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Foundation Night Club: DJ Sliink

Foundation Nightclub- DJ Sliink


Here are my feelings on nightclubs: a club is a club is a club. They’re like blondes wearing jeans and Ugg boots at a mall- vacuously attractive, almost identical, and nothing really that special about them. That said, and I guess continuing that metaphor, they’re not all bad. If you’re drunk enough they’re semi-enjoyable. And if you don’t mind their shallowness and vague sleaziness, you may just find yourself having a decent time. So at a nightclub- Foundation Nightclub on Western Ave to be exact- is where I found myself Wednesday evening for the DJ Sliink show. Foundation is the brainchild, or perhaps rave-child is a better term, of Chad Anderson, owner of USC Events, who throws massive-scale raves in Seattle, most notably Freaknight around Halloween time and Lucky, coming up this spring. For his genre, he does quite well. But raves, to be sure, are an acquired taste. For me, they’re like something made with rhubarb- no matter how well it’s baked, in the end it’s still just rhubarb. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed my fair share. I myself have attended both Freaknight and Lucky in the past, along with other similar events, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. But like wearing body glitter and platform foam flip-flops, it’s something I feel I’ve somewhat outgrown. As such, this was my first event like this in quite some time. And by that I mean it was the first time I have gone temporarily deaf for quite some time.
I've always enjoyed EDM (Electronic Dance Music for those unaware) because I enjoy dancing. I’ll dance to anything, to be honest. Even a catchy song at the grocery store will sometimes get me, much to the chagrin of whichever shopping companion I happen to be with at the moment. And I’ll be damned if EDM isn't tremendously fun to dance to sometimes. But the scene certainly has its drawbacks. As aforementioned, the extremely real risk of premature deafness. Because the music is mostly bass. Very loud bass. Sometimes drums. Sometimes some DJ shrieking unintelligibly into the microphone. But the ability to partake in good conversation is not really the impetus at these events. By all appearances, very fervent attempts by attendees at half-to-fully-clothed procreation with each other seem to more of a priority. And indeed, as I walked into the venue, bright lights glaring and the floor shimmering dazzlingly with spilled red-bull-vodkas, I immediately spotted the usual suspects for a crowd like this: three fancily dressed college-aged girls gyrating awkwardly, two couples quite accurately miming coitus, and one old-ish person getting down harder than anyone else. Throw in eight maids-a-milking each other and it’s a bit like a partridge in a pear tree.
Jameson Just, a local DJ, was playing as I arrived. Now, as far as EDM goes, there are technically an infinite number of sub-genres within its primary category. It practically rivals the fungal kingdom in terms of its multiplicity of subdivisions. For those musically inclined, or DJ's themselves, they are able to identify and distinguish between all the beats-per-minute and differential bass sounds that define each individual sub-genre. For people like me, as well as, I assume, the throngs of faded, halfheartedly thrusting kids in this club, it all sounds kind of the same, all variations on the same steady theme. So I wish I could tell you that Jameson Just was playing low-tempo trap with just a whiff of electronica, but all I can really tell you is that between mediocre bass-y mixes, he played “Tequila”, something I may have enjoyed, had I not already heard that song incorporated into several different DJs’ mixes many times before. He seemed to specialize in the “been there, done that” style of DJ-ing, shirking originality for familiarity, in the thin hope that just the fact that the crowd recognizes that particular song will be enough to please them. But good lord, how often must I be implored by yet another version of the massively overplayed ditty by Flosstradamus to “roll up the grass”?
Oh well, on to Gang Signs, the penultimate DJ of the night. In yet another nod to originality throughout the night, he opened by asking how the crowd was doing tonight. And how might they have responded? Drunk? High? Bored? Completely unaware of their surroundings? Their thin applause was a rather ambiguous response. This was a common theme among the first two acts I witnessed that night, asking multiple times how everyone was doing. You’d think that if they were so concerned about the welfare of the crowd they’d play better music. Gang Signs played with the sort of expectant enthusiasm seen with many DJ’s. He’d build the beat to a tense point and then drop it like a magician throwing flash powder at the ground. For me, it had about the same effect. The anticipation was almost more enjoyable than the actual, paltry result. But I think maybe that’s part of the appeal for musicians of this genre. They chase that dragon so eagerly, eternally searching for that perfect, ultimate drop to end all drops. And yet, what would happen then? The whole crowd bursts into flames? A not entirely unappealing idea. But no, the crowd would scream and cheer and bounce around and promptly forget the whole ordeal the next time they lose themselves to a Long Island iced tea. Oh, well.
So Gang Signs dragged his set on until almost 12:30 while I tapped my foot impatiently and dodged staggering sweat-slicked club patrons waiting for DJ Sliink to come on. Finally, he appeared. The crowd cheered, he made the requisite reference to the Seattle Seahawks. DJ Sliink hails from New Jersey, and his style of music skews more towards hip-hop than rave, something I was not entirely opposed to. He did indeed seem to know the way to my heart, opening up with Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love” off her new visual album and following up with the throwback jingle “Stay Fly” by Three 6 Mafia. He played solidly until I left around 1:30. Sets like his are what remind me why I still do, once in a blue moon, like to release my inner rave-child and headbang the night away. Because, you know me. I gotta stay fly.