Barely Legal Party People

I’d always been quite pessimistic about throwing parties because I felt my friends were a little too disparate to be able to mix properly, and half of them would spend the party thoroughly hating the other half. Thankfully, I don’t think that happened on Saturday, when over 30 people turned up for my Barely Legal party over the course of the night.

Some came alone but ended up staying much longer than they originally intended, because they were enjoying themselves. Some of my oldest friends talked happily to people I’d only just met when they turned up at my door. Some people I’d never have expected to hit it off told me later how well they’d gotten along.

Despite explicitly stating in the invite that people only had to bring their own drinks, so many bottles of wine and hard liquor were left (even after the drinking) that the flat is now stocked with more alcohol than we can possibly drink by ourselves. The solution to this problem, clearly, is more parties.

The next party location of the evening was DXO, where Kid Koala blew my already sky-high expectations out of the water. It wasn’t just turntable wizardry or amazing musicality that made his set so wonderful, it was also the obvious joy he took in every note of the records he was playing, yelling “FIAH FIAH BOMB!” right along with MIA, rapping along with everything, getting the crowd to clap rhythms during a transition, dropping Weird Science (!!!) and generally being incredibly endearing.

My favourite Kid Koala tracks aren’t his more typically Ninja Tune style ones like Emperor’s Main Course, so I’m glad he only did a little bit of that one. What I really love is where he takes something you think you know, and then shows you the vast universe you never knew it contained. Drunk Trumpet is the obvious example here, and let me tell you, however cool you thought it sounded on record, it’s a million times cooler live when you see how much he’s lovin’ the groove.

What I really want to write about, though, is what he did with Moon River, because it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard in a club. I’m not familiar with DJing techniques so I can’t give that sort of a description of what he did with it, but essentially it looked like he was quivering the record for tiny distances and at high speed. It didn’t sound like scratching at all but some hallucinogenic tremolo, like the way you see the air shimmer and swim just above the ground on a blazing hot day. It was incredibly evocative, and I will never forget it.

I’ve always been a bit nonplussed when people cite DXO’s lack of crowds as a downside to the place, because to me it’s a total plus. How is it a bad thing to have the opportunity to watch Kid Koala DJ from the empty platform only metres away from him? How is it a bad thing to be able to see every tiny move of a master turntablist close-up because you don’t have to jostle with other people in the stupid narrow space of Phuture? (So yeah, if you were at DXO on Saturday, that lone girl on the platform for the second half of his set was me.)

After the set he came down and stood in the crowd to watch the next DJ, so of course Jeremy and I had to go over to talk to him. I wanted to tell him that watching him was a musical – not just clubbing – treat. I wanted to tell him that those five minutes of Moon River alone had entranced me more than an entire DJ Shadow gig. (Anyone seen Shadow’s Live! In Tune And On Time DVD? Pretty cool, huh? Well, I was at that gig, and I’d give it all up for what I saw at DXO on Saturday.) I wanted to say all this, but out of fear of raving incoherently, all I did was thank him for coming, and tell him I’d been waiting years to see him. (But if you ever read this, Kid Koala, now you know.)

We had originally planned on continuing to Zouk for James Zabiela after Kid Koala’s set, but this plan got thwarted firstly by the next DJ being pretty good (first time I’ve heard Lady Sovereign played in any club here!), secondly by pretty blah reports coming from our girl in Zouk, and thirdly and most emphatically by beef kway teow and prata in Geylang.

An awesome night.

11 comments

  1. That’s a very real fear for most people (different groups of friends hating each other) but thankfully, it’s often proven to be unfounded. :)

    I’m going to bug you for clubbing recs when I’m back! :P

  2. oh btw, i love clubs where there’s a lot of dance room. But i feel kinda bad for the DJ himself where there’s only 2 people on the dancefloor with bored looking Singaporeans standing on the sidelines. Kid Koala looked like he had a decent sized crowd. But Stephane K just had NO BODY on the dancefloor until our gang arrived, and it was almost rude. It’s got to be pretty shitty for a DJ to come all the way here to play for no one.

    Also, DXO will not be able to survive $$$-wise if they keep on their poor promoting skills, unless they are supported by the govt, which will be another thing altogether. So despite being the club that has brought the most interesting DJs of late, they will be next to bite the dust if they don’t fire their marketing team soon.

  3. i have seen him do ‘moon river’ live a few months ago, and ur right, its amazing. it sounds kind of eerie and beautiful at the same time.

  4. “I wanted to tell him that watching him was a musical – not just clubbing – treat.”

    One thing I appreciate about your writings on clubbing experiences is the priority placed on the quality of the music you encounter, and your attempts to describe and analyse what you’re immersed in. There’s a lot of apparent love. : )

  5. I just checked my email, and I’m really sorry to have missed an excellent-sounding party, and thanks to your description here, Kid Koala.

    (Though I think Weezer wasn’t too bad a replacement, eh, pumpkineyes? : ))

  6. Shit Kelly, how many times have I told you, the first rule of Michelle Party Wagon is, you don’t talk about Michelle Party Wagon! ;P

    I don’t disagree with anything you say about DXO’s poor marketing or its long-term commercial viability, but surely the response of a clubbing community dedicated to good music should be to support good music wherever it’s played? This is why many criticisms I’ve heard of DXO are totally irrelevant to me. I just go where I think the music is good.

    ivan: If you do find other music lovin’ peeps, let me know! And hey, do feel free to email if you feel like geeking out about music. I’m sure there’s stuff we could introduce each other to.

    xue: Haha, my best clubbing advice to you once you’re back will be “GO BACK TO LONDON”! But jokes aside, I’m always pleased to suggest stuff to people. Your problem will be to shut me up…

    mayee: I’m glad the love is apparent! After a show like what Kid Koala put on, he really deserved no less. Also, I’m never that good at subtle love. :) And there will most definitely be more dodgily-named party invites appearing in your inbox in future, so stay tuned!

  7. The secrecy is neccessary to keep Alec, the partying ‘three door hatch back’ from talegating the Michelle party wagon.

  8. great review michelle, wish we coulda been 2 places at once. would loved to have heard moon river, damn. danced til the lights went on for Zabiela (turntable skillz abounded there as well). really enjoy DXO’s venue, but they gotta change their marketing scheme.

    as for dif. groups of friend’s intermixing at your party, i think we mingled quite well w/ one another; fcuk i should hope so, for we ain’t in High School no more. looking fwd to helping y’all polish off those bottles of liquor.

    “Alec, the partying ‘three door hatch back’ ”

    where’d u come up w/ this one?

  9. singaporeslut: Rest assured that you will certainly be asked to help us with our liquor problem in the fairly near future. Was actually intending to continue the pseudo-legal shtick and send everyone a Letter Of Demand written in legalese, chastising them for leaving alcohol undrunk and demanding their presence at future parties to “rectify the damage”, but didn’t get round to it in the end.

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