There's a distinct sensation when you're at a party that's outgrown itself. The crowd's there, the music, the drinks, the same cigarette smoke and sidewalk jerk-chicken vendor, the same bouncer and bartenders, and the same guys playing pool in the back. But there's a certain air of restlessness, a subtle shift in energy. Savor this buzz, hang onto this buzz, make it grow, or watch it slowly fizzle out.
After six months of hustling, booking prominent DJs from the international underground, and even shelling out funds from their own pockets, the crew that hosts the monthly Monday night Too//Future dubstep party at Original Fat Cat's is close to reaching its carrying capacity at the downtown Fort Lauderdale venue.
Last night, the usual constituency of bassheads filled up the divey hub of all things alternative in Himmarshee to experience the subfrequency beats of Baltimore DJ Joe Nice, a veteran who's been credited with importing the dubstep craze from the U.K. to the United States back in the early 2000s. Nice is the first domestic DJ to headline the Too//Future party, which started back in February, when London's prized deep dubstep jewel DJ Youngtsa kicked off the series.
The huge momentum from that first night has carried Too//Future through each successive month, with big-name headliners like Truth, V.I.V.E.K., and J:Kenzo adding to the hype. And this time around, there were all the ingredients for a great party: a good crowd, passionate promoters, and a headliner with some serious musical chops. Still, something was off.
Nice, a superfriendly guy with a pretty insane musical background and record collection, started out his set as he often does, with a couple of unexpected tunes, old-school hip-hop tracks like Warren G.'s classic "Regulate," hinting at the full range of influences, not just electronic music, that have shaped his style.
"I wasn't limited to hip-hop stuff and R&B," he told us about his roots as a kid. "I was buying anything that I liked -- Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction, Police and Zenyatta Mondatta, Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles, Def Leppard's Pyromania. I had no problem having a Whitesnake tape in one pocket and a Boogie Down Productions tape in the other. I was that kid."
Baltimore Club, a brand of dance music in the late '80s and '90s that fused the Miami bass and Chicago house movements, helped guide Nice toward a style that was thudding and percussive but with soul. Now the DJ says the types of dubstep he plays are "more closely related to house and Baltimore Club -- tunes that have a lot of movement but are not necessarily loud and overly boisterous or overly aggressive."