“Excuse me, could you please make some room and let him through? We have a celebrity in our midst!!”
I thought nothing of it until I looked up and saw Guncle, the St. Peter of Brooklyn’s pearliest & most ephemeral of gates, ushering me forward. As he is one of the most visible and delightful members of the underground, the line parted like the Nile, as we all know not to question the man when he wants something. After presenting my ticket, I received my wristband from Bob Bob-omb, the resident Techno Viking of Digital Native. In case you weren’t aware that East Coast burner camps had techno vikings, one would only need to look down to reconfirm this fact, as there were two large swords on the check-in desk, which were a wonderful way of reminding people coming in off the street not to screw with this party. Digital Native was here with The Love Muscle, and they weren’t getting pushed around by anyone while having a good time. After thanking my friends Guncle & Bob (it’s Mr. Bob-omb when you’ve done something wrong), I dropped off my outerwear & headed to the bar to take in the space. The BEX was there, performing, keeping the attention of the crowd on the dance-floor, DJ booth, and generally being the Mistress of Ceremonial Awesome that only she can be. The combination of sound, well-costumed staff, the alt-culture bus and the ridiculous art made me want to dust my costume off and take a sip from my camelbak if you know what I mean.
I’m not really sure how to describe this, but I felt like I was on the playa. Considering I was standing inside of a concrete box on the ass end of January, I know I have some explaining to do. The space was cut in 2 by an art car (bus), conjuring the dance floor and giving the projectionist (VJ Krunch killing it as usual) on the top of the thing a place to mount their sweet technology. This bathed the already exceptionally well lit room in another layer of complex-amazing, which provided even more eye candy if you got bored of staring at the other partygoers. VJ Krunch was accompanied by Craig Johnson II in the bus who was pushing out some interesting live art on a laptop. It was definitely hypnotic to watch them work from the various stations on the bus while painting the room with sweet creative goodness.
The dance floor was ringed by other vehicles that reminded strongly of art-cars, the body painting area and of course the bar. For those of us that have made the counter-culture Hajj that is the trek out to Black Rock City, it felt like a dance floor ringed with camp accoutrements somewhere on the Esplanade or Ring A. The center of the space had a huge color changing heart (container, if you put enough hours into Zelda) flooding the dance floor in soft, warm light, while the DJ booth had just enough of a stage in front of it to let 2 people spin glow-poi simultaneously. Or, a pack of sexy, costume-festooned bodies gyrating to the stupidly good big room music DJ Pony was pushing out of the system. While I’d definitely heard whispers in the darkness that DJ Pony was not or could not be a a main-room/big-house DJ, anyone who was in that space was summarily dismissed of that fear with extreme prejudice.
I can’t say I’ve ever done anything but scoff at the notion, but I was particularly pleased by just how totally encompassing the set’s feel was. Pony demanded your absolute attention, putting sounds and bass through the speakers that I’d never heard from him, and I was the random guy paying attention to him at 10 AM, Sunday morning at PEX Summer Fest last year. While it was of course still house music, there was a dimension to it that I’d not heard before. Extra bass, more layering, additional chords, more tracks being mixed in at once, SOMETHING. It was different, it was better, and it didn’t stop. DJ Pony was spinning for so long, I honestly had a moment or two where I forgot other parties & DJs existed, and it wasn’t all just DJ Pony forever. The deep, soulful beats that I was used to hearing from him came with a muscle, a need to rage, a “this is my time, and I’m gonna freaking enjoy myself” swagger. It also generated a diverse & deliciously decadent set of disguised dancers on the stage in front of the booth.This wasn’t something in the track list or the vocal samples, but it really felt as if people had come there to hear DJ Pony set it off, and, he did so. Between the burners, DJ Pony’s fans and the random people that just heard there was a good party going down on Starr St. the floor got a little epic, and I excused myself to explore the chill-space.
The second/chill space not only had Silent Disco headphones but a serious amount of blinky-shiny. The Dome Star, provided by Hack Rock City, draped over one of the geodesic domes, while the other was covered allowing a bit more privacy. The bus had even more room to sit and chill, while still being able to both hear and see DJ Pony kill it on the dance floor. When you use bus as a wall you get windows. Producers, take note 😀
After trying some of Chris Ofner’s flags for a while, I headed back to the dance floor & I was brought to a screeching halt, literally mid-step, by what I was hearing. Alex Funk had replaced DJ Pony behind the decks and while he’d started out with a sexy, uptempo house feel, I was listening to the building strains of “Traffic” tonally shifted and remixed exquisitely. There was Trance in my House, and I was loving every second of it. Astonishingly, the crowd agreed. I generally assume I’m the only person in NYC who likes trance music, especially when it comes to Burning Man camp-sponsored parties, but it stayed on the progressive & sexy side and both the wander-ins and the regulars couldn’t get enough of it. It tapered off a few minutes later back into a quality progressive, but non-anthemy house set that was less breaky than I expected from Monsieur Funk but totally enjoyable. One small step for trance, one giant leap for trancekind. And, because I happen to know a man on the inside (i.e. I follow Alex Funk on soundcloud), I can provide for you the experience all to yourself. My soundgasm takes place around 17 minutes in.
A Burner camp party off the Jefferson Street stop on the L train, art cars, heat lamps, black lights, fur coats, body suits, flag raving, your gay uncle wearing fuzzy pajama pants, two-handed swords and some of the best music around. I knew it was going to be the party of the month, but I didn’t know I was going to the first viable entry for “Party of 2013.” Congratulations are well deserved all around as this was a triumph. I’m making a note here. Huge success. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.
This is Terry Gotham, see you on the dance floor.
(Pictures by Mayfly Burner & Anna Kadysheva – annaphotos.com)