It’s a spiritual thing, really. Why else would you even consider it? You’ve basically taken your daddy’s booty shakin’, stripped it down, turned it up, and made it something primal.
All-night party people
It’s a spiritual thing, really. Why else would you even consider it? You’ve basically taken your daddy’s booty shakin’, stripped it down, turned it up, and made it something primal. That’s the allure, or so they tell me, of electronica.
Unfortunately, bobbing your head under those gigantic headphones alone in your room is just not going to cut it. Electronic music is dance music. It’s a social phenomenon, and unless you are out there with the jockeys and junkies, you’re just not doing it right.
It’s time to get out there into the world of vinyl insanity that is the Portland electronic scene. The only problem is, you don’t even know where to start. Don’t worry. That is about to change.
As you embark on your well-intentioned journey toward vigorous all-night rump shaking, you will need to know a few things about your world.
Electronic out-rocking may occur in many forms and achieve varied levels of groovaliciousness. As you traverse Portland’s charming acreage, you may encounter a multitude of dimly lit danceatoriums where a rotating host of visiting and resident DJs spin all manner of music to vivacious crowds. The flavors offered at these sonic malt shops may range from hip-hop to country, but will most assuredly include more than a little house, techno and trance.
Weekly club nights have a distinct style of their own, and if you’ve completed your 21st circuit around our sun, the bar is open to quench your rapacious thirst. This can be nice, but for a more authentic experience, these clubs should be avoided, eschewed instead for what are known simply as parties.
In this instance the term party assumes a specific vernacular meaning, as it now replaces the familiar word rave. This latter term has fallen out of favor in recent years, as the practice of illegally commandeering warehouses has faded away to be replaced with more law-abiding methods of merrymaking. Nonetheless, when someone uses one term, they mean the other.
Today’s parties are usually thrown for profit by any collection of production and promotion companies. Seattle and Portland are both home to many such companies: small squads of community-oriented people equipped with a mass of speakers, turntables, lights and lasers. Altogether, dozens of these events are thrown every weekend, and locating one should not prove an excessively difficult task.
Traditionally, the only way to find out about a rave was to hear about it at a gathering the weekend before. At times one might chance upon a flier outside of a record shop or pasted to the wall outside of a club, alluding to a party in a secret location next weekend. Today, locations are still kept secret up until the night of the event.
Fliers can still be found at hot-spot clubs and record shops where groove is a commodity. Club 415 and 360 Vinyl in Old Town stay true to form, but much communication has moved from the street to the internet. Forums such as nwtekno.org and ravelinks.com display announcements of all but the smallest or most secretive of upcoming events and offer chances to interact with like-minded people through the wonder of online message posting.
You will know which party is right for you once you have located the flier. These magical leaflets, adorned with eye-catching digital art and design, will not reveal the location of the event advertised, so look at the remaining information. Most important are the DJs listed. If you’ve come this far, you probably already know what style best suits you.
Often, the DJs performing will be listed alongside any affiliated promoters, record labels, and the type of set they will be spinning that night. If they are not, or you don’t know what style is your favorite, the internet once again becomes your closest ally. Most artists maintain some sort of MySpace-esque profile on which their mixes and sets can be heard. If you feel really ambitious, many DJs are surprisingly open to e-mail correspondence, and will gladly tell you what kind of music they play.
Eventually, the big night will come upon you. You’ve called the phone number you were given and received directions to the event. At this point, you are all set to either have the night of your life or break down crying within the next 15 minutes. The outcome really all depends on your state of mind. It’s important to remember that today’s raver is really the product of evolution and hybridization.
Purveyors of electronic music are the hippies of a new generation, and unless paranoia really sets in, revelers will find themselves in a judgment- and hostility-free environment in which most of society’s regulations have been temporarily suspended.
You will be met with whirling glow sticks, phosphorescent beads and neon clothing-anything that glows under a black light. Skull-crushing decibels will blast from bass-bins stacked high. The whole ordeal may seem like a futuristic orgy of some sort, but you will be relieved to find that it is not and that almost any type of behavior is acceptable.
Unlike the average hip-hop-flavored club, stepping on someone’s shoes is no longer an offense punishable by face-punch. For girls, wanton sexual advances, which reach near-constant frequency at other clubs, have been replaced by an atmosphere of respect. Enjoy this environment. You will find that everyone in attendance is friendly and willing to meet new people. For the rhythmically disinclined, take solace that there is no correct way to dance. The only rule is: the more energetic, the better.
Bring a friend your first time out. For some, the first rave they attend blooms into a religious experience, sometimes triggered by feel-good pills, sometimes not. You will see these people, as they tend to attract a lot of attention. These types of events tend to attract and repel people at an incredible rate, and you will find that at aggregations such as these, around one quarter of partygoers are out for the first, second or third time.
If laser beams and psychedelic fractal projections aren’t your thing, there are free outdoor parties during the summer where a few bottles of beer will buy you an amazing time, and the unconfined space makes non-screaming communication a possibility.
However you are delivered into Portland’s electronic music scene, all that is necessary is an open mind, a fanatic appreciation of bass, and a love of moving booties for an excellent experience guaranteed.