Once a month (every third Tuesday, to be precise), the East Village’s Plan B hosts a nameless party that could very well be the best Tuesday-night-out around. Publicity is a word-of-mouth affair–lots of DJs re-Tweeting DJs–but the fete still offers surprisingly solid, internationally fluent lineups, and last night’s event, packed with U.K. maestros–Toddla T, DJ Benji B (he of BBC 1’s “Soulful Beats”), duo Jack Beats (Plus One from Scratch Perverts and Beni G from Mixologists), and L.A.’s 12th Planet–was no exception.
Hosted on the low by Scion (no posters, banners, or ridiculously-over-branded flyers), it’s clear the night is meant to be an intimate gathering, almost like a listening party. Plan B’s small, black-and-white-checkered dance-floor remained mostly empty as partygoers instead chose to lounge on couches or chat by the bar. Most attendees are DJs themselves: We spotted the entire Trouble & Bass crew, Turntable Lab affiliates, 77Klash, and IHeartComix founder Franki Chan, who flew over from L.A. just for the occasion. “They’ve been putting a lot of time, effort, and money into upcoming music.” Chan told me. “They’ve enabled this electronic/dubstep music to blossom. So many artists would have never been able to make it to the U.S. otherwise.”
Laid-back atmosphere aside, the music never completely took a back seat, and indeed served as the main topic of discussion–as tends to happen when DJs huddle. Toddla T played a set lighter on dubstep than we expected, but great nonetheless, motivating people to hop in and out of the booth to catch a glimpse of his set list. Really though, there were a lot of “What track is this?” and “This is so-and-so’s remix!” comments mixed with the usual “When is that record coming out?” (Let’s be honest, it’s all very endearing). The dance floor climaxed with Jack Beats dropping their own remix of Blaqstarr & Diplo’s “Get Off,” soliciting knowing smiles from friends in the audience and “Oh, shit!” exclamations from nearby head-boppers.
We caught up with Toddla T as a dance battle between a guy in a zipped-over-his-head robot hoodie and a less obnoxiously dressed partygoer broke out. Wearing a red sweater (which looked like leopard-print from afar, though it wasn’t, phew) and an adorable half-grin, Toddla told us about his recent travels: scouting U.S. labels for a new album, recording in Jamaica with Jammer and Roots Manuva, tending his Radio 1 show. “I’ve been having such a good time here,” he said. “It’s similar to the underground scene in the U.K., really. The good part and bad part is that it’s intense all the time . . . but it’s also nice to have this kind of community here. Everyone knows everyone!”