Live: Theo Parrish, Soaking In It At Brooklyn Yard


Theo Parrish apparently played Eddie Kendricks’ “Date With the Rain” just about an hour before the first downpour washed over South Brooklyn last night; the Sunday Best dance party was the last of a Detroit-based trilogy that previously featured deep-house youngin Kyle Hall and FXHE Records owner Omar S. Hosted by resident DJs Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter (the same guys who did Mister Saturday Night at Santos), the all-ages event went down at Brooklyn Yard despite the warning that “If it rains (and let’s hope it doesn’t),” they’d be moving to an indoor location. It did, and they did not. It was clear that precautions had been taken–the DJ equipment tucked under a small tent among the trees, speakers wrapped in trash bags, the bar (and a taco/huarache stand) located safely under an overhanging–just in case.

Parrish’s eclectic taste came through in his all-vinyl set, as he took the party-goers through a four-hour journey of soulful house, jazzy interludes, grating acid-house, and even some r&b and soul thrown in. He won the battle against the intermittent (but torrential) rainstorms as he played jams like a Ron Hardy edit of First Choice’s “No Man Put Asunder” and kept the makeshift, muddy dancefloor packed with shirtless dudes and soaking-wet partiers. On the Yard’s outskirts, dancers set up overlooking the Gowanus Canal, intently focused on footwork in the way house-heads do. Others set up umbrellas in the trees and raved below (there were hula-hoops involved), a scene that resembled some sort of mini-hippie commune.

By 8 p.m., the skies were getting darker, and those who had hidden from the rain emerged, creating a circle around Parrish’s small tent/booth. Some rain-caused electrical malfunction blew the main lights overhead, leaving him to play in darkness while strings of lights tied through the trees created a glowing roof for his audience. Undaunted by the mini-blackout, Theo dropped what sounded like Adonis’ “No Way Back” and brought the crowd around him together in a pulsating energy: It was magical. The night ended on a strange note, as he played Floetry’s neo-soul jam “Say Yes” and left the tables, only to return 30 seconds later to ask “Wanna hear one more?” and drop GZA’s “Liquid Swords” to close out the night. There was an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie as everyone headed home, still wet, tired, covered in mud and sweat. A vaguely sweet smell pervaded, though: a mix of weed, beer, and what had to be incense hanging in the air, making the night a salute to #summeroflove09. And we’re not mad about that.