Venue: The Biltmore
Music: Retro(ish) Hip-Hip
DJs: Cam Dales, Man Tears and Lil Baby Peace Sign
Drinks: Gin & juice and ghetto cocktails $4.50
Maybe I’m giving away my age here, but when I think of retro hip-hop, I think of Arrested Development, Maestro Fresh Wes and Dr. Dre—not Kelis’ “Milkshake.” They played it at House Party though, leaving me a little confused. But Cam Dales, organizer and DJ of the night points out that House Party is “just a rap night” and an opportunity for friends to hang out and have some fun with rap and hip-hop rather than a strict retro night.
House Party started in March 2009 with Andy Dixon, DJ Man Tears (Justin Gradin of the Emergency Room), DJ NOREMIX, Ian Wyatt and Lil’ Baby Peace Sign (Andrea Lukic of Nü Sensae) and the intention was to exclusively play ’90s rap. “It’s loosened up now,” said Dales, who got involved in July, and the night has broadened to include more modern tracks. The DJ-line up has also shifted with only Dales, Tears and Peace Sign manning the tables.
Despite the lack of Hammer pants, flat top hair cuts and people doing the running man, House Party was a lot of fun. You certainly get the feeling that you’re at a friend of a friend’s house and that friend has an extensive collection of hip-hop including Gang Starr, Jay-Z, Eric B. & Rakim, N.W.A and Salt ‘N’ Pepa. Those who are normally shy to dance will find the Biltmore’s expansive dance floor a little intimidating, but there was still a substantial crowd that grew throughout the night, and perhaps after downing a few ghetto cocktails (a can of Extra Old Stock malt liquor topped with orange juice that was surprisingly palatable) or gin and juices (Snoop would approve), the floor will seem a little smaller.
Venue: Honey Lounge
Music: Garage / Punk / Noise
DJs: Rundown Soundsystem & guests
Drinks: $4.50 Sleemans
As so many live music venues in our dear city are thrown off the map and reworked into condos, Corey Woolger, bartender at Honey Lounge, has brought upon us a new spot for Vancouver’s band-ridden but venue-starved music scene. This is Honey Lung. The night tends to feature garage, noise and nu punk, but with bands like Congress (a conglomeration of Sports, Jaws and 3 Inches of Blood members) Honey Lung doesn’t discriminate.
Honey Lung could probably be the bastard child of Boosh Tuesday and Fake Jazz Wednesday, both of which happened at the Cobalt before its unfortunate demise. Amongst many others, Modern Creatures, Nü Sensae, Student Teacher and 99 Problems have made appearances here. It’s really just a place for our oh-so-many bands to play and hang out. And though it’s like the Cobalt for the scene it’ll bring in during the week, the decor at Honey is a far cry from that of the Cobalt—chandeliers, clean bathrooms and red velvet chaise lounge chairs. According to Bridgette Gottschalk, who works the door and promotes Honey Lung, unlike at the Cobalt, here you don’t need to wonder if that leak in the roof is coming from the above neighbours’ bathtub, or worse, their toilet.
Just as the bands vary at Honey Lung, so too does the DJ’s record collection. From week to week, DJ Rundown Soundsystem will play whatever genre he’s into for the night. Think Quentin Tarrantino soul to surf rock, and you’ll get a feel for DJ Rundown’s theme on Nov. 19—the night of Timecopz and Sex Negatives. He’s also been known to play hip-hop, noise or dance for a night.
The combination of DJ, bands and atmosphere makes Honey an excellent place to spend minimal dollars and revel in local talent on Thursday nights.
Wot Do U Call It
Venue: Goldie’s Pizza & Beer Lounge
Music: UK garage / 2-Step / dubstep
DJs: Self Evident
Cover: $5 / ladies free before 10:30 p.m
Drinks: $5.75 beer or highballs
Featuring members of Vancouver’s dubstep/dancehall/grime crews, Lighta! sound and SUB OSC, Wot Do U Call It replaces what used to be the closest thing to a weekly dubstep event in the city with a change of format highlighting UK garage and 2-step.
Walking through the front door, you’ll see no signs of the party (it’s a pizza place), but you’ll feel the bass. Walk downstairs, and you’ll be greeted by Self Evident spinning 2-step garage, a major influence on the dubstep genre. The place reminded me of someone’s parents’ basement. At the edges of the hardwood dance floor, there are couches to chill on while you have a drink, but not for long: the music will get you dancing. Halfway through the night I attended, special guest Michael Red took the decks and brought the familiar, dark, bassier sound, playing some of the newest tracks out of the UK, including a Mala track from the new Hyperdub compilation. The music continued until well after the scheduled end, as long as people were dancing.
The drinks are pricey, but this isn’t a bar. Come here for the music and a crowd that’s into it. This is a small space, and it does get packed, as some regulars testified.
Despite Red’s set, don’t expect a focus on dubstep. This will be “people that know dubstep back to front trying to do something different. Less of the constant [wobble] that everyone’s playing,” said Self Evident.