Ah, the week before Christmas, when all is quiet, but only because it’s freezing outside. (Seriously, it’s way too early for snow.) And, while we know that sifting through Top Ten lists (or studying for exams, ick) gives you plenty of incentive to stay wrapped up in a Snuggie, we’d like to remind you that these are your last days of freedom before you’re enveloped by the holidays. The who’s-who of New York nightlife seems to agree, and so we’ve got a week’s lineup of house legends, hip-hop producers, and showcases from some of our favorite labels, with all these people just dying to make you dance. You should probably let them.
The week starts out in a wonderful way: Both Wayne Williams and Kenny Dope are DJing at Le Poisson Rouge tonight! Unfortunately, we don’t think Williams will be playing any of the Chicago house that we’re pining for. Instead, he’ll serve as in-house DJ and label bigwig as Jive Records hosts a showcase for their newer talents: Specifically, the soulful Lydia Caesar, the African tribal beats of Kal Nwaneri Band, and the hip-hop of Camille Sledge (yeah, the daughter of a Sledge Sister). But even if Williams isn’t playing dance music, hopefully the guy who made “Step in the Name of Love” will play plenty of Kellz to hold us over between acts. As for Kenny Dope, you’ll find him in the much more intimate gallery bar for this week’s edition of Props. The night is a mix of house, soul, funk, r&b, jazz, and hip-hop, all helmed by Rich Medina and Akalepse. A sweaty, friendly dance affair is guaranteed.
They’re not the only legends to take on the city tonight. The king DJ Premier is making a rare weeknight appearance downtown, headlining the High Rollers & Old Soulz launch party at Soiree. Normally we’d avoid a club of this sort, especially on a school night, but with a cast of DJs that include the Freedom Party’s DJ Cosi and Mari Koda (along with ATS of the Rock Steady crew), we think we’re safe from the worst of the bottle-service crowd. The night includes a performance by Amanda Diva and all sorts of art performances, but ultimately, look to Premo and stick around for a perfectly mixed set of hip-hop, soul, r&b, and maybe some Bieber. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
Thursday night’s agenda is less about dancing and more about lounging. Start your evening off at Brooklyn-based label Group Tightener’s holiday-themed soiree at Veronica People’s Club in Greenpoint. This edition of their monthly I’m in Charge of Celebrations party features a headlining DJ set by Real Estate, as well as sets by the label’s DJs Rezound and Sam Hockley-Smith. Don’t worry: You won’t be held to an endless mix of dreamy rock and surf pop (though I’m sure there will be some of that too). These dudes love hip-hop and will probably play The-Dream if you ask nicely (or don’t ask at all). I hear there will be cookies, too. If you impulsively retract from anything doused in “holiday cheer,” though, then the newly relocated Circa at B.East may be what you’re looking for. Resident DJs Prince Terrence and Carol Sharks (of Hu$$le Club at Lit) have solicited Creep’s Lauren Dillard to inaugurate their new home. Expect a lot of witch house, plus a bit of dark electro, club, and other gloomy dance jams. There’s a half-hour vodka open bar at 11:30 p.m., and then again at 2 a.m. I’m fairly certain that this is the kind of party where you order your free drink in a shot glass.
On to the weekend! Fool’s Gold always knows how to reel us in — partially thanks to killer DJ lineups, no cover, and the occasional open bar. While tonight’s holiday party does include all of the above, we hope that Mannie Fresh‘s headlining set includes much more hip-hop than his showing with Just Blaze at Santos a few weeks ago. At the least, we’re stoked to see that the reOPENed resident is joining the label’s cast of DJs — A-Trak & Dave 1 and Sammy Bananas — to make sure that we do get some rap amid the dance jams and rave-y remixes. Alternately, you could head to Santos for two floors of dancing. Start upstairs for an early show featuring SOTC favorite MNDR along with electro-pop cohorts Psychobuildings and the darker wallowing of Zambri. Afterwards, head downstairs for Noche de los Muertos (“Night of the Dead”), a tropical-themed fete that sounds much more sinister than it could possibly be. The $10 cover gets you a first look at Netherlands-based moombahton maestro Munchi, as well as an MPC performance by Xao Productions’ DJ Comrade, DJ sets by DirtyFinger and Cobra Krames, and a live performance by Maluca. We’ll guarantee that you hear a lot of crazy, progressive, Latin-infused club productions, and that you’ll dance to them, too.
On Saturday, the third-annual Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival is the evening’s big to-do, and sprawls over Public Assembly and the Music Hall of Williamsburg. The neighboring venues play host to eight hours of music (each) and close to 30 DJs. After our experience at the inaugural, we approached this festival with some trepidation (most of the acts that are actually from Brooklyn are in small print at the bottom of the flyer), but the most recent addition to the lineup, Toronto’s Azari & III, have guaranteed our attendance for this year’s go-around. The lineup features a handful of other acts we’re looking forward to dancing with as well, including Sinden‘s mix of grimy club and house, the electro-pop of locals French Horn Rebellion, the dance-rock goodness of Lemonade, and the infectiously bubbly Kid Sister. Tickets are $35 in advance and probably more at the door.
That said, some of our favorite Brooklyn-based DJs take to Manhattan Saturday night for a rare city-side edition of Let’s Play House. It’s a strange move, considering that the party, usually tucked in warehouse spaces, has moved to the uber-trendy Ace Hotel for tonight’s round, though we’re likely to make the change when Beg to Differ (My Cousin Roy & Nick Chacona) and Runaway’s Marc Cabral are in charge of the dance floor. No cover, though we’re sure the cost of drinks will make up for that. Expect plenty of disco, soul, funk, and house from this lot.
On Sunday, take a nap and then head to Funk Box for Tony Touch‘s weekly throw-down at Sullivan Room. Known first and foremost for his ties with hip-hop, the DJ also has a deeply rooted musical knowledge of all things Latin, including salsa, reggae, and reggaeton. If that wasn’t enough to sell you, tonight features a guest set by fellow hip-hop guru and house-lover DJ Spinna, promising an evening that’s bound to be both expertly crafted and incredibly diverse. Cover is $15 at the door. Finally, the old-school know-how continues on into Monday with Giant Step’s holiday party. The promoters have won us over with their dedication to solid, creative dance acts (most recently via the Martinez Brothers), and tonight’s fete is no different, featuring the legendary Afrika Bambaataa. The god of electro-funk takes on Good Units for an extended set to a crowd of revelers that span from 50-year-old hippies to college-aged ravers. Best of all, it’s free with an RSVP.