There’s a recent New York magazine piece entitled “The New Gangs of New York” that carries the tagline ‘They’re younger, harder to catch, and quicker to violence. Who holds sway where.” The article even comes with a handy map so you can tell exactly whose neighborhood you’re wandering into. (Thanks guys!) With gang names like Ghost Shadow, 40 Wolves, Gang of Apes, and Albanian Boys Inc., you’d be forgiven for thinking that these weren’t murderous cliques at all, but actually new acts in some witch-house-y subgenre you didn’t even know existed.
So if New York were divvied up into different dance-music genres as opposed to killing zones, where would disco “hold sway”? Pretty much everywhere these days. From hotel backrooms to mainstream clubs, nightlife in 2010 is lodged squarely in the mid-1970s. Brooklyn’s Let’s Play House has done nothing to change this, and for that we can be thankful. In its short lifespan, the party has continuously brought in top spinners looking both forward and backward; Saturday’s “secret location” party is as jam-packed as you’ve come to expect.
Local mainstay Prince Language starts us off down a smooth path of freaky funk. He’s seemingly everywhere these days, unlike compatriot Justin V, who quite simply does not spin enough. Abandoning dance-punk band !!! for a career as a lone disco warrior, V. is involved in enough production aliases to keep anyone busy and away from the DJ spotlight, but tonight’s crowd reaction suggests he should get out more often: People respond visibly and viscerally to his rare disco nuggets. Finally, James Hillard, a quarter of U.K. powerhouse Horse Meat Disco, takes control of the decks, flying solo tonight, as cohort Jim Stanton has taken ill at the last minute. Slightly nervous and clearly exhausted, Hillard is still energetic as always, confidently maneuvering us through classic disco, Italo, boogie, and all forms of funk in between. As their epic London party declares, HMD are “the queer party for everyone,” and it’s always an event when any of their number cross the pond to hand-deliver us fresh disco meat. (Back in August, crew members Filthy Luka and Severino completely destroyed Santos Party House.) “There are four of us, so we can kinda be a few places at once,” Hillard tells me; thanks in part to James Murphy’s stamp of approval (an important element, given his status as Gambino of the disco crime family), they’ve been touring extensively in support of their second compilation. Hence the exhaustion.
Let’s Play House is a fitting name for this party — it feels like we’ve overtaken some dude’s parents’ massive basement while they’re out of town, importing a few extremely talented friends to spin records and help us imbibe large quantities of alcohol. “It’s just good to see people out in New York again,” Prince Language declares. These days, if you’re alive and going out in the city, you can’t escape the disco rebirth. Chances are you’re in its territory right now. Just watch out for those gangs: They’re younger, harder to catch, and quicker to dance.