Tuesday, December 25, 2007

DJ Seth Gold, Deko Lounge and Why Gay Parties Run By Straight People Don't Always Work

Before I even allude to what I mean by the title of this blog, I'll give you a little back story.

Somewhere in 1997 I wandered in the Colosseeum Nightclub in Sayerville, NJ for the first time. I was only 17 years old and had never been to a gay club before in my life. At the time, it was some of my sister's friends (she's older) who took me, so it was a whole new world.

I'll never forget what it was like when I opened the door to the main room. It seemed like it all finally just clicked. I found what I was looking for for so long, a place where I could go to be around people who in one aspect were like me. I had no idea about all the intricacies that the gay community could/would hold but that excitement I got then, I still get when I walk into a gay place I've never been before.

For me, it's a symbol of freedom and beyond that, it was a place where I finally belonged.

Now, I'm 27 years old and while I still hold true to that ideal, things have definitely changed. I spent the better part of the last 10 years growing up within the gay community and becoming immersed in the culture but more importantly for me, the music.

Growing up with an older sister, I looked up to her and basically anything she listened to, I was on board.

Some of the first dance songs I ever heard (aside from Freestyle music) were LA Style's "James Brown Is Dead", Nomad's "I Wanna Give You Devotion" and The Adventure's of Stevie V's "Dirty Cash (Money Talks)" (which also had Eric Kupper on keyboards and David Morales on percussion btw).

I was fascinated by this music. It was disco, but it was kicked up a notch and within this music everything seemed possible. You could convey love, pain and all other emotions in a powerful way that still made everyone dance. I was sold!

Again, years later, I have my favorites but getting to the point of this blog I have to bring up a certain DJ. DJ Seth Gold. I had the opportunity of seeing something very interesting happen. I was able to watch the evolution of a DJ.

When I first heard the name Seth Gold, he was a young boy (as was I) DJ-ing for parties like Kurfew and Heaven in NYC and at the time he was playing all the pop music everyone came to love out of those types of parties...but over the years...things have changed.

Seth has grown up to become a DJ who I believe has the ability to become a front runner for the next generation of club music.

As a DJ groupie I've followed DJ's all over the eastern seaboard...from Junior Vasquez in NYC to Chad Jack in Ft Lauderdale, I've seen just about everyone I've ever wanted to see. I've also gotten many a chance to hear Seth DJ all over from NYC to DC and through friends have obtained copies of his live sets from all of the US.

If there's one thing that Seth has become a mastermind at, it's finding his own way to blend songs that you know with versions you may never have heard before. But always and I mean ALWAYS, he stays one step ahead of the crowd.

I wish that everyone reading this could've heard him the times I heard him spin at Nation in DC. Unbelievable! But I digress...

When I heard that last Friday at Deko Lounge (right down the block from where Colosseeum used to be--Sadly enough it's closed now and is a heterosexual strip club) was starting a gay party, I was definitely intrigued.

Deko Lounge has a reputation for their Thursday night straight parties as one of the best in the area. Tons of the girls I know and work with hang out there for DJ Klutch and DJ AM when he's in town. Week after week they're there having a great time in spite of inevitable drama that seems to linger there.

Now, I had been to Deko years and years ago on a straight night and I did have an ok time. I don't particularly care for the Staten Island hetero crowd because everyone thinks they're on the Sopranos but the music I heard when I was there was good. And I've had many a bad experience when it comes to straight people running a gay party.

Some of the problems that seem to happen over and over again are these, so pay attention!!

1) Cover Charge: Firstly, if you're a club in manhattan you might be able to get away with a $20/$30 cover. Not in NJ and not with a gay crowd. We're used to cheap covers 9 times out 10 because we drink so heavily lol

2) DJ: Do NOT expect your normal straight night DJ to come in a dazzle a gay crowd with the type of music the straight people go for. Odds are good that the gays have already heard it at least 6 months before the hetero's get their hands on it lol. We wanna hear fun music that we know and can sing, dance and vogue our way through if necessary!

3) Staff: If you're a straight club running a gay party with a straight staff, the gays are gonna pick up on it. If the staff is not in sync with the atmosphere, it's going to tank. Don't try to welcome us, take our money and pretend to be our friends when the bartenders, bouncers and coatcheck people have your typical straight guy "dont hit on me" attitude. It's a big turn off.

