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  Winter Music Conference 2002

by
Darbi Aranio & Brett Abramson
Sterling McGarvey
Shannon Petrick
tF (forum archive)
Photos by Darbi Aranio

Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue

[Click on the other staff names, to read their respective reviews. This is transcribed from Lunar Forum.]

(once more, into the breach...)

Thursday
Cursed by the internal body clock, I found myself wide awake at 7.30A. Just as well ( : I stayed out much later than I intended to WED night (needed it. who knew it took so much effort to get away from ATL for a few days?) and now I'm trying to hurried pack and make the noon flight to Miami.

It was still drizzling, and *very* cold--well, it felt colder as I thought about the sun, the warm breezes and the smell of the ocean--and traffic was kind of rough going through town. No rush, no breakfast, plenty of time to make it through Hartsfield.

(Aside/Tangent) What good is e-ticket if you are required to see a ticketing agent? Grrr, gripe #1. And I guess the FAA believes that two pieces of carry-on will contain significantly more explosive than one piece of luggage. I'm still trying to figure out why that is *improved* security. Gripe #2. Ok, back to the story.

Atlanta invades Miami Flight is delayed—but I'm not stressing ( : because it's not a deadline, as long as I get to Miami before the weekend, it could be delayed for 23 more hours for all I cared. It gave me a chance to read, and observe (and be amazed) at the number of recognized faces in the crowd on my flight. I must've overheard three separate conversations regarding DJs, WMC and dancing. Underground, yay. Oh, and I saw two different flight cases. None of them looked like Steve Lawler's though ( :

Well... I'm here. I just wanted to drop a quick message and just like before, for the intersted, I will continue my pseudo-travelogue for those who are un-able to participate.

Now, about that margarita...

5:01pm—Some things changed. some things haven't. some... hmm. Took advantage of the spring "coolness" and walked around town over sunset. The space next to Loews, some luxury hotel, is further behind schedule than the condos next to Nike. it looked as half-complete as when I left it last year. Walgreen moved 10 blocks uptown, leaving Spec's the sole survivor on the final intersection of interest.

(ps, Kosheen will be in store around 8pm for signing, etc. Guess I shall attend and gush ( : over the trio).

Several new restaurants popped up since my last visit. However, for starter, I decided to do Maiko instead. No, not Mako as in the cheeZ buckhead place named after a shark, but Maiko. Japanese for "dancer"(?). I went with some standard fare, to see if the place maintained. agedashi, shumai, edamame, tonjiru... and some kind of squid-wrapped crab meets asparagus sushi. Nothing particularly taxing nor outstanding... just a decent meal to start the night with.

Feeling a little more ambition for dessert, I trekked the few blocks and found flan w/queso at news cafe to complete dinner.

Strolling back up ocean drive I see the street-side culture continue to thrive :: sigh :: I cannot wait for Atlanta to become pedestrian friendly—that certainly will help drive gentrification of downtown, East Atlanta, etc.

On a flyer somewhere, it declared DJ Three in the "2nd room" at Crobar. hmm... Gay Joy and the Smack Crew presents Juicy. Feeling very un-certain about this, but nothing else seems to be happening. so let's try it.

2.30am—I leave Crobar. The crowd had entirely gotten to me. the beautiful people definitely did not come out tonight. in addition to the south-beach-attitude, d*mn Chi-towners and Brooklin'ites just added to the overall FY'ness. with some energy unspent, I decided to see what else is jumping on Washington. let's just say that THU in SOBE is is like TUE in the ATL. hip hop is everywhere. So I wandered around. Just like ATL on a TUE...

Major changes noticed. Shadolounge R.I.P. however, Liquid has moved into the spot formerly. and in Liquid's place is steam--roughly 3/4 of the original club. The best house music belonged to Twist, a venue catering to the alternative lifestyle segment, but with the crowd makeup similar to Backstreet on a weekend night. The best trance belonged, haha... to the falafel joint--uplifting music while you chew some breakfast at the wee hours.

Friday
8:00am
—Fatigue hasn't even started to set in yet, so by 8a, I was watching Miami news by sun rise. Breakfast? Poked my head out, not only was the day a bit overcast, but it's quiet. Is everyone recovering already?

