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Thursday, May 24, 2007

five eleven 2007

Federico Aubele & Nickodemus

1275 6th St. was already in full swing by the time we arrived there. You'd never know it though. Shrouded in industrial complexes just blocks before the 6th st. bridge, the venue sat in the throws of downtown Los Angeles.

I'd never been this deep into the city before- never been to 'the cut' of the town as they call it. But from what I had heard growing up in white-picket-fence, white-picket-person america, I always had my druthers about going there. Misleading rap videos and partial knowledge of the city in my youth (mostly due to O.J., Rodney King, and whatever "crips" and/or "bloods" were) had painted a portrait of what I thought this place was. Now, months after seeing 2 of my best friends move downtown, I sing a different tune.

This was a little bit different than the loft and arts districts however, as even those simple descriptively functional terms can be misnomers in themselves. We were much further east than I have ever been, heading to a factory basement full of heads just like us, or so we hoped.

Upon arriving, we all paid our cover and headed in. Much to our chagrin, we were admitted and then stopped at a rope leading to the club downstairs. 45 minutes they held us in this make-shift bar/loft area. Someone clearly lived there. I could tell by the roller coolers of tecate for 5 dollars and the 'whatever booze we have & cranberry' that was served in smaller than airline sized cups. The place had the feel of 'The Pit' from PCU; dirty wooden floors, awful amateur abstract art and dim track lighting. 30 minutes they said, 30 minutes then we'll let you in.

So we waited. For a while, we wondered if we'd even get in. My fellow friends all shaking their heads, I could tell everyone was a bit peeved that I'd lead them on a wild goose chase for great house music, only to seemingly come up empty, downtown, and music-less.

Not so though! Finally, after a tumultous wait, we were admitted downstairs. And it couldn't come soon enough. After all, we had gotten an email about the show a week had to rsvp to get in, and it seemed very hush hush. But why then, had they rented a huge space, and wouldn't let the 30 of us get downstairs to join the fun.

Well, like all good things in life, the sweet is never as sweet unless you've tasted sour before. The wait almost served as a build in anticipation, hearing the music bump against the floor; knowing we were hearing Federico Aubele kick off his set with grooves that could have blown Arlo Guthrie away.

As we walked downstairs, I realized we were in for a treat. ESL never disappoints...almost every record I've heard from their label is top notch. And after movies like Garden State, virtually everyone is familiar with Thievery Corporation's song "Lebanese Blonde." A lot of their catalog stays in the same vein, exploring the subtleties in Brazilian, Argentinian, and Portugese music.

The general population might call that music 'world music' or 'stuff my parents listen to.' Others in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles may affably refer to it as 'sushi restaurant music,' or 'Is this the Girl From Impanema guy?' Not so...such generalities are what keeps this scene so small, so exclusive, and completely pure.

And that's the like that flows so well together, it almost feels like you're caught in a single moment; as if time ceases for just one second, and you get to revel in one little snapshot of culture. This night was no exception.

After a short while, we congregated at the bar, and the rest was history. Once Nickodemus came on, we saw a large shift to more dub based sound...maybe some palm wine or afrikaner with echos of spanish polka and reggae. Those terms don't even do it justice. But what did was seeing the throng of people- all getting along, all left in peace, and all there to dance.

The night, as a whole, will forever be left in infamy. My friend, and DJ to boot, said it best when he commented, "I'll never go to another house DJ in Los Angeles again." I asked if that was because he'd had an awful time, or it just wasn't his thing...

"No Scotty, it's because it will never be that good again."


If you're interested in either of these artists, or Eighteenth Street Lounge, here's what I reccomend:

Federico Aubele- Gran Hotel Buenas Aires

Nickodemus- Endangered Species

Nickodemus has also been featured in a new itunes commercial recently, which I've attempted to link below...we'll see if it works. Anyway, the track is called "Mi Swing es Tropical," and it's a hot tune...

enjoy, bro'k!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although I am on the other side of the country, I am glad I was able to hook you guys up with a great night! Federico's new album is coming out later this year and I'll make sure you get the heads up on the release date!