between where love ends and coldness begins in a breakup. It's the last shot to get back together, the offering of everything you have, your soul, to get back that feeling you once shared. When the drum'n'bass breaks in, pounding the dance floor with sharp, regular, fast beats, your dance is her dance, the dance that reenacts all the love you shared, and all the pain of travelling down that last road away, alone.

If there were a God, he would bless Lenore. And I offer my thanks for this lesson.
 
28 August 2003 Sage (phunkatek) thoughts of eddie
It may very well be impossible for me to adquately explain my feelings about this show. Part of the reason for this is that the show means something in particular for me in the context of the entire day that was wrapped rather lazily, perhaps haphazardly, around it. So, I will make an attempt to talk about this show by talking a little bit about my whole day.

First off, let me say that I was very tired when I woke up that morning, greeted by the windshield glass replacement guy. He was friendly and on-time. I puttered around my house. He finished promptly, but I was still stuck at home. The dishwasher fixer guy was also supposed to come, in the generous range of 7am to 1pm. Boy, was my boss thrilled by this. Anyway, so he comes, that's right, at 1pm sharp. He announces he can't fix the thing, needs to order a part, and that he'll make yet *another* (the third, now) appointment to come some other day, between 7am and 1pm. Wow, gee, thanks! So I got in my car and headed to work.

Where there was nothing to do. Now, I was still pretty jazzed by now, because my plan was to head into Boston after work and see Matrix: Reloaded on the IMax at the NEAquarium. So I spent some time at work trying to figure out how to take my car here or there, see the movie, get dinner, make it to the Phoenix. Finally someone smarter than myself suggested that I take the train into Boston, leaving my car, and then pavel would take me back after the show. Duh. And so a plan was devised.

So around 5, WillB and I headed out to the train and chatted on our way to North Station. He got off at Porter, where I noted a nearby Mars Music, and I headed into the fairly unfamiliar city. Found myself at the Fleet Center, got my bearings by the light of the sun (seriously), and headed down towards the Aquarium (south and east, baby, south and east). Went via Canal Street (can you say, Happy Hour?), down through Gov't Center, to Quincy Market, over to Long Wharf and the IMax and Aquarium. Bought my ticket: 12 dollars. Whoah. Better be a friggin' good screen. Then I hung out by the ocean, watching some boats glide across the harbor. I like the smell of salty water. Reminds me of the womb. Well, not really. But that sounds deep, doesn't it?

So 7pm rolls around and I see the Matrix. Now, that is something I recommend -- the Matrix on a 70+ foot screen with a good sound system. Man, that was really awesome.

It's around 9:30pm now, and I have to meet pavel near the Phoenix at 11pm. But wait, I don't have some things that are necessary. I have no wine, nor a utensil to open it. I have no Red Bull. I have no earplugs, for God's sake. And I still need to eat. So I start walking down south of Gov't Center to Downtown Crossing. Nothing open that whole way. Now it's about 10pm and I'm worried, still down all 4 items on my list. So I take the red line right to Harvard Square. What a good call -- it's a real mote of civilization on the eye of Boston. Bought some wine and and opener, and some Red Bull in no time flat. Oh and my ear plugs. Time for dinner. So I start walking towards Central Square along Mass Ave. See a place called 'Real Taco' and grab a burrito. Not great, but it fills me up.

It's about 10:50, and as I'm leaving the Real Taco and heading towards that weird triangular building, I see pavel drive right by me! Yikes, so I run to catch up, and miss him. So I keep on moving. And let me mention that I sort of thought Central Square was closer to Harvard Square than it actually is. That's a good 3/4 of a mile, I'd guess.

11pm approaches and I'm jogging down Mass Ave with a bottle of wine plus accessories and I make it to our parking lot at 11:05pm sharp. Not too bad.

Winded and telling pavel everything I just told you, we pop open our wine of the evening. HRM Rex Goliath, the 47 Pound Rooster (Central Coast, Pinot Noir), named after a prize-winning rooster in Texas at the turn of the 20th century. It was room temperature, but that's ok for our red wine choice. I remember this one being somewhat more sharp-tasting than the red zin from a few weeks back -- of course, we had chilled that one, so that probably made a difference. This one had a kind of familiar taste of tannen, and was not overly sweet (rather mild on the sweet, I would say). It was substantially harder to drink this wine fast, because it did have that property of reacting more sharply the more it was poured down the gullet. Not a bad wine, definitely quirky, probably good for guiding a spicy meal.

