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My Crew Be Unruly 2: Words and Photos

July 31, 2009

Photos by Josh Sisk

With the Artscape DJ Culture stage relegated to some Wind-Up Space shows last Friday and Saturday night—a kind of cruel and confusing shift, given that July is the one year anniversary of K-Swift’s death and club’s massive global growth over the past year—My Crew Be Unruly 2, the second edition of what better become an annual event from now until the end of time, felt even more essential. That it was even bigger and badder than last year’s, even more vital in its delightfully sloppy mixture of any and everybody, wasn’t lost on those attending. Be it it Paradox regulars or goofy kids that don’t normally set foot in the club, an unspoken “this is something special,” got passed all around and rattled between the walls of “the ‘Dox” two Fridays ago. Words by Brandon Soderberg. All photos by Josh Sisk,

Though club music’s sold as this totally weird, rarefied regional thing—and it is—the inclusiveness of the scene, especially at a megaevent like My Crew Be Unruly cannot be overstated. The foreground of this picture is what to expect at a club show, but the background is just as much a part of it all. A few girls dance alone, disinterested in gyration, and further in the background, a bunch of people just chill, conversing. The beauty of MCBU is the plethora of people types and the types of fun they’re having.

These modest print-outs, inconspicuously displayed near the entrance and on a few pillars, were the only indication of who was playing and when. There weren’t formal announcements or anything, just a ceaseless stream of DJs, and outside of the implicit tier system of the three rooms-a main room, back room, and an outside area—there was no ego or value judgment. The only concern was stacking as many nutso DJ sets as possible on top of another in six hours.

The Paradox’s BYOB allowance is not only pragmatic—this way, you can drink until 5 a.m.—it’s one more way to keep every piece of the club scene rooted in self-expression. From how you dance to what you drink-the choice is yours. Boxes of wine. Styrofoam coolers. Natty Boh. Weird mystery jugs of something or other. It’s all in your hands. Shouts to the guy who was lugging around six bottles of Twisted Tea.

Newark, New Jersey’s DJ Tameil, along with Say Wut and King Tutt, made up the night’s most dynamic 90 minutes. From Say Wut’s thumping horns to Tameil’s non-stop reinvention of Rap & B hits to the electro-informed insanity of King Tutt, you heard the rigorous club blueprint stretched to its limit.

James Nasty, along with Andrew Jaye, opened the backroom and played a set that on any other night, would’ve been the climactic hour of the evening%u2026not the first hour of six. Their set was horrifying and wholly overwhelming, which when it comes to club music, is a good thing. Bobbing and weaving through club history, the set culminated in Nasty, with a smile, dropping the all-too-familiar introductory keys of “Doo Doo Brown” to shouts and screams of approval.

The back room was the secret highlight of the night. The place to catch DJ Sega, Tittsworth, and an epic, near two-hour Doo Dew Kidz set. Both casual but completely off the rails, the back room had comfy chairs and tables used for dancing on top of. . . when the floor somehow got boring. A constant train of people filed in and out, attempting to ingest as much variety of club music as possible: A few moments of DJ Booman’s heart-attack set and then over to check out King Tutt in the main room and then back again.

Unlike other DJs who’d toss in a remix or a plain old rap hit to let everybody catch a breather, Booman (with Jimmy Jones emceeing) had nothing to prove and seemed intent on completely exhausting everybody. Nothing but Doo Dew Kidz classics, some sped up even further—”Pick Em Up” sounded pitch-shifted to enhance the BPMs—until it hit a critical mass of spastic beats and Jimmy Jones shout-outs an hour and some change later. By the time fellow Doo-Dew Kid KW Griff appeared, the room was full of excited but damn tired people nodding their heads but too fatigued to keep up the momentum. That’s what the best club producer ever does to a crowd.

Not sure if it was a spoken agreement or one of those things DJs just sorta understood, but no one played “I’m the Ish” prior to DJ Class and Scottie B’s performance at the end of the night. It’s been said a bunch already, but the fact that a true club originator like Class has the break-out Club hit is too perfect. Seeing Scottie B-a crucial part of why MCBU’s so utopian-and Class in awe of an explosive crowd at night’s end was also pretty perfect.

People often compare club music to a drug and an event like MCBU justifies that kind of hyperbole. A club show makes every other type of dance music, no matter how fast or raucous, feel like it just isn’t getting the job done. None of the overarching trends of urban music really compare. After a night of club music, and especially a club night on steroids like MCBU, all those songs on the radio, all those cool, clever mash-ups and remixes give you a hollow feeling simply because they’re not club.

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