The Martinez Brothers
Monday, November 22
Maneuvering our way around Good Units last night was a feat. While the Hudson Hotel’s recently opened underground club is massive as far as hotel nightlife goes, we found ourselves shuffling along the wall to make it through the dense crowd of old-school house heads aimlessly spinning about in celebration of Giant Step’s newly relocated residency. As far as we’re concerned, anything that has a couple hundred people dancing on a Monday night has to be commended. NYC needs it.
This monthly, after-work fete is an 8-to-midnight dance party directed at the 9-5’ers who need to leave the bar in time to catch the train home or tuck their kids into bed. It’s free, too, which has to cause some anxiety on the hotel’s end. Walking in, we were greeted by a series of suited bouncers (six at least) and sent to a line of older, well-dressed couples, a few guys with hip-length dreads, and a gaggle of girls in various hip hats (fedoras, berets, some sort of feather poof). Down a nondescript staircase, we arrived at a lounge-style balcony that overlooked a no-nonsense, warehouse-themed dance pit.
There’s something instantly euphoric about walking into a perfectly energized dance party when deep house blares from a wall of speakers sitting on the floor. The music is a little too soulful for anyone to get too sexy with their moves, which is a good thing — it means there’s none of the nightlife fluff we hate, no networking or picking up chicks. It was too loud for that anyway, and no one seemed to be able to stand still; the night’s patrons were content to communicate through dancing instead. Break circles scattered across the dance floor: Graying house dudes battled a saucy young Latina girl in stilettos, a pair of shirtless bros jumped up and down, two gay men vogued their way through the middle of the room, and another spun his yard-long dreadlocks to a song that was not by Willow Smith. You’re really just out of luck if being a wallflower is your thing, as moving in time with the house remix of Loose Joints’ “All Over My Face” magically makes it easier to avoid being stepped on.
If anything, tonight’s crowd is a modernized scene that throws back to the days of infamous house clubs like Shelter — a club that opened the same year that the younger of tonight’s DJs was born. (!!!) It’s another ray of hope in the over-glammed DJ scene, really. The Martinez Brothers (Chris and Steve) are 18 and 21 years old – young enough that most wouldn’t take them seriously, but skilled enough that the crowd tonight does. (We spot more than one fan shouting in appreciation at the onset of Eddie Amador’s “House Music”.) It helps that they grew up under the wing of their disco-scene father, and even played their first gig at Shelter in 2006 (yep, that means one was 14), but the night’s set proves that it’s a deep understanding of house, not entitlement, that’s pushing them to the spotlight. The two seamlessly pass off the headphones to each other, one cuing up tracks while the other dances and hypes up the crowd, or maybe sings the chorus of “Let the Rain Come Down” and points at the disco-ball chandelier that explodes flecks of light with a new hit of the fog machine. It’s pretty heartwarming that there’s not one person in the room that feels too jaded to appreciate what’s happening here.