Showtime! We head into the Phoenix with our usual aplomb (i.e. little to none). Instantly it's obvious things are not as the usually are. It's past 11:30 and there is no DJ and all the room lights are on. People are moving around up front. Turns out many of the speakers were not issuing the expected sounds, and the sound guy, whom I now recognize, is there with MDOC, and Arnold is hanging around helping out too. Anyway, more of the same for several minutes, then MDOC starts up a set anyway, and people are still messing with sound stuff. Very distracting. Finally something is cobbled together that sounds alright, and away we go.

It was very noticeable how much the earlier distractions impacted the evening. MDOC's set was good, he played the right tunes, had the right dedication, and in a really nice gesture, I thought, Sage, though there quite a while back, chilling with the audience with a male friend of hers (feeling out the audience, I thought -- nicely done), gave MDOC quite a long time up front. I don't think she came on until after 12:30. Classy, Sage, and thank you. And even with the distractions, he did get me on my feet and moving. But I wasn't quite in the groove. To extend the metaphor, I felt a little burnt by the distractions.

Also, there was already something odd brewing in the crowd. One very familiar guy and one less familiar guy were doing the robot up near the stage, playing off each other in a way I thought was cool. And then this really, really hyper chick got on the floor and started dancing like a maniac. Don't get me wrong: she was a *good* dancer, and could move faster than a cockroach on crack. But she was going up to the roboto guys and dissing them hardcore. First, she'd bust a move, and the roboto guys would give her props. Then she'd stand back and gesture, you're turn. Then right when the roboto gouy started hitting a groove, she'd act like she was yawning and wave him away as if to say, boring, next. Which gave me pause. And a number of people in the audience seemed to be looking at each other, embarassed for the chick. See, the culture here is, do what gets you juiced up, and it's all good. Sure, there's always some opportunity for good, clean fun-making with a light heart. But you don't go up front and front, so to speak.

Of course, turnabout is fair play. The roboto guys got their acts together, and in a perfect, hilarious move, they stopped trying to outdance Ms. X on her own terms, and instead ran around the stage wildly, flailing their arms and legs in a well-calculated mock imitation of what Ms. X herself was doing. After a few minutes of this, with the audience cheering them on loudly, Ms. X left and went elsewhere (keeping an eye on her, you would notice that she went to bug MDOC, then Sage, and then came back to the front much later in what appeared to be an attempt to make up with robotos).

For those among us who love soap operas, this would have been a night not to miss. However, for those of us who were trying to dance without being so liquored up that we couldn't see straight, it was highly distracting. So highly distracting, I would say, that the night could not possibly have recovered without the use of strong psychedelics which were not present.

So let me say a few things in closing about Sage's short-ish set. She was good, I thought. Good like, she could have made the evening fly high under the right conditions. She played some familiar, and some unfamiliar tunes, a good mix. She mixed a lot of hip-hop stuff in, which played to my tastes but put pavel off a little I think. She had some good high-energy tunes, closing out the night very strong, and she had some good breaks, including the doo-chicka-doo song that for the life of me I cannot find (since I know neither the artist nor the track). And I like her attitude, that she was in the audience earlier feeling them out, and that she wanted people to have fun and was having fun herself. I would like to see her again.

All in all, there were few familiar faces (not even Blond Japanese guy), too many distractions, and technical difficulties that made the night something of a letdown on the trailing end of what was obviously a roller-coaster day for me.
 
28 August 2003 Sage (phunkatek) thoughts of pavel
Today's wine of choice was Red Turkey Wine (I will let Zero tell you the exact name/brand). This wine has a deceitful nature; it first fools you into believing that it's mild and sweet, and then it hits you with a sour note so strong, your intestines suddenly decide that they are ready to go for a walk around the block or two. Taken in small sips, it actually has quite a pleasant flavor, sweet and slightly fruity. Gulping simply does not work with this wine, as its pungent character takes over when consumed in a large quantity, warning you that this juice wants to be savored. Being an intelligent reader, you by now must have surmised the verdict: this wine is not an ideal choice for a quick ascent into an alcohol-assisted d'n'b high.