4) Drinks: Have some kind of drink specials and make it known. Very few gay people (in my experience) are willing to pay city prices outside of the city and even in the city we don't like paying city prices. Straight guys flash the money to get the girls. It's not the same ball game with us. If I order a Long Island Blue, I shouldn't be spending $12 on it and if I am, you can be assured the bartender isn't getting a tip for a drink that the price of two McDonald's Happy Meals.

Those are really the only things I can think of as of right now but simple as it may seem, we ran into some of these problems last Friday night.

Before I elaborate though, let me make ONE thing very very clear:

Colosseeum, barring the last two years, was a goldmine! They had THEE weekly party in the area and since their decline and eventually their demise, no one has stepped in a picked up where they left off.

Deko Lounge, being about 10 minutes from Colo, has the perfect chance to do it and do it right. I really hope they don't fuck it up. It's a great space with a great system and I even noticed bartender Chrissy from the Colo staff.

When I got the call that it was Seth Gold who was DJing that night (with Steve Sidewalk in the side room) I knew it was going to be a good night! I was so excited! I got to hear Seth and only travel 15 min from my house!!! What a dream come true!!! Hah!

My friends and I got in our cars and made the trip to Deko and when we go there, first thing I was put off by was the Valet service. Why do I have to pay $5.00 (which could be better spent at the bar) to have someone drive my car 3 feet? Colo tried to do this but at least they gave you the option. $5.00 for valet service or park it yourself, just do it a little bit further away.

This is not the Grammy Awards, I don't have a limo, I don't need valet service, however, it was unavoidable. First strike for Deko.

We get inside without a problem and make our way to the bar. The drinks were a little light on the alcohol but I really didn't care. Seth was in the booth and the crowd (even though it was early) was well on their way to being his. I'm 27 years old, I love Britney Spears even though she's crazy and Seth knows that there are plenty of people like me in his crowd as evidenced by playing Brit's "Piece of Me" and "Radar" back to back. It was great!!! My friends LOVED it!! Some of them have never heard Seth before and I told them they would love him and they did.

Oh but one thing I thought was a little strange was when we walked into the main room there were two boys laying on a table wrapped in saran wrap and covered in sushi.

Um, what?

I don't know what that was all about, but I hope that that was a one time only thing. Aside from being visually bizarre, I can't imagine eating raw fish (all puns intended) off of people I dont even know. Ick!!

But a few hours had passed the dancefloor filled up and things were going great! Then I noticed a shift in music. I started hearing songs I couldn't imagine Seth would play and when I looked up I saw someone DJing that wasnt Seth. I knew something was very very wrong.

After trying to hunt people down and get an explanation I finally was told that someone (although I can't imagine who) said that they wanted to hear deep house.


The music was such an unsettling switch from the fun and light stuff we were hearing to what seemed like a dark selection from Benny Benassi's greatest hits. Very strange. I doubt many of the people there that night knew that they were hearing Superchumbo's mix of "Dirty Filthy" among others.

Don't get me wrong, I do like that kinda music, but not for that place and not for that crowd. And of course, it turns out that management had something to do with it which doesn't surprised me in the least.

As soon as the DJ/music switched, the bartenders were banging on stuff and blowing whistles (which Im guessing is what they do on Thursday nights as well) to show they approved.

Unfortunately Deko Lounge, you're not there to please the staff.

Strike Two for Deko.

Oh and btw...Air Horns??? Really??? Welcome to 1998!!! This is not Djais in Belmar people!!! It gets so annoying over and over again and it's SOOOOO loud!!!!

The long and the short of it is this and this is an open letter to club management everywhere. You hired a DJ for a reason. This DJ knows the crowd and knows what they want or else you wouldn't have him there.

Let him do his job. Seth is an incredible DJ and provided that he's not ripped out of the booth again, all my friends and I (and we were about 30 people deep that night) will be back again and again. It's extremely rude to do what they did to Seth and I'll tell you this, if he's not DJing there, we will not be there. The other no-name DJ who played that night, while his mixing and music were alright, could be used at a different party, if not a different venue altogether.

As it stands right now, Im told that Seth will be there again on Friday and so will my friends and I.

So Deko, do yourselves the favor!! You have such a good chance to make this not only a good party but THEE party in the area. No one else around has the chance to pick up Colo's slack and do it right!!

If you do right by us we'll do right by you!!!!

So here's to a good party and good music!!!!

Happy Holidays everyone!! I will be back soon posting some more music for you all!!

Thanks for letting me rant! :-D

~ John Michael ~

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