Caffeine: Hand Cream New Orleans, Louisiana 7-29-2006Frankie Bones
We arrived in New Orleans sometime around 7:30PM. It was 95 degrees and homicides had claimed six people within the 24 hour time frame before my arrival. I had full press credentials meaning full roam of the facilities back stage etc. and free beer, mixed drinks, and water all night long. It was about a 10 hour drive from where I live in the great state of Missouri, twice as long of a ride as I had ever dedicated to going to a party. I've been to 50 or so parties and I had already told myself I would never go to one again unless it was to see one or more of a very small list of DJs who I haven't seen yet. This party fit the criteria because Frankie Bones was number one on my list and I always wanted to check out the NOLA scene anyway. Post Katrina or not, these kids will be the absolute cream of the New Orleans night life I thought, the ones with true grit.
And it started out just as I had always imagined. Every city has its own flavor of freaks and I was already in favor of the fact that they don't let people bring in glow sticks and pacifiers and all that other jargon set forth by the 2001 federal crack house law. Most cities don't really enforce this as stringently. Glow sticks annoy the fuck out of me anyway and I never really understood the pacifier thing. As far as I'm concerned a grownup guy or girl who walks around with a pacifier in their mouth, despite any excuse in the world they may have, besides the fact that they are still nursing and are away from their mother at the moment, deserves whatever they got coming to them. That's just what I think though. As a drum and bass DJ, a party kid since 1995, I consider myself to be able to evaluate things in the rave scene I disagree with and have my own opinion of. Besides drum and bass and the old school house and techno I listened to in my younger days, I've always been into industrial music and rap and I've lived in straight country backwoods most of my life. My last job, aside from being a librarian in St. Joe prison, was being an unlicensed chemist and clandestine drug manufacturer. So maybe that's enough about me, but enough to let any one reading this know exactly where I'm coming from when I speak my mind. Maybe this will keep them from getting pissed off when I state facts or opinions that they didn't necessarily want to hear.
With that established, now we can get down to brass tacks and I can cover this event from a journalist's perspective, take in the whole thing and let the reader understand… that's the point right?
You get inside the door and it has all the makings of a good party: bars, snow cone peddlers, big fans and the spacious turn of the century architecture dominate the main stage with theatre seating. A second floor has bathrooms, bar, and DJ booth and the third floor offers a chill room with tons of couches and three pool tables. To the left of the chill room is the jungle room.
Now, this is all good and great, except for the fact that there is no central A/C and this is New Orleans in late July; all humidity and upper 90's temps. But the cream of the New Orleans night life had no problem with this, they live here. I live in Southeast Missouri which is just as brutal, but I'm nocturnal and in a 78 degree environment 90% of the time. Trucks brought in tubes of A/C, which was enough to air condition the main hall to the main stage and one other place just off to the side of the dance floor, where you could expect to be ran off by security if you were caught resting there. On the other hand, the kids were loving the A/C in the main hall - that being the origination point for the trucked-in artificial breeze. After 1:30am and maybe 3,500 hot, sweaty people all trying to congregate wherever they could find a breeze, the situation caused mass chaos for any claustrophobic people like myself.
"Hell, you're from Missouri! Yeah, I don't do nothing but smoke man, but these parties are great!" This from the only Cajun kid I met, who turned out to be the only person I saw actually screwing some chick on the floor when I accidentally stepped on them, running from vomit.
This was right around the time the 6 hour onslaught of hell started. Vission, Micro, and Icey. The whole thing sounded like 6 hours of the same annoying Moonshine-style mind-fuck headache music that transcends all good taste, a very disenchanting thing for anyone like me who likes music to have more than three sounds.
To escape from the noise hell on the main floor, I knew I would have to somehow make my way to the chill room, which by this time was an oven along with the jungle room. At one point in my treacherous journey, some girl right next to me started projectile vomiting every where. I have this deal with other peoples' bodily fluids, I can't stand to see that shit so I just ran up through the A/C'd hallway that was all crowded. Fuck getting hit by puke, I'm running, the floor is no longer below me, I'm stepping on body parts and civilians and I could give two fucks because I came out unscathed, not a drop of puke anywhere on my person.
This was around the same time that the restrooms became a biohazard. I walked in there and it had to be 110 degrees. Like a sauna, with feces and puke overflowing from every toilet . One of the sinks was clogged with stuff I didn't want to look at and one of the toilets had a T-shirt draped over it with puke and shit above and who knows what below it. Any one who can explain this to me should e-mail me at email@example.com. Basically a bunch of people who couldn't handle the drugs and alcohol, which is highly frowned upon where I come from. The down fall of the black market I guess is the fact that there is no intelligent way to administer recreational drugs, and no system of regulation. Rednecks rubbed shoulders with old hippies and young ravers alike at the State Palace that night, all of them in search of a panacea for living in the DMZ of a city under siege from nature and itself. But I guess that's the idea. Forget your troubles, c'mon get happy! And obviously my grand vision was not in any one at the State Palace Theatre's grand scheme of things that night. Those who have evolving agendas form the overall feeling one takes in when they have an average night. And on this particular night in New Orleans the agenda of the simple raver kid rang true: they were the winners and those covering this from a journalist's perspective (which is very close to a tourists perspective) such as myself are turned away to ponder the event in retrospect. I say why, they say "Why not", basically that sort of thing.
All of this though, all the lucrative undermining and hidden agendas pales in comparison to such things as Frankie Bones. Very few DJs in the scene today have transcended style and genre and obscurity only to make their original style timeless like Frankie Bones has. For one thing, Brooklyn techno can only be defined with his name mentioned, and 15 years after he had the 1st storm rave in Brooklyn his style still fit's the definition of and defines what techno is.
Well, right now in my comfortable study, pleasant banter has ended up where it should have. Discussions of Michael Jackson and the clothes he wore and dances he did back in the 80's have distracted me from something that happened less than a month ago. Why reflect on the present when one can dream in the past and why go into what happened when Frankie played? Why, indeed. If you really care, go and find any one who is more into the music than they are the drugs and ask them about the first time they saw Frankie Bones. Chances are they will maybe mention the fact that he meditates in a lawn chair for 20 minutes before he starts his show and, 5 minutes prior to the previous DJ's set being finished, he points to Frankie and Frankie breaks his meditation to casually light up a cigarette and when that cigarette is finished he quietly walks to the 2 turntables and changes the night as the sun comes up for all those who saw what I saw and wished they had never left home. When it's all over with, and Frankie has left the building, you're glad you made the trip.
DJ South of Heaven, industrial 80's ghetto drum and bass, Oak Tweezy, Missouri