I finished my beer by the 8ft tall Christmas Tree at the bar down the street from the L train and ducked back into the chilly air, pushing past a few yupsters smoking American Spirits below the ironic red, neon sign that says BAR above the door to a place that sells artisanal cheeses and microbrews. It was that time of the month again, Vitamin B was back, and it was time for my fix of epic breaks.
I arrived on the early side because the guest opener, DJ Orange Krush was someone I definitely did not want to miss. A dj, designer & all around excellent human being, I first encountered her particular flavor of shake your booty, funky house & breaks on the Boom Boat, the Disorient day boat party, a day that is not to be missed if you are down with sick music with a cool mix of burners (just try to ignore the volume of bad “I’m on a boat” jokes made). She was rocking out the dance floor early on in the day and the crowd was eating it up. Tonight was no different. I arrived to see the sparsely populated dance floor swell. I give far more credit to DJs that make dance floors happen as opposed to just maintaining them. To get people out of their shells is much more difficult when they think they’re alone, so the music has to be that much better. And it was. The influences ran the gamut from Latin, to hip hop, tinges of chip, dashes of tech and this underlying bassline that just could not be ignored.
Interestingly, the DJ booth was in a different place, not elevated away from the people on the stage, but off to the side on the dance floor. This totally changed the feel of the room, and added a recognizable amount of sq. footage to the dance floor. It was so simple, but I’d never seen it done there, after attending events at House of Yes for years. The stage became an area for flow toys, hoops and the occasional poi spinner (glow not fire of course). This also put Orange Krush in arms reach of the dance floor, that gave the event this family-style vibe that Vitamin B already had in spades, so it was most welcome. After buying drinks for her & some others, I kicked back and enjoyed the transition as Tim the Enchanter took control of the sound.
Breaks are a genre that largely gives you what you put into it. The greater your awareness/understanding of the history of hip hop, funk, disco, drum & bass, house & techno, the better your breaks soup can be. I suppose it’s kind of like gumbo in that way. Every DJ that dabbles in breaks has their own flavor, and it’s a sound that is impossible to replicate by other DJs. Tim, like his partners in crime, Tektite & Barney Iller spins excellent breaks for precisely this reason. The breaks push through dozens of samples and the crowd continues to groove to the exceptionally compelling vibe and sheer volume of funk. By the time he handed off the decks to the guest DJ, Alex Funk, the place had pushed past critical mass and there was a full on, sick breaks party going down at House of Yes.
Any DJ that comes out of Charm City is going to have a special place in my heart. I spent years in Baltimore and took the bus up to parties in NYC because the city was so bereft of activity I could find. If I had known this dude was there, I would’ve been a lot happier of a guy. Alex Funk kept it together with one of the best uptempo dirty breaky, funky, electro’y sets I’ve heard in a very long time. I’d have tracks to recommend but that would assume that the beats, samples, vocal work, funky lines and ridiculous builds came from songs that I could even Shazam, much less recognize off-hand and remember. When you go through 30 in 4 minutes, the crowd is just along for the ride, and everyone’s better for it. The event remained comfortable throughout the evening, never getting too packed, rowdy or intoxicated, and the group loved every minute of it. There was a relaxed atmosphere that Tektite & his crew are known for ensuring, and tonight was no exception. Everything you’d want and expect from your friendly neighborhood breaks party.
This is Terry Gotham, see you on the dance floor.