Monday, April 16, 2007

Event Review: Activate! with Alland Byallo and Nikola Baytala at Deco Lounge

December 31, 2007 Update: I received a friendly email from Mr. Baytala this week letting me know that, though he was on the bill as one of the DJs for this event, he in fact didn't make it and the person we heard was his substitute. Sorry about that Nikola, and if anyone else out there ever has any factual corrections for DJ names and such, please feel free to send them in.

After three evenings of running the party circuit, the boyfriend and I were a bit weary when we rolled into Deco on Saturday night with our friend Kitty in tow. We were lured out by the promise of hearing one of our favorite Kontrol DJs in the super comfort of Deco Lounge, and though the music was good, we never quite found our stride.

I'm not sure how the Kontrol kids came to hold a party at Deco, which is far more gay than their crowd usually strikes me as being into. I found out that Gun Club, which does underground electrotechno events, apparently counts Deco as homebase, and I assume that it was through their sponsorship that the boys were brought into this space. The entire event was for the pirate radio station WAR 97.3, which seems to be broadcasting out of the Western Addition.

Alland was on first, and though I like the more aggressive, knarzy sound he puts out, it was way too loud and painful in that small room for me to enjoy it. Later in the evening, as more bodies were able to absorb the high-end snap, it got better, but I still noticed that there was a force-field around the DJ booth into which very few people seemed willing to pass. There were a few moments when I thought that the sonic aggression was too much for early in the evening, but the best sign was when the bartender, who has certainly heard his share of gay dance music, told me how much he was enjoying Alland's selections.

We got up and danced for a bit, but the boyfriend thought that, as it grew more crowded, the dancefloor also became more "rude;" as he later put it, "if one more bitch in hoop earrings hits me with her elbows, I'm going to scream." I found it difficult to raise much energy in general, and spent most of my time simply surveying the crowd. They were younger, generally dressed in black, and I suspected that they were there as much for 97.3 as for Kontrol (though the boys do have a show there on 2nd Mondays at 9PM).

After Alland, Nikola Baytala came on with a set of housey/space-disco tracks that seemed like they would have played better at an earlier hour than they did after Alland's harder excursions. The boyfriend didn't care for his his mixing, and while it sounded beat matched to me, it also did sound like there were some distinct transitions between tracks that weren't compoitionally as well matched. I honestly didn't have much opinion at this point, though, since my fourth drink after three nights of clubbing had made me essentially insensate.

We went out for a smoke and chatted with Alland, who told us about some great upcoming events (including one at the Porn Palace!); related a story about a certain DJ of his acquaintance involving a Halloween party at the Porn Palace and a ball-gag that became the weekend's sole costume; and talked about the kind of changes that come up when you move into the bigger club venues after having been underground for a while. There was also a bit of dish about another group that produces techno parties that confirmed some suspicions of mine based on their flyer art and general demeanor. It was nice opportunity to chat, though I wish I had been a bit more mentally engaged at the time.

We split out around 1.30, before Broker/Dealer's set. It was an okay night out, with good music, though next time I think I need to pay more attention to that internal regulating mechanism called exhaustion before venturing out yet again for another party. At the very least, it'll help me write a better review on the Monday following.

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