Misfire: Dubfire At The Secret Group


Some several months ago, I pounced on early sale tickets to see one of my favorite DJs at a Kinda Super Disco show with a yet-to-be-announced location. Dubfire, the Iranian-American techno DJ and producer, has been a staple of almost every techno set I’ve ever played and to say I was pumped would be an understatement. It was then announced eventually that the event would be at a newer location in Houston called The Secret Group; one of several locations in what could be loosely considered Houston’s “warehouse district” just south of downtown.

Once inside, my initial impression of the location was a positive one. There was minimal decor. and the reddish lighting paired with the bare wood tables and benches lent itself to a warming feeling. That would be about where these feelings stopped. The bar was minimally staffed and the workers didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to move people along. It took nearly 40 minutes for me to finally get my first drink order in, which I would find out the next morning I was charged a grand total of four times for after being told my debit card had been declined three times and then putting it on my credit card. To make matters worse, the actual stage area was extremely congested. It really only allowed for about half the capacity of the bar itself to actually view the show and was separated by only a narrow doorway that was frequently blocked by patrons.

Undeterred, I maintained a positive attitude as I proceeded to check out the openers. James Reed and Josh Dupont, the two gentlemen behind Kinda Super Disco, are always Houston favorites. They were doing a great job of getting the crowd going, which is no surprise. They honestly would have been worth the cost of admission alone, if not for the venue’s power and/or sound system failing on them several times. Still though, they handled the mishaps well, working quickly to right the ship and get things moving in a timely matter. In all fairness, we can probably chalk that up to “new venue problems.” Either way, I fully enjoyed Dupont and Reed’s sets and would happily attend the next Kinda Super Disco event.

When Dubfire came on, I was still excited to see him despite some glaring issues right off the bat. First of all, there were girls on the stage. I’m not talking about professional gogo dancers who add to the fun ambiance; just about a dozen “randoms” on the stage for the entire show. Frankly, it wasn’t cool or cute, but instead incredibly distracting and annoying. There was a box they danced on to the side and a good three feet higher than Dubfire, and when I say danced, I use the term loosely. One of them danced for only a few minutes and then proceeded to stand there and check her phone for about another 10. After a very short while the whole group became a selfie party and I just did my best to ignore it.

Despite everything, it could have all gone unnoticed if not for Dubfire being incredibly boring. Now look, I get it, I play techno myself. I know it doesn’t have the big drops of electro house, the melodies of trance, or the pounding BPMs of hard dance, but the mixes seemed to go nowhere. The whole set seemed so shallow and empty and lacked the depth I enjoy in Dubfire’s tracks that led me to attend the show in the first place. I’ll never write someone off for a bad performance; they happen. I’ll happily check out Dubfire again. I just doubt that it will be at this particular venue or any time relatively soon.

Photo credit: Marisa Hugonnett (courtesy of Kinda Super Disco)