Salvatore Principato/Safety Scissors
Saturday, September 25
OK, pop quiz, hotshots. Salvatore Principato is:
a) DJ and lead vocalist of post-disco titans Liquid Liquid,
b) a local vegetarian chef,
c) also known as UniverSAL, a producer/promoter of African and Caribbean shows,
d) a white dude from Perth Amboy who’s had more influence on early hip-hop than any NJ-bred white dude has a right to, and/or
e) the rum-running, Prohibition-era mayor of Atlantic City on Boardwalk Empire.
Hey, four out of five ain’t bad.
So, until Martin Scorsese turns his eye on Italo-disco for a sweet ten-part documentary, we have this excellent Treehouse evening. In their new home at Greenpoint’s Coco 66 (actually next door at 68), Treehouse climbers Eric Demby and Piotr Orlov (the latter an occasional SOTC contributor), a/k/a Treeboy and Raspberry Jones, have brought their mighty monthly back down to earth for another night in the cosmos. Past Treehouse guests have included Kieran Hebden, Delorean, Andy Votel and Todd Edwards (!); this, too, is a particularly stacked evening for the boys, and in a very intimate setting. Coco maintains a small, healthy ebb and flow until about 2:30, when it clears out like the cops had pulled up to a high school house party. Safety Scissors doesn’t disappoint with his always-unique brand of funked-up gems from generations past: As a producer, Matthew Curry certainly wears his time in Berlin on his sleeve, but the newly minted Brooklyn resident now spins slightly more “maximal” than expected, to the crowd’s delight. After the close of his Proptronix label a few years back and his return to the States, he’s beginning to make more music these days, and that’s a win for us all. But the big draw tonight is Mr. P.
With gigs this summer at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, Primavera Sound, and a headlining spot at ATP’s Release the Bats in October, Liquid Liquid have returned to reclaim their throne of disco blood. Sal seems to be everywhere these days, even stopping by Tim Sweeney’s Beats in Space disco cave, saying he felt like he’d “finally arrived” by playing the late-night beardfest. He’s in great spirits tonight, fist-pumping like a true NJ champ along to his downtempo nu-disco, even dropping a few of his recent BiS cuts. Speaking to Sal for a few minutes, the sweet and unassuming dude seems genuinely thrilled to be back in the fold: “We’ve always just been trying to do something, and I guess we’re still doing it.”
Meanwhile, Raspberry Jones and Treeboy love the nite away, tag-teaming everyone into oblivion until security are forced to pull the ol’ “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here” routine. With expert spinners and musical curators worth following around town, this is a passion project for the DJs and the crowd. It’s always lovely to see so many kids at a small bar getting down like they’re at a giant club. “I’d follow Treehouse anywhere,” declared one reveler. “Except Jersey, maybe.”