Reviewed: 2manydjs at Bar Standard
Originally, this article was centered around the Soulwax + 2ManyDJs shows that were scheduled to occur March 5th and 6th. Due to production issues, Soulwax rescheduled their show at the Gothic Theatre to September 30th.
Review pieces like these are hard to come by these days with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic currently occurring across the planet. While there are encouraging signs that the situation is clearing up in regions first affected, the damage inflicted across the music and service industries will have long lasting and in some instances, permanent effects.
Now, onto the juicy details.
2mandjs/Soulwax were part of a select group of artists that really paved my path through the electronic music landscape and being introduced to the legendary tune ‘Theme From Discotheque’ under their alias Samantha Fu on As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2 (named the best popular music album of 2002 by The New York Times) was a pivotal point in my musical journey. Their remixes under their Soulwax alias that include ‘Robot Rock’ by Daft Punk, ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ by LCD Soundsystem, ‘DARE’ by the Gorillaz are in my opinion what makes them some of the best remixers in the world and their sophomore album ‘Any Minute Now’ can also be added to the list of early favorites in my collection.
Two Belgian brothers Stephen and David Dewaele, who back in 1999 started a DJ- show on Belgian national radio, called ‘Hang The DJ’, used inspiration from Grandmaster Flash to cut together their own bootlegs as well as blending in the creations of others; gathering early attention from the Belgian and Dutch crowds. The duo’s innate ability to not only mix 45 records in one hour, but making that time frame a history lesson into the exploration of pop music is quite extraordinary and pushed them over the top in separating them from the rest of the pack. Getting their start as the band Soulwax, the electronic alternative rock group was first noticed after the release of their album ‘Much Against Everyone’s Advice’, which rose into the British Top 40 and was very receptive in Japan and Australia.
The gentlemen asked to provide the opening vibes for the evening soiree at Bar Standard in Denver, Colorado, Eric Lake and Clayton Kenney, are both seasoned veterans of spinning wax and know their way around turntables.
A DJ first and foremost of 10 years, getting his start in Eugene, Oregon then hopping over to Portland, Oregon before settling into Denver, Colorado in 2013, Eric Lake isn’t afraid to lead crowds through unexpected turns that excite devoted students of dance music but don’t alienate the casual clubgoer. Having helped to expand the SNAP 90s party from Portland to Denver, the crew has curated events at some of the premier venues in Denver as well as surrounding communities Boulder, Fort Collins and Avon. Among other accolades, Eric is a resident DJ for TheHundred Presents.
Eric’s eclectic influences shine through in his productions where he brings a fresh perspective and a playful attitude to hypnotic beats. As a solo artist, his ‘Burning Up EP’ back in the fall of 2018 on THNK TNK Records reached #1 in the Indie Dance/Nu Disco Beatport Releases chart and #21 in the overall Beatport Releases chart. His live indie duo, Xoxford, has also been receiving praises.
The other opener, Clayton K started DJing almost 20 years ago. After moving into the club scene following finishing college, he has played up and down the West Coast and Colorado at iconic venues such as 1015 Folsom, 111 Minna, Club Vinyl, The Church and Beta Nightclub. Recently he has shared the decks with Bonobo, Jamie Jones, Jungle (DJ set), Gerd Janson, Tiger & Woods, Walker & Royce, Francois K, Greg Wilson, Com Truise (DJ set), Washed Out and Touch Sensitive. Musically, Clayton’s DJ sets are laser-focused on moving the dance floor, and meander from feel-good disco to off-kilter house, with bits of Italo, indie dance, techno, and more thrown in for good measure.
The lads went back-to-back for about 45 minutes before they each went their separate ways; Eric stayed on the decks while Clayton took a break before his next time slot arrived. Their b2b set started off appropriately toned for the occasion, comprising some silky house, tame disco cuts bringing the tempo up at a slow but steady rate so as to not have the guests notice the increase. The crowd began to filter into the club at this point with doors being at 9p, gradually filling in the empty space on the dancefloor. Clayton selected songs off his USB representing a host of different genres like house, disco, edits and weird as he describes. A portion of the b2b set and some of Clayton’s set was recorded and available here.
As midnight rolls around, 2manydjs make their way backstage, up the ramp leading to the back bar, which is also adjacent to the stage. Whistles and cheers begin to emerge as the crowd notices the transition pending to occur. From there, it was just pandemonium for the next two hours. The time just flew by as track after track had flawless transitions, with many having an extra layer or two of fun added to the mix.
There was not a still body in the joint with just enough dancing room between individuals to make the entire experience very enjoyable. On the recently upgraded sound system in Bar Standard, the tunes were crisp and clear in every corner and crevice of the establishment with the audio waves bouncing around the building in just the right way. 1:45am approaches fast as the lights come on, reflections being seen off the two large horizontal mirrors hanging on the wall of the club as everyone looks the part of dancing for a good two to three hours, more in my case.
To say Denver enjoyed the 2manydjs outing, especially now for many individuals having the performance be the last bout of live music they will enjoy for the undetermined future, is an understatement. Always a huge thank you to TheHundredPresents for continually pushing the envelope in our humble city and making it a contender nationally for a cultured music scene.