In the world of DJ culture, there has always been a disproportionate percentage of males behind the decks. Why that has been the case, one cannot be totally sure. These modern-day shamans of the dance floor exert power over their followers, guiding their trips into an euphoric state of sound and spirit, bringing them closer to some sort of higher elevation.
It was therefore appropriate that DJ Sage’s three-hour set of solid drum ‘n’ bass on Friday night/Saturday morning took place at the Ohm, even if that is not a place normally associated with such transcendental qualities. But Sage proved worthy of her moniker as she used all of the forces in her possession to bring the followers to their feet and her command. Don’t even question her divine right because she’s a girl and part-time model.
The evening began with a more downtempo feel laid down by a couple of DJ sets, long before the masses even started trickling in. As people began to arrive, however, local DJ Wicked shifted the mood to an eclectic mix of underground and old school hip-hop, with even some old electro-style party tracks thrown in, getting the club crowd to at least put down their gin and tonics and hit the dance floor.
Alter Echo then played a set with his own compositions on his rack of samplers, sequencers, mixers and other electronics with Wicked providing the cuts and scratches, resulting in an even more eclectic mix of dub, drum ‘n’ bass, downtempo and just plain overall experimentation, to varying degrees of success.
The crowd was more than warmed up at this point. When it was clear that most in attendance were not even sure who their leader really was, Sage appeared, wasting no time getting started and hyping up the crowd to a frenetic pace. She started off her set right away, spinning mostly intense jungle music with some hard breaks and dark edges. The tracks flowed from one to another, hitting the peaks and bottoms just as she felt the crowd was feeling the energy or getting a bit overwhelmed by the bombardment.
The widely acclaimed San Francisco-based DJ and member of the irrefutable Phunckateck crew gently rocked to the manic beats she laid down, and kept close watch through her omniscient emerald eyes of what state her devotees were in. There were instances, as her beats per minute registered off the charts, that the followers did not seem to be the believers they should be, and the ceremony chugged slightly behind, but perhaps they required a more chemical-based medicine to maintain the level of meditation.
Sensing the shifts happening within her temple, Sage found the breaks that the dancers needed, sprinkling her set with touches of more jazzy sounds that gave some downtime to recover for those in need of it. Then she brought the energy back up to the straight-up, hands-in-the-air atmosphere required of her following. It was an eclectic crowd. Plenty of regular Friday night party folk were mixed with some midnight ravers and head-nod kids, but that seems to be the usual at Ohm on nights like this.
Sage’s mix was a consummate selection of U.K. as well as U.S. drum ‘n’ bass, which she actively promotes through the company she co-founded, called Green Promotions. In addition to holding down various residencies around San Francisco and running drum ‘n’ bass events there, she also writes reviews for BPM magazine. She is also touring internationally, doing her own productions and running the label she started with members of the Phunckateck crew, called Phylum Recordings. She would like to improve the image of female DJs by having them judged by how much they rock instead of their gender, something she sets a quality example for. Indeed, there are few better suited to the task.