Steve the DJ
Last night was the first time I’ve ventured out this week because the flu has kept me home alone. I was booked to DJ at the Wednesday night party at Above Allen, the cool, cool lounge in the new Thompson LES Hotel. The cool, cool lounge was actually very cool, especially since they haven’t had their HVAC (heat) sorted out. I really like this place. The Wednesday party, which features resident DJ Neil Aline, is a smash. It’s promoted by Janelle Lee and Sean Tao, who are both (coincidentally) a couple of hospitality designers that I’ve been courting on and off for my design business. Sean, a former David Rockwell staffer, brought a young and fabulous crowd, while the rest of the scene was very adult and very sexy. Julie Park manages the joint and is building it nicely. They wanted music not typically played in New York clubs, and that’s certainly my style. I was amused by Guest of a Guest photographer J.T., who didn’t know a Sly Stone from a James Brown. Indeed, he couldn’t get one track right all night.
I DJed on and off with Neil, and the atmosphere allowed everything from funk to rockabilly to punk and soul. I had the most fun. The skyline views are spectacular. When the moon rose, I played punk love-anthems, and it seemed surreal that back in the day in long-lost haunts of the LES, I used to hear these songs played live while I banged around in mosh pits and pogoed. Now I offered them up to a chic lounge crowd in a relatively subdued manner. Stiv and Joey and Dee Dee must be laughing at me from above. Here’s a partial playlist of my set:
1. The Yardbirds – “For Your Love” 2. The Sneaker Pimps – “Spin Spin Sugar” 3. Tuxedo Moon – “No Tears” 4. Nancy Sinatra – “These Boots Are Made For Walking” 5. The Flying Lizard – “Money” 6. War – “Low Rider” 7. Manu Chao – “King of the Bongo” 8. Interpol – “Evil” 9. A Cursive Memory – “Perfect Company” 10. Iggy Pop – “Real Wild Child”
There was some James Brown, Sly, and Barry and such, and it was great to see couples dancing to slower tracks. This is a posh club crowd. The great majority of people there aren’t going to the joints anymore. They’re hanging with friends at restaurants and aren’t listening to hip hop or house offerings. This crowd isn’t seeking the frenetic escapism of the club scene … the music here is just a fun background to conversation and flirtation. For me it was a refreshing change, and I was honored — actually thrilled — to be asked to spin there. I’ll be at another favorite spot of mine, Southside, this Sunday. I’m not trying to make a career of DJing — I’m just having fun with it. I’m enjoying these real lounge-type places.