Phoenix Landing was rather empty upon our arrival, as well as bright and quiet. There was a bunch of regulars, including Arnold (the old blonde dude), helping MDOC and Crook repair the suddenly ailing sound system. Anxiously probing the jumble of wires, the DJs and their helpers desperately tried to bring the main sound system back to life. The bar system -- a couple of smaller JBLs -- was running fine, providing decent SPL, but not enough to be interesting; not enough to require ear plugs. After a while, the crew figured out how to run the main speakers in parallel to get them all contributing, but somehow it didn't seem right; it wasn't quite right that whole evening. The punch wasn't the same as it had been the previous nights, and the secondary JBLs still seemed louder than the main system, about five times their size. By the time lights were turned down, my Turkey Wine buzz started to dissipate.

MDOC was furious. The beats he dropped were awesome; I can't give him enough praise, but really all the praise has already been said in the previous reviews. The star of this show was Sage.

Sage seamlessly took over MDOC's set, continuing the energy he started. She played many familiar dancy tunes, slowing down at times, throwing in some hip-hoppy tracks to mix it up. She kept the dance floor nicely packed, although the club was not overflowing with fans.

Speaking of fans, the two roboto guys -- white had dude and the tall basketball player type -- did a pretty cool breakdance tag team. A very athletic, practically cheerleader looking girl in white pants and orange t-shirt disrupted their routine. She was dancing with such zest, all the other dancers formed a circle around her and the breakdancers. She would do her thing for about twenty seconds and then look at the white hat dude in expectation. He would get into his routine, however as soon as he started to move, she would turn away as if bored, pretending to look at her watch (which she didn't have) and yon. The dude would do his fairly slow, calculated, dance, and then she would take over again, running circles and doing splits around him. Then he switched into a high gear. Looking like a mad robot that was meant to run on a couple of AA batteries, but accidentally plugged into AC, he would limp around the floor in a mad frenzy. It was very theatrical and fun.

Then there was a rather big boned guy, slick black hair, black t-shirt, dancing completely out of rhythm. He absolutely overwhelmed the dancefloor, like a two hundred pound concrete column uncontrollably jumping in random patterns among the crowd. It was overwhelming to be anywhere near him.

Finally, there was the big boot guy -- he is a regular who usually stands/dances very close to the DJ station. He looked like a small puppy of a large breed dog, with his huge black boots overwhelming his rather compact frame.

Conclusion: the night was fun, but not in a way I expect from a good dnb night. It was good to see some familiar faces, to spend a night in a cool place, watching a famous DJ lay down some dope tunes. However, there were too many distractions. I made an analogy to Zero on our way home. A good dnb night can be likened to a great Sci-Fi movie or book: suspension of disbelief is crucial to true enjoyment. Unfortunately, tonight my disbelief was not suspended. I was in a cool night club, with two great DJs and a whild crowd. I was not, unfortunately, swept into a different world by the pulsating bass and entrancing drums.
 
21 August 2003 DJs Lenore (elements, US), Crook (elements, US), Benny B (4-front, US), Aria (Act Your Age, US) thoughts of pavel
Today was another attempt at a White Zinfandel. Easier said than done. I looked under every nook and cranny of my favorite liquor store, but couldn't find anything but Red Zin. After getting quite frustrated and hot in my leather outfit, I picked up the most unfamiliar wine I could find. Some strange French brew. On our way to Phoenix Landing, a downed a bottle of "tropical paradise juice," and then used its container as a wine glass to avoid being caught with an open container in an automobile on a public parking lot. Whatever was left of the juice undoubtedly added some flavor to the wine, making it taste a little fruiter. The wine proper had an immediate kick to it. Lacking any hint of sweetness, the sour quality of the wine shook me down to the bones. The quicker I tried to gulp it, the more difficult it became. The taste was remarkably reminiscent of grapes not quite ripe, which coincidentally, I had a chance to try just a few hours earlier. I think the wine would go well with strong flavored dishes, to clean the palette in preparation for the next bite. However, since I wasn't eating anything, the wine easily overwhelmed me. I downed the last half a glass as if it was a shot of vodka and let out an emotional, "I am the great Cornholio! Do you have TP for my bunghole?" as the wine's sourness penetrated every last thread of my being.

