by Sterling McGarvey
Venue: North Atlanta Trade Center - Atlanta, GA
Suffice it to say that a few months back in my review of the second Liquified Universe, I was a bit wrong in my predictions. I assumed that March 31, 2001 would bring us yet another massive Liquid Groove production at the North Atlanta Trade Center. That did not happen.
Instead, Atlanta was graced by an influx of globally recognized drum n' bass talents. Dieselboy. DJ Hype. PFM. Last but not least, one of my hands-down favorite DJs/Producers, LTJ Bukem. They were, with the exception of our domestic talents, equipped with world class MCs. Conrad took up the task of taking the crowd on yet another journey through the uplifting, skybound tracks of Good Looking Records. MC GQ proved to the crowd (did they really need proof?) that his verbal skills are tantamount to those of Muhammad Ali's boxing skills when it comes to spitting out flows on the mic. The man floated over the vocals and stung where it counted.
With all of this talent, you figure that the party would be something fierce, right? Well, it was, but it reminded me a lot of a classic Clint Eastwood Western. No, not the one where the orangutan hangs out with him and he says "Make my day." Not the one that won an assload of Oscars, either. Yeah, you know, the one with all the adjectives in the title!
No. Wait, wait, wait. I'm not a totally evil person. ;) Let's take that old cliché and flip it backwards.
The Ugly: It all comes back to timeslots. Timeslots, timeslots, timeslots! When you have a large group of young kids with mad energy to burn off, it's really harsh putting intelligent drum n' bass on from 11pm to 1am unless that's the vibe of the night. It worked gorgeously last September at the Pleazure/Playhouse return of LTJ Bukem, but when you've got the diversity of Bukem, a long awaited return of a sonic originator in the genre, and perhaps America's finest drum n' bass DJ (and they were all fresh out of WMC, mind you!), it just doesn't work. What happens? You have a crowd that's totally not into the sound, thus killing the vibe that makes an intelligent set so powerful. Sure enough, just as soon as GQ took the mic, the crowd got en fuego with the quickness!
Discrepancies in flight bookings suck. End rant.
Then there was that incident...
The Bad: ...I believe it was the eternal beacon of wisdom, Ol' Dirty Bastard, who said, "When it rains, it pours." Boy, was he ever right! I'll just condense a lot of story that's probably secondhand info into one simple fact: The music cut off for a few minutes. Hundreds of Atlantans nearly lost it in the Atlanta/DeKalb Center. I was awfully worried that one of our friends at the DeKalb County Sheriff's Dept. decided to pull the plug. At least my worst fears were quelled as GQ took the mic and everyone stampeded back in to take their places on the dancefloor. My other gripe would be that too many people seemed very disinterested in the music, which is about as good for keeping a party going as feeding a pigeon some Alka-Seltzer to prolong its health. Oh, and daylight savings time bit us on the ass.
The Good: If this party were a children's book, it would be called How the Mighty Damian Saved the Party. Unfortunately, I was 45 minutes too late for Edo. PFM was Pure F'n Magic, Bukem was great, but it was hard to enjoy their sets when one is trying to dance and bumps into a bunch of kids standing like walls waiting for Hype. Hype was good, but after a while, the vibe just waned to the point that the music wasn't going to cut it. Then, as the sounds of classic jump-up melted into WMC's hottest techstep and neurofunk dubplates, something happened.
It was right around the time I was in the middle of a conversation when I heard it. A familiar robotic voice demanded, "Drop your weapon; you have thirty seconds to comply...you have fifteen seconds to comply...." It was "ED-209" by the Usual Suspects (thanks, Ant!), and that voice sample was straight out of the scene in Robocop that damn near got the movie an "X" rating. From that point on in the evening, my Kool-Aid smile was in full effect. As Dieselboy dropped savage track after savage track and the crowd thinned down to about one or two hundred people, it became clear as day that his closing slot was the best thing that could have happened at this event.
The lights began to cut on (see the last sentence of The Bad). It was then that the intensity that I'd been waiting for all night fired up. For five minutes, there was a force that moved through the crowd. We knew that any minute, he was going to finish up, and our pals at Black Shield Security would be unceremoniously giving us the boot. I got so hyped that I decided to share my water with an overheated crowd, and I'm not talking about passing the bottle of water around for sipping, either. Everyone got splashed. Everyone was having a killer time. Even Devin was standing on a speaker with his hands in the air! It was one of those moments one talks about when discussing great occurances at parties.
Pressure had some problems going for it. The timeslots created a collective wave of bitching on the Lunar General Forum. The power outage to the sound system was awful. However, one Mr. Higgins of Philadelphia deserves a fat "S" on his chest for pulling up a crowd that was ready to totally write the party off as another disastrous party. In the end, most of the people who stayed until the end went home satisfied with the outcome.
The 6ixth Session
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