It's been a weird winter right? Like, a non-winter, not really cold, no snow. But culturally, historically, this is hibernation time, a time of lowered social expectations and quiet nights curled up on the couch with your boo. Even though the weather has been warmer, most people are still in that sequestered, secluded mode, maybe popping out for an event here or there, but mainly doing their thing at home and in their neighborhood or whatever. The situation has had me thinking about last summer, and the madness that developed around Percussion Lab Mondays in Bed Stuy.
The goal was a Boiler Room-style event, with a heavy online presence. We streamed every show to ustream and to our radio page, but the real scene, oddly enough, was local. Sure, we had some followers online, both foreign and domestic, but the excitement was in the spot itself, with a growing family of talented new friends and supporters.
Let's face it, New York is a legendary city. A strange attractor, pulling in motivated, creative, passionate people from all over the world. But, it lacks a cohesive social center, in particular where the dance music world is concerned. WIth the passing of the record-shop-as-hangout-spot, like minded heads have no real place to converge in a casual yet focused environment, nowhere to bounce ideas off each other and move the scene forward in a setting that allows for random interactions and sociability. Clubs and events are great, they're the point of this whole thing - bodies moving on a dancefloor, sweating out the troubles of the day. However, talking is important. Building relationships is important. Being exposed to new styles of music, new creators, and new fans from your area carries a lot of weight in how it influences and crystallizes what's going on in a subculture.
We had a special summer at the bar formerly known as Sweet Revenge. Halcyon's Bless Up! events have sought to provide a similar relaxed, community vibe. The Mr. Sunday parties, with abundant open space, food offerings, and daytime kickoff, were another node of this community building. We need more of these events, where we're talking, not necessarily raving. We're all stuck online so much, that we almost don't notice the lack of a cohesive center to this scene. Where do you tell a fan of 'bass' music from overseas to go in New York to find the scene? Seems like we should be able to answer that question better.
Back to Percussion Lab for a second. Like I said, last summer was something special. The big name headliners we hosted, from SBTRKT and Scuba to Daedelus and Dorian Concept, are all making big moves in 2012. The real story though, lies with the locals, the up and comers that we (I at least) met through Percussion Lab Mondays. The homies Archie Pelago have had Mary Anne Hobbs play a couple of their tunes, and are slated for an exclsive mix on her XFM show in April. XI moved to Berlin and is crushing all comers. Background Sound just dropped a new mix on The Hungry Ear, featuring tunes by Percussion Lab Monday vets Doctor Jeep and XI, and our Southern bredren, Distal and Clicks&Whistles. And that's just a few people off the top of my head; the actual list of baller PLab vets is really, really long.
Not sure what I'm saying here, other than that it's a nice day. The sun is out and here in Brooklyn, it's 54 degrees. I'm starting to get itchy for sunny days and backyard vibes. Reggae on the soundsystem and sangria in my cup. Hearing the new styles of music my friends have been cooking up all winter, cold or not. Let's do it again this summer. I know we will.