Thursday, February 02, 2012

my first rub

Southpaw is closing and The Rub is moving (way) down the street to The Bell House.

I don't really remember my first Rub. I mean, I do, but it was literally the first party I went to in New York City. The weekend of August 7th-ish 2005, I packed up a rented Ford Bronco with a few pieces of furniture, my drumset and as many records as I could fit and moved my ass to Brooklyn. My ex-girlfriend split the drive with me and it was weird. We unloaded the car, I dropped her off at LaGuardia, took a nap on my air mattress and then went to The Rub. It was my birthday.

In 2003, I saw Diplo twice over Thanksgiving and realized I was entirely fucking up by steadfastly refusing to play anything but Real Hip-Hop. I got back to St. Louis and promptly put together a crate of 80s and 90s pop classics, stole all the DFA records nobody was playing from the radio station and bought some records from Turntable Lab. I got a lot better at DJing once I owned "The Percolator".

I was working in a genetics lab at Wash U, and that's a job that has a lot of downtime. I spent most of the day blogging about rap records and politics, posting on Soulstrut and I started following dudes like Wayne Marshall, Oliver Wang, Serg Dun, Catchdubs, Noz and, importantly, DJ Ayres, Cosmo Baker and DJ Eleven. The scene in New York (and Philly, and Bmore and DC, and at the Superfriends party in SF) was the coolest shit in the world to me. At the time, the highlights of my life included having 20 people trainspot "Galang" at a sorority formal that got shut down early because someone threw up in the chocolate fountain. It was weird.

So on August 7th-ish of 2005, I woke up from a long nap and called/Friendster-messaged/e-mailed everyone I knew in New York and said "hey we have to go to this cool party in Park Slope." And like 25 friends from various times in my life showed up at eleven and there was nobody there. And I was like "holy shit it's all a lie!" and was convinced I had fallen prey to internet hype. In reality, I had been living in St. Louis for six years and didn't understand that nobody goes out before midnight. I was dumb.

It packed out by like 12:30 and I got to hear "Still Tippin" and "Samir's Theme" on a proper system for the first time. I don't even know if the Never Scared crew existed yet, but I probably took a crowd-surfing Nike to the grill from one of like five dudes who I wouldn't get to know for another two years. But it was awesome. It was all the music I wanted to hear, it was all in one place, it was high energy, there were a lot of girls. I bagged a chick from Miami who spoke Portuguese when she was drunk. It was weird.

In the last seven years, I've seen Ayres, Cosmo and Eleven spin at dozens of venues playing music from across the spectrum. But those early(ish) days of The Rub solidified my musical aesthetic. I like rave shit fine, but nothing compares to a Benneton ad with a good ratio screaming "Tear The Fucking Club Up" in unison, especially if they were boogieing to Prince album cuts an hour ago. Hollertronix snapped me out of Real Hip-Hop myopathy, but The Rub laid the groundwork for what myself and Apt One have been doing for the last six years. More importantly, watching those dudes move the aesthetic forward past the mash-up era, past being one of the few parties (I would have gone to in 2005) that would play south rap, into an era where Cosmo is playing dubstep shirtless at 12:30.

I'm also lucky to have gotten to know the dudes personally and professionally over the years (Joe, sorry about the time I accidentally deleted your entire iTunes) ... but even without the doors knowing The Rub personally has opened for me, I can safely say there would be no Philadelphyinz, no Young Robots, and probably no Skinny Friedman to speak of without the inspiration I got from going to Southpaw the first Saturday of every month for the bulk of the 00's.

Here's to another ten years in a new venue.