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  Liquid Groove 2.3.01
by Sterling McGarvey

Venue: DeKalb Convention Center - Atlanta, GA
Presented by: Liquid Groove

Sterling McGarveyOccasionally, a party comes along, and it has a feeling that sweeps you off your feet. You feel chills because the music moves you. The balance of the party is just right. The Trance and Progressive House DJs are doing it just right, and the Drum n' Bass talent has the other room en fuego. No matter where you go at the party, you're going to hear good music. People are quite emotional from the trance set. Junglists are big-upping the DJ. You think to yourself, "Wow, all this Trance and Jungle. This party is perfect...perfect...perfect... perfect...."

Then you snap out of it. You realize something. You are at a party with one room. Your options are limited, like back in the days before a few guys figured out that breakbeats sounded really good when sped up. Back when your choices were House or (if you were one of those "edgy" types) Techno. If you arrive at 10 to the party, you have Tech-House for your listening. If you arrive at 12, you have some all-over-the-map House. If you don't make it until 2:30, well, you've been warned.

February 3rd meant the reiteration of one important fundamental truth in the Atlanta scene: you can't complain about a lack of new, fresh talent in Atlanta if you don't show up. As an addendum, one forfeits his/her right to gripe about a lack of new venues when he/she fails to show up to those venues. Jeff Joseph (the former Birdman), John Acquaviva, and Richie Hawtin absolutely tore apart the Atlanta/Dekalb Center in the first party thrown on the premises courtesy of Liquid Groove.

Jeff opened with some sparse, minimal Tech-House and continued building it up, much like it should be done. Mr. Acquaviva stepped in and proceeded to give a sonic dissertation on the varieties of House. One moment he was dropping some very Tech-y sounding tracks; fifteen minutes later he was channeling Bad Boy Bill circa 1998. Strangely, though, the crowd wasn't moving much. Sure, there were a few moving bodies, but many were just standing and nodding rather than getting their groove in action. Around the last thirty minutes of his set, he completely switched the mood. Progressive sounds flowed from the speakers, but they were neither of the Global Underground nor Trancy persuasion. They just sounded good and progressive. While the crowd reception wasn't rhythmic, people certainly shouted their approval.

It was after John Acquaviva stepped down that the onslaught began. Like a real-life equivalent of The Flash, Richie Hawtin began the brutal offensive against the crowd with his Decks, EFX and trusty 909 in tow. Hawtin didn't just make you move to the rhythm, he beat the rhythm out of you with little mercy. Layering track after track with heart murmur-inducing 909 kicks, he proceeded to whip the crowd into a dancing frenzy and let up only for seconds as he changed records. It was at this point that one could see that the crowd makeup was populated more with music enthusiasts than with people who merely wandered in from some club up the street. This party brought out quite a few die-hard Techno fiends.

After a while, the crowd was eradicated. It was as though a group of the most popular drum n' bass DJs had just thrown down their hardest tracks, and the crowd was losing steam. However, just as it seemed that the crowd was about to retire and peter out, Richie Hawtin reeled them all back in. The set had some of the strongest intensity I've ever seen at a party. He managed to pound every inch of energy from every individual's body in that crowd, leave them gasping for air from dancing so hard, then leaving them hoarse from screaming a few minutes later.

The tragedy is that too few people were able to witness the Hawtin/Acquaviva experience. Perhaps it is a matter of personal preference, but hands down, this was one of the most memorable parties I've ever had the fortune to attend, and I felt that it was a shame that more people weren't there to appreciate the quality of Techno and diverse House. However, those who were there to witness the deities of Minus 8 Recordings throw down can take pride in having attended this great event.

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