Blinded by the Lights

The French and a terrible hangover don't mix at the M.A.N.D.Y. vs. Damian Lazarus showdown

The only thing worse than waking up with a crippling hangover Saturday morning is dragging said hangover to a packed club Saturday night. The smell of cigarette smoke is nauseating, the thought of drinking is worse, and the lights—oh, God, the lights. This weekend at Studio B, those bouncing beams felt something akin to Sylar's magic finger on last season's Heroes, sawing open my face. (So, actually, kinda what it's like to watch the current season of Heroes.) My head jerked backwards every time one made contact with my eyes. It wasn't pretty.

But I was determined to stick it out for Made Event's buzzed-about double headliner. Berlin's M.A.N.D.Y. is DJ–production team Patrick Bodmer and Philipp Jung, who, with BFFs Booka Shade and DJ T, founded the Get Physical label; the pair's brand of dark, futuristic electro-house gets labeled as "intelligent" as often as "fun." Their latest album, 12 Great Remixes for 11 Great Artists, offers up a handful of their most popular tracks from the last six years, including treatments of the Knife, Sugababes, and Roxy Music; I wasn't totally blown away. Their "Pass It On" remix makes my heart race a little, though maybe that's just bias: I love all things the Knife. Nonetheless, Saturday I pulled myself together to see how much better the real-life experience would be, wearing double the usual eyeliner in hopes that the dark circles would look intentional. They didn't.

Studio B remains one of my favorite spots in the city. The sound is fantastic, security is overwhelmingly friendly, and regardless of the crowd's size, the energy's just always there. (No worries on the crowd being too small tonight, though—even at 2 a.m., there was a line of 20 or so waiting to get in.) Dancing was kind of out of the question—the fact that I was even vertical was a feat in itself—so I positioned myself to the side of the DJ booth, drank in the relentless spirit of the floor's masses, and questioned the degree of my lameness.

The boys from Berlin were battling with Damian Lazarus, the boss over at London's Crosstown Rebels, a leading label in the U.K.'s edgy underground dance scene (not that they have a lot of competition). Currently in the middle of his whirlwind Devil Night Tour—he played Halloween in Guatemala and Día de los Muertos in Mexico—Lazarus spins deep, dirty house, and he's an interesting guy: sexy, articulate (he started out as a music journalist), and notoriously confident. The former head of a&r for City Rockers (when it was home to Felix da Housecat), Lazarus demonstrates an unfailing resoluteness that his label is at the forefront of cutting edge. He also recently began to host a 74-minute monthly podcast called Lazpod, in which he mixes what he describes as "comedy moments spliced up with funk, Latin melodies played next to soundtracks, plus cosmic disco, techno, and rock." NYC faves Sleepy and Boo, founders of production group Basic NYC and residents at both the Sullivan Room and Pacha, could be found in the side room; DJ crew Trouble and Bass were slated for time on the decks as well. (Also on hand: the promoters behind Cut, whose dance party also takes place at Studio B and who frequently work in tandem with T&B.) The night was part of a huge weekend for Made Event, who was also presenting Armin van Buuren at Pacha, and both Luke Fair and Laurent Garnier at Cielo.

With such a European lineup, the crowd was unsurprisingly thick with accents. Did I discover that M.A.N.D.Y.'s beats are what I'm missing in my life? No. But I discovered what else I'm not missing: French guys.

Hipsters can be insufferable enough, but French hipsters who can't partake in conversation unless their mouths are three inches from yours, who demand you take their pictures and then criticize the results, who constantly stroke your arm and your shoulder and your hair, for chrissakes—they make me want to jump out of my skin. On Saturday night, I felt like Parker Posey did in Broken English when she first met Julien at her co-worker's party and wanted to flee the scene as quickly as possible, except I didn't let anyone at Studio B come home with me, and I definitely didn't follow him to Paris, where I lost his number and then just so happened to run into him on the train an hour before my flight. Instead, I took my hangover and said au revoir.


Speaking of Cut: Shark and the Captain, the party's co-promoters, currently have a three-minute video shot by their friend Matthew Hobby floating around on the website for Current TV. Current is Al Gore's attempt to democratize television, in which viewers filter the online, user-generated content through a voting process called "greenlighting"; like most of the channel's "pods," as Current calls its programs, the piece is documentary in nature. There's a link up at cutnyc.com.

"In spring 2005 we started the Cut party because we wanted to mix the fashion world with the music world, giving the spotlight to the DJ once again," Shark explains in the short vid. "And we also wanted to create a place where our friends could hear a little bit of everything." Two years later. they've filled Studio B by bringing in the likes of Junior Sanchez, Green Velvet, and Princess Superstar; one thing that sets the boys apart are their lifestyle choices.

"Michael and I both are straight-edge—we don't drink, we don't do drugs, we're both sober promoters," explains the Captain. "In the New York nightlife scene, that's very rare, or pretty, uh ..."

"Uncommon?" Shark offers.

"It doesn't happen at all," corrects the Captain.

 
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