Words by Korby Benoit
Whenever I listen to music enthusiasts describe New York City’s hallowed nightlife history, I’m often reminded of how this city has a storied past as an incubator for cutting edge music on a global scale.
In the early days of hip-hop, partygoers would travel from parts remote corners of the five boroughs and greater tri-state area, all in the name of pure and undiluted DJ culture. Foreigners would come from abroad to get a glimpse of the likes of Afrika Bambaataa, Jazzy Jay and Red Alert display their skills and extensive knowledge of music.
In 2014 New York is saturated with an assortment of smaller bars and lounges; many of which do not place an emphasis on music culture. DJs hired by these venues can easily feel stifled since many of these establishments require their DJs to play a strict regimen of top 40 tunes. Perhaps the playing field is also made a bit more difficult by a few less than polished DJs who haven’t honed the visceral mechanics of engaging a crowd through sound.
#Offline, Q-Tip’s weekly Brooklyn party is by all means a destination for people who simply want the DJ to take them on a ride. Tucked away in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, Output is a DJ-centered venue that boasts one of the best sound systems in all of NYC. On my visit to last night’s installment, I caught an eclectic and immaculate set performed by resident opener Natasha Diggs, who gracefully ushered in our main man as an expert vibe setter.
It was a true pleasure to witness Q-Tip perform in his hometown as the master dance floor conductor he is, playing a vigorous set of funk, disco, and soul, over and over compelling a packed dance floor to stay on its toes. Output’s sound system reminded me how professional recordings are designed to perform at venues, as the sounds cut the air strong and clean, establishing musical atmosphere. And I definitely wasn’t alone in my appreciation as the venue attracts a crowd of people who also appreciate the music and how it is being presented.
If a true slice of NYC DJ culture is what you seek, take a visit to this Wednesday night gem and trust that you are in good hands.