Join the Party: A Politically Charged Bash Ignites the Movement

Now that political parties are the in thing, one more isn't going to make a difference. Or is it? While some other politically charged events hide behind the mantra of getting out the vote, Rekha doesn't pussyfoot around. When the bhangra DJ behind the long-running Basement Bhangra party and Bollywood Disco added another Basement Bhangra bash to her roster, she quickly partnered with Not in Our Name and dubbed it Bhangra Against Bush. "We were tagging on an extra day, and this summer I felt like with the RNC coming, I wanted to figure out a way to bring attention in a very blatant way," she explains.

You can't get more obvious than putting a picture of an Indian woman in a sari posed in opposition to a cowboy-hat-wearing Bush on the flyer. Not surprisingly the anti-Bush stance has been controversial. "I got one or two nasty e-mails about it," says Rekha. "Someone said, 'Why are you so on one side?' " But she adds that "the overwhelming response has been positive."

This isn't the first time she's dipped her toes in scary political waters. The DJ has long been an activist, hosting parties and donating time and money to several organizations. And while the soiree's message is strong, the event itself isn't overwhelmed by the politics, says Rekha. "It's tricky to do art and politics. If the integrity of art is maintained, then it's all right. The most I do is get on the mic once or twice. Usually I say, 'Get the monkey out of office.' There's no point in preaching to people."

Beat yourself up.
photo: Cary Conover
Beat yourself up.

Bhangra Against Bush, every third Thursday until the election, S.O.B.'s, 204 Varick Street, 212.252.2392


AFRIKA BAMBAATAA
October 3
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd Street, 212.997.4144

The man behind "Planet Rock" has since inspired a million imitators—and for some of his comeback attempts, Bam's imitated himself. On his latest, Dark Matter: Moving at the Speed of Light (released October 26), Gary Numan's appearance on "Metal" is an especially notable, synth-filled moment. He performs at the Hip-Hop Unity Jam with Doug E. Fresh, Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock, Kurtis Blow, Melle Mel, and Grandmaster Caz.


MOUSE ON MARS
October 23
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 212.533.2111

Imagine a summertime hip-hop jam channeled by techno nerds who love sonic practical jokes as much as they like a groove. You might come close to "Wipe That Sound," a jumpy track on the group's new disc, Radical Connector. It's got the tick-tock rhythm of a metronome, but it's weirdly calibrated. You'll dance anyway.


FIXMER/MCCARTHY
October 28-29
Rothko, 116 Suffolk Street, rothkonyc.com

Whatever happened to industrial music? Techno overtook it, but fortunately many techno DJs remembered to tip their hat to that genre and one of its most influential artists, Nitzer Ebb, who are responsible for two bona fide classics, "Let Your Body Learn" and "Join in the Chant." One-half of the original Nitzer Ebb duo, Douglas McCarthy, teams up with producer Terrence Fixmer to play some new material and some of the old hits too.


MICHAEL MAYER
October 29
Volume, 99 North 13th Street, Brooklyn, 718.388.3538

The last time the German minimal-techno DJ-producer came to town, he was welcomed like a rock star, with a packed crowd pumping its fists in the air. The owner of the popular techno label Kompakt, he played like one too—pulling out bombastic four-the-floor techno and pitching things up a notch to drive the crowd into a frenzy. Catch this (hopefully) repeat performance.


COLDER
November 2
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 212.533.2111

Colder is the sound of a bored Parisian graphic designer with a musical itch. His debut, Again, got nabbed by Trevor Jackson, for Jackson's label Output. Colder (né Marc Nguyen Tan) isn't content with just creating a critically praised album filled with moody, pensive music (a little Joy Division–esque) and breathy vocals. No, he has to make short films for some of the songs too. Way to go, making the rest of us feel like slackers.


PLASTIKMAN
November 20
Volume, 99 North 13th Street, Brooklyn, 718.388.3538

Assuming Volume is still in business (and we rilly, rilly hope it is) Richie Hawtin will bring his more austere, more minimal, and more intimidating Plastikman guise to town. His live sets are not rote computer-pad-punching affairs; he usually utilizes the space for art installations and extravagant, extreme lighting displays that match the sometimes punishing demeanor of his particular brand of experimental techno.

 
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