I decided against food, and by 11a, took a leisurely stroll down toward One Ocean Drive, home of the Nikki Beach Club. The info/flyer states over and over that please arrive early (door opens at noon, they swore it would be capacity by 1p) and when I got there, I was concerned that not only was the entrance difficult to discern, there was no bass, and where was the line that supposedly wrapped around the block?

Lots and lots of sound problem, and the crowd was thin. By 1.20p, however, things finally go "live" and people are streaming to about 1/4 capacity. Pete may have mixed twice. but mostly, he's hamming it up via the mic and lots and lots of 'Radio One' promo snippets.

Xpress-2 supposedly dj'd/played, but I couldn't tell. I saw plenty of zip disc and cdrs, and I wondered aloud (to others) whether the entire show was going to be pre-produced. Look, there's really no needle on those tone-arms, they're just sliding it back and forth for show ( : (ok ok, I'm kidding, but it sure looked like that!!)

In between sets, they'd drop in varying degrees of progressive/trance cheeZ (some acceptable, some not. Pete must really be into 80's music still. I swear, one of the tracks was something like Journey/Steve Perry cover/re-sample.)

Finally, the crowd shows some sign of life (they'd been dancing, but the -flow- wasn't there) when Derrick Carter got on stage, about 10min before his 'slot'. the music previously is not awful, just... well, they would break in every 2-3 tracks and play little (not-so-little... 4-7min) interview snippets with Paul Oakenfold and Danny T—the Danny stuph is interesting as he plugs the upcoming Back to Basics 2xCD.

Derrick was good, really got the crowd going and the crowd expressed their pleasure vocally. He played for about 19:43. I know, because I have the entire set bootleg'd. Oops, did I just admit that? (yesh, bois and grrls, look for the WMC collage that will be floating around as soon as I get back to Atlanta). Danny Rampling was next. He played one song. that was it. I'm serious. Debut. Thank you. Good night. Interestingly enough, the track is called "Take Me Home Tonight" (no no, not that song. this is good)

Then it was DJ Dan. Dan flexes some tools in his crate as well, because he opened with that Chris Lum choon on Tango, "Bigger Tool" and the crowd is really digging it now. He played a little longer than Derrick Carter. it was almost 24min. :: sigh ::

Ok. time for some freshly-squeeze sugar cane juice, dinner... and it's time for the Balance warmup sessions. supposedly, 8p-7a, and sporting such un-heralded names: Pappa, Fortier, N. Warren. Nigel Dawson, J. Graham, Luis Diaz, P&W, Pete Gooding, Burridge, Remy, Phil Thompson, Kleinenberg, Lawler, Seaman, Steve Porter, Cusick, Three, Debo, Voyager and Oliver Moldan. I wonder who is the warm up talent? haha...

7:01pm—The overcast that was Nikki Beach started to threaten with a drizzle by the time dinner came around. In the spirit of budget gourmet, dinner was catered by Dave's Cafe (on the corner of 11th and Collins). All I can say is that it's 24-hr and there may be a little Cuban sandwich shop around Tech, but Dave's Cafe don't mess around with adding lettuce and tomato to their pressed offerings.

The group got a variety of food (at my behest). Arroyo con camarones. shrimp with yellow rice, this spice'ful breaded fish filet and... hmm I got some kind of special calamari with dirty rice. It was soooooo good. The ) : only blight is that the sugarcane machine macht kaput (aaaaargh), so no fresh juices.

The drizzle is starting to pour down!! Oh no... the group bails and I'm the lone idiot to walk through the rain and head for Spec's--gotta meet Kosheen at 8p. that was definitely on my list of to-do's.

The rain comes down hard and wreck havoc on traffic, as well as the crowd size for Kosheen autograph seekers. Which is just too bad... local dance radio (24x7!! and streaming on the web too) does some free promo and comes out passing out goodies too. Kosheen arrived very late, and looking a little harried, but they were quite graceful and signed/meet-n-greeted everyone with utter modesty. oh yeah, "Hide-U" (the remix) gets airplay down here. Hmm... I wonder if Q100 will add more than "Rapture to their playlist.

Ugh, the duress that is WMC. more than physical strain... the hard choices you have to make. I find out that starting at 9p, Rrankie knuckles, David morales, *and* Satoshi Tomiie will spin inside Spec's, *for free* ... argh. do I stay or do I go?