Arriving at the club at our usual time, around 11:30, I immediately noticed that the place was remarkably vacant. There was a small clot of people in front of the DJ station and a few at the bar, but otherwise it was empty. A young unfamiliar DJ was the controls, laying down a nice, albeit somewhat relaxed, groove. I tried to get into it, but the rhythm was very slow, and that great French wine was burning a hole through my stomach. I planted myself in my usual spot next to the right speaker to observe the crowd. Amazingly, they were mostly females. All the previous nights had been male dominated, undoubtedly due to the heavy nature of DnB, but tonight, there was nary a male in sight. Just the Old Blonde Dude doing his usual thing; a peculiar dance in which his upper body swayed in all directions, his arms planted on his sides, and legs steady on the floor. He looked like we was enjoying himself. And so did the girls. Most of them danced remarkably energetically for such a relaxed groove. The DJs were tag teaming. Each one took controls for about fifteen minutes, but between the two young guys and the Elements resident Crook, they just didn't create enough energy to really electrify the crowd. Even the energetic girls lost their momentum. As the night wore on, more and more people appeared on the dance floor. We were kind of standing around, waiting for the DJ to lay down a nice familiar track or at least something with some energy to it, but it didn't seem hopeful. Then, a glimmer of light. Lenore had arrived. It took her a while to get to the controls. An eternity. By the time she took controls, the music resembled loungy Ambient rather than energetic dance Drum'n'Bass. Lenore took over in the role of the star of the show, her first track flowing into second and then third, gaining momentum on the way, and culminating in a total rapture just a few minutes later. Tag teaming continued, but luckily the rest of the DJs did not surrender the energy. The last hour of the evening was quite amazing, keeping me and Eddie dancing until the very end, when Lenore announced that one of the young guys was playing his own track, a fact that did not surpise me at all, considering how few familiar tracks were actually played during the whole evening. In addition, it was tag teaming that spoiled the evening somewhat, because no single DJ could create a coherent feeling for a whole set. With each of them only spinning one or two records, it was easy to lose continuity of the mix. I can't say the night was bad even though it lacked the energy of the really good nights. I had a chance to lounge around, observe the crowd and practice some slow moves.

Next week, it's DJ Sage and OH NO!!! an emmmceeeee! And of course, another bottle of wine. Stay tuned.
 
21 August 2003 DJs Lenore (elements, US), Crook (elements, US), Benny B (4-front, US), Aria (Act Your Age, US) thoughts of eddie
Tonight, Pavel hooked us up with La Vieille Ferme, Rhone Valley 2001, <Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Ugni-Blanc> which turned out to be a pungent, sting-y wine, that bit the tongue as you drank it, and the more you drank, the more it bit. Pavel liked it, I am thinking, more than I did. What was good about it was the fundamental taste was nice -- it had a good blend of the sweet and the sour, and while it was chilled, it held together fairly well. Not a wine I would recommend, except for curiosity's sake. Definitely not a wine to gulp.

Regulars report: Blond-Haired Old Guy in effect, Blonde Japanese Dude present, Very Skinny Man up front, I think I remember seeing Dark-Short-Haired and Darkly Dressed Girl, Somehow Familiar Looking Girl with Glasses was there I think... and of course the residents and their squeezes (or so I imagine). I'm going to have to come up with better nicknames. More on that in a later report.

The show itself was vaguely uninspiring. Benny B and Aria had some trouble getting the rather lightly attended event really moving. Part of the reason for this I thought was that the tracks they chose stayed kind of on the slow side, and I was disappointed not to hear more stuff I recognized. Another part of it was that I felt that, unlike the awesome resident night of a few weeks back, this night was very clique-y -- the people who knew each other hung out at the decks, and appeared to be chatting and shaking lots of hands, but the focus did not feel like it was on the crowd. This was disappointing to me. I'm definitely an outsider at the Phoenix Landing, though I now go nearly every week, and I felt like MY needs were not being met. It is all about me, me, me.

