Monday, February 16, 2009

Sleep When I'm Dead

So I'm a total pack rat. I have collected random shit off and on forever. Mixtapes. Magazines. Books. Records. Stupid toys and figurines. One of the things that I collected a lot of in my day was rave flyers. I never threw flyers away. I started going to raves ("parties" we called them, "rave" was so corny) in the winter of 1994 (yes, I am old) in a bar somewhere on the waterfront in Portland Maine. My friends told me it was a "micro-rave" but I think they just made that up because it sounded clever and there weren't many people there. But there were enough people there. All of them VERY. VERY. FRIENDLY. And about 30-45 minutes later, I began to apreciate what they were so excited about...

Young people are so earnest! And they do everything earnestly. And we partied EARNESTLY back then. We'd drive forever, we'd stand in line in the freezing cold for hours, we'd wander around the worst parts of strange cities at 2am trying to follow the "thump-thump-thump" of the hidden party. We were invincible, and what better time and place to be invincible than at a rave. You'd never dance like that or talk to THAT guy during the DAY, but invincible people do whatever they want, and if that means talking to the 7 foot tall viking leading his girlfriend around on a leash, so be it! Going through some of these flyers that I've collected over the years, I realize I had forgotten how damn IMPORTANT everything felt back then. Every party was going to take me to "another dimension" or "a new sonic frontier" or something. Every dj lineup was unprecedented, unrivaled, gifted from the gods of music, assembled by mad scientists in a lab or something. And yet when you were there, one of a thousand loved up party kids dancing and laughing and rolling and lounging and networking and bullshitting, it actually felt unique, special even. "Wait a minute, I HAVE arrived at a techno shangri la where music is master and the vibe will sustain us for the next 10 hours and everyone is free to be themselves!" It all felt so important, but in hindsight it was probably equal parts boundless energy and youthful narcissism.

P.L.U.R. stands for Peace Love Unity Respect. I guess it was our equivalent of "Tune in. Turn on. Drop out." Or something. There was a series of parties thrown in the National Guard Armory in Charlestown (Chelsea?) based on P.L.U.R., and PLURalism was the final installment. At the time, I probably DID think that it was all about the "wealth of openness" and "giving and receiving Peace, Love, Unity & Respect" though in hindsight it was probably more about selling tickets and keeping the cops at bay for a few more hours. Given that this party was supposed to be a "movement," I'm pretty sure that the crowd outside eventually ripped open a garage door and bumrushed the party (PLUR indeed). It was a dope party, the music was great (seriously, check that lineup: Onionz, Joeski, Dieselboy before he was big, Overload), I met a ton of friendly people, and there WAS a bouncy moonwalk, which was cool until the pills started kicking in, then it turned into a giant sex mattress and eventually deflated like some symbolic post-coital comedown. The free snow cones lasted about 45 minutes, but hey, it's the thought that counts. And they did have free massages for a while, but it was a rave, so after a few hours EVERYONE was giving out backrubs.

I went to the first Bassrush party in Allentown, Pennsylvania (a, um, 'sleepy' little city in the middle of nowhere). It was at a giant club called the Frightyard and, trust me, the bathrooms were f*cking terrifying. Get a load of the mission statement on the inside of the rather large flyer for Bassrush: New Year's Eve Rush: "The party that is set to explode, we are going to take you on a voyage of musical delight and enter 1997 right! After an amazing year of Bassrush parties we come to the grand finale. Absolutely no expense has been spared and this is guaranteed to surpass all your expectations!" FYI, I went to this party, it was supposed to be somewhere on the northeast edge of Washington DC until the cops raided the venue AS THEY WERE SETTING UP! Long story short, arrests were made, venues were ditched, and I spent my NYE in a dingy motel room with 6 other ravers watching Dave Letterman killing time while the Bassrush folks convinced The Capital Ballroom to let them have this party there. Doors opened at 2am. Happy New Years, ravers.

I just read a flyer that's too big to scan that says "come join us: when the colored lights shine off the dj's turntables and the floor becomes alive with the energy we all create and all our senses heightened and we all unite as one LIFTED spirit." Have another, drugbags! You can just imagine the "brainstorming sesh" the promoter called with his team to come up with THAT promotional copy...

"Taste the rainbow?" Tastes like lysergic acid, you bug-eyed little troll!

Thanks for indulging my meander down memory lane. I won't bore you any further today, but reserve the right to post random old school rave flyers when I'm feeling nostalgic. Here's a mix of ravetastic breakbeats for your listening pleasure. "I'll sleep when I'm dead" was something of a mantra for me and my crew back in the olden days, and was usually heard at about 6am when the discussion turned to heading home or reupping and staying until the after-party. Please to be enjoying....

1. Future Funk Squad & Tamara - Kissing Air (Kraymon Mix)
2. Sole Claw - Goth Chick Handjob
3. Tayo meets Elroy & Piper - Down Under Dub
4. Aquasky & the Breakfastaz ft. Dianne Charlemagne - Good Sound
5. Freestylers - Warrior Charge
6. Tayo - Wildlife Dub
7. Ivory - Free the Beast (Breakfastaz Remix)
8. Ian Van Dahl - Inspiration (Breakfastaz Remix)
9. Freestylers - Punks (Krafty Kuts Remix)
10. Deep Impact - Methods (VIP Mix)
11. General Midi - Turn it Loud (Rollin Mix)
12. Ils - Angels (Ed209 Remix)
13. the Autobots - Seconds Out
14. Ils - Feed the Addiction

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