I used to always say that loneliness is an empty dance floor,
& that certainly has been the case.
With the past 2 years taking on all these lovely twists and turns, dance floors, or for the most part across the globe, have been left like desert wastelands, waiting to return, some of them didn't brace the storm, and may now end up possibly East Side Mario's or some Starbucks headquarters.
That got me thinking about investigating who's dancing and what's happening, and where they are dancing, if they are.
Now House Music got into my skin and took over every fiber to the point where I was revolving my holidays around it, traveling to various clubs across the globe to check out the well-renowned lords of the Turntables, to join them in their mock ritual of dance.
My 1st experience
goes back to 1989. / 90 …..
I was home on holiday in my native Glasgow Scotland one year when the scene was just kicking off there, down south In Manchester, London, & Liverpool.
The Underground “ Party “ was run by one of Glasgow’s UnderWorld members, Martin Toner (God Rest Him)
Who was at the helm of promoting these events in the Glasgow
House Music Underground scene
pioneering the stage for Glaswegians to follow alongside the DJs that night
“who gave me my first exposure to this world” were
DJs Jason & Terry,
at the time were also broadcasting on pirate radio stations in Castlemilk, Glasgow.
Their Pussypower parties have been a staple of the underground acid house and techno scene in Glasgow for over 27 years. Founded by brothers Terry and Jason, the first parties were held in the now-defunct Arches theatre
(well before it was a club) before moving to Industria (now the cat house), they welcomed legends such as Aphex Twin and Carl Craig for their first-ever Scottish performances.
This was not the Glasgow I had known as the previous holidays. Things had changed and they had changed fucking dramatically, changed for the better, and it changed my life and a lot of people around me. The event was word-of-mouth set up in its true pioneering origins.
I had gone to an event that I was taken to by my 2 cousins
Desmond Donnelly & Mark Beaton, (we were a 3 piece act for quite some time)
and with the rest of the local crew from Castlemilk, Glasgow, That single night out ended up turning out to be the most important night of my life to date.
Witnessing 1st hand what is this thing called techno, what is this thing called ecstasy and sign me up, unfortunately, there is no camera footage from the event, because this was a special place in time that didn't require cell phones cameras & social media, all things executed completely by word of mouth, or pirate radio, but I did come across some of the flyers below.
I had returned to Toronto from my native land, Scotland with the fever, I had seen the light, and the light was so bright that I decided to take on projects pioneering and shaping Toronto’s Rave Scene with
Exodus productions, alongside Mark Oliver & John Angus, & crew,
but that's a whole other tale that I will get to in another issue, possibly a video documentary.
We brought Scotland's two Pussy Power Dj’s Jason & Terry over to pay homage, to their Manager at the time Martin Toner, to play one of our Exodus events at
The Concert Hall Toronto
Once the bug of this thing we call House Music was instilled in me, I started traveling across the globe In search of the quest of thy boogie, because yes, House is a feeling.
After hearing all the tall tales and reading great articles of the magical folklore going on in Manchester, it was time to hit up The Hacienda for the weekend on the way to Ibiza, Spain.
This joint was mission number one, the Mecca which became famous during the Madchester years of the 1980s and early 1990s.
It was everything I ever thought it was, up until about 11 o'clock, I don't remember too much after that, just euphoric snippets and shooting the shit
with “Tricky” From Massive Attack, who on that specific night
had a full leg cast on……..at the dance club? Incredible.
but from what I do remember, It was everything you never saw on TV.
Content with indie status, Factory Records sponsored much of the rave scene, to the extent that its subculture (viz. MDMA) was noted by the Chief Constables of Merseyside & Greater Manchester as reducing football hooliganism.
Now there was a part of my life journey that had me as a young teenager with my mother and sister living in Chelsea, Worlds End, Kings Road, England.
Several years had gone by at this point since I was there visiting My Dunnigan side of my family, so it was high time to go to visit,
This stay to visit my tribe was also a double purpose, as at the time
London's Ministry Of Sound Nightclub was at an extremely high point with their contributions in all things dance culture, so it was off to jolly old London town to see what their noise was all about as well
Ministry of Sound first opened its doors way back in September 1991. Inspired by
New York’s cavernous house venues, was a derelict bus garage in south London - an area that, at the time, was more infamous than famous., moody security and unless you knew the names of at least half-a-dozen Chicago house DJs, you were never getting through the menacing, prison-like, gates.
Something special had landed smack bang in the middle of London’s club scene. This was the first club dedicated to house music, the first club to pick up the gauntlet laid down by the second summer of love and, most importantly, the world’s first nightclub with a room built purely for exceptional sound quality.
To this day sound is still at the forefront of everything we do. Put simply, there is no better place on earth to hear the world’s greatest DJs play the world’s best music.