Me, I tell you. Me.

On a more serious note, I did really think that the audience was very much drifting off. Not many people showed, and I would characterize the dance floor as, a handful of unfamiliar woman dancers.

But as usual I am forced to give proper respect. It will almost seem as though I'm kissing up at this point, since I've been so bubbly lately about the DJ we know and love as Lenore, but, I simply have no reason to kiss up until I try to pass myself off as the next fly member of the Elements crew (yeah, right...). Anyway, she breathed some life back into the party, and for the last 60 or 90 minutes of the night, some of the energy returned, and thankfully, the upbeat, faster tempos she set up were respected and properly carried on into the night when Benny B and Aria took the reins again. Thank you, Lenore.

I would like to end this review with some thoughts I have had about DJing. This week was billed as a resident tag-team DJing night. I was so excited about this because I had this mental vision of an insanely energetic night, with DJs hopping around between individual tracks, laughing, slapping each other on the hand to say 'your turn', setting up impossibly fast and slow beats to recover from... In short, I had a vision of a truly fantastic evening. This could have been not only a stellar night on the dance floor, but a stellar night for the residents to show their sense of humor, their passion for the music, their ability to make light of themselves and the unique gifts they bring to the show as a whole.

So I was disappointed. Shouldn't DJing still be a creative, experimental art, prone to fits of genius and failure? Shouldn't the masters of the Phoenix spread their wings, be willing to burn a little for their art, and rise again from the ashes, renewed and stronger? I dunno.

Oh wait, yes I do. Yes.
 
14 August 2003 *MDOC (C4M, elements, US), Bryan Gee (Movement, V Recordings, UK) thoughts of eddie
The wine of the evening, supposed to be a white zin, actually a red zin, was Renwood 2000 Zinfandel (Red) Sierra Series. I had chilled it (thinking it was white), and chilled, it tasted remarkably smooth and mellow. But even as the temperature rose, and the wine had a chance to breathe, I found this wine to be delightful to drink. It was a simple taste, with a subtle sort of fruity sweet taste, but every sip or every gulp was uniformly smooth. Not like some wines, where the more you drink, the sharper the edge. I recommend you try this wine with some mild but substantial meal (I could imagine sipping it with a nice lean steak, but my wine instincts are still in need of refinement, so take that with a grain of salt), or just on its own.

After last week, this week was going to be difficult to judge fairly. MDOC came on nice and strong again, showing again that the Residents can come out swinging. Pavel and I were hopping and bobbing right from the start. Didn't seem long before Gee arrived and introduced himself with a Latin tune with a really nice sounding female vocalist. When he brought in the deep beats, I thought it was going to be a very tiring evening indeed (I had gone surfing the day before, running the day before that, and had worked out just hours before the show, and was still exhausted). The tunes he picked were nearly always strong, and I liked the set a lot.

Though I did have a few complains around some of the stylish flourishes he added. Often enough, a DJ will sort of 'preview' a heavy, heavy groove by playing it in right until you go nuts, then cut it out, give you some time to think and be disappointed, and then WHAM, blast it back into you extra loud. Gee did this, but I found his timing distracting. For one thing, he did this too often for my taste (3 or 4 times in a 90 minute set, when once, maybe twice would have been right). For another thing, he was fond of long pauses after ideal transitions. So you would be hyperventilating as adrenaline flooded your system, and then, he'd leave you high and dry for what seemed like an uncomfortable eternity. This is really just a nit-pick, because otherwise I really liked his set.

The audience was completely nuts, however. From the moment Pavel and I arrived, we knew the audience was going to be trouble. It was fairly clear that they were there just for the name act, so they were unmotivated to dance while MDOC layed down the impressive grooves. Then there were these girls who were obviously quite young, who were completely mock-dancing, making funny faces, and being goofy. And I have nothing against this. Goofing and making fun of yourself and others is a part of the experience, so that we all don't start taking ourselves too damn seriously. But something about the tone of these girls gave me pause. They were kind of over the top, in a context where that came across badly I thought. Then when Gee started playing, chaos reigned supreme. These two muscle-bound jock types with crew cuts yelled obscenities at the top of their lungs whenever the beat slowed, and I was worried they'd either start throwing down or else fall onto the floor in spasms. Then there was the crazy white rasta dude who was dancing so violently that Pavel and I stepped up onto the benches and out of his way -- with all those knuckles and elbows flying, best to just stay out of the way.

