By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Hipsters finally got the ultimate accessory for their trucker hats at last Saturday's Dizzee Rascal show: a truck. And not just any truck, but a giant, chrome-laden, purple-and-blue, tricked-out, semi show truck. It was parked in the middle of the dancefloor at Volume, the new raw, super-sized space in Williamsburg, and served not just as a prop for faux white trash but as the stage too. That was the best part of the show.
The worst part was the weird angle the thing was parked at, creating a crush of unwashed, trendy masses on both sides. The perfectly greasy hair, the frayed clothes, the scowls of unhappiness! We were in Brooklyn, after all. Poor Dizzee was overshadowed by The Truck, which was the bona fide celebrity of the evening. Apparently the truck's notoriety is growingVogue magazine did a shoot with the truck, and the Suicide Girls want to use it as a prop. Big Truck, baby, you're a star.
After Dizzee, Matthew Dear took the stage wearing a suit. His boss, Ghostly International's Sam Valenti IV, who is always nattily dressed, must've impressed the importance of style on him. As the techno producer started his live p.a., one of the event's producers, Howard Goldkrand of SoundLab fame, got on the mic and asked for the garbage to be taken off the truck. After that was finished, he kept talking. Please. Producers, produce. MCs, MC. Stick with what you do best. After Howard announced a double Dutch foursome, the Snazzy Steppers, from Lawngisland, a certain Brit writer wondered out loud, "When did SoundLab get all street?" If you remember, the SoundLab posse used to be tightly affiliated with illbient, which was street in the way that only intellectuals doing experimental music in roughshod warehouses can be street. In other words, not really street like, say, 50 Centis street. They use words like "post rational trajectory" and "electrotectural now." But a little double Dutch goes a long waythe Snazzy Steppers were fabulous.
Later, as we were on our way out, we ran into Kelefa Sanneh, from the Times, who introduced us to the source of our earlier angst, Howard. Not one for good public relations, Howard immediately decided to rail against the Voice for being snarky, even though yours truly hadn't been snarky in the least when giving the show a preview. (And really, that might have been a first.) You think you've seen snarky, snide, and smartass? Meet them all right now: Dear Howard, here's a chisel and a hammer. Please remove the giant chip from your shoulder before speaking. Thank you.
Still, I have to hand it to the SoundLab people. They put on a killer, creative party, one of the best I've seen in New York in a while. However, upon further consideration, this shouldn't be very hard, should it?
Another inkling of hope in clubland came courtesy of the Wax Poetic performance and the Nublu Orchestra at Joe's Pub last Monday night. A cameo from N'Dea Davenport,formerly of the Brand New Heavies, was delish, but the downtempo band's main vocalist, Marla Turner, resplendent in a white satin gown, gave new meaning to the word classy. Grammy gal Norah Jones, who has been a member of this shifting collective, was still in L.A., alas, and did not perform. In the audience, M3 Summit heads David Prince and Jonathan Rudnick took in the sounds. Rudnick, you might remember, once helped helm Giant Step, but took off for India a few years back and has been traveling the world sincehitting up Mexico, Paris, and Amsterdam. I told him he's not missing anything in New Yawk Shitty. "I know!" he said. "Holland gives me hope!" (Although we were wondering if it's a certain green substance, widely available in Holland, that's doing wonders for Jonathan.)
Since I am fashion-retarded, I steered clear of the Fashion Week shows out of fear that they'd throw me out for wearing clothes from the Gap. But over at Marquee, the fabulous likes of Sophie Dahl, Harmony Korine, and Ellen Von Unwerth mingled with Mariah Carey and Alanis Morissette at the Saturday-night party for the London mag Cheap Date. The next night, Felix Da Housecat played a surprise set at Raf Simons's after-party, which also found Tommie Sunshine spinning the wheels. One of the DJs, Frenchman Michel Gaubert, was asked to provide a $100 down payment to use the needles when he wasn't recognized by the staff. That qualifies as awhat do the French call it?faux pas.