Nightlife is on the rebound even in the face of the restrictive cabaret law, with embattled big guns — Twilo, Limelight, the Tunnel — standing their ground or making comebacks while the smaller spots hold on by the skin of their teeth. For those who still doubt electronic music’s permanent place in popular culture, I dare you to find one bar, café, or venue that doesn’t have a DJ spinning at least one night a week.
Drum’n’bass might be dead, but don’t tell that to Roni Size or LTJ Bukem, who will play to packed houses this spring. Size and his Reprazent crew are arguably the only live d’n’b excursion worth watching (March 17, Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, 564-4882). On the opposite end of the spectrum, Bukem makes nice with the girlies by dishing out dubby, dreamy, ambient d’n’b and turning his nose at all that en vogue aggro heavy-metal bizness. With his trustworthy MC Conrad — who puts his own tranquil vox through an echo box — the space-age effect gets turned up another notch (April 30, Centro-fly, 45 West 21st Street, 627-7770).
The fine folks over at Giant Step — in addition to their Thursday night weekly at Shine with resident house jock Ron Trent — host the New York debut of Breakestra, featuring the turntablist wizardry of Cut Chemist, Peanut Butter Wolf, and Madlib, plus special guests (March 13, Shine, 285 West Broadway, 941-0900).
Electro enthusiasts get a rare treat at FUN’s one-year anniversary, with a live Ectomorph performance and New York’s own John Selway and Ulysses (March 15, FUN, 130 Madison Street, 964-0303).
The Spelunk crew are back in action with Spoiled/Rotten, a night of decadent electro and acid house. Guided by Dave Moxon and Dribbler, attendees might experience early-’80s flashbacks of the Bambaataa kind (Wednesdays, Korova Milk Bar, 200 Avenue A, 254-8838).
It’s with great delight that I announce the arrival of Ghetto Fabulous, where Roland and Carl (ex-Pseudo phreakers) play host to an assortment of delicious “underground” celebrity DJs spinning house, hip-hop, and whatever else they feel like feeding the starved Brooklyn masses (second Saturday of every month, Halcyon, 227 Smith Street, Brooklyn, 718-260-WAXY).
Techno fiends can continue to get their fix at Tronic Treatment, which rotates a mix of ridiculously awesome local talents (like Sonic Groove night’s Heather Heart, Frankie Bones, and Adam X) with ridiculously talented out-of-town guests (like Adam Beyer, Christian Smith, and Billy Nasty). The Sonic Groove folks decimate the place April 16; Smith and Beyer take over March 19; and the U.K.’s Nasty pays a visit April 9 (Mondays, Guernica, 25 Avenue B, 674-0984).
The kings of trance, Sasha and John Digweed, celebrate their long-running residency, which hits the four-year mark this spring (March 30, Twilo, 530 West 27th Street, 268-1600).
GBH has been such a smashing success that it’s outgrown its old home at Cheetah. Starting March 2, the Great British House crew — Penelope Tuesday, Tom and Alejandro, Anthony Mac, Carl Kennedy, Seth, Amanda Lapore, and Sophia Lamar — move house to Centro-fly every Friday, where big shots like the U.K.’s Miss Moneypenny serve as monthly residents along with internationally fabulous guests. It looks like Centro-fly’s got the market for smashing house nights cornered, with Subliminal Sessions‘ Erick Morillo and Melvin Moore welcoming back French house jock Bob Sinclar (March 29), while the Wall of Sound posse — Jon Carter, Medicine, Neil of the Dirty Beatniks — returns to Plant, throwing the house night for a loop with a big-beat bash (March 24). House darlings Basement Jaxx share the spotlight with residents Dominique and Marcus sometime in March (date TBA) (45 West 21st Street, 627-7770).
The Limelight has been enjoying a resurgence thanks to its monster monthlies and superstar residents. The March 8 installment of the d’n’b monthly Global Bass features the dubplate pressure of V Recordings label-honchos/ DJs-extraordinaire Bryan Gee and Jumpin’ Jack Frost, plus the blue-eyed soul of Adam F. Techno takes over the church-turned-club for Tresor on March 10, which finds Dan Bell/DBX and Function (plus a couple of big-name guests) on the decks. DJ Hell raises some with his International DJ Gigolo Records night March 31, with New Yorkers Adam X and Function joining the festivities. Surgeon revisits on April 21, and Detroit techno legend Jeff Mills begins his bimonthly residency this spring (date TBA), converting the Limelight from has-been to must-go (660 Sixth Avenue, 807-7780).