So, overall, an interesting evening with some good tunes, but not the deeply satisfying night of last week. We can wish for the eternal repeat of perfection, can't we? Well, I do.
 
14 August 2003 *MDOC (C4M, elements, US), Bryan Gee (Movement, V Recordings, UK) thoughts of pavel
Wine of choice for tonight was White Zinfandel. Despite the darkness of the parking lot, we quickly discovered that what we had on hand was not White Zinfandel. It was Red Zinfandel. Slightly bewildered, we decided to commence with the tasting anyway. My first impression was that wine was very fruity and smooth. While a little sweeter than I would have preferred, the wine had no bitterness and a very pleasant aftertaste. After a careful evaluation of its characteristics, I proceeded to consume two full glasses of said wine, which went down the hatch with considerable ease. The buzz came almost instantaneously due to generous amount of alcohol in the wine (14%).

The opening set was played by the resident MDOC, who had proven himself during the previous performance. He did not disappoint this time, laying down heavy beats from the very beginning. Getting into the groove proved to be no trouble at all. However, as the time came closer for the guest DJ to take over the controls, MDOC let the pace settle somewhat, no doubt to give the guest the pleasure of energizing the crowd himself. The guest started his set with a loungy Brazilian track, but quickly got the crowd on its feet with a Heavy Metal & DnB Fusion track. A note about the crowd is in order here. MDOC's set didn't seem to excite people too much -- they were clearly waiting for the guest, and when he stepped up, the audience went nuts. It was scary enough that Eddie and I climbed onto the bench and watched the madness from above. I watched people's faces, which had the expressions of ecstasy as their owners were singing to the vocals found on the few early tracks. Luckily, they tired quickly, and the dancing turned into a more sane and united movement. It took me a while to get into the guest's mix. First there was the crazy crowd that threatened a serious injury. Then, there were turntable troubles; I practically felt sorry for the guy as the left turntable kept skipping badly. I could see the disappointment in his face. It was fun to watch a league of all the Elements residents put their brains together and fix the problem (by adjusting the forces on the tonearm). After the fix, things got better, and the final forty minutes of the evening were absolutely amazing. The DJ wasn't dancing excessively, but it was clear that he was transported to a different world by the beats he was laying down. I have to admit that when it was over, the feeling of euphoria that permeated the room during the resident night a week ago, was absent this time.
 
7 August 2003 *Lenore (elements, US), MDOC (C4M, elements, US) thoughts of eddie
Allow me to try to describe the best night of Drum n Bass I could have dreamed of up until this point. Maybe part of it has to do with getting used to the Drum n Bass on Thursday excitement. Maybe part of it was the blessed relief the night offered from the sweltering heat and humidity of the day. Maybe part of it had to do with being ready for anything after last week.

But the rest of it was Lenore and MDOC.

The crowd was much thinner (and the cover charge was 3 instead of 5) -- probably because there were no special guests. When we got to the Phoenix, Lenore was up and playing some really bassy tunes, and I started getting excited about the evening. As an aspiring DJ myself, I took some time out of my routine of bouncing around to watch her do her thing and I suddenly realized that behind that smooth-as-glass exterior was a smooth-as-glass beat-matching, bass-loving, vinyl spinning demon with an agenda. And I think I was learning the agenda: item 1) make people dance, item 2) make people dance, item 3) make people dance. On all counts, she scored.

I knew from this point that the night was heading for new highs, but I did not have the context to be able to anticipate what MDOC was about to do to the crowd. For when he arrived up on the stage, he took control immediately, heading for faster BPMs and tracks like 'Fluid' which were now playing to me like familiar hits, things to be anticipated, savored, and danced-to. As I said before, the crowd was not huge, but now, they were packed close to the stage and dancing eagerly as MDOC reeled us in. Pavel and I were feeling really good, and we alternated between standing up on the bench along the side near the stage, and planting in what was now our usual spot on the ground right in the same area, directly in front of a bank of very large speakers. (Reminder: earplugs.)

