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  Mirage 7.29.00
by Sterling McGarvey

Venue: The Masquerade - Atlanta, GA
Presented by: Mirage

Is it just me, or is the Masquerade quickly becoming one of the last free-standing venues in Atlanta? I've been asking myself that question since so many promoters have had to move their parties to the Masquerade in the wake of venue shake-ups. Mirage's event, on July 29th, brought back Florida breakbeat queen Baby Anne, San Francisco's Jerry Bonham, Dn'B wizard Trace from the UK, and Florida's Chris Fortier, among others. However, despite the quality lineup, there was something a bit off about this party.

The night kicked off with Virgil Lyon from Maine and Clay Ivey. However, I missed Virgil since I arrived after midnight. The time slots were shifted all around. I'm not sure if Heather Heart no-showed, or if she missed a flight, but she was not at the party. Therefore, the timeslots were completely rearranged. By the time I got there, Clay was kicking the techno in Hell, while Huntsville's Miss K was spinning jump-up in Heaven. Bobble had the UK Garage business in action in Purgatory. As Clay wound it up, Baby Anne stepped up, and, surprisingly, no raver boys fainted. Her track selection was good, but for some reason, I wasn't feeling it like I should have. I don't know if it was the sound, or the people. Perhaps it was a bit of both. I sensed a certain sourness in the overall feeling at the party. I floated nomadically from room to room. From upstairs, I saw division. Lots of heads were dancing, but many complained that Miss K trainwrecked a few times. I missed them, if she did. Purgatory was a bit vacant, but Bobble dropped a 2-Step remix of the Whispers' "Rock Steady" and I about lost my mind. The man waves the UK Garage/2-Step flag for this city, ladies and gentlemen.

I headed back upstairs, where Danny the Wildchild was rockin' it once again for the ATL massive. I, however, was rocking another Red Bull and Vodka and peering around. Something felt a bit odd about the evening. I thought to myself, "Excessive bar tab, check. Obnoxious T-shirt, check. Urge to groove, check. Wait, what are these fifty-somethings doing over there?" It turns out that this evening was many of we party people's first encounters with the Atlanta City Council. I, for one, had a problem with it, but I have since calmed down about it. Nonetheless, it made me feel rather uneasy. I felt a bit threatened by their presence, although many people didn't seem to even pay attention.

I headed back downstairs to listen to the rest of Baby Anne's set. Afterwards, POPin, Otto, and I all met her. She was very nice, and thankfully, had a great sense of humor (yes, we did the Sandra Collins "DJ Ho" T-Shirt thing with Baby Anne, too). When she finished up, Jerry Bonham, of the legendary Spundae events in San Francisco, stepped up with an impressive progressive house mix that got even me, the non-trance enthusiast, out on the dancefloor moving.

After some good dancing, I headed upstairs to hear Trace, who I was looking most forward to hearing. He lived up to the hype. I was in a tech step mood that night (when haven't you heard any this summer?), and he definitely delivered the goods. I definitely have to say that the highlight of his set was the Dn'B remix of "Jack's House." To me, that kind of genre crossing is incredible. I think it's akin to making a Chicago House remix of Goldie's "Inner City Life," to put it all in perspective. After Trace stepped down, Ego Rock closed up the DnB room upstairs in Heaven with the assistance of his lovely vocalist, Suont, who was definitely representing with the Afro wig!

Downstairs, Chris Fortier was dropping trance for the masses, though the masses seemed a bit on the thin side. Nonetheless, he did an excellent job. By the time Chris was leaving with his record crate, and Trace was all done, so was I. All in all, this party had some relatively good music, but the overall feeling was very awry at this party. It just had a very sour vibe, and that hurt it a lot. Perhaps it was the perceived threat of the Atlanta City Council's attendance, or it was due to other factors, such as a relatively lackluster crowd presence, but something was very off that night. Nonetheless, my hat goes off to Maxwell and Kevin for bringing some more high-caliber talent to the ATL!

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