Gambling, I leave for Billboard Live and the Balance party.

Steve Lawler at Billboard Live Let me state for the record that the Warsaw night (WMC2001) remains one of my top music experinces of all time. and T try very hard not to measure/compare everything to it. Besides, the Billboard Live venue is pretty impressive in/of itself. Also from last years experience, I know that *NO* party can successfully being at 9p as promised (haha)... so gambling on missing out some great opening set, I did not make it out until about 10-10.30p.

It's hard to explain the layout of Billboard Live. It's multi-level. There's the walk-in terrace level, which did not appear to be open tonight. Up one floor (from the outside), the main level has staircase to upstairs. Downstairs, there is a stage, semi-circular setting/viewing... quite ideal for a live act. The dj booth is position before an VIP area, sandwiched between seatings and a vertical cone of water sheeting down all the way from the very top. While the stairs don't spiral, it does partially wrap around the falling water.

Upstairs is a little more lounge-y, and they literally put up a ladder (people climbed up and down it all night, flight case in tow) against a very large recess on one wall (intentional?) where the 2nd dj was playing. More stairs, and an open space mezzainine/terrace/strip lounge lead to the 3rd room. VIP-style, as I am unable to buy my way in (haha, boo!) I cannot tell you what type of grandeur adorns that area. 3rd set of decks were there, as well as Kleinenberg (yup, did not get to see him)

Now, the two levels are (ad)joined by the semi-circle... stage. so upstairs normally, would have the theatre-balcony type of view on the act performing. For this night, they drew a heavy curtain to divide the sound, but not very successfully as you can hear clashing beats most of the night, standing in the wrong spot.

Billboard Live is *very* nice, but I miss Warsaw. and I miss the Phazon. House sound is good, but let me repeat, I miss the Phazon.

Nigel Dawson was the mystery DJ that everyone had trouble id'ing when it all started. Downstairs was not open until about 11.30p (9p, riiiiiiight). after Nnigel came Nick Warren, who very subtlely announced his arrival with Way Out West "The Gift" as the opener ( : by now, Luis Diaz had started banging away downstairs too... as much as I think Luis is a great DJ, I wasn't about to trade one Nick Warren for one Luis Diaz.

One of the memorable tracks I heard that night (which I'm sure the trainspotters will correct me) is this bounce'y big-beat (not quite breaks) electro-heavy tune. don't know what it is... but I guess all that harping by nurse bethany is true. Electro is 'IN'.

The crowd continues to file in. Ugh... I also miss the smaller, more intimate feel of warsaw. This event was quite successful on so many levels, and more so if you compare to last year, but...

The insanity. Dawson, Warren... and then it was John Graham (has he dropped the Quivver moniker?). I've been dancing almost non-stop since I got there, and I guess I'm one of the few people that wore the same clothes/shoes to the beach, and to Billboard as I realize I'm destroying ( : the floor, with the sand/scuff. yikes... oops, so sorry!

John's set was good but a little un-even. Definitely lacked the lush'ful (and more vocally driven) set by Nick earlier. Tried going downstairs to make sure I'm not missing anything, but the crowd got to me (and the trafficking, as people just wanted to explore) I remained in my corner. oh... I guess I should point out I was missing Dave Seaman ) : because of that. grr...

After Graham it was the toughest decision/split of the night. Pappa vs Lawler. UGH. Well... suffer I must. Doing both and walking up and down the staircase a few times.

Let me just say that maybe Lawler is *not* dead. He's just quiet on the release front lately, because he was *KILLING* it with his records and with his mixing. And no, not the dark tribal stuph either... Mauricio from Prophecy (Ultra4) In fact, most people didn't sound dark, as more... hmm, it's not hard, it's just a lot of OOMPH. Someone should probably do a better job categorizing than I.

Oh, and Lawler sounded tech-y too!! Not tech-house, but several tracks sounded like techno to me. *shrug* ( : it was very good.

I couldn't stay for through the end, because Pappa was just as amazing upstairs. upp'ing the ante, he kept what spaces available for dancing upstairs occupied. Like I said, not dark and hard, but very very... strong? I'm struggling for words here. He dropped "Perfect Motion" 2-3 tracks before the end.

