AC Slater makes trouble with bass at Electrofunk Friday

by Ryan Snyder

Scientists are making anti-aging breakthroughs all the time according to the late-night infomercials, but until they perfect a way to actually keep you from turning 30, it has to happen at some point. When that inevitably happens, there are two paths you can take: Deny it, turn 29 every year thereafter and hasten losing your grip on reality, or spend the last night of your twenties doing things that just wouldn’t seem appropriate for a 30-year-old. Nearendless possibilities present themselves, to varying degrees of legality, but dancing chaotically to music that goes “woob woob woob wuuub wub bwub wub wub” is practically essential. Artistika’s weekly Electrofunk Friday presented that opportunity for me Friday night, and the wub-wub was provided by a DJ whose stock has risen as much as anyone’s over the past year.

AC Slater has been flooding the blogosphere with a steady stream of habit-forming remixes and bassheavy, single-track DJ sets amidst playing in close to a dozen countries over the past year. His lone date between a week in Canada and another out West came in Greensboro, casting him easily as the most high-profile and possibly the best producer to take up residency in the Triad this past weekend, but also one with one of the smaller audiences. Not that just about 150 people in the house at any given time is a small audience, but it pales in comparison to, say, the lines outside of Elm Street clubs on the other side of the tracks.

The gut-rattling bass started early in the night, but not necessarily originating from headliner Slater. A slew of area DJs took turns tenderizing the crowd, starting with Landon Gardner Case, a DJ so young he’s yet to adopt a club nom de guerre, and ClubHead Sliim, yet another skilled knob-twister barely out of high school. Case pushed torrents of chilled out fidgety house, pushing the tempo in gradual increments only to hit the release valve when the pressure got too great. The two dozen dancers on the floor responded, stopping to throw their hands up and cheering him once the waves of synths coming out of his laptop hard drive began droning down. Sliim was tagged in, immediately bringing a heavy Baltimore club-inspired vocal element to the set through Jon Kwest’s remix of “8mts” and DJ Tray’s ambient remix of L’Trimm’s Miami Bass classic “Cars That Go Boom.” As a newly-minted 30-year-old by that hour, the irony of hearing one of the very first popular hip-hop tracks I can remember being spun by a guy who wasn’t even born when it first hit was not lost on me.

L in Japanese has been a cornerstone of not only the Greensboro house scene the past few years — when he’s not packing the Cat’s Cradle on Sunday nights — but he’s been integral in building Electrofunk Friday as an alternative to the downtown club scene that’s

often challenging for many to enjoy. He’s rangy in influence, referencing the more hypnotic elements of acid house with vocals from hardcore hip hop sampled to resemble the repetitiveness of snap music. He makes a pretty good hype man as well, picking up the mic behind AC Slater to work the room during tempo drops.

Donned in a “Trouble & Bass” T-shirt, the world-traveling Brooklynite Slater took the stage promptly at 12:30 and packed a wallop on the low end. His distinctively punchy bass drum, minimalistic tribal overlays and vaguely wonky tempos punished the crowd drenched in sweat after three-plus hours of dancing. Woots went out in the air when he dropped remixes the crowd knew, like Schwayze’s “Buzzin’” and Boys Noize’s “Yeah.” Last call was made close to 2 a.m., but Slater grabbed his mic to remind the crowd that he was just getting started. While other clubs were pushing out patrons after the cash flow ended, Artistika banged until just after 3 a.m. to the beat of one of the hottest DJs alive. L in Japanese mentioned that the event is still a work in progress, but it will only get better. With James Nasty, DJ Pierre and Murda Mark next on deck, I tend to agree.

AC Slater ushered in a reporter’s 30 th birthday with a steady stream of habit-forming remixes and bass-heavy sets.

(photo by Ryan Snyder)