by Raving Is Not A Crime
Venue: The Atrium - Stone Mountain, GA
SEVEN was one of the most anticipated events of this summer. Shapeshifter did an excellent job of generating buzz, and the players themselves attracted this kind of attention. How can you not with these names: Sandra Collins, Christopher Lawrence, and Danny Tenaglia? The rest of the lineup was no pushover either: ODI, UFO-cancelled due to booking conflict, A Guy Called Gerald (does anyone remember "Voodoo Ray"?!), Metrodub, and our local talents like Steven Sacks, Gene Carbonell, et al.
People were coming from all over (the Alabama element, yikes), especially with Danny T's announcement of a special sunrise set. Anticipations were high, and I expected a complete sell-out SRO performance! I was not disappointed.
I won't bog us down with the usual diatribe about security, responsibility, and blah blah blah. Let's just accept these immutable facts/truths:
I arrived early, because of social responsibilities I agreed to be the host for some different groups of people Saturday night. The parking lot was an interesting juxtaposition as the plaza regulars were leaving, and the kidz started showing up. I watched and waited, and, a little to my alarm, 11 o'clock rolled by and I hadn't heard the music start yet. The lines had started to form (and collapse into the usual mob of people). Déjà vu of Platipus '99 at Phenomena's troubles.
[MEAN PEOPLE SUCK. So do greedy people. There was this guy going around hawking glowsticks at the price of $5 for two. When purchased directly from a mass distributor, in "un"poplular color of white and yellow, glowsticks are dirt cheap. I mean they're probably around a quarter or two. I don't know about you, but none of us are independently wealthy [ha!], so I wanted to teach this guy a lesson. I approached one of his underlings, and took the entire lot for 50 cents a piece. This gives you an idea of how much profit was there, if they could afford to sell it at 50 cents a piece! I went through the line of people, and just flooded it. He came by complaining about "How am I supposed to make a living if you give it away for free?" That kind of mark-up is ripping people off. I'm sorry, but that's not how I define positiva vibe.]
They finally started admitting people very slowly before midnight. It's amazing how a few simple treats like glowsticks and candy can keep the mood of the crowd all nice, flow-y and happy!! Right before I entered, I heard the first sounds kick out of the speaker. SEVEN was about to begin!
As usual, the Atrium was split into the main room, the jungle room, and the 21-and-over lounge (chill-out room). The jungle room had the normal DJ area, and an area onstage where the MCs would later do their thing live on the speakers. They had also added this green pointer laser that shot out at the oddest of angles.
The chill-out room had some kind of looping video showing. Very basic (I mean *very* basic, it lasted around two minutes), and the room looked populated with "front-porch" ravers (a lot of people who heard it was cool to come to a rave, and sit). I met a lovely couple from Alabama in there. I also saw this Harley Davidson t-shirt. Time to go check out the Main Room, after downing a quick drink.
PAWN had setup the lasers to fire from the rear entrance, to the mesh over the dividing short wall on the dance floor. It was a little misaligned, but the twenty-three argon lasers put on quite a show throughout the night. The new routines with the shuttle and the satellite were intricate. I wish we had a deeper room, a wider mesh to see all of their tricks!!
The stage was set for a live PA. Each of the featured DJ's had his/her own poster in the background, and a singular spotlight would brighten the respective poster during the set. What a great idea! Practical, and decorative too. Of course, the obligatory film on the projected wall [they showed a Scooby movie for the second one, of course!].
I'm uncertain of the orders and lengths of the local DJ's sets, as UFO's cancellation meant some juggling of schedule. In the beginning, between checking out the jungle room and chill-out room, it was what I called 'ambient house' (I wonder which DJ that was) [Editor's note: We believe it was Michael Scott.], and that played for a good while. Pretty. Slightly dance-y. With respect to house-roots, but my love is for hard, hard trance. I continued to wander between the main room, jungle room (I liked the DJ that opened) [Editor's note: We believe it was ninjaKid.], and chill-out room. Time passed quickly as I saw faces I knew and smiled at others for the first time.
The masses continued to stream in. By the time Metrodub got going, it was quite crowded. Was it too crowded to dance? Maybe. Were there some rude people pushing and shoving about? In a crowd this size, always. And what about the kids who came to sit on the floor in traffic? That, and the people who congregate and socialize for extended periods of time, without regards to others around them, I will never understand. Metrodub's set was quite short, it felt like around 75 minutes? Regardless, they had started to really work the crowd up. More people were dancing, and more people were bumping into each other.
