by Brent Crampton
:::: loom Anniversary Recap ::::
Last Thursday at España felt like more than 100 of your closest friends decided to reenact Honey I Shrunk The Kids and squeeze into a lunch pale that was swirling in circles inside a microwave of universal lunch-meat beats. Instead of 50 cents for a 2% milk box, I was giving (and mouth-spraying) $3-bottle champagne showers on the crowd as DJ Shif-D was bringing us all a little closer to our Medicare-provided hearing aids. Oh, and the teacher must have been absent from the room, because not only were the kids out of their seats and on the dance floor, but some where getting shoulder rides and crowd surfing.
It was a pleasantly chaotic night, indeed. Since Daniel Muller was hosting a time-lapse photo shoot in his studio next door (which I'll post later), we invited Lucas Marshall to capture the night. Check out all his photos here.
:::: RBMA On The Floor w/ Peanut Butter Wolf @ New BLK Recap ::::
Oh, what can be said about this night … Peanut Butter Wolf (PBW) is a living hip hop legend that not only completely flipped Omaha's lid, but also brought out a pure gold-era form of the music that was completely refreshing. From proper hip-hop music being DJd, break dancers & b-boys, MCs and contemporary art & visuals on the walls (sans graffiti), I walked away feeling as if the true spirit of hip-hop peacefully and dynamically lived within those four walls that night.
The Midtown Maruaders, led by Conchance and Kethro, put down the best opening performance I've seen from the crew. Dojorok then proceeded to scratch up a storm so fast I thought we'd all wind up next to Dorothy standing in awe in the valley of Oz.
By that time, the basement gallery was stacked like layers of lasagna as people etched closer for a tip-toe look at PBW stepping up to the booth. The projector switched on and PBW's tracks were simultaneously visually displayed on the wall while he DJd them. This created ample opportunity for laughs and education. For example, a Tribe Called Quest documentary recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Since PBW was the music supervisor for that project, he played for us exclusive footage of the very first Tribe performance. And the anything-does mentality of PBW's set was best exemplified when he dropped the music for a few minutes just to play an embarrassing Bill O'Reilly news blooper.
What was supposed to be a 70-minute set for PBW turned into a two-hour rampage of fun that closed out the night.
It's not often that you get to see a living-legend DJ on a Sunday night in a sweaty art gallery basement for only $5. Credit for that spicy number goes to Red Bull Music Academy. A crowd of more than 40-some musicians, DJs, rockers and hip-hop'ers we're blessed up with a Q&A session with PBW before the gig at Enamel Studio, thanks to RBMA. John Shartrand was there to document. Check his photo essay here.
:::: WMC & SXSW ::::
As I write this, I'm sorely missing out on balmy weather laced with palmy skylines in Miami for the Winter Music Conference. I'm getting all nostalgic, so I posted a photo from last year's conference where I'm pictured with a very drunk Tim Sweeney of Beats In Space. Currently, I know that Ultimate Downhill Machines are down there. Not sure if anyone else is representing from Omaha or Lincoln this year. No?
If so, I'd love to hear how things are transpiring for my feature next week, so let me know.
Myself on the other — I'm skipping WMC this year for a first-ever SXSW experience. I'm totally bumming it this year, thanks to advise for various wise-musicans. I'll be car pooling and hotel-floor crashing while sustaining myself with 5-hours of sleep a night, PBR tall boys and sidewalk pizza.
If any of you local DJs are heading down, give me a heads up on that as well.
:::: State of the Goo-nion ::::
I remember the days when it seemed that all that the Goo promoters had to do to get 300 to 400 sweaty kids to pack into Slowdown was to throw up a flyer graphic on their Myspace page. It was incredible to witness the birth of a new type of dance sound and scene relative to Omaha. It was an exciting time where the skilled ego of the DJ didn't matter, and having cutting edge tracks just wasn't a concern. People just wanted to get crazy. That was circa 2008-2009.
Flash forward to in December of 2010, a Creighton student by the name of Cameron Padron put together a documentary for a class project on Omaha's electronic dance music scene. He highlighted the importance of Omaha's old-school rave scene, loom, Chris Massara's Loud party and Gunk. While the 18-minute dou was in no way meant to be comprehensive, nowhere in the mix was mention of Goo and its relevant history in paving the way for a new brand of dance parties in Omaha.
Just a mistaken overlook or a product of a lack of Goo's presence in Omaha as of late?
