By Jena Ardell
By Brian McManus
By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
Downstairs, Sean Fightcatsand S. Valentinetore it up in the gritty, dirty Annex basement, playing a more trad L.E.S. set. (Did I hear Nirvana? Here we are now, it's 1991.) In the corner, New York magazine set up shop, taking photos of the über-hip denizens posed against a white background. They also handed out a nightlife survey. Sample question: Which drug do you plan on doing tonight?Yes, all of the above.
The interplay between the downstairs retro scene and the focus on futuristic, forward-thinking sounds happening upstairsLe Nimh and Product have had Boyz Noize, Tom Vek, Authur Baker, and We Are Scientists play, and are gearing up for visits from Trash Fashion and Stone Figs, with a tentative slot held open for a Happy Mondays DJ setgives the party a distinctly London flair. The Brits, after all, are the masters at merging rave and rock. While we're not quite in new-rave territory (le sigh), we do have a hint of it thanks to Le Nimh's time in the Phoenix rave scene trenches: It turns out all the ravey touchesglow sticks, smoke machines, and even the lighting (a Ruff Club logo on the far wall)are his doing.
"There are so many little things that I took from raves that I want to incorporate," Le Nimh says. "From the atmosphere, lights, sound, and people that come to the door, I pay attention to the little things, like the cheesy rave light behind the DJ booth and the projector with a video loop."
"My party is the first rave I've ever been to," Product cracks.
"I don't even know what to call Ruff Clubthe 'new rave' thing? In Europe it's a dated genre," Le Nimh continues, referring to the scene that features buzz bands like Klaxons and "kids going to shows and parties dressing like pseudo ravers, with the whistles and stuff. I don't even know what to call these parties."
There's one old trend that seems to be hinting at a comeback, though. "I do know a lot of rockers taking ecstasy," Le Nimh says. "As long as it's done in moderation. I don't want there to be cuddle puddles and people sitting in front of the speakers."
Ah, the good old days. Somebody pass me a glow stick.