I had heard a lot of noise about the club kids scene popping in
New York City at Limelight and had to head down there to check that out as well, which was everything even imagined in a New York underground dance culture.
Eccentric costumes, drug-fueled parties, drag queens, and wild sex ruled the New York City club scene in the 1990s.
At that point, it was time to visit our friends south of the border
to the birthplace of techno …Detroit.
Now Detroit is where it all began. The city where the world-conquering form of music known as techno was first created.
Techno has spread its wings in the decades since its creation, European cities like Berlin have become famed as debauched havens for dark and pounding sounds, but they are disciples at the throne of the Motor City
Detroit is proud of incubating the style, and throughout the city, you can often spot shining tributes to the city’s musical heritage.
From city signposts subtitled with “The City Of Techno”, cheeky road traffic signs declaring “Leave all trap music at the Detroit city limits. Techno only. No Exceptions” and techno stamped license plates to graffiti art
paying tribute to Underground Resistance
I made the mecca to the infamous Industry NightClub as seen below
that ended up one of my personal highlights Raving across the US.
But you can't go to the Birthplace of Techno without checking out the birthplace of House Music ……..Chicago…
The birthplace of House Music, the former Warehouse in the West Loop, is now home to a law firm. Yet it's legacy and the genre of dance music it spawned rumble on at clubs and venues throughout Chicago. “For most of the people that went there, it was a church for them. It only happened one day a week: Saturday night, Sunday morning,
The Warehouse transcended its surroundings and came to define dance music and culture in Chicago then and today. When Knuckles, a native New Yorker, arrived in Chicago in 1977, the dance scene was dominated by disco and R&B. But as disco faded away in the early ‘80s,
I had managed to check out what has been the northside institution for more than 30 years and is renowned as one of the best House Music clubs in Chicago. SmartBar features nothing but underground club music – House Music, Garrett David, and biweekly Derrick Carter, and is LGBTQ-friendly and presided over by a cast of some of Chicago’s most legendary club kids.
Now with all the cities and all the countries spanning across the globe, never would I have thought in my investigations, but also not surprised, that
this place would become the center of the house music world.
It may have started in "The Warehouse" club, Chicago, but the center of the house music world has relocated., but not to Ibiza. Miami?
Not even close.
Today the biggest house market per capita anywhere in the world is
When Chicago House music producer Vick Lavender visited
Johannesburg, South Africa, for the first time, one of his long-held dreams came true.
“I remember getting in cabs, and they were playing my record on the radio,” Lavender said. “And they were playing my record in its entirety. I had never experienced that in Chicago. ”
House music fans also recognized him at the airport — another first for Lavender.
Lavender’s experiences in Johannesburg shouldn’t be a surprise, however. House music is big in South Africa. The deep, soulful kind of house music dominates the bars, clubs, and taxis in Johannesburg. So a visit to Johannesburg wouldn’t be complete without a truly South African house music experience.
House music, characterized by its prominent four-to-the-floor beat, is electronic music that Chicago gifted the world in the early 80s. In the early 90s black South African DJs played imported house music at packed parties in black townships. The music unified a young generation of people who were anticipating the end of apartheid.
At Afropunk’s New Year’s Eve festival in South Africa, DJ Moma was scheduled to play a 45-minute set following headliner Solange Knowles. He knew exactly what to do. Roughly 20,000 fans were gathered at Johannesburg’s Constitution Hill, formerly the site of a detention center that held Nelson and Winnie Mandela. “
Even during the pandemic, am a piano, a piece of bright, jazzy dance music culled from local house flavors and global R&B has persisted as the country’s top genre, according to prominent South African artists and DJs. “I think it’s the first time a genre of ours dominates our airplay more than international songs,” says Busiswa, a S.A house superstar
Then there are the festivals
Welcome to the African Burning Man regional.
Afrikaburn isn’t so much a festival as it is an experience. While there are DJs and spontaneous dance floors, you aren’t meant to be anywhere at any particular time.
The nature of this regional event is to explore and immerse yourself in whatever is playful and entertaining. It follows a strict leave no trace, and that means no trace. Even your rubbish leaves with you. Make sure you have everything you need as not even water is available.
The festival runs on a cashless economy which means nothing is for sale. You simply gift things to people or barter. However, it’s not like haggling at a market; think of it more like the best of humanity all in one place. People are incredibly generous, and there’s plenty of immersive art, mutant vehicles, and desert to frolic in.
House music has come a long way in South Africa,
& so has one of our hosts
Black Donnelly Radio
& The Mixcloud charts House DJ”s
Ben E Blanco
puts together his show with everything from house, funk, disco
& all that is part of the flow
Check out his brand new
Mixed Bag show
With a sweet House set
Click the picture below to score a new bag
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MAY GOOD JUJU FIND YOU