Bacardi B-Live Tour ’09
M2 Ultra Lounge
Wednesday, June 18
It’s a foregone conclusion that dance parties go late, especially when disco balls and liquor sponsors and face glitter are involved. So last night at the Bacardi B-Live showcase at the M2 Ultra Lounge, the evening’s lift-off seemed downright premature: around the same time Canadian freeze-pop Emily Haines was digging into an encore of “Stadium Love” 30 blocks North at Terminal 5, breakbeat greaser Drop the Lime (l/k/a Luca Venezia) was already behind the decks, killing it, just before 11. Of course, this was just the beginning. “I gotta let you guys know, shit’s gonna go late,” said the fairer half of Matt & Kim, who followed Venezia as the surprise special guests. Shit was also about to get dirty. “Ladies, you’re gonna be rubbing your vaginas on the floor,” Kim continued, perhaps inspired by having the strip club Scores right next door. “And guys? You will catch something–that’s just how’s it gonna be.” If a record had been playing, it would have stopped. Even Matt seemed perplexed: “I don’t know why I give her the mike sometimes.”
This was the New York stop on the corporate rum tour of 2009. Booze sales are allegedly suffering in the recession, but you wouldn’t have known it last night by looking around the M2 Ultra Lounge, a comically lavish Chelsea club with a name fit for a cigarette and an ambiance ideal for the third day of a crystal-meth binge. Onstage sat a neon-lit boombox as wide as Mothra’s wingspan, its LCD-screen speakers glowing with criscrossing light-saber patterns and bubblewrap polka dots and such. Upstairs past a suited bouncer, the VIP area was an ass-grinding shitshow of all-you-can-drink indulgence, fortified by power-up stations of rum bottles, ice buckets, and mixers (tonic, Coke, even Red Bull). The dressing-room vodka was Grey Goose.
In other cities, the B-Live tour stars Major Lazer, Santigold, and Ghostland Observatory (?), but the names on the ticket last night were DJ Jazzy Jeff, A-Trak, and DJ AM. A bit of an anomaly, happy-rock pair Matt & Kim weren’t announced, but their exhilarated single “Daylight” is in a swanky Bacardi Mojito commercial, so here they were around midnight, playing “Silver Tiles,” “Yea Yeah,” “Daylight” to a nonplussed crowd–an evenly distributed mix of tube tops and Starter caps and collared button-downs. There was no animosity swirling on the floor, just alert confusion, like when a fight first breaks out on a subway and paralysis strikes as everybody sorts out responsibility. The vagina comments probably didn’t help–Why is this perma-grinning drummer talking about hoo-has? Will I really catch the Clap tonight? Matt seemed to sense they were aliens from Brooklyn, a land he explained from the stage was, “Over across the river.”
DJ Jazzy Jeff’s hypeman made sure that everybody knew where his homie was from too, “Bel-Air.” Yup, he went there, though Jeff didn’t spin “Summertime,” he instead mixed snippets of Billboard smashes like “Big Pimpin,'” “Notorious,” “In Da Club” (which conveniently reps for Bacardi) with rockist jukebox juice like “Five to One” and “Seven Nation Army.” Chewing bubblegum and rocking a Ralph Lauren vest over a XXL T-shirt, he also dropped “Heartless” and “Stronger”–so what if Kanye West’s DJ was about to follow? By the time the Daft Punk sample played (maybe 1:30AM?), people were on chairs, wearing each others’ hats and tube-topped girls were approaching bald men to bump butts. Not long after, A-Track took the stage with a bedazzled rainbow pharoah on his T-shirt, fired up the air sirens, and murdered the place. But by then it was finally late, and we were all dead.