Santos Party House
100 Lafayette St
New York City
I thought that I would tease readers and never post anything about music or music-making machines such as jukeboxes. But I’ve decided it’s no longer fun to tease. I am not a tease, as of now. Last night I went to a show at Santos Party House (Andrew WK’s venue). It’s small—two floors— but clean, unpretentious (read: you can wear sneakers, a sombrero, whatever), inexpensive (‘cept for that night’s cover of $20), and doesn’t smell. In fact, it smelled like lemon-fresh Pledge for most of the night. Very refreshing!
I was there to watch a friend’s favorite DJ spin. I wasn’t sure what to expect…was it a concert where the audience would stand and stare at the stage? Or would the audience dance and ignore the DJ? And I found it’s a mix of both. At about midnight, my friends and I headed upstairs to see the main event, DJ Z-Trip, but he wasn’t on yet. People were standing in a circle, bopping their heads to another DJ. At first it felt like an eighth grade dance when no one wants to start the dancing and everyone just stands there waiting. But then in succession, young men dressed as hipsters or in hoodies hopped into the middle of the dance floor and threw down some moves. Some raved, some skanked, some did a bit of breaking. I think in their minds they were rockin’ it like America’s Best Dance Crew, but...they weren't quite that good. I totally give them props for the courage to get out there solo and try. At one point, I even had the urge to break into the circle and do The Running Man or Roger Rabbit, but I realized it may come off as poking fun of them, when I really meant to make fun of myself (all right, all right, and them, too). (Side note: I’ve decided I'm going to practice my pop-n-lock skillz for the future should I get the chance to partake in a dance off).
As the crowd was getting pumped for DJ Z-Trip, the circle soon filled with everyone dancing and jumping and gyrating and just partying like it's a house party. Then an older gentleman, with gray hair, a gray beard, and 70’s polyester T-shirt started trippin’ to the tunes, right in front of me. It was odd at first, and a bit creepy. I couldn’t look him in the eye for fear he would dance with me (weirdoes tend to gravitate towards me—see July '08 posting: “The Triumph Room”). I just couldn’t risk or tolerate it tonight. In fact, he was near me and my friends for so long, a guy leaned over and asked if we had brought our grandfather. I joked that the elderly man must think this is the original Studio 54…but he was having a great time and it was kind of awe-inspiring. One day I’d like to be 70 and partying like it was 2008, just like this guy (well, for him it was 1968).
At 1am, DJ Z-Trip finally took the stage. I have never seen a DJ scratch, spin, and mix like this before. He’s not your average club DJ. He’s an artist, an architect, a genius at blending opposites. He juxtaposes dialogue, tells a story, and takes us on a journey during his non-stop three and a half hour set. DJ Z-Trip doesn’t just spin records for us; he spins and journeys with us.
DJ Z-Trip dropped beats that had us booty-shakin' to “Walk the Line,” jumping to “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” dancing to “Jump! Jump!” He transported us back only a couple days, then 1992 and even further, when allegedly, our “parents were f*ing to this song.” (I’ve never heard the song before, but according to the roar of cheers and applause, many of the people there were conceived during that piece of music. I’ve never thought about my conception, and never want to).
We stayed until about 3:30am, when he finished his set with the subtly manipulated “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It seemed heartfelt and genuine, a thank you from DJ Z-Trip, but I’m not a fan of Queen so I was hoping for something more gripping, powerful, fun, or just unique. Maybe some hardcore Memphis rap mixed with Connie Francis? All in all, an incredible show that 21+ (and +++++) could dance their asses off to. And you know I’m notorious for avoiding obscene cover charges, but the $20 I shelled out was worth every penny. If DJ Z-Trip is playing at a venue near you, definitely go, and you may just catch me doing the Robo Cop in the middle of a dance circle.