Unlike other venues (Phenomena, Tabernacle, etc.), my criticism for the Atrium is the lack of division. Because of the way the main room and jungle room open up to each other, you don't have a real split (acoustically), and while the cacophony is interesting, it is nonetheless, cacophony. I think that's also why fewer people dance in the hallways like at Phenomena or Tabernacle. Too many beats, even for the best jungle kidz.
The next sound that poured out of the speakers was from the Trance Goddess herself, Sandra Collins. Her set was comparable in the energy level to the set at Plush (partially to push her Fragrant release 'Lost in Time'), but a somewhat different collection of music. That is a good thing. I started to really dance my ass off. I think everyone else around was in an equal frenzy. I barely noticed the change over to Christopher Lawrence. I'm sure all the boys around the DJ booth did though. A few were definitely drooling over Sandra. I recall the crowd cheering once, when she played the "The World is Flat" remix by Hal Stucker. What a pumping track!
The night would still have been enough, had Sandra been the only artist, but we got Christopher Lawrence too! I was in heaven. I know I cheered and screamed a couple of times during his set possibly to the alarms of people around me. I wonder how many people recognize the calibre of skills and talent this man has it was his song "Shredder" that pulsated the room; it was his song "Renegade" that induced the dancing; I was mad mad mad. I'm telling you, my blood cells could not move fast enough when he played Joshua Ryan's "Pistol Whipped." He laid down some serious trax, as did all of us near that front speaker. It was sheer ecstasy. Of course, on top of the music, I had also the laser light show, the ever-present omni-glow, and all that moving, happy, dancing, smiling, positiva energy all around me. So if I sounded delusional that night (or now, for that matter), I was. This was my highlight of the night/event.
In a way, I didn't want his set to end. But it was finally time for the Tenaglia sunrise show. I think a lot of people came just for this. A few in our group left shortly after Danny came on, because they said 'it got slow, and the energy was gone.' (Well, maybe they were tired too, but I digress.) I think you need to keep in mind that at this stage of his career, Danny understands what the crowd wants and knows what to deliver. I can see if he had a "specific" set he wanted to play. No, I'm not critiquing pre-programming. 'Cause you never know. SEVEN may turn up as one of those Global Underground 99: Atlanta Sessions! Because I saw him, he wasn't spinning because it was his job for the time. He was spinning like he meant business.
Sure, it was drastically different from what Metrodub, Sandra, and Christopher had been building up all night. Yet I thought it was an awesome set. He started out almost acid/ambient minimal, and built it all the way up. Tore it down. And cranked it all the way back up again.
PAWN took a break, and the fog machines went into over-drive, and the room was a veil. I felt nothing but the music. Even the spotlight on Danny's poster had been masked to a pre-dawn roan. I have to applaud all this effort to capture the perfect feel of a sunrise set. The music was basslines, but with less edge. It was soothing, but still beckoned you to dance. Oh, and that we did do, the few(er) die-hard who pounded our feet, swung our arms, dipped our heads to the very last beat never letting up from the get-go.
Again, a crowd of followers had gathered around the booth to watch Danny work. I needed a small break (my mind said keep dancing, but my legs were screaming from the pain). I watched him spin with such ease and with fervor. Before 8AM rolled around, the rude people were gone (yay), there was just this man, his music, and us. It was truly a great ending to a wonderful night.
I was not able to stay until the last track, and the increasing luminance of the sunlight outside (and the noise that vacuum truck/sweeper made) reminded me of the daytime obligation lay ahead. I was exhausted but not sleepy, my head humming with all the positiva feedback I've gotten all night from the music and people. I said my goodbyes to friends new and old, and danced to one final song and left.
I want to conclude with a big THANK YOU to Shapeshifter for throwing this party, I wish I could personally thank all the DJ's for the enjoyment they brought me (Danny Tenaglia may have been the headliner, but Christopher Lawrence stole the show!!), and kudos for all those other people, whose hard work behind the scene ensured a rather flawless 12 hours (even if we did go offline with those speakers for the briefest of moments in the main room!). If you expressed love toward me during the night, right back at you. If you didn't, well, I can only hope you'll be enlightened one day. And to those EIGHT people who stayed with me, by the speakers, dancing non-stop 'til the end...what can I say, you guys/gals were the best! See you at the next party.
_(e) 99_ What ambient is to your ears, trance is to your feet _
Contributing writer Raving Is Not A Crime has been following the music for over 9 years, and lives and breathes trance and techno.
Editor's note: Check out the Seven scrapbook. Unfortunately, we only have a few images from the jungle room. We sincerely apologize for this oversight. The hoppin' jungle room was host to many talented people, such as Reverb resident DJ Odi and locals Isis and Bombazi.
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