Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dispatch from Bembe Night, the Hangout, 2/11/06

A velvet-soaked bar full of happy strangers and
friends, girls showing off their musical prowess
behind three (?) decks, spicy Carribean-inspired beats
in the middle of winter and a dance floor hotter than
white sand on bare feet -- we gotta call it like we
see it, and we call Bembe Night a success. We're sure
that if it becomes a regular, monthly event, Ashley
and Erin will have learned a few key lessons: setting
up turntables is more important than setting up
tealights and incense and table decorations; giving
new talent a chance to spin is important and
encouraging -- but maybe not at midnight, the most
prime DJing hour; and sometimes seeing yourself
partying, projected on a giant video screen, isn't the
thrill it's cracked up to be. But the night rocked,
read on.

We miss the shit out of the old Hangout, where old men
used to hang out in hats and then place whispered,
"Chill." The man at the door with rings on every
finger used greet people who entered like everyone was
royalty. We didn't mind paying $5 for a teensy drink
then, because you knew it was helping support an
overall ambiance -- and helping to pay the kickass
Hammond-organ-led band onstage.

But we really oughta get over it. Things change fast,
especially in nightclub-land. We're slowly coming to
accept the Hangout as a spot where young people can
groove to good DJs. We love the fact that the second
floor is open -- it reminds us of the clubs in New
York City that stack up one, two, three stories high,
each a little, skinny space decked out in colored
light and sound. We can dig it.

We can also dig the lady-DJ theme. These girls really
did need a night of their own. DJ Lady J's crates are
stacked with the finest funk, and she sat cutely (new
word just for you, J) behind the turntables like a
sweet stewardess of sound.

DJ Madame E, aka Erin's beats not only sound good, but
she couldn't possibly look hotter doing it. She dances
behind the turntables, absorbed in the music, like
every DJ's dream girl. Good thing we spotted her real
boyfriend, Joe Good, being true to his name and
dropping off a valentine-colored potted plant to his
coveted lady dj.

And while it wasn't the wisest move to give Amber a
set at midnight for her very first public outing, the
crowd was supportive. She should feel encouraged to
keep it up.

But, um, thank God for cQuence. The whole crowd, which
enjoyed all of the previous DJs, was nevertheless
grateful for a steady hand at the wheel to drive the
night home with her signature drum n bass. We love
cQuence from her camo jacket to her afro, and we
especially love the story we heard from a friend about
her cleaning her house with a feather duster to one of
the slicker songs in the mix. cQuence, if you Dj'd a
carwash, a baby shower, or a public stoning, we'd
still be there. Which I guess means we ought to show
up at the Cup and Saucer more often.

At the risk of sounding negative, we have a few
personalized messages to throw out:
1. Yo, skinny cameraman guy: we love you at the
Peanut. Thank you for keeping this scene documented.
Now, please get that bright-ass spotlight away from
us. We half expected you to follow us into the
2. Tony (1/3 owner of the Hangout): "Go Fast" is not
Red Bull. It tastes like a gummy worm someone found
soaking in the gutter and melted down into a
caffinated drink. I don't know what you get from that
stank-ass, name-brand-wanna-be, Red Bull biting
company (the drink is even the same pee yellow!) in
exchange for hosting their silly drink, but it's not
worth the faces that your patrons make while passing
it around to each other, daring each other to sip it.
3. This one's for all three owners, including the one
who looks like the Camel cigarettes' Joe: the $20
minimum might cut it in the meth-techno world of Los
Angeles, but in hip-hop-loving KC, all it means is
that we're going to sneak in flasks, drink in the car,
or order a water with lemon. Get an ATM or lose that
stupid policy. Nobody likes their bar owners to be so
blatantly greedy.

Congratulations to everyone who made it out last
night: as you obviously already know, you made the
wise decision and turned out for a lovely evening. And
if the organizers are wise, perhaps Bembe Night can be
a recurring event, with talented guest lady DJs from
all over the place, and from our own KC. Thanks again.


Blogger Miles Bonny said...

I endorse this post 100%, well stated.

February 13, 2006 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like the writing style. Nice costructive criticism! Good for you calling out some owner hangups. Write on.

February 13, 2006 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah def correct on the owner hangups!!!! and as usual with the first time with any event...It is a learning process...THe next Bembe night will be Even Better!!!!

February 14, 2006 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not feeling it...(bembe night)

February 14, 2006 12:58 PM  

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