All photos by Tony Salazar.
If you bring the bass, they will come.
That's what we learned last night, after watching Fat Cat's in downtown Fort Lauderdale fill up with a crowd of subtly hip and pleasantly low key 20- and 30-somethings, some trekking from as far north as Tallahassee, to experience the sounds of U.K. minimal dubstep DJ and producer Youngsta.
It was a labor of love getting the East London "deep" dubstep DJ to Fort Lauderdale on a Monday night for Too Future, a new dubstep party happening every third week of the month. Members of dub connoisseurs Proper Dosage, local creative collective Black Locust Society, and the committed staff at Original Fat Cat's all put their heads together, fronted the cash, and imported a pair of proper 1,500-watt subwoofers so that the Minimal Mondays RinseFM radio host could blow our ears with the sounds of pure, chest-thumping bass.
Despite the unlikelihood of an underground electronic dance party in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale on a Monday, the night was a success, carrying on well beyond 3 in the morning and ending with delicious sidewalk-served jerk chicken.
Proper Dosage resident DJs Revenant and the Reazin opened the party, warming up the crowd and setting the energy levels at a nice middle-high with slower, funky low-end beats, preparing the unsuspecting corner in downtown for some of the loudest sounds it's likely ever heard.
Youngsta got on the decks around midnight and played for a full two hours, vibing off the crowd's energy as it danced and moved to the music. It was clear the young DJ, who's been spotlighted on BBC Radio 1's top-rated electronic program, knew what he was doing as he bounced between loading up the CDJs and cranking on the knobs of the mixer, delivering a mix that was just the right amount of sophisticated, accessible, and sexy.
The bar was filled up from the front patio all the way to the back, with attendees casually clad in jeans, sandals, and the occasional spirit hood. And even though the music packed a punch with some serious moments of aggression and technical prowess, the attitude of the night was overall laid-back, with partygoers taking timeouts to mingle and enjoy the music and cool weather outside in between tearing it up on the dance floor.
For Gaurav Khanna, one of the organizers of Too Future and also one of its resident DJs Revenant, putting on this monthly event isn't about making money or following the hype; it's about the music. "Giant festivals, Grammy awards, and millions of dollars are all great," he said. "But to us, electronic music is the opposite of all that. It is deep, dark, clandestine, anti-pop. We are taking it back."
It's still unclear whether there's real room in the collective mind of those who dwell north of Miami for the experimental, deeper sounds Proper Dosage and the rest of the crew are seeking to introduce. With most of the neighboring bars playing a regular program of Top 40 and tribute bands, the prospect of an underground electronic scene in Broward can seem bleak. But Monday's Too Future party, featuring its first act imported from overseas, was definitely a reassuring step in the right direction.
"These guys are passionate people about the sound that I play," said Youngsta, whose real name is Daniel Lockhart, after the show. "These guys got their heads together, put all their time together, and made this happen. What you've got happening here is a movement -- it means it's a start of things."