Event Review: Claude VonStroke at Stereo Live Houston

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The last time we saw Claude VonStroke was at Spring Awakening in Chicago last year.  His set was a highlight of a stellar side stage, peppered with talent that was rare to see under one roof.  When we saw that he was headed to Houston, it was a serious no-brainer.  Yes, we would like to dance our asses off.  Sold!

As always, we arrived fashionably late (aka: old lady nap ran over) to Stereo Live.  Hooray, a comfortably packed dance floor!  Hooray, happy openers that are having a serious ball!  The good vibes were thicker than traffic at 5pm.  We were ready.

His head should be there. Instead: LIGHTS

Claude himself was there every inch of his set.  He bounced with us, and moved his body with the musical roller coaster.  We love it when a DJ takes his or her time to thoroughly mix each track.  This was an evening of no cut-overs, just funky, thoughtful mixing.  As we scooted to the front, we ran into old friends and DJs who remarked that the only way this set could be improved was if it were done on vinyl.  Vinyl or not, this set was FIRE!

The man at work.

We were treated to some pretty serious highlights of his career, including The Rain Break, Make a Cake, and Mind Yo Bizness (with Green Velvet).  However, as far as the rest of his set?  The atmosphere?  We’re not going to lie here… we danced so hard and for so long that we didn’t take any notes.  Despite the occasional break to grab more water from the bar, and bathroom break, we didn’t leave the crowd.  We spotted a dozen or more Dirtybird shirts and hats, and one enthusiastically waved Dirtybird flag off the second story balcony, but our focus that night was losing ourselves on the dance floor.  And lose it we did.  By the end of the night, the notoriously sticky floor was damp enough to cut through the stick, presumably from happily spilled beverages and a good ol’ fashioned sheen of booty sweat.  This was gloriously serious moment on the dance floor, where we had no choice but to bow to the command of the evening’s bearded maestro.

When we left for the evening, just through the end of what we could only assume was the last song (it was closing time) and we stepped outside, we realized how incredibly sweaty we had all become.  You could have mopped a floor with any of our hair at this point.  We seriously couldn’t think of an inch of clothing that was in any fashion not thoroughly soaked.  We could give zero fucks, because we earned every bit of that squish.  Heck yea!

Pros: Friendly crowd, ample room to dance furiously without punching your neighbor, but still packed enough to keep the vibe high.  Insane technique and track selection.

Cons: The ridiculously long wait for a drink outside.  We waited for 20 minutes with friends, went inside and got everyone’s drinks, and came back and they were just being helped.  Come on, Stereo.  Fix your staffing.

Rating: A+

The Curious Case of the Empty Mark Farina Show: 8/5/17

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We found out about this show the morning-of. Seriously. This didn’t even make it into our Weekly Roundup, but somehow this popped into our network at the last minute. In the early evening, as we were making pre-game dinner planning, we realized that the show started in an hour. Ok, so we could get by missing some of the opener to get a drink and some dinner, but I question how many other people got this memo.

We arrived at Warehouse Live with a heck of a lot of excitement and anticipation sometime close to 10. If the show was seriously going to end at midnight (like the interwebz said), we did not want to miss ANY of his mastery. Yes, we are totally fans, but for good reason! We have never been let down by a Farina set, plus he has always been a gracious and generally friendly guy when we’ve met him.

When we walked into Warehouse Live, our hearts nearly stopped. We counted about 30 people in the room, making a crescent around the dance floor. The opener seemed to still be in good spirits despite the lack of attendees. When Farina appeared on stage, he leaned over and whispered something into the opener’s ear. Farina walked into the crowd, got a drink, and hung out for a good while. Meanwhile, we were standing about 10 feet from him, frozen. Oh yes, we’ve talked to and interviewed international talent, INCLUDING Farina himself. However, at that moment, we turned into blubbering 10-years-olds, like we were kids at a brand new school. We shamefully stood by the bar, nudging the other to say hello and ask to take a photo. We were a bunch of fucking chickens.

