'365' World Tour Diary - Destination: MIAMI
Each month Lee tears the pages out of his diary and sends them to DJmag.com
Words: Lee Burridge (of course!)
Miami 2006. Things were different this year, with the most noticeable difference being that the musical spectrum at the conference has widened and that can only be a good thing.
Alongside the tired old dinosaurs of dance music were some newer and fresher faces (well, fresher in a literary sense anyway) such as the Circo Loco brigade, M.A.N.D.Y, Luciano, Pier Bucci, Steve Bug, Mathew Jonson, blah blah blah.
You could have almost mistaken the Sunday party at Porn Shop for a slice of Ibiza's DC-10. Sunshine, smiles and Winnebagos.
I'll get back to that in a little while. Why don't we start on the Wednesday night with a little pre-conference 80s bash?
I decided a few years ago that going out to WMC parties and listening to music fanatics rattle on about hi-hats, promos and b-sides gets a little tiresome, so in response to everyone taking conference so seriously, Pop Tarts was born.
It's a party the day before the chin-stroking music chat begins and is a ridiculous night of drinking and bad music. Rico Suave, anyone?
I asked Danny Howells to come along and play again this year as I don't actually know any other DJs who own copies of Chas and Dave's classic 'Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit' and Cliff Richard.
We also had the pleasure of New York's own DJ Money who brought the noise... and Milli Vanilli.
I'm going to sidetrack slightly here and let you know that while in Buenos Aires a week earlier I was shopping with my girlfriend in a second-hand store and found the most wonderful thing.
I am convinced it will be the next big revival item. Forget dodgy eye-makeup and suspenders.
Everyone will be wearing one this time next year... mark my words. Making a comeback in 2006... The Toupee!
Forget wigs, toupees are where it's at kids! Anyway, I bought the sandy blonde thing (which by the way makes me look at times like a bombshell version of Richie Hawtin and other times like a laid-back Jimmy Van M) and headed off to Miami, toupee in hand (well, on head actually).
I got to thinking on the flight to Miami that seeing as how the Toupee was purchased in a second-hand store that its previous owner had probably died so I was now the owner of a 'dead man's toupee'.
Good name for a band, don't you agree?
I decided to give the Toupee its first public appearance (on my head at least) at Pop Tarts.
I teamed it with a tiny pair of neon pink sunglasses which had the unexpected, fantastic effect of rendering me unrecognizable, even to some of my closest friends.
The door staff wouldn't let me inside until I whipped off my accessories and showed some skin and for the first two hours of DJing I was asked my name, 'When is Lee playing?' and of course, the name of my hairdresser.
Once again DJ Money decided he would play the air guitar anthem 'Living on a Prayer' and turn down the volume during the chorus so our audience could sing along.
Not being a Bon Jovi fan myself, I decided to eject the CD during one of the sing-along moments and destroy it by throwing it against the wall.
One smashed CD was followed by numerous cheers from other Non-Bon fans as we continued late into the night (or was it early into the morning? WMC had begun but not officially!)
I love the fact that during conference I actually get to see other DJs play, a fact made even better because this year there were so many amazing ones to choose from.
Most of the people I wanted to see were playing at either the Made Events at B.E.D. or The Pawn Shop and thankfully once again this year the main complaints I heard from many people were directed at the door staff who work for the bigger clubs.
It seems the honor of 'Worst Security' goes to Nocturnal this year. Friends of mine were physically removed for being a little too out of it which is a good reason to be removed but not to be pushed and shoved and thrown outside in a violent manner.
Surely being asked and staggering out on your own is ok, right? It seems even the DJs were naughty this year with Richie Hawtin being grabbed and put in a headlock by security and dragged from the booth to a back room where due to persistent booing by the crowd he was allowed back to the terrace.
Richie is a rather threatening and scary character though, I'm sure you'll agree, so I guess they detained him before he had a chance to open a can of whoop-ass on them.
"Do an E, for fuck's sake!"
It's a shame that security ruined what seems to be a beautiful club. Do an E, for fuck's sake!
I went to B.E.D. more than I went to bed this year. What is B.E.D.? It is a tight club on Washington Street that holds about six hundred people (although we did manage to squeeze a few more in on the Saturday night) and, as you may have guessed, has a dance floor surrounded by... beds!
Luckily for us, the clever folks at Made Events had a Steve Dash sound system [Integral Sound] brought down from New York this year.
Damn, those speaker stacks were huge! It's an interesting clubbing experience being able to lay down with your friends and listen to music.
I went to see James Holden play on the Thursday, returned for Richie and Troy Pierce (yes, Troy Pierce, not Ricardo Villalobos, whom many people mistook Troy for) on the Friday and then staggered to the most excellent Robots party on Monday night with Sven Vath,
Nick AC, Bill Patrick, and Dennis Rodgers.
I nearly forgot to mention I had my own
party there on Saturday night!
I suggest someone starts a dedicated clubber's taxi service just for WMC. You'll make a million. So many people, so little taxis...
Sadly the night, for me, was dominated by a string of technical issues. My favorite was the headphone volume deciding not to work at all and forcing us to masking tape a second mixer
to the glass window that surrounds the
booth and plugging the headphones
through that. Fun! Thankfully Made
came prepared and we battled through.
I have to say the night was also dominated by the huge crowd from Denver who seemed to spend most of the night melting into huge puddles of people seemingly on every bed in BED but were also at times seen losing it on the dance floor and generally setting themselves up for a "what the hell
happened last night" kind of day.
Technical issues aside, the night was fantastic. I have to apologise to all of my friends who didn't get in. Come earlier next year!
