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  Liquified feat. John Digweed 10.31.2002
by Damon Fonooni
Photos by Martynas Simokaitis

Venue: Eleven50
Presented by: Liqiufied

Grooving BeautiesHalloween night, and oh my, the freaks certainly did come out! About 1500-2000 people were in attendance at Mr. Digweed's showing, eighty percent of which would not leave until the third, well technically fourth, encore. I had not been there since the revamping of the interior; i.e. the new speakers mounted in the air which allowed people to actually hear the music instead of merely having their guts jarred. In addition, the new DJ booth and extended dancefloor provided the crowd with much more room—meaning if one tried hard enough, one could actually dance. The paper oriental lights were a really nice touch, but I felt they could have been dimmed more instead of illuminating the back half of the dancefloor. But all in all, a big round of applause for Liquified and Eleven50 for undertaking these much needed improvements!

Costumed & DancingI would say about sixty percent of the people in attendance were in keeping with the true spirit of All Hallow's Eve, most of whom sported the uber-trendy little devil horns and perhaps a little face paint, but I saw a few headturners that truly put effort into their appearance. There were nuns and monks, goblins and zombies (one in particular that paid homage to MJ's "Thriller" video), little Swedish girls (that were really men, of course), and vampires. But my costume of the night award goes to two people: first of all, the gentleman dressed as a Native American Tribal Warrior. I hope you all got to see this guy, because he put more effort into his look than I've seen in years: complete black and white face/body paint, a white furry head cover, moccasins, a long dagger, and the list goes on. The second award-winner resembled a Wise Gnome out of any and every fantasy story ever told. It consisted of a mask with huge, floppy ears, an enormous nose, a beard that would make Rip Van Winkle jealous (even if he was a member of ZZ Top), a green robe and an elaborate wooden walking stick. My respect to you two in particular.

A Ghoulish TableThe light spectacle was a superb touch, not over the top but just subtle, sleek and sexy (ugh—what a cliché), which were provided by Pulse Laser. It's so nice to see lights that are fitting with the event and venue; all you promoters and managers out there need to get a clue and give this guy a call!

Now down to the nitty gritty-the music. Jimmy Van M opened for the Digger of Weeds, playing from 10:00 until about 12:30. I always look forward to hearing Jimmy's sets, because there are some things that he will play when opening for Digweed or Sasha that you just wouldn't hear otherwise: that deep, dark, chuggy sound-music for grooving to-which never has to be played fast because it gets the job done with class.

Trick or treat with an AngelUpon Digweed's arrival on the decks, he unleashed some tech house of deep and funky proportions. From there he would venture into some dark n' techy tribal sounds, including BC's "Switch It" on a new Yoshitoshi promo (during which the needle skipped and there was silence for nearly a minute), and back to the house influenced stuff. At about 2:00 in the morning he took things down, playing track after track of simple, minimal and subtly beautiful tracks, with melodies fluttering around rather than encompassing the entire tunes. Within these tracks he played Charlie May's Quartzite mix of the new Bedrock single, "Emerald," mixing into the Lexicon Avenue remix of Depeche Mode's "I Find Myself," with a rolling, analog, nu skool bassline reminiscent of Slam's work. From this point he went harder and more percussive, and then, oh then, then came the breaks.

Jimmy van M. at HalloweenI don't think I can ever recall hearing bass levels like these; the raw, thick analog basslines, that sometimes weren't more than several notes, simply forced you to move. These low-ends combined with intelligent beats and sounds have become a staple of John Digweed's sets over the past year or so. And no, I couldn't trainspot a single damn track out of those breaks. He stepped it up from the broken beats and decided to really work and push the crowd. As Digweed played harder and harder, the crowd was right behind him every step of the way. By 4:00 am he had everyone jumping and sweating and grooving. I can honestly say I've never heard him play like that before, which is why John impresses me every time I see the man. He's constantly reinventing himself without leaving behind the real soul that is Digweed. After a classic-sounding track, which seemed to cross an almost BT and Paul van Dyk sound circa 1998-1999, and after the crowd cheered, he came back with the obligatory encore, which was of course the original mix of his new Bedrock track with engineer/partner Nick Muir, "Emerald." I must say, I appreciate the song a lot more now that I've heard it in context and in the right environment, but hey, doesn't virtually everything sound good on a sound system like e50's? The real shocker that I personally flipped about was mixing "Emerald" into the older Saints and Sinners track "Pushin Too Hard (Futureshock remix)." Everyone went nuts, despite the fact that not too many people even recognized the song, which was one of the first releases on the Bedrock imprint! And of course, the song ended and everyone cheered and the second encore ensued, which was a track that simply made me think, "What the fuck is that?" Not so much because it was strange, but more so because it was original, with a driving percussion, spoken tribal gibberish, and a low-end to boot! After that encore I waited to see if there would be a chance of yet another, but as I looked I could see everyone in the booth unplugging things, although I have heard from several people that he did in fact play another encore.

Digweed mastering the nightThe most clear cut thing that I can say about John Digweed's set is that it re-instilled a true sense of the sound which he helped to pioneer in me and most of those in attendance. He has his moments, much like he did at eleven50, when he is the testing the water and jumping around selection-wise, but after all he's still human and a DJ, right? He has never let me down, that is so long as he's playing solo, and I think he will be around a lot longer than, say, some of the other big names out there right now.

Trick or treat between DJsThe overall experience was very different than what I've grown to expect from eleven50 and its clientele. There wasn't an overwhelming sense of pretentiousness in the air, in fact this is the first time in about a year when I can say that the majority of the crowd was there for the music and John and Jimmy and not in fact to look pretty and be seen. I hope that this is a sign of the future. Much thanks to Liquified and eleven50 for putting on a swinging show, and thanks to Jimmy Van M, John Digweed and each and every person in attendance: that night put my faith and trust back in house music.


Compiled by John Digweed

Track Listing:

  1. Lonely Planet - Pollon
  2. Dust - Pole Folder & CP
  3. Moogerfooger - Bermuda Triangle
  4. Of Course - Sean Q6
  5. Protect The Sense - Flash Brothers
  6. Te Quiero - 108 Grand
  7. Black Sky - Shakespear's Sister
  8. I Have Put Out The Light - James Holden
  9. Belong - Spooky
  10. Deep Love - Mandalay

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