By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
They call the Winter Music Conference the dance music communitys Spring Break, and every March, thousands of New York industry schmucksincluding yours trulyhead down to South Beach to work.
The New York-based label Astralwerks got everyone off to a dizzy start Saturday night at the Astralwerks Beach Party, where Chicago DJs Sneak and Felix da Housecat were spied taking in the sounds of Cassius and Daft Punk. Felix, whose new CD, Kittenz and Thee Glitz, is getting much buzz, was seen gabbing with a line of well-wishers as long as the one to get in. Headliner Fatboy Slim was late (as usual), not because of any misbehavior (no plunger on the head or anything) but because of a delayed flight. He arrived in the nick of time, but, alas, he played the same set three times in a row at his various conference gigs.
Stupid Stuff magazine took over the Nash hotel, hosting the most annoying, but cool events of the conference (where everyone stands around, looking good, drinking free alcohol, and completely ignoring the music). The rude bwoys guarding the door of Lil Louie Vegas shindig turned us away, which was even more infuriating because the bouncers didnt even know who the Master at Work was. Duh.
Later, at local promotion crew Giant Steps schmoozy, lifeless party way over on the other side of the world (OK, it was just on South Beachs west end at Montys on the Bay), I ran into Talking Loud founder Gilles Peterson, cute and boyish as ever, leaving the party clutching records. Lady Bunny seemed strangely out of place, sitting by herself in an overdone black-and-white getup, wearing too much makeup and her traditional wasted-Peggy Lee wig. Turns out shes plugging her new disc with New York house producer DJ Disciple.
Claiming to be celebrating 19 years on the planet, new wave whore Tommie Sunshine threw a star-studded, debauched b-day party Sunday afternoon at the Studio, which was crawling with pasty-faced people with dyed-black hairso you knew they must be from Detroit. Summer Forest, producer of the rave documentary Rise and co-author of Searching for the Perfect Beat: Flyer Designs of the American Rave Scene, scampered about during a tag-team set by mature couple Nicola Kuperus and Adam Le Miller, a/k/a Adult, the latter donning a Black Flag T-shirt. So punk rock. New Yorks everyman John Selway danced to a set by Brendan Gillen of Ectomorph. The Detroit electro artist had everybody jumping with a mix of Laid Backs White Horse and Princes Erotic City.
New York promotion and record company Matter/:Form hosted a very U.K. lineup featuring tech-house gods Terry Francis, Mr. C, and Layo and Bushwackawho smashed it up. Promoter Elan Akerman, displaying his usual humility, shouted, Im sorry, but weve got the best lineup of the whole conference. No argument here.
Back to Stuff Hotel for the Southern Fried Cooking party with Fatboy Slim, Lottie, and Scanty Sandwich. Trance superstars Sasha and John Digweed cruised around the throngwhich included the newly anointed Spin editor in chief Sia Michel. Playboy Sasha appeared a bit bleary-eyed (long night, dear?).
Over at the DanceStar USA awards, Astralwerks artist Fatboy Slim won two trophies, but when Label of the Year was announced, no representatives from Astralwerks were on hand to accept. Ooops.
Mondays Naked Music party at the Nikki Beach club featured Miguel Migs, Lazy Dog, and chanteuse Lisa Shaw. New York techno promoter-DJ Kimyon, modeling a fashionable Fred Flintstone T-shirt, brandished some exclusive white labels like the spoiled boy that he is.
Vice magazines sleazy electro party found suddenly famous electro geeks John Selway, Brendan Gillen, and Felix Da Housecat wandering around the scummy Vegas Cabaret Club while third-rate strippers with third-rate boob jobs ground their pussies into third-rate men. DJ Hell played Nitzer Ebbs Join in the Chant and Miss Kittin was a no-show, missing two flights from Paris for no reason at all. Bummer for the sad girl walking around in a rubber nurses outfit. Outside, Felix sat on a bus-stop bench. Its your year! I told him. He blushed and gave me a 12-inch of Silver Screen Shower Scene, and warned, Now, I better not see that in the gutter.
A cocky man with a cockney accent working the door at the Triple5Soul and Fader magazine party with Jazzanova, Jazzy Jeff, and ?estlove, yelled that all the artists had already performed (at 2:30 a.m.!?) and the list was closed. Thanks, but no thanks, you British wanker. Big-shot promoter Matt E. Silver and his buddy Nick Butterworth, formerly of Sonic Net, had no problem getting in. Both rolled in and quickly rolled out. Eh, it was nothing, said Silver.
Roni Size spun soulful dnb at a Tuesday-morning brunch hosted by Formula PR while Campari girls shimmied to the beat in the penthouse suite. Fabulous life, isnt itgetting paid to wear red rubber hot pants and black leather boots and drink hard alcohol at noon? Size had gotten some, ahem, assistance and had danced to Danny Tenaglia from 8 a.m. till he showed up at his own gig five hours later. (It was tribal, mandeep!! he shouted.) Also seen at Dannys gig at Space (everyone referred to him by first name only, like a best buddy): Carl Cox, who took his usual spot on the speakers and pumped his fist in the air. Yoko Ono made an appearance at around the same time most people are waking up and having their morning coffee. Said Mixer mag editor M. Tye Comer, who bought a new pair of silver sneakers especially for the occasion: She did her little caterwaul thing over the Orange Factory remix of her Open Your Box, and told the crowd Boys, take off your shirts and take off your pants so I can come all over you. Okaaay. Unfortunately, Liquid Sound Lounges Jeannie Hopper didnt spin the outside area this year, but she is getting her own monthly residency in London, at a new club called, ironically, Bridge and Tunnel.