Last Friday saw the GBH ten year anniversary party take over Webster Hall in NYC with a lineup made in hedonistic electro heaven. Known for throwing some of the sweatiest dance parties around (past guests have included the Juan Maclean, Spank Rock and Drop the Lime), their Nicky Digital approved brand of glamorous debauchery practically demanded the services of banger connoisseurs LA Riots, hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash and upstart dance punks Does It Offend You, Yeah?, followed by the one-two punch of DJ sets by the DFA’s James Murphy and robot pop remixers du jour Jesse Keeler and Al-P, better known as MSTRKRFT. Considering that Murphy threatened legal action against Jesse’s former band, Death from Above (also the name of his NYC based dance punk label with Tim Goldsworthy) which resulted in the new name of Death from Above 1979, I’d love to know who came up with that inspired pairing.
Even though I grew up only a forty five minute train ride away from NYC, this excursion to the heart of the bridge and tunnel Eurohouse crowd would be my first. Note to Webster management: think about having a separate line for will-call, because what’s the point of getting tickets ahead of time if you still have to wait in a 150 person line? Once in (thanks D.!) we braved the main staircase to the ballroom and I fought off pangs of claustrophobia until the crowd broke and my companions and I found ourselves in a cavernous, smoke filled room filled with pulsing bass and kids dancing with total abandon.
The old school disco house pumping out of the speakers meant James Murphy, curator of the excellent Fabric 36 and frontman of LCD Soundsystem, was on stage. The mix of alt-bros, alt-girls and kids who showed up just because it’s Webster Hall and it’s Friday night were getting down and getting drunk, as evidenced by the long wait at the bar. The funky bass lines and shimmering synth waves were getting everyone into prime dancing mode and by the time MSTRKRFT took the stage around 1:30 people were ready to go off. Literally. At one point during the night I looked over and saw a guy crowdsurfing while a beach ball sailed over him.
Jesse and Al-P, looking rumpled in the that only DJ’s can, brought the heavy bass that got the girls so riled they had to jump on stage and shake it till the security guards ushered them off. Dropping Crooker’s deliciously filthy mix of Chemical Brothers ‘Salmon Dance’, Frederico Franchi’s mind melting ‘Cream’ and several Daft Punk numbers worked the room into an even greater fist pumping, sweating mass of humanity. I wasn’t surprised to see several kids, even Jesse, lighting up despite the years old smoking ban. We finally left exhuasted and steaming in the night air, only to be accosted by a random drunk dude ranting about the lack of juicy bootied Jamaican girls available for him to take home. Listen guy, sorry us electro crunk girls chased out your honeys but it was just for one night. And we owned it.