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  Sasha 10.28.00
by Sterling McGarvey

Venue: eleven50
Presented by: Liquid Groove

SashaSaturday, October 28, 2000 was a landmark evening for the Atlanta party scene. Once again, a spin on tradition made for an event that was completely unforgettable, and definitely ranks highly as one of my favorite events that I have ever attended, hands down. As tradition has gone (with the exception of a notorious slip-up last year), Sasha has always come to Atlanta on the weekend before Halloween for a Liquid Groove anniversary party. Somehow, I always managed to never be able to make it to those parties. I missed the last Halloween '98 presales by five minutes, and the line at Nike was around the corner when the APD came to break it up and send several angry party kids and myself home with crushed hopes. 1999 at Studio Central is a whole other can of worms. Many decried this year's anniversary, since it was Sasha's third visit to Atlanta this year. However, their complaints would have likely been silenced had they attended this party.

Seldom has an event been thrown at a more perfect venue than [eleven50, which used to be] Axys/Petrus. It felt like some sort of extensive playland of clubber adults. This is a club you would imagine seeing in a film. The outdoor fountain was festooned with heads and skeletons. The balcony allowed one to view the sea of humanity that rippled below. My words truly cannot do this venue and its magnificence justice. You could name any DJ that most of us would throw rotten fruit at, and if you put him/her in this venue, the mediocrity of their sounds would be meaningless if the stacks of speakers and the decorum were set up properly. Now, enough with the awe over the venue. I will refocus on that later.

Hands down, I don't think I've ever liked a set by Jimmy Van Malleghem as much as I did that night. Jimmy was throwing down deep progressive house. What made it so interesting was that he kept the progressiveness minimal at first, and concentrated on the downtempo, pounding sounds. Slowly, he began to up the melodies and let them flow. From the time that he started out minimal to the time that he really let loose, the crowd had at least doubled, and many were costumed. I saw afros bobbing. I saw Neo's dancing with Trinity's. I saw dark angels in leather smacking unfortunate souls behind them with their wings. Some guy was on stilts. Catwomen were buying drinks. Southern belles mingled with deliberately awful-looking drag queens. Pimps were getting down. The costumes definitely added a nice air to the feel of the crowd. It seemed, indeed, that the 21 and up restriction brought out many who hadn't partied in a while. Faces that were once familiar elements of the old Nike crowd resurfaced. The party felt like one big family reunion without the fighting drunken uncles and belligerent cousins. Time was a lost concept, as the only issue about time came down to the fateful question: "Sasha goes on at twelve, right?" After Jimmy got the party worked up, our Welsh friend Mr. Coe broke out his magic record case for the third and oh-so charming time in 2000 for Atlanta.

Rather than using the old cliché that his set sounded like one long set, I will say this: Sasha gave my Saturday night an incredibly kickass soundtrack as I looked around at all of the killer costumes and beautiful people lumped together on the dancefloor. To be in that moment, in that place was something of wonder. It wasn't necessarily that I was surrounded by friends, but that I didn't feel lonely or isolated for more than five minutes ever. Everywhere I turned, there was someone I knew, or someone who was with an acquaintance of mine. Gorgeous sounds emanated from walls of Turbosound. We went on a journey. Every last one of us. Not necessarily into space, like those corny intros on cheesy trance anthems would have you believe. But we definitely felt the spirit of the rest of the crowd. We transcended our bills, and our worries. We transcended any monotony in our lives. We were in the moment. I knew that once I looked around and someone's wings slapped me in the arm, and I snapped out of my wondrous awe. By the time he hit his finale, we were all hyped. His second to last track sounded an awful lot like Club Fiesta's self-titled track, if it wasn't the track itself. The salsa vibe was a definite switch from the progressive sound, but it was so refreshing at 4am to hear.

Finally, he was finished. The crowd was starting a "Sasha" chant. Alas, to no avail. Mr. Coe was finished freaking us for the evening. Devin took a moment to thank everyone for coming. Many people stayed around momentarily, either to reunite with lost companions or for one last bask in the beauty of the venue. I'd have to say that hands down, this was one of the best events that I've ever had the fortune of attending. Hats are absolutely off to Devin and Damian for an incredible evening. I, and I'm sure much of the older Atlanta crowd, eagerly await the next 21+ events that Liquid Groove might have under their sleeve.

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