Little Louie Vega 5.26.01
by Sterling McGarvey
Venue: eleven50 - Atlanta, GA
What comes to mind when you think of Memorial Day weekend?
Remembering those who've sacrificed themselves for this nation?
Overblown, overbudgeted Hollywood-hyped bullshit at the multiplex on fifteen screens that a drunken chimp could have written and directed?
Well, whatever comes to your mind about Memorial Day weekend, the last Saturday of May 2001 was one that brought a rare treat for Atlanta:
Little Louie Vega. Need more be said? Just in case you're not sure....
Masters At Work.
Has remixed every pop diva that MTV has fetishized over the last decade.
Worked with everyone from Janet Jackson to Tito Puente to Roy Ayers.
Suffice it to say, if you were any sort of House enthusiast and you weren't in Detroit, you were likely at this party. Or sick. Or flat broke.
The evening kicked off early with some delectable tapas courtesy of ACQUA, which served up just the right dining for a night of hardcore floor stomping. A little bit of grilled chicken, some beans and rice washed down with a Heineken later, and it was time to let the music start. After some hand wringing waiting for the tunes to set in, the sounds of soulful House wafted through one of the city's fastest growing favorite clubs. It was, interestingly, a CD being played. Who was the DJ in que? ATL's own Motomasa. If you have any doubt that this mix was utterly complimentary to an evening of smooth sounds, e-mail the man himself for a copy of the mix. It just felt like a perfect way to start up the evening.
About forty-five minutes into the disc, eleven50's resident DJ, Richard Leslie, faded out of the mix into the James Bond theme. He was definitely aiming to get the Buckhead/Midtown clubbers out and moving on the dancefloor. Sure enough, as soon as a deep, tribal track pounded out of the speakers, it was all the crowd needed to get moving. Deep House has a funny way of making some people simulate intercourse to make up for their dancing skills, no?
After running into familiar faces, I got a drink and began to stake my spot on the dancefloor. It didn't take long. Room for dancing started dwindling quickly as many on the dancefloor eagerly anticipated a long-awaited fix of Little Louie Vega. Hell, even those who just wanted to come somewhere and dance were front and center on the floor.
Hands waving like a prayer session at Sunday service. Only we were about nine hours earlier than the congregation.
Witnessing the sounds like people testifying in the pews.
Singing the gospel of House music, and the way it just reaches into you and makes it all feel right.
The stage cleared up, and I was up there like a grandmother at the front of the congregation. Testifying. Feeling it.
I couldn't ID his tracks like I can many DJ sets, and I didn't care. It didn't matter whether anyone could trainspot. The sounds pouring out of the speakers were too damn good to worry about their familiarity. Until....
"I FEEL IT!!"
Suddenly, I felt a surge of energy rush over the crowd in a way I hadn't been fortunate enough to witness since Sasha in October 2000. Jumping. Shouting. Singing. It was everything from before, but more frantic. More energized. It was as though Louie turned the volume up on the crowd.
As I dragged my weary body from the club, Louie was throwing down tracks in the spirit of Larry Levan. Seriously, how many big House DJ's who've visited Atlanta have thrown down Bob Marley's "Could You Be Loved" and The Clash's "Rock the Casbah" in their sets? Not only that, but play the originals, and not some revved-up "Club" remix? Now that's Garage!
Little Louie Vega's set was something amazing. Those who were blessed enough to witness are out proselytizing the gospel of House to those willing to listen, I'm sure.
Props to Byron, Richard, and the eleven50 staff for creating such a great environment for Louie to play in, and definite respect goes to Motomasa, whose mix is still in heavy rotation on my CD player.
New York Underground: The Nu Groove Years
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