And the audience was so friendly that night -- that helped make things feel exciting and fresh and uninhibited. When Pavel and I got up and started beat-pointing (I know of no other way to describe this uniquely Drum n Bass activity), a guy from the audience gave us the equivalent of a thumbs-up (another sort of gesture I'm only familiar with from Drum n Bass night) and was rocking out with us. I think I remember that Blond-Haired Old Guy was also in effect, and having a ball. The people dancing next to us were rocking out in peace, and smiling, and jostling each other like old friends. It was really... social. We were for those short hours the Drum n Bass Village. That Village kicks ass.

The DJs at Elements, the Phoenix Landing residents, they are my heros. This was the most fun Drum n Bass night ever.
 
31 July 2003 *MDOC (elements, US), Suv (Full Cycle, Reprazent, UK) thoughts of eddie
Still no wine-tasting. What? you say. Indeed -- wait another two weeks...

Let me begin by saying that MDOC did an impresive job this time -- he went all out, I felt, in bringing down the fast, fat beats. I walked into the club and was immediately swallowed in the wall of sound that was MDOC that night. Wow. He brought me 180% to the view that the Residents could Kick it Harcore. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, MDOC. You were the King.

And, to his credit, DJ Suv did bring in the middle of the night with a salty, feisty latin tune that I can still hear in my head. But then things went from salty to sour. There was an MC.

I do not remember who the MC was that night. Indeed, though it might sound harsh, I do not care. One thing I absolutely will remember, though, for the rest of my life, and on into the afterlife, is how to spell the DJ's name. S - U - V. Like a bad 1st grade alphabet lesson gone horribly awry, this letter combination was etched into the very nerves of my brain, as the MC continued to spell it over, and over, and over again. Booming out with 2000+ watts of power, S - U - V. And if that wasn't enough, the lesson was conducted for both the men and the women: "All the ladies say it, S - U - V, for the guys it's, S - U - V, and the ladies say, S - U - V, the guys, S - U - V..." As though only half the audience was paying attention at a time, or, as though we were all a bit too slow to catch on that his name was really not all that hard to spell. S - U - V. In my mind: "IN MY FORESTER I GO..." S - U - V. "IN THE SHOWER I SAY..." S - U - V. "OH PLEASE MOMMY BUY ME ANOTHER..." S - U - V. "RHYMES WITH 'TURKEY' IT BE..." S - U - V. And on it went.

And, at times, I started to think that the MC was becoming aware of his effect on me: "What's the matter! Get on your feet! You need more juice!" and "Not dancing? Drink a Heineken!" were two edicts he issued at times when things looked like they were stagnating. S - U - V. S - U - V. Sorry.

It got to the point where whenever I started to catch a groove, the MC would holler over it, and though this was distracting for me, for Pavel it was too much, and we left early (something we'd never think to do otherwise). To his credit, Suv had a knack for saucy and spicy beats from out of my normal musical tastes, and they were refreshing and had the opportunity to bring a new life to the set. But there were too many missed opportunities to dive into something hard, fast and familiar, and too many breaks and restarts for my personal taste, and last but not least, too many missed notes, shouted over by an excited, nice-voiced, but ultimately distracting MC, for me to be able to be fondly nostalgic for this night.
 
10 July 2003 *Lenore (elements, US), Marc Pastor (Inner Sense, USA), Keithy B (Unlimited/GroundForce, US) thoughts of eddie
Again a long time back, and again, no wine. It takes time to build an Empire. Or just to get a good idea.

Lenore seemed to be laying low, like MDOC last time. It was groovy, but sort of slow. I could, at that time, not get even the slightest read on Lenore -- her style is smooth as glass. Turns out I like glass, but more on that later.

The kids that came next, I think they were out of San Francisco, or one of them was... well anyway, they were funny. They spent a recognizable amount of time showboating and playing off each other, which was pretty fun to watch. But I remember that with a few exceptions where they hit a groove, I just never found myself getting locked into the tracks. It could have just been me -- it was after all, the second time I had been. This time with earplugs, yes. But my personal mojo had not yet become a force to be reckoned with. Will it ever? Read on, dear Reader, read on.