Steve Lawler 12.23.00
by Sabrina Sexton Weil
Venue: Visulite Theatre - Charlotte, NC
I don't remember the last time we drove more than an 45 minutes to go to a party. Our schedules usually don't allow for it. And we're never that enthralled by the talent to sacrifice a good day or two, miles on the car, money for a hotel room, etc. everyone ends up coming through Atlanta at some point or another anyway.
When we heard that Steve Lawler would be playing at a 21 and up party in Charlotte, North Carolina, however, Jason and I made our hotel reservation and gassed up the car. We had missed Lawler in Atlanta, and we hadn't heard any word of him returning anytime soon. His Nu Breed cd had been rocking us for some time, so we just had to see him live.
When we arrived at the Visulite Theatre, we didn't see many cars parked on the quiet downtown street. It was early around 11 p.m. and we didn't know if Charlotte was a late-night crowd or not. Shrugging off the threat of a small crowd (more room to dance, anyway), we entered the club to find a small lobby and ticket window manned by a pretty girl in a very glittery outfit. Beyond the lobby we could see a dark room highlighted with the flickering of minimal lighting.
We made our way to the circular bar and discussed what a neat venue the Visulite Theatre is. The dancefloor is cozy but not tiny, and there is an additional area of dance space between the larger dancefloor and the stage. The stage played host to the VIPs of the evening, and a few people milled about onstage with drinks in hand.
Kris Krause and Chuck Martin of Choo Choo opened the evening with sounds that slowly picked up tempo and transformed the groovin' crowd into stomping feet and clapping hands. A Santa Claus on stilts bobbed his head and made balloon hats and animals for passing partiers. A blast from the past strutted by in an enormous afro and disco gear. These people were ready to party. And we could tell that everyone there was there to hear Steve Lawler from the screams and applause that erupted when Steve took over the decks.
The next several hours were the most exhilarating rollercoaster ride I've been on in years. Lawler, a cutie with sweet brown eyes, proceeded to crawl inside our minds and romp around in them like a little child. The twists and turns of his set were incredibly fresh and naughty. He played some of the dirtiest, driving progressive house the kind that makes you want to do bad things, you know? There were plenty of tracks I recognized, but I am horrible at track identification so I will not attempt to name them for you. What I loved most about Lawler's set was the way he kept us on our toes. As soon as I thought he was about to get boring (and give me a much-needed break from dancing), he would completely change direction, dropping in a sexy vocal track or an evil bassline that commanded all present to lose control on the dancefloor.
Another thing I really liked about Lawler is that he is unafraid to play whatever he thinks will drive the crowd crazy at that time. He played a really, really old track that immediately took me back to parties years ago. I wish I knew the name and artist, but it's one of those tracks that is classic Sasha circa 1995 or so. I was suddenly reminded of those experiences, and I could almost picture Jason and me wearing our Adidas shelltoes and Adidas jerseys.
The Charlotte-ans were totally having it, too. It was so wonderful to see so many smiling faces and moving bodies. It made me realize why I love smaller, more intimate parties. You just can't beat the vibe of them. The production of the event was nice, too. The sound was great, and the lighting was just right for the crowd and the mood of the evening.
The night finally ended, and it was a bittersweet ending indeed. I could have listened to Steve Lawler for hours on end but my feet were in agony from dancing so much. For those still in commission, Kris Krause got back in the booth and started rocking some groovy electro sounds.
If you ever get the chance to hear Steve Lawler DJ live, run, don't walk, to the club. If you like music that can be fun, sexy, evil, and uplifting, you'll love him, I promise.
Dark Drums Vol. 2
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