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  Liquified Universe 9.30.00
by Sterling McGarvey

Venue: North Atlanta Trade Center - Atlanta, GA
Presented by: Liquid Groove

Saturday, September 30, 2000. The place: The North Atlanta Trade Center. The event: The sequel to one of the most unforgettable events in the Atlanta scene in recent memory. That's right, Liquid Groove touched down with another ATL massive. Was it as good as the first one? Depends who you ask. Was it really as bad as some people made it out to be in the midst of controversy? That's yet another matter of opinion.

I actually started off at this party much, much later than I would have anticipated. I ended up in the venue at close to 2am as opposed to my normal arrival time of between 11 and 12:30 am. Between other obligations and the ball-busting door security, I wasn't in the venue until a good while later than I'm accustomed. Regrettably, I missed Uberzone's live PA. By the time I had arrived, word had already gotten out that Andy C and Ed Rush had missed their flights. I had a case of screwface about that for a good while. I was really looking forward to some new talents flowing through Atlanta. However, when I entered, Zinc was working major overtime, as was MC Rymetime, who is to be commended for the fact that he managed to stay on the stick for hours like he did. Zinc had the crowd jumping and Rymetime had me hopping, too. Despite the no-shows of talent, the jungle room was definitely on fire. Meanwhile, in the other room, Philly's Josh Wink was laying down some vicious techno tracks. The movement back toward techno by certain Atlanta DJs will certainly not go unnoticed, since there were a lot of heads feeling Wink's selections. After the usually hellos and hobnobbing, I neglected to realize the time. Digweed was already on by the time I took my second trip back to the DnB arena. I wasn't in a particularly emphatic mood to hear any progressive house, so I headed to the small enclave of local DJs. Clay Ivey was throwing down some more techno, and I was moving to it. For me, the highlight of what I saw was when Clay mixed in Green Velvet's "Answering Machine" and 5 or 6 people out on the dancefloor all shouted the familiar "I - Don't - Need - This - Shit!" at the same time. Funny how amongst all the big names that everyone requests, that people forget the power that people who they see spin all the time can have over the decks.

After I got slightly weary from the techno, I headed back to hear Digweed. There were quite a few impressive tracks, and the crowd was eating it up. So I grooved to the sounds of Mr. Bedrock for a while. However, I grew a bit antsy after a while. E-Sassin was definitely rocking, but the bitter pill of no Andy C or Ed Rush left holes in the jungle room space, and thusly, the vibe. Nor was the progressive house doing it for me. The breaks in the locals section weren't getting me moving like I needed. I must confess that I grew hasty and impatient for the sounds of some funky, groovin', booty-shakin' House, courtesy of one Doc Martin. The fact that Uberzone's PA setup set all the other sets back didn't help. By 5:30am, I was pacing back and forth like Beavis on a sugar rush. People were starting to grow tired and restless. Familiar faces that I'd been seeing all night were no longer amongst the crowd. The usual hugs of goodbye began to kick in, as I told people, "No, you can't leave!!! Doc Martin hasn't gone on yet!!!" My words went unheeded by many.

Nonetheless, at 6am, I stepped into the main room, and unless John Digweed was teasing everyone with some funky, vocal tunes, it was time for me to come front and center for my dose of House Music. I literally dragged my entire entourage to the front, as I began expelling hours of stored dancing and unused energy. People stood around me tired from the journey of Digweed, looking at me and others like Toto in astonishment of our ability to move like we'd just arrived at the party. The joker grin was in full effect as Doc took the brave remaining few on a spiritual (yes, spiritual like that lispy guy on Eddie Amador's "House Music") journey. The music jumped right into me, the rhythm just existed. I was one with the sounds. I literally danced to the bathroom to refill my water bottle. For two hours, the vibe was so thick that a blade couldn't cut through it. We, the remaining few, were in a collective feeling. I told a friend, "I have waited for weeks, days, hours, minutes. I have stored up all of my energy and barely danced to anyone else's set just so that I could properly get into this sunrise set. I have reached the Promised Land!!!" With that, I fell on my knees to that filthy floor with hands uplifted. She was feeling it, too. The music was a guide towards a feeling of overall love, peace and happiness (okay, kind of like PLUR). It was indivisible by people strewn out on the sidelines, security making fun of the music, and a thinning party population. None of the factors that could work against the vibe could defeat the feeling. There was kinship with complete strangers. Doc was weaving vocal house and pounding tracks seamlessly.

Right when I thought I'd expire, he'd bring it back and change things up. He morphed vocal house into breaks, and finally, he transformed breakbeat into salsa house. At 8:15am, with the sun fully arisen, 80% of my entourage asleep in Harold's Mitsubishi, and the majority of ravers gone, I was doing the meringue. Needless to say, despite the inherent flaws of the party (overzealous, power-tripping security that wouldn't allow items that were green-lighted by Devin while not enforcing the "no sitting on the dancefloor" rule, the no-showing of two very important headliners I had wanted to see, and entirely too many piles of people), Josh Wink, Zinc (a Tru Playa in every sense of the term for playing that long), MC Rymetime, Clay Ivey, and especially Doc Martin saved everything. Once again, respect is due to LG for pulling off yet another massive for the Southeast in a year that has been plagued by overblown massives that have ended in far worse turmoil. I think we're all looking forward to March 31, 2001!!!!!

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