Well, Goo drops at Waiting Room this Thursday in an 18+ scenario (a departure from the 21+ Slowdown events). I caught up with Goo founder and member of The Faint, Jacob Thiele, to get some insight on the current goo-state of things.
On a side note, with The Faint on an extended hiatus, Thiele has shifted focus to a dance-forward production trio called Depressed Buttons. Along with Todd Fink and Clark Baechle, the three have recently dropped two EPs on Diplo's Mad Decent label and have been booking gigs in near and far places around the globe. So while they may not be crooning the aisle's of indie dance rock, they are making relevant contributions to EDM.
[Crampton] Unrelated but an interesting set of coincidence: Gunk's next party at Waiting Room is going to be 21+ because of recent issues of under-agers not respecting the venue. Now Goo is coming with 18+ at Waiting Room. What's Goo's motivation to get back to it's 18+ roots? And can you relate to Gunk from Goo's similar misfortunes in dealing with that same demographic?
[Thiele] We never really wanted to quit doing parties that were 18 and up. The popularity of the party at Slowdown mixed with the youngsters' desire to create trouble led to problems for everyone. Slowdown didn't want to cause any problems for the city because they had been so helpful in developing the venue, so they put Goo on hiatus. Coincidentally, our bands were going on tour at the time so we weren't really able to continue doing the parties for several months anyway. A couple of Goo superfans heard opportunity knocking in the absence of the ruckus that Goo was creating, so they started their own knock-off party, Gunk.
I understand the frustration that happens when you get a lot of young adults together like that — when they're restricted by law from indulging in the same substance as the older people there. I think they tend to overcompensate by getting wasted in the parking lot, doing other substances and just causing trouble in general.
On the other hand you can go to a party like Trash in London (one of the inspirations for Goo) where 16-year-old kids can drink legally, you have a bunch of kids trying to act and dress like adults in a very respectful way and not taking things too far.
[Crampton] Goo's consistency in parties seems to stick to major holidays (if even that). Why have things been so quiet on the party concept for the past couple of years and what's in store for the future?
[Thiele] Mostly we started Goo because we felt there was an absence of dance parties in Omaha since the rave scene died. There was loom and not much else. So in that sense we had basically accomplished one goal by leading the way for some other people.
Once Slowdown parties had to be 21 and up, it was a lot harder to get that crowd out on a Thursday night so we kind of just stuck to doing weekends and holidays there. Aside from that, Todd [Fink] moved to L.A. and then Athens, so we'd try to schedule Goo events when he was back in town for holidays and/or to work on Depressed Buttons. Depressed Buttons also started picking up with Todd and I going out of town regularly on the weekends to DJ other cities, so booking Goo events became nearly impossible because you have to book most venues so far in advance, for weekend dates, anyway.
We do have a bunch of ideas we still want to do for themes so we'll likely be booking those at Slowdown or the Waiting Room until another venue opens up. Stuff we have planned as of right now is the show on Thursday, a St. Paddy's Day Goo at Slowdown on the 17th and then a Jock Jams party at Slowdown during the College World Series.
To stay connected to Goo, join their Facebook page.
:::: Upcoming Weekend Events of Note ::::
//// Thursday night in Benson takes the cake this week. We have Kobrakyle getting back to his DJ roots doing his Gettin' Dusty all soul & funk vinyl night at Barley Street (such a good venue for that sound). Just $2 to walk through the door.
//// Simultaneously across the street, Goo Danse Party is going to Waiting Room with two bands: Sugar & Gold alongside Yip Deceiver (who is made up of members via of Montreal). DJs include Thiele, Nater Smith & Derek Presnall. Bands go on around 10 or 11. In a change of pace for Goo, this party will be an 18+ affair at $8 a head.
//// Friday I booked a last-minute gig at The Side Door Lounge. I've invited relative new-comer, Kevin Gibson to DJ alongside me. Gibson is an air force cat whose roots are in the NYC house and soul scene. He's got a solid selection of deep house cuts I hope you'll enjoy with me. No cover, 21+ and we'll be at it from 9 pm – 2 am.
//// Saturday at Bar 415 you'll find G3 & DJ Squirm throwing down. Now with the influx of new generations coming into EDM, some people have mistakenly looked to me as some sort of scene-making old-schooler. I'm not, truth be told. But these guys are. They were throwing parties in the 90's when I was still looking up the definition of puberty. I suggest you pay homage and check out their For The Love of House night.
DJ Diatribes & Dandies is a weekly column written by Omaha promoter & DJ, Brent Crampton, exploring the electronic dance music & DJ-related culture in his city. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.