Location: Cleveland, OH
Back to top
|Here is another article about Dance Music in Cleveland. This was published in a 1997-1998 MIXMAG. This was in an era where there was MIXMAG US and MIXMAG UK. This was in MIXMAG UK.
TITLE: WELCOME TO THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
CAPTION ON PICTURE: "Tall Paul hoists the hardbag flag"
WRITER: Dan Prince
Photographer: Rob Farrell
Prologue: "DJ Tall Paul is playing his first DJ tour of America. But he's not in some cool New York sweat box or wild West Coast rave. He's in Ohio where rock still rules supreme, and New Orleans, where the clubbers carry knives. Can the tall guy survive in Middle America?"
It's approaching midnight as we cruise the downtown streets of Cleveland, Ohio and there's not a soul in sight. Temperatures are plunging beneath freezing as the Moonshine Over America tour bus approaches Club Trilogy. The streets are dead.
But walk into the club and you could be absolutely anywhere on the dance globe. Huge cages hang precariously over your head and podiums dot the dancefloor. There's six or seven hundred people here, dripping in brightly coloured Hillfiger and Adidas, an assortment of body piercing and huge silver trouser chains. An event like this is big news for the Cleveland club kids. Used to driving for hours to feed their thirst for clubbing, tonight's line up seems too good to be true -- superstar and birthday boy Keoki, techno punks Cirrus and our own Tall Paul Newman, looking decidedly nervous, not too sure which way tonight is going to go.
This is Paul's first real gig in America, save a low key party in New York and a disastrous gig at the Miami Music Conference, and he's obviously a little bemused. This is Cleveland, Ohio, where guitars and live drummers rule supreme and the size of the clubbing fraternity touches a mere 5,000.
"That's why clubbers in US cities like this are so musically open minded," admits Moonshine boss Steve Levy. "Because there's not an abundance of clubs to choose from, people don't mind experimenting with their clubbing."
Cleveland clubbers Tom and Jono agree. "Earlier this year we went to as Stacy Pullen gig followed by DJ Peshay the following week. But we don't give a shit. We've caught the bug".
They're interrupted by a rush toward the middle of the room. In England this usually signals a breakdown or the appearance of the night's star DJ. Tonight it's the dodgy old stripper from across the road climbing into their metal cages for the 'erotic' dancing show. The gyrating folds of cellulite are enough to turn a man off his beer. Or give him a chronic neck ache.
"I thought this weekend was going to be a total disaster," admits Paul as we sit backstage. I was panicking before I left. I had ten minutes before my taxi was due and I was still pulling out a few get-out-of-jail tunes. I'd never met anyone who'd been out here and honestly thought I'd be playing to an empty club. I've been clubbing in Miami and New York and seen how things can kick off, but they've grown up with clubbing for well over ten years. I mean, Ohio for fuck's sake. Of all the places..."
An hour later, its back-slapping all round as another club receives the Tall Paul treatment. Pumping twisted house, slabs of techno and drum n' bass blasts as the dancefloor starts to move. Move, yes, but not explode. [The weren't there on Sundays.. doug] It's not quite boiling point, well, not as we know it anyway. "I've never really seen it go off in America before" confesses Paul after his set. "I just get the feeling sometimes that people's expectations are too high too soon. Surely it's good enough that the clubs are full for now? It'll come."
We stumble out of the doors minutes later as up on stage Keoki gives it the large ones. There's nobody bigger than Keoki in the States at the moment. In Britain he'd struggle to fill the Velvet Underground, but out here he commands fees of $3,000 (just over 1,800 pounds).
The article continues with a review of New Orleans. There is a picture of Spyder with glowsticks saying "No Idea" who the dj is. There are also a lot of other pictures.
"O-hi-o to you, my pretty!"
"The effortless styles and panache of US clubbers in full effect again, I see"