We rolled out of BED and, like many others who leave clubs in Miami and elsewhere at 5am, spent an hour and a half waiting for a taxi.
Ringing taxis. Busy signals. Ringing taxis. Promises made to be there in fifteen minutes. Waiting. Ringing again.
More false promises made. I suggest someone starts a dedicated clubber's taxi service just for WMC. You'll make a million. So many people, so little taxis...
Eventually we scored a ride and headed off to the next gig. Afterhours at Pawn Shop featured in my opinion the best line-up of the conference: Little Mike, Dennis Rodgers, Bill Patrick, Mazi, and Pier Bucci in the dark room while outside on the Terrace were M.A.N.D.Y, Luciano, Loco Dice and Dollz at Play.
In the main room inside were Mr. C, Mathew Jonson, Steve Bug and more!
Wow. The Pawn Shop is wicked. If you take a look at it online it looks quite shiny and smart but once you're there it's a fantastic, grimy, dirty, dark afterhours with an outside area (or maybe 3 days of WMC had varnished some of its usual veneer...?)
Anyway, it was perfect. Dennis, Bill and I played inside early on which was perfect timing as it was still a little too cold outside for the terrace to draw a big crowd.
Whoever said that DJs don't dance should eat their words as Loco Dice and Richie battled on the dancefloor with an assortment of people who should have gone home two days before.
As the day warmed up outside, M.A.N.D.Y took to the decks and people slowly migrated outside to a mellow, bouncy mix of tunes that had everyone smiling and swaying until Loco Dice, Luciano and surprise guest Richie played for the rest of the day.
Somehow, Miami transformed into a DC-10esque experience and, while avoiding sunburn by going inside for a while, no one missed out on good music as all three rooms were outstanding all day long.
Little Mike took over the dark room during the afternoon and was playing after Pier Bucci who suddenly decided he had finished and stopped playing. Silence!
Mike, I have to tell you that it was I who shouted out "too minimal"!
Inside the main room there was a yellow school bus that served as home for a few of us for hours, a great place to lay on the not-so-clean floor and seats and listen to Mathew Jonson do a live PA while enjoying the view of warped faces moving between the glaring sunlight of the terrace and the blackness of the main room.
The sun cast just enough light into an area by the door to spotlight every gurn that passed through and that special spot in the club became known to us as the Light of Truth. No one escaped showing their true condition as their jaws swerved through.
We decided to leave and go take showers around 5pm. After a quick change of clothes, we decided to head back down to Pawn Shop for Danny Howells.
Pawn Shop had us in its Death Star-like tractor beam and I soon found myself back on the dancefloor listening to Danny weave his crazed mix of disco-techno while being grabbed crazily round the neck numerous times by people intent on ruining my listening experience.
I found myself in the pleasurable company of a slightly tipsy James Zabiela who, by the way, has discovered the joys of Vodka-cranberry and also Nic Fanciulli who is always a pleasure to talk trash with.
So we put the world to rights, slagged off a bunch of trance DJs and had a cuddle and a slow dance and then everyone vanished.
I then tried to hang out in the seating behind the DJ booth but the smell that was emanating from somewhere in that area that could best be described as a cross between a decaying severed foot and cat poo eventually drove me home.
It was time to pack the bags under my eyes and get forty winks. Well, maybe twenty.
I would like to say fresh but freshish is a better way to describe myself on Monday night as I cruised into BED where NYC's very own Robots night was rocking.
In retrospect, I could have saved myself a great deal of time and money by just staying there on one of the beds!
Bill, Nick and Dennis were turning it out setting up Sven Vath for a night of quality trance.
We planned to pop in and say hi but all of a sudden the lights were on and we were all headed in the direction of an afterhours party in someone's house.
I'll skip the gory details of writhing masses of messy people but have to mention that if Sven ever decides to stop DJing he definitely has a career in acrobatics as his front flips onto stacked cushions were 10s and Luciano's love and care of the flower beds outside with the hose was touching
I'll skip the gory details of writhing masses of messy people but have to mention that if Sven ever decides to stop DJing he definitely has a career in acrobatics as his front flips onto stacked cushions were 10s and Luciano's love and care of the flower beds outside with the hose was touching.
Somehow the morning rolled around rather quickly and I had to drag myself off the carpet and over to Space for a morning set on the terrace.
A few pick-me-ups in the taxi on the way over the bridge and suddenly I was playing to the survivors of Sasha and John's night in Space.
I think by this time everybody was wrecked and exhausted from the weekend as I was surprised to only find around one hundred and fifty people.
John and Sasha were supposed to play after me but this didn't seem to be enticement enough to keep a big crowd out.
The remaining degenerates jumped around while I played... err, speaking of which, can someone remind me what I played?
I have no idea! ...and off to the bar for another quick chin wag with James Zabiela and Sasha. Not feeling like being in public anymore, I headed back to the afterhours from whence I came and watched the sun go down.
People flaked off slowly and my good intentions to go to the Resident Advisor party got as far as the door of the Shelbourne hotel.
Sorry I didn't make it inside but there was a piece of doughy pizza at home with my name on it! We made a valid attempt to get to the Circo Loco party that night but while falling asleep in the car decided it would be a bad look to be in public at that point so we went to bed (with a small b).
Only another forty-eight weeks and we can do it all again!
P.S. - Special thanks to Jorge Urbina, Diego, Jason Warth, Eileen, Sophie, Sivan, Barbi, the girl on the pole at the 80s night who had no panties on and was screaming "Ay Papi" at me, Richie Hawtin and Jagermeister for the great photos.