It’s All Gone Pete Tong

Another slug for your CMJ party planning shotgun. Pete Tong, GBH and Live Nation kick-off Insiders Music Series on Friday, October 24 at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza:

Soulwax + 2ManyDJs, Pete Tong, James Lavelle, Luciano, Rob da Bank, The Whip and Late Of The Pier — penners of epic sequin-coated synth pop as well as role models for tens of thousands of British teens — will work their damnedest to make you feel like it’s 1998 here in the city. PlugInMusic has the full release.

Giant Step’s Resident 28: New York Fashion Week, Solange and Barack Obama

By Mawuse Ziegbe

New York Fashion Week is like a flu virus: most people are affected and the city is overrun with lots of sickly-looking people pretending they’re extra fabulous. But, it’s an NYC rite of passage and like all stupid traditions you have to do it once. I have one of those freakishly put-together friends who just mounted her first fashion show for the Spring 2009 collection of Harlan Bel. Underfed waifs stalked down the runway to the startlingly cool sounds of The Pharcyde’s “Passing Me By,” The Knife’s “Heartbeats,” “I Belong To You” by Lenny Kravitz and “Blow Ya Mind” by Styles P. The clothing was a survey of sleekly architectural construction; prim minidresses detailed with sharp pleats, daringly asymmetrical cocktail frocks and pin-thin slacks with choppy, low-slung waistbands. The types of looks you might find in the Judy Jetson Resort Collection but not at all cartoony and comfortingly wearable.

However, the lead-up to the show was the most nerve-wracking thing, not because I was involved in the process but because I had to show up to the damn thing looking, well…good. After stressing for days, I finally settled on a beige tunic, shorts and these vintage-y black and white flats that made me look like an abolitionist out for a lark. I was all smug until I arrived and realized that next to real fashionistas my “effortless downtown chic” looked more like “useless bumpkin,” complete with the sad clown shoes. Good thing the actual show was no longer than 20 minutes and I was free to run off into the night where I could be judged not by ability to accessorize but by my hearty alcohol tolerance.

Fashion week is all about celebrities – none of whose shiny Botoxed glamour I’ve witnessed up close – but some of them still release music on these flat donut thingys called compact discs. Solange’s second album, Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams is the best reason I’ve seen for not stopping at one child. Beyoncé (or Robot Knowles as I like to call her) is all oiled abs and billowy hair extensions and not enough actual personality for my taste. But Sol-Angel swings from downy, Mid-century soul to ethereal trip-hop to languid, churchy blues; all powered by Solange’s plucky vocals and candid, catchy lyrics. On this record she gets mad, ecstatic, vulnerable and high on “life.” Plus, she prances about in obscene amounts of chiffon like an extra in Mahogany. Lovely.

And since I have a degree in Political Science and not fussing over dry-clean only clothes, my only other fashion week event was a Barack Obama fundraiser at Sutra. Questlove lorded over the club crammed with supporters still gussied up from the tents. It was fun and all but I’m just praying that America judges the candidates on their ability to lead and not the just their runway potential. Although Obama has it sewn up either way.

Bobbito in London

The Doctor’s Orders present
On The Real
Bringing you true school Hip-Hop & Soul
from Prince & Premier to Motown & Mos Def

8pm-3am
Friday 19th September 2008
& 3rd Friday of Every Month
@ Bar Rumba, 36 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1
(Picadilly Tube)
Free B4 9.30pm / £5 B4 10.30pm / £10 After

Special guest
Bobbito aka Kool Bob Love
(Rock Steady Crew NYC)

With Resident DJs
Shortee Blitz (Kiss FM / Extended Players)
DJ MK (Kiss FM / Roots Manuva)
Spin Doctor (The Doctor’s Orders)
& The FREE B-Boy Cypher
hosted by Skeg (Breakin Bread) & DJ Hooch

Giant Step’s Resident 27: Gilles Peterson, Hercules and Love Affair, Bobbito

Photo © Erik Schneider

By Mawuse Ziegbe

Recently, I experienced one of the truly crappy things about living in New York: getting your bike stolen. My Schwinn still had that new bike smell when it was jacked on Bedford Ave. What’s different for me is that it was my first bike since I was 11 (why I never learned to ride is a long, stupid story). Most of you already know the sting of losing your first set of wheels and the accompanying playground anguish and can handle it with aplomb. Not me, however. For the first few days, I would narrow my eyes at anyone on a blue cruiser. I imagined myself pummeling the thieving hoodlum and riding off into the sunset as a row of toothy schoolkids cheered me on. But really, was I going to bound into traffic, outrun a thief with robust pedal-pumping thigh muscles and reclaim my bike without further incident? Hell and no. But after trawling Craigslist and following dead leads on free bikes, I thought, this is America; why not just steal me another bike? Now I narrowed my eyes at poorly secured racers and suitably daffy owners who have wondered off for a latte. But again, how conspicuously nutty would I look yanking on locks while the owner fetches an espresso? And if I was successful, what happens when the owner sees me pedaling off and chucks the scalding coffee square at my back and I fall off writhing in the street. Then I’m not just a failed criminal, I’m a stupid, failed criminal. And really, I can’t be a thief – I don’t even have a mask!

But on a more growned-up note, Giant Step brought Gilles Peterson to Cielo which was wicked awesome. I never realized how amazing the sound at Cielo is! Gilles warmed up with some punchy Afrobeat and sped up the BPMs with some chunky deep house – including a sassy cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain Of Fools.” But when Gilles launched into his Latin Jazz set, it really sounded like a 12-piece band was crouched beneath the turntables. It was like if you just conquered an empire and trumpeters trailed you constantly with your own saucy theme music. Plus, the man must eat music encyclopedias because in an hour he hops between Afrobeat, disco and Latin jazz, easy as pie. And Gilles Peterson sets are also awesome because he’s got some loyal diehards. I spent a couple songs chatting with a fellow who would pause the conversation to shriek at the DJ booth “Whoo!! This is what we paid our money for! DAMN!” Indeed.

I also caught Hercules and Love Affair at Irving Plaza and ain’t they the bees knees! The rainbow-friendly NY collective released their self-titled debut this year which makes my heart flutter. It’s unapologetically new wave, nu-disco, New York nightlife fun combined with the theater of ancient Greece. So, of course the show was one big ol’ shameless dance par-tay! Doors opened at 9 and they didn’t hit the stage until midnight but the voguers and 7-piece band turned it out. They played the late-night torch song, “You Belong” and “Athena” with come-hither coos. It’s like if you took the words “hot damn!” and made them into a recording group.

And in other hot damn news, the kids were hotfooting it at Bobbito’s turn at Giant Step’s Hudson Hotel DJ series last week. Bobbito dropped a range of hits from Chrisette Michele to Paul Simon to Parliament. Dancers of the Week, Brian Polite, DanSir and Dashuan got all Saturday Night Fever with it, wiping the floor clean with their synchronized moves and b-boy swagger. When you’ve soaked your starchy button-up so much that everyone can see your chest hairs through your pocket, you don’t need to mention how crazy the party was.