John Graham, Wilson, Parks and Lawler After Pappa, it was Wilson & Parks. Thankfully, people are starting to fade by this time. I had downed my first RedBull of the trip and I was still ready-to-go. Downstairs, John Debo had followed Lawler... and the floor was too sticky to dance. Oh, I thought the sound downstairs sounded bigger and better than up, nor were there the collisions, but finding room to stand/dance was difficult. Back to Wilson & Parks.

5:03am—To say my legs hurt, is a bit of an understatement at this point. And I found myself wandering downstair more, as I can stand before the stacks and just... nod my head ( : On my final trip back upstairs, I saw Voyager climb the ladder, ow... another tough one. Justin Scott Dixon or Chris Fortier? Well, Chris made the decision for me playing a bit more mid tempo'ish and quite the soft(er) sounds I needed to close out the night. I stayed until maybe a few minutes before they kicked everyone out (speculation, as I didn't wait for lights to come on). grr... my brain is failing me now, because I *know* that last track.

Saturday
Ultra4 Girl who let us take picture of main stage! 2:45pm
—Ultra. Ah... what to say, what to say. After rescuing a sunburnt fellow BMG'er *cough*sunblock*cough Sterling from wandering the a1a, a quick bit of Thai and it was off to Ultra I go. It actually is bigger this year. I didn't think it was possible. More stages, and definitely more all-agers. Freaks too ( : and luckily still just as dis-organized as ever. Well, maybe that's too harsh...

There were some improvements this year—most importantly, the water didn't run out at 6pm--although the means by which they achieved that is rather tourniquet-for-a-nosebleed... they made it practically impossible for you to buy water. Aha! although beer and bacardi were readily available, silly me.

The progressive oriented stages were the Progressive Stage (naturally) and Club-Space stage, where Deep Dish would wrap up the final 2-3hrs before heading over to Space (the club itself) to finish up the official afterparty.

6:50pm—the Progressive Stage itself was a mess. Lawler was a no-show, and seemed to have taken a few other DJs with him ( : and John Graham had to pull a marathon 3-hr set before the missing DJs showed. Nnaturally, the stage 'management' didn't want to cause further havoc to the lineup so he bumped the whole lot and Dave Ralph started on cue and on time. Yikes!! Dave Ralph at Ultra4

The sound, that was another improvement. well, the stages that mattered (haha, not including dnb) sounded good, loud, and clean. but by 8p, the Space stage was so over-pushed that you probably need to be a mile away for it to sound... -just right-

DJ Dan rocked the main area. just banged it.

This was taken from about 3000' from the stage, at the main entrace Carl Cox too. The place packed to almost overflowing capacity during his set, which lead to a perfect Kleinenberg finish off. both were definitely the highlights of the Main/Ultra Stage. Nice visuals on triple giant displays, and two air-cooled 55W YAG laser (d*mn!!) round out the display. People every where, and fvck'd up people everywhere too. I didn't see the $5k table on stage, now I don't feel so bad.

Atlanta's own J-Luve at Ultra4 Other notables: two more breaktaking lasers on the Space Stage too. Our very own J-Luv posing as a Floridian and dropping breaks, and hearing Kosheen perform all their/our favorites, live.

I didn't wait for the finale--which included BT and Oakenfold, I think. I bailed shortly after witnessing Lee Burridge commanding the Progressive Stage on Final Scratch. Life is good.

11:10pm—Almost 6-hrs for ultra, and then pizza from the street and it's off to Miami Arena we go for the so-called Delta Heavy tour. I will leave the trainspotting to the professionals. the only song that *absolutely* stood out tonight is that little do-da-do-de-do-do track ( : that was definitely the highligh (for me). I had heard it the night before during Anthony Pappa's set, but despite my effort at running around and checking, no one knew what it was... this night nor Friday night.

Visuals at Miami Arena.  See Sasha on decks? 5:25am—Only fubar for the event... uh (I'm too jaded for my own good), Justin Scott Dixon (Voyager) walked up to me to say 'Hi!' ( : sensing yet-another-craQhead attack, I told him to take a hike--should've seen the look on his face, haha (er not funny). Profuse apology is insufficient. Blah.

