The B40 crew is traveling a lot lately! Last weekend, I had the pleasure of joining friends in Vancouver BC for a long overdue visit, and we hit up some of the bigger dance venues they had been glowing about. Primary among these was Space Five Sixty for Vancouver’s edition of Bearracuda, which has become the largest of the Bearracuda party franchise, serving bears and their friends dance beats. As expected, the crowd was a sea of beards and furry chests, and the space was gorgeous and multilevel with amazing projections and solid sound. Just as the party was warming up with local support from Jay Douglas, word came through that Chicago “chunk house” headliner Ted Eiel had been turned away at the Canadian border. Ouch.
So imagine our surprise when our dear friend DJ Matt Stands from Seattle took the headlining slot in his place. Matt is a Seattle resident DJ at the Cuff, BarMyx Everett, the west coast Bearracuda and Strapped parties, and my musical co-conspirator from the basement raves that eventually evolved into Burning Man Camp Conception. A true professional, Matt took the last minute phone call, packed the car, drove up and saved the party like a DJ superhero.
Though most people know Matt for his high-energy vocal sets at the Cuff, his underground roots go deep into warehouse raves in the Pacific Northwest. His sets for the big gay dancefloor range from more traditional female vocal fare to harder electro and acid sounds when he’s built the floor to take it there. I was particularly gratified Sunday night when he mixed from a disco house track right into an big-room acid bomb, “Generation 303” by Nicky Romero, which prominently samples the Chemical Brothers classic, “Block Rockin’ Beats.” The security staff noticeably perked up as I busted my best liquid dance moves on the floor.
The night was a big success, and I was reminded of the joys of carefully subverting more traditional gay dancefloors with underground sounds.
Some of my favorite of Matt’s mixes have been at his Strapped residency at Steamworks Seattle, where he paints with the darker techno and house sounds from his palette. Highly recommended, and have been on this otter’s rotation for months:
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And part two, which is more to the chillstep and broken beat side:
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The night continued into afterhours at Gorgomish, a posh above-grade club where I received free Lasic surgery from the eye-level house lasers, as NYC’s Eddie Martinez served up fairly typical New York circuit sounds. I longed for a little broader range in this sound (and also sunglasses), but by then all my friends were too intoxicated and macking on each other to care.
The night ended with a strangely satisfying cab ride home with an Indian driver and I driving past scores of loud, wasted Victoria Day Monday morning club refugees as we discussed integrity, intimacy and respect, and how important it is to model these for future generations. To better vision, better days and Namaste.