Seks-Mas with Deep Dish 12.20.2002
by Damon Fonooni
photos by Martynas Simokaitis
Shitty weather, and yet it was another chance to enjoy some Seks with two of my house music mentors. I was all over that like white on rye.
The first thing I noticed upon my entrance was a fantastic increase in the quality of the usually very decent e50 sound system. Well, I should clarify; the first thing I noticed was the makeshift "Winter Wonderland" that was the theme and decor for the night. Several inches of artificial snow covered the floor and giant snowflakes hung from the ceiling. "Hmm," I thought, "How are people going to be able to get his groove on in this?" And sure enough, moments later people mentioned they had already "gracefully" fallen in the now wet, plastic snow. The attempt at bringing an early white Christmas was much appreciated though, as touches like that really have an effect on the atmosphere inside.
Now back to the sound. The usual sound system that e50 incorporates had been added upon, and on that night there were extra mid to high range speakers hanging from the ceiling, a total of six if I remember correctly? This, as well as the absence of distortion in low-end (unlike the precious time Deep Dish had visited), made for clarity and boom beyond belief.
I arrived at eleven50 that night in time to hear about thirty minutes of Gene Carbonell's opening set. As always, the bringer of all that is tribal and techy in our city had all the bodies grooving to his twisted take on house music. Gene was playing from the stage set up in the center of the club, which meant a much tighter vibe and sound. While I looked around and took note of the unusual mixture of people in attendance, I nodded my head and grinned in approval of Gene's choo-choons.
As Deep Dish and Co. entered and took the stage, I noticed another similarly Iranian person by their side, who I was later told was a cameraman for MTV, filming Deep Dish as part of a new series on DJs. As Gene stepped down around midnight, Ali stepped up and tweaked an FX sweep out of the speakers that washed away into nothing short of a dubby, broken-beat track. I looked around and saw the heads just bobbing in one big rasta-mess. For the next two hours, Ali played innately groovey music: it was deep and techy, nothing overboard, just like Deep Dish's characteristic sound years ago. Amidst the music, there were sounds that were reminiscent of classic records with a techier house edge, and although he started bombarding the audience with vocal after vocal, the music was oh so good. Amongst the housey selection, he played Ricky Montanari's and Davide Ruerto's "Redzone." And I heard quite a few people give the old "Ali's part of the set didn't really go anywhere," which I solidly disagree with. He reinstilled my faith in Deep Dish and our house music, because the music he played was of a subtle tone, saturated in tech-house, but with enough drive to not let the listener go. Many of you will remember that this sound is exactly what made Deep Dish originally stand outtheir way of incorporating techno into house music.
Sharam took his stance behind the decks at about 2:30 am, and there was an immediate change of pace and energy in the music. Ali's final track, DDD's (as in Deep Dish and Danny Howells) "Nobody Listens to Techno," a naughty remix of Eminem's track, really knocked the place down. In my opinion it was the tune of the night, and don't assume it's cheesy because it is a tune cut up with real tech-house class. And the sounds became more progressive and more tribal, and then, well, more Eighties. Sharam pitched up the records and dished out music with a harder edge to the crowd. He went from tribal and techy to progressive and breaky and back and forth, and in one foul swoop managed to incorporate several remixes of Eighties songs, amidst these a cheeky bootleg mix called "Kinky Obsession," which is Howells and Trevor's "Kinkyfunk" mashed up with the eighties track "You're My Obsession." One of the biggest tracks he played was PQM's "While You Were Sleeping" (the "exclusive to Deep Dish only" remix by Luke Chable vs PQM). He also bestowed on the audience the forthcoming Dean Coleman track on Yoshitoshi called "Contact," and to top it all off, he played that into an unknown remix of Coldplay's "Clocks" with looping piano riffs to melt the soul and an abstract broken retro beat to shake the bon-bon. By about 4:00 am, Sharam basically stopped mixing altogether and just started enjoying the moment, throwing on record after record that were as varied in sound as Robbie Rivera to Choo Choo, with of course the occasional Yoshitoshi tune thrown in for good measure.
All in all, it was a night that I thoroughly enjoyed, and for the first time in literally months, a night that inspired me musically. As I'm sure many of you reading this will agree, this barely happens anymore, which is a shame. But at the same time, it also makes it so much more meaningful and valuable when I get home from a night of great music and for the next few days I'm mentally stuck in a state of class house music, which is just how I like my Deep Dish.
On a final note, I want to show my appreciation to Brett and Darbi who help me out with events, but I would especially like to say thank you to Martynas. A lot of you are unfamiliar with this name, but he is the one behind a many of the pictures you see on the reviews on this site, namely the really good ones ;-). Martynas has a real passion and love for our music and for his photographymuch respect to my enthusiastic partner in crime!
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