The duo's set while far from flawless, was very good!! Combined with the visuals--ok, so I'm easily impressed with *dual* 60+w full-color lasers... I believe the Arena made their projected number of 4000+ in attendance (over the course of the night). Now I'm quite torn. while I'm still gravely concerned with the venue adequacy of the Tabernacle (vs the crowd)... my original intention of missing/bailing the May date, will have to seriously re-considered.

I should probably write something a bit more descriptive, but I've been dancing practically non-stop for almost 8-hours, and that's after the Ultra day. For now... let me just sleep dreaming of that track with the six-note progression.

[the track is MV "Hollow" on S.A.W. Records. Read more about the track here.]

Sunday
2:15pm
—Somehow, I managed to hurt my feet last night. Imagine that, somehow, dancing scraped the top of my toe, and I didn't notice how much it hurted last night. So today, I had coffee and read in the afternoon, outdoors, mostly. the weather was warm, the breeze... and ahh balmy. It did much to restore some of the exhaustion.

Yeah, WMC is all about pacing and moderation. I need to remember that.

10:47pm—Dinner, and back to WMC'ness. Tonight, I plan to party hop... Perfecto @ Spin (trancehatters need not apply), S.A.W.. at Lola (*free* Satoshi Tomiie? you gotta be kidding), and Mr.c, Layo & Bushwacka, Eddie 'Evil' Richards and Terry Francis at Goddess (total intimacy kind of venue).

1:30am—lans to party hop partially de-rails due to scheduling snafu. I made it to Lola, but it was late enough to have a small'ish mob (yes, mob... *not* line) out front and as good as the music sounded 6 steps outside the door, I lost my patience and moved onto Spin instead.

Now, I would be the first person to point out that the last two appearances by Paul in Atlanta have been less than stellar (Area:One and NATC), and I too, skipped his hour at Ultra. but this was V2/Perfecto night at spin, I figured not only would I endure a little Oakenfold, I would pick up D:Fuse and Herman Cattaneo (where did he come from?).

Spin is relatively new... well, it was not here last Spring. For those who's been to Crobar, Spin is built copy-cat style to Crobar. Not as big. Not as fancy. not as nice. Not the same crowd. Not the same sound. OK, so it only resembles crobar in the sense that it's multilevel (2 instead of 3-4), and the additional levels wrap around balcony style... the similarity includes dancing-boxes on the main floor, the CO2/nitrous pumps, and the $$$. but I'm telling you, the first impression is... 'What? this feels like Crobar'

And here is probably where I'll draw the most amount of "no way!" responses. Paul was *very* good this night!!

While he does imagine himself to be the man (hamming it up a few times, no JC poses, but plenty of #1 finger pointing)--haha, even his own people snickers a bit about that--but Paul sounded like a total DJ last night. Mixes were fairly smooth, I did not catch a single train wreck. NONE. I know, it's mind-boggling considering the habitual response. the cheeZ was minimum... if even you'd call it that.

Musically, it was mostly new stuph—lots of tracks that sounded new, very trance-oriented of course... and also very very big beat/nu-skool break'ish. And he worked the room too. Sure, most of the people that were there wanted to see him, but I imagine a few like myself were there to see D:Fuse. Oh, that's another thing, Herman missed the flight(?) and was not there, so Paul graciously played an extended set, did not hog the tables when D:Fuse stepped up to play... like I said, none of the rock-star (bad) image that seem to be associated with his Atlanta appearance. I'm still a little amazed at the 'djing'ness. For once, I caught a glimpse of perhaps, how he ended up where he is today.

I had one drink at Spin and it wiped me nearly completely out, and I did not make the 10+ block hike out to Goddess.

Monday
11:25am
—the day was spent rather lazily. a little shopping here (I bought a visor, some Soul-Five graf-T's, a couple of pairs of Ecko Unlimited pants, and a backpack. I'm all ready to go).

It was a cool concept, but the placement of Exhibit Hall C was so far removed from the Conference itself (Exhibit Hall B) that most of the foot traffic was lost. It took me almost ten minutes to figure out how to walk around the convention center.

