Personalities that shine through the turntables
BY VONYX (soundcloud.com/mikawvawn) | Sadly, I used to be addicted to watching wrestling matches. In my prepubescent days, I would bring a boombox to my backyard trampoline and spring around to my favorite wrestler’s theme song. Every good wrestler, or superstar as they’re called, had theme music that marked their gimmick — and they all had a gimmick. There was The Undertaker’s cryptic bell toll intro, Kurt Angle’s patriotic anthem and my favorite, Rey Mysterio, Jr., with his faux-mariachi jingle and luchador mask. Wrestlers were demigods and characters, each with their own conference room crafted flavor.
DJs are adult “superstars” in their own right. They each have a sound, a look and a catchphrase. One might have a darker, more mysterious vibe and a tribal mask to go along with the mood. Another might have chic, glitzy choruses and slicked back blonde hair to fit the bill. Sure, their gimmicks might not be as readily available as Hulk Hogan’s, but they brand themselves just as certainly as speedo-clad bodyslammers do.
In honor of my nine-year-old, cape-clutching self, here are a few parties featuring personalities that shine through the turntables.
SOUL CLAP & DANCE-OFF (WITH DJ JONATHAN TOUBIN)
Jonathan Toubin drinks his whiskey straight up and dances his hair messy. He’s not a rock star — he’s a rock-and-roller. Toubin has been spinning his collection of poppin’ Soul and R&B 45 rpms for six years, starting originally in the L.E.S. and ending up at festivals and clubs across the globe. Soul Clap is one of Toubin’s babies. It’s a party straight out of yesteryear, where the DJ is the spiffy emcee and the dance floor a hot mess of scuff marks and smiles. There is no booming bass, only throwback tunes and swinging hips. Toubin has redefined the modern dance party. Here, people groove with each other rather than submit to the glass enclosed DJ above. Yet at the height of each party, Toubin takes control over the crowd as he howls over the mic to start the famed dance contest. Participants jump onto the hardwood and twist for their peer judges. For the best hoofer in the house, a $100 cash prize and an IV of nostalgia.
Toubin will be hosting Soul Clap & Dance-Off on Aug. 17 at Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn, btw. N. 11th & 12th Sts.). Tickets are $7. Doors at 11:30. Show at midnight, Dance-Off at 1am. Info: newyorknighttrain.com. If you miss it, Toubin also hosts Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down! Friday nights at Home Sweet Home (131 Chrystie St.).
SOUL CLAP (WOLF & LAMB)
Not at all related to the above Soul Clap with Jonathan Toubin is Soul Clap, a DJ duo of two Bostonians who bask in disco/funk records in an electronic context. With a education deeply rooted in crate digging, Soul Clap has risen through the DJ ranks with a few disco edits, remixes and killer six-hour long live sets. In fact, their music education is so lush that they have actually taught a college course on house music at Tufts. Recently, they signed to Brooklyn’s Wolf & Lamb records, known for being at the forefront of the avant-garde sound, and they aim to continue pushing the boundaries of modern-retro-disco-electronic-funkified-jaunts. They are currently collaborating with funk legend George Clinton, who has not only inspired their sound but their 12-piece outfits. Soul Clap is eclectic, funky and down to push the envelope of the dance music world. Get hype and go see ‘em.
Soul Clap will be playing on Aug. 16 at Output (74 Wythe Ave., btw. 11th & 12th Sts.). Tickets are $20. Doors at 10pm. Info: outputclub.com.
Verboten gets its name from the Giuliani era crackdowns on New York’s dance music scene. Stricter regulations made dance music go underground, where it separated from gag-reflex mainstream EDM and created its own, darker sound. Verboten is just that — one of the club nights in Manhattan that preserves an underground house and techno vibe without selling out. They book deep house DJs from Europe as well as respected producers making cutting edge music. They cultivate their own sound. Don’t expect a no-frills party, though. Verboten is very much into the obligatory club life: bottle service, guest lists, networking for admission, etc. However, the DJs they book are great and the venues usually are too. Verboten is mixing an underground sound with a club atmosphere.
Their next event is on Aug. 17 at Sullivan Room (218 Sullivan St., btw. Bleecker & W. Third Sts.). Doors at 10pm. Tickets are $20. Info: verbotennewyork.com.