In the past few months, the light of the mainstream media has been shining bright on the rave community; most of the evening news magazines have done some sort of exposé on the dangers of the all-night massives -- most centering around the truth of the scene's love of Ecstacy. One report went as far as to suggest that if you're the parent of a teen who smells like Vicks Vap-O-Rub when they return from a night out, the kid's on drugs and destined for a life on the streets, followed by an eternal sentence in a Vap-O-Rub-and-grape-Jolly-Rancher-smelling purgatory.
You could sense the end result of those reports at the monstrous, extraordinarily successful (though unfortunately named) Vibalicious 2 celebration last Saturday night in Belleville, Ill., where 2,500 house and techno fans converged on the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds to dance all night long. Sponsored by St. Louis' two most responsible and with-it promoters, Kindred Groove and Boogie Knights, the party was a roaring success, mainly because of the promoters' preparation and level-headed guidelines. They obviously worked very closely with the local authorities, who diligently, exhaustively searched everyone, scouring wallets, pockets, purses -- everything and everywhere (we hope it's the only time ever a cop's hand will touch our privates) -- looking for drugs. Promoters got on the microphone a few times to preach safety and were seen patrolling the extremities of the dance floor, tapping slouchers and sleepers to make sure all were healthy and alert. They refused admission to those under 17 -- a wise policy that should be replicated by all city promoters. Paranoia was evident (everyone older than 30 was eyed as a possible narc), though only in those with reasons to be nervous.
KG and BK did everything right, and it paid off with one of the best parties of the last couple of years. The programming was exquisite: a varied array of house, techno and drum & bass -- Chicago's Frankie Vega poured out a fantastic set of bump-and-jerk techno (and he'll be returning to the Boogie Knights' next party, in July), and the Superstars of Love's All Time High live PA was typically absurd (the Superstars dressed as Fruits of the Loom) and occasionally inspiring. At the party's apex, the 30,000-square-foot space was bursting with dancers.
In all, a total success, proving that all the negative publicity can't kill a good party and that responsible, kind promoters (they had a table full of free fruit!) are the best defense against underinformed knee-jerkers.
QUICKIES: If you're looking for a little afternoon delight this weekend, you could do worse than gliding over to Christ Church Cathedral, at 13th and Locust streets, where Operation Tango will honor the music of tango legend Astor Piazzolla, who, before his death in 1992, composed and recorded some of the most exquisite, sensual body-music ever. Operation Tango is dedicated to the music of Piazzolla, and the five-piece (cello, violin, bass, piano and, of course, bandoneon) will celebrate him this Sunday, May 21, at 2:30 p.m.... You can hear the Abandoned Spaces of Jerry Green and Dean Kessman's compositions. They surround and consume the percussive tones on the CD of the same name, and perfectly embody the dank feel of the space in which the piece was recorded, the old Cupples Station warehouse complex. Abandoned Spaces is a visual/musical performance that has as its goal examining the deteriorating state of the city's architectural landscape, and the two musicians will perform the piece this Saturday, May 20, from noon-midnight, at the A.D. Brown Building downtown (corner of Tucker Boulevard and Washington Avenue) as part of a media/technology art lab and party. The CD of the performance is eerie and engaging, and moves from bombast to whisper as din gives way to itsy echoes and rusty squeaks. You won't find yourself humming along to any melody -- this is musical noise -- but it's engaging and profound in less overt ways.
Send local tapes, tips, discs and detritus to "Radar Station," c/o The Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Blvd., Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130; or RadarStation@ RiverfrontTimes.com.