I bought a DVD too. Moving right along... the shops along Lincoln Mall provided excellent street culture browsing and impulse-buying. by 1pm, a smoked salmon focaccia tidied me over until the all-you-can-greet started at the Fairwinds around 5p. $10 got you all the Becks (I had one, ouch) you can drink, and all the patties and links you'd want to wolf down. Somewhere in that was a DJ--including the one like David Duriez--and a bunch of record label execs. even our own SoCo mates Michael and Marcos were seen schmoozing up the storm.

7pm—Once again... I was faced with the tough decision do I burn out early by going to the Netwerk event featuring W.O.W., Fortier, etc... or do I pace myself?!! :: struggle :: d*mn the conference on forcing me to choose and be moderate.

9:15pm—I opted, instead for sushi/dinner (funny how you can eat, immediately after an all-you-can-feed bbq?) at sushi rock, a place known for luminary sightings. I was not disappointed as the superstar DJ Gene Carbonell showed up just as our party was leaving. Afterwards, it was time to (re)group and chart all the adventures for the night.

11:00pm—Tantra is a restaurant that's pretending to be a club. and because of that, I feel like it loses on both counts. the decor, while nice and quite Asian/Indian... the decor leaves very little room for much more than a walkway. And they just kind of pile people along the narrow stretches. There is a booth, and even an elevated stage for a live drummer/drumset.

Now I understand why I couldn't force my way inside last year (for Sandra, Christopher Lawerence, et al). This place is tiny. eventually, the traffic got to me and I bailed within minutes of hearing Inland Knights, as well as Halo, Hipp-e, and a few others. The resident was holding it down proper, but I just couldn't enjoy it ) :

Brett and Marcos Pieras of SoCo Audio Next up, SoCo Audio (yay, ATL does good!!) presents Audio Situation at Steam. if you recall, Steam equal former Liquid, minus 25% and some re-modeling. It was an extremely generous move on SoCo's behalf to honest all GA-license holders. Whisked right in, to find lots of ATL-suspects in attendance. I caught about 45min worth of Kemitjus' set. Interesting tagging back and forth... very smooth. About the only thing that absolutely got to me is the elevated mini-"lounge" they've built out of former dancer-box. It's nice, but it carves the venue into a funny shapped C. And this caused a bit of grief of sound *correctness*

Oh well. After Kemit and Justin (don't forget, they have a monthly Revival at the Church. I would recommend house-heads and deeper people to go check them out. Perhaps that'll jog a few memories about the event) after Kemit and Justin it was Asad Rizvi. Watch/listening to him, as I stand before the booth amongst the speaker stacks totally reminded me of watching Deep Dish doing an extended set years prior, and me wondering if ATL should ever be so lvcky as to 'get' them.

About an hour later, I had to party hop and this time, it's back to Billboard Live for some seriously *rave* music. I'm talking about Armand van Buuren followed by the perennial late night with System F (Ferry Corsten) as a dj. Please see Friday's msg regarding the layout of Billboard live. On this night, they once again attemped three distinct rooms of sounds. Same results, but luckily I had already figured out the sweet spot from trip prior. Now Armand's set was less lush and pretty that I had expected. he was pretty hard... none of that Gouryella'ness I had imagined. And System F? Wow... I was wrong. I didn't hear trance at Oakenfold, for Ferry Corsten *rocked* the crowd massiv-rave style. Just call it rave music, he even played "Out of the Blue" ok ok... as much as I love the uplifting stuph, the crowd and the builds prove to be too much... and it's off to the 4th event of the night.

By now, it was too late to go see Danny Howells at B.E.D (though I managed to secure an invite for this private event)... so it's off to Bash next. lee burridge was supposed to be at Bash. I thought the closer was indeed Burridge because of the rockin'ness. But it was Pete "Shaker" Bones. And SHAKE he did!

6:56am—I am feeling a bit light-headed. waiting for breakfast to digest and then it's off to Space we go, for the "2nd" half of Danny T's set.

Maybe my mind is also mush from the overt street-walking culture I just endured for 6+ blocks. :: whistle :: "Hey ba-be, wanna date?"

