Simon's funny, detailed rundown of last Saturday's NASA Rewind experience was right on the money. I'd never been to the original NASA. In 1991 I was 12 years old and probably had no clue what rave was. I dunno--I don't remember much about being 12. I caught up on all this stuff much later. So this storied past that Simon enthuses about is pretty alien to me. Which is why I was so psyched to check out NASA Rewind, to step into that time capsule. . .
It'd been a very long time since I'd been to the anything matching the sorta 'superclub' feel of Arc, the same physical location where the original NASA raves were held (under different names). I much prefer the Volume vibe to be honest--just ten or fifteen bucks to get in, laid-back dudes at the door (instead of a gauntlet of snarling, muscley bouncers), everything very wild and improvised and friendly. But where Volume felt raw and in-progress, Arc felt finished; everything had this do-not-touch, you-break-it-you-buy-it vibe to it. The awful $25 admission fee (for that price, in my mind, you better get some free party favors if ya get me), getting hassled and getting practically strip-searched just to get in the door, the herd mentality, filing in like sheep. . . my favorite dance parties have always been the free or very cheap ones in random warehouses, where kids would be building their own cool shit, actively helping the party somehow (by dancing or by DJing or by building cool gear or doing chemistry or whatever.) In stark contrast the whole NASA Rewind vibe was very um, not like this. Fog machines going apeshit every 10 seconds! Disco ball the size of a small house in the middle of the floor! Ice Capades-style lighting! It was kinda cool but I wasn't into how super-duper-slick it felt cuz it somehow detracted from the experience (partially cuz the fog machines were really stinging my eyes I guess.) But I LOVED dancing to those old anthemic tunes. I was surprised at how many I recognized. DB did an awesome job of showing that old skool rave was still alive/breathing/kicking/screaming, and I thought Moby was a great DJ (I'm a sucker for hands-in-the-air piano riffs). Frankie B and Soulslinger, though, were totally wack and I was literally so put to sleep by Soulslinger that I had to go home. Didn't think it sounded Metal Machine Music at all. . . I've always kinda fantasized about putting beats on 'MMM'. . . it just sounded really boring, totally killing all that effort that DB and Moby and Jason Jinx had put into getting the dance floor packed and moving. If DB had been DJing all night it would have been the best night ever. Seems to me that around 2-4 am that's when you should be building up to this GIANT PEAK--all the microhouse dudes know that!--you wouldn't see Michael Mayer or Matthew Dear, for all their experimentalist tendencies, dropping some of that horrible 'chill out' shit that Soulslinger was, um, slinging. They feed off the crowd, the energy and the intensity. There's a symbiosis there that's so essential. DB was feelin' the crowd. The only thing Soulslinger was feeling was, um, himself.
But when the night was on, it was ON. One of the coolest things was hearing those first telltale thumps of 'Energy Flash' and watching Simon go nuts. It was like a cosmic realignment had somehow taken place, and hearing all those killer tunes on that massive soundsystem with a packed dance floor made everything gel, made everything suddenly make so much sense.
Didn't sense a druggy vibe either, like Simon noted, unless I went to the bathroom. There I saw piles of girls who looked incredibly messed up. I remembered to bring a pack of mint gum with me, which made me an instant hit with the kids who felt like their jaws were wired shut (e'll do that to you.)