Behind the decks

 

Eventually, Farina hopped back on stage, about 30 minutes late (maybe they were fixing the sound or waiting for things to fill up?). As predicted, it was a glorious, soulful, funky, and positive House set. Every mix was flawless, the crowd was possessed by the soul of Jack… But again, at the peak of the evening, there were maybe 100 people in the room. The plus side of this is that there was ample room to dance and be silly. We couldn’t help but feel embarrassed and sad for Houston, both for not knowing the talent that was here, but feeling like we disrespected him. Farina still performed like there were 1,000 people in the room, and that had no effect on his set whatever. No temper tantrums, no major delay in his set. Just a solid block of joyful house that felt like it came from the man’s soul. That is a true humble talent, playing a set because you love to share your music, not the fame or reliant on the adoration.

The audience and their master

We wonder what happened to the event though. Why an all ages event? Why did no one hear about this event? As we spread the word the evening of, no one else seemed to even know he was coming, and were pissed because they all already had other plans. We barely had a blip on our radar of a House pioneer until the last minute. Where was the breakdown? We heard a rumor of electronic music acts not getting proper treatment at non-traditional dance venues before, but this was the first time we’d seen it for ourselves. Shows outside of normal dance music-friendly venues can be odd, but we weren’t expecting this.

So, Mark (can we call you Mark now, even though we were total chicken?), thank you for still playing a fantastic set. We could have given a shit if there were two people in the room. Your sets always feel like they are from the heart, and for each and every one of us in attendance. It’s always an honor.

Pros: The glorious tunes of Mark Farina, friendly bartenders, plenty of room to dance, new friends in the crowd, people getting REALLY into the music.

Cons: The pathetic turnout at Warehouse Live, the thought that we might have saddened Mark Farina, the complete and utter lack of promotion of the event.

Rating: A-

Seriously, y’all.  Show some fucking respect and go to (house) church!

Weekly Roundup August 15th-20th

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Tuesday, August 15th

Local Flavor OPEN DECKS CONTEST FINALS!
Belle Station
207 Gray St.
Houston, TX 77002
6:00pm-12:00am/ No Cover/ $2 Tacos/ Drink Specials All Night


Wednesday, August 26th


WGWW
Houston Undrgrnd
850 McKee St.
Houston, TX 77002
8:00pm-3:00am/ 18+
Featuring: TBA


Eye Spy Wednesdays: DJ ICON
Aura Houston
4701 Nett St.
Houston, TX 77007
10:00pm-2:00am/ 21+/ Tickets

Thursday, August 17th



Hype Factory ft YOOKiE

Stereo Live
6400 Richmond Ave.
Houston, TX 77057
9:00pm-2:00am/ 18+/ Tickets

 

Friday, August 18th



Crankdat & Dirty Audio

Stereo Live
6400 Richmond Ave.
Houston, TX 77057
9:00pm-2:00am/ 18+/ Tickets


Doll House Friday’s
Henke & Piolet
809 Congress St.
Houston, TX 77002
10:00pm-2:00am/ 21+/ No Cover
Featuring: DJ Cesar Belloso


Kinda Super Disco with Gardens of God
The Secret Group
2101 Polk St.
Houston, TX 77003
10:00pm-3:00am/ 21+/ Tickets
Featuring: Cirque Noir DJ Set, SJPJ


Thomas Gold 
Cle Houston
2301 Main St.
Houston, TX 77002
10:00pm-2:00am/ 21+/ Tickets

Saturday, August 19th



One Last Summer Night ft. Bonnie X Clyde 

Stereo Live
6400 Richmond Ave.
Houston, TX 77057
9:00pm-2:00am/ 18+/ Tickets


Bass State Presents: Bass Villianz

The Springbok
711 Main St.
Houston, TX 77002
8:00pm-2:00am/ 18+/ $5 after 10pm/ $10 after 11pm


Resurrection Saturdays with DJ Joe Ross
Rich’s
2401 San Jacinto
Houston, TX 77002
10:00pm-2:00am/ 21+
Featuring: DJ Johnny Vibe & DJ Melle Mel

 


Retrograde vol. 3
Concert Pub North
2470 Cypress Creek Pkwy,
Houston, Texas 77068
9:00pm-2:00am
Featuring: Thor, Noblex, Notic, Krunk Ninjas, Blaze TX

Sunday, August 12th

 


Rick & Morty Watch Party
Houston Undrgrnd
850 McKee St.
Houston, TX 77002
8:00pm-3:00am/ 18+
Featuring: NVTVS, M.E. SWANK, Mike WOW

 

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