Tuesday
3:09pm
—tue turned out to be the worst day of the week thus far ( : and no, it's not the rains fault. starting late to begin with, I had quite possibly the worst restaurant experience (or so I thought, more on this later) ever in SoBe. the food was not particular awful, but it was certainly not outstanding. by the end of the meal, I just wanted to get away from the place. Even as I requested for the check, the sun had already disappeared behind fast moving overcast clouds. No worries... the rain will bring some relief from the heat, I just needed to find a cafe where I can sit, drink some coffee/tea and pretend to be Hemingway.

The afternoon drifted by in a bit of a haze (apparently I'm getting sick. haha. Apparently I'm also not made of steel, and that once again, I found my "breaking" point on tolerance). Well, the verdict is that I cannot live in South Beach. I will die within about 10 days. I'm fairly certain ( :

There's something intoxicating (of course there'd be!!) about this lifestyle though. This day/night without bounds, music without bounds, rhythm without bounds... I honestly had to ask several times what day of the week it is. When my room key stopped owrking, I actually doubted that I've lost track of time on what day I was supposed to check out and catch a flight back to Atlanta.

The music pours out everywhere. KFC. Walgreens. Taxicabs. Even the broken-English speaking drivers of said cab knows what's what with the songs on the radio, in the air and on the flyers on the ground. but I'm babbling (blame it on the medicine)

8:01pm—Vaguely remember grabbing a redbull to start the evening, and wandered around washington between the falling rain. People dash and cars dash and dodge, while I'm just soaking in it, feeling a little more conscious at this point.

Washington lead to Grooveman's lead to the Pelican, where I was quite rudely turned away. actually regaining my appetite, the bistro next door--the Mezzaluna will have to do. Did I already mention the horrible experience earlier up the blocks on Ocean Drive? well, Mezzaluna had also, mediocre food (northern Italian) and *awful* *awful* let me say *AWFUL* service. A polite but firm chat with the management resulted in the restaurant removing the forced 15% gratuity. I think he missed the point. I tipped out 15% regardless, but informed him that I'd probably never return, and that I will publicly denounce this place.

(oh, dinner was pasta, carpacci, and shrimp cocktail... and bread, and attempt at getting hot tea. like I said, no one in the dinner group was close to being impressed). We voted and declared a new rule, if a restaurant has a tv-set within the premise, treat it like a bar, instead.

9:22pm—I think I forgot to mention that Grooveman actually lead to Giant at Acqua, where John '00' Fleming was providing trance, followed by Pete Tong, the surprise guest. I left on Pete's 3rd track, so sorry... no trainspotting there. '00' Fleming was quite good, melodic and progressive. After the dissatisfying meal, I hurried over to Steam to catch the final 45min of Thin Men, followed by Blackwatch at the SatRec party. Thin Men is good, and Blackwatch was... a lot of breaks. Mostly nu-skool and had the floor moving more so than Thin Men's deeper, more progressive set.

11:50pm—Headliner Dave Seaman got on the decks, and to my surprise the place did not appeared packed to capacity. I think by Tuesday, you can just tell how everyone is running half a notch closer to empty. Not feeling the big sounds, I left and attempted to go see Om Recording at Goddess. What happened to my favorite intimate little night from '02? Goddess was a utter disaster as the mob scene out front was worse than Satoshi at Lola. the fire marshal *never* left as they literally counted one-out and then one-in. I heard several legitimate industry-types, including those on Om staff itself... complain about the in-accessibility. No worries ( : the beauty of SoBe/WMC is you just gotta walk toward something less crowded.

Bash is steps away, and on the hand made sign, it read:

    DJ Sneak
    Derick Carter
    ............. $15
No kidding. And it had some dancing space, a decent bar (no water, just 'ade and RedBull + alcohol. but you cannot buy water here), and several familiar Atlanta faces in the crowd. I know Sterling was hobnobbing with the big label execs at Dimitr and Morrillo, but I honestly thought Sneak here, at Bash, is better than the kickoff night with Sneak at Blue. I saw the crowded'ness.

4:30am—Here I closed out the night. I had wanted to finish up with Tiesto and Danny T's surprise 2nd after hour set at Space. Opted for a walk down Ocean, away from the crowd, and away from the traffic instead.

tF caught the full blown SoBe-Flu after Tuesday, and was not able to attend the ill-fated Roger Sanchez WMC Closer on Wednesday night. Just as well, the police did not play nice and words on the street said the sound problem killed most enjoyment factor. See you at DEMF!

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