title taken from My People by Preedy
Memorial Weekend Review
Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the summer party season for New York's socaholics. However, with Brooklyn venues threatening to shut out feters, there is uncertainty as to whether or not the summer season will be as festive as in past years. This weekend, I got to sample some new and some familiar locations.
On Memorial Friday night Jay Upscale and THC Promotions held Preedy's soca album release party at a small club in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. Motivo is located near Union Square and easily-accesible by several train lines. I headed to there after work to see my new favorite artist perform for the first time. At minutes to 7pm, those with free invites were concerned that they would be charged at the door. However, invites were collected and our hands were stamped as we stood on line waiting for security to perform pat downs.
Inside, the dimly-lit location's iconic glass ceiling fixture floats above the large dance floor. At the time of my arrival, people crowded the small bar in the back getting their drinks and taking them back to the couches around the perimeter. The VIP balcony is above the crowd so deejays like GBM Groove and Riggo Suave were able to get a clear view of the vibes in the party.
Although an after work gathering works well here, Motivo is not the best place for a live performance. The "stage" is not well separated from the dance floor so the artists actually had to walk through the crowd to get to the platform. Preedy took advantage of this to engage with the young women pelting waist in front of him. I was impressed with his performance. Not only does he have a great voice, but he is confident and seems at ease on stage. Plus, as Trinis would say, he's a rell kicks man.
If you have ever been to a party here, you know why I do not like this spot. This place is a sauna. It is hard for me to enjoy myself when I'm sweating so much that I don't want anyone to touch me, much less wine up on me. I was looking forward to an outdoor party on Memorial Friday night to kick off the summer outdoor party season, but there was a last-minute change and I ended up in Brooklyn's sweat box.
Venue changes are becoming the norm in Brooklyn, but to accommodate his significant following, Freeze secured both sides of Tropical Paradise. By now, it has been established that S.S.S. is for real feters: the powder-flinging jab jabs and the throw-it-back-hard winer girls. Even with the change, I couldn't miss it. I put on my camouflage gear and headed down Utica Avenue.
The doors opened and I could instantly feel the heat of hundreds of bodies confined to an unventilated room. I was grateful for the powder showers that cooled my skin as Freeze played j'ouvert tunes. I was ready to call it a night but then DJ Toonkie of LFS Sounds got on stage to shut down the party. If you have never heard of him, tune in to Teamsoca.com from 9am-12noon weekdays to see what you're missing.
Despite the heat, folks never seem to want to leave SSS even after the lights come on. I, however was not one of those people. I needed to go home and rest up for the other events that weekend.
On Saturday night, I headed to SOBs in SoHo. I always love coming here. This spot is iconic in New York City. Sounds of Brazil began as a small Afro-Latino club and has grown to host performances by Tito Puente and Celia Cruz as well as Kanye West and Machel Montano. Now it hosts DMFAO (Dance My F**king Ass Off) from Jay Upscale and THC Promotions.
This spot is great for the mature crowd who want to dance and drink in a cool environment. No, you probably won't find people posing all night for Instagram pics or standing around checking their phones. This is an event for those who want to have fun and actually engage with the people in the party. I have also found the bar staff to be quick and professional so it is worth it to get a drink here. If you want to party with the grown and sexy crowd, I highly recommend DMFAO.
As the soca parties on land continue to get shut down, the next option is to take to the sea. On Memorial Sunday, I headed to Back to Basics Entertainment's annual Memorial Madness boat ride. Whether you choose to get on The Sherryl Princess or The Prince Charming, you're going to have a time! I chose Boat #1 because...well, it's Back to Basics.
I will say this, having people waiting on the pier for over an hour is not a good idea. People get anxious and upset when they are standing on a "line" to get onto the boat and then a crowd of folks who arrive later push to the front and get through before them. I suggest barricades to keep order and avoid the pushing and screaming matches. This is becoming a real issue with boat rides. Promoters/deejays/captains, please find some way to keep the peace because those same rowdy people are going to get on your boat.
Once on board, I went downstairs for food and to calm down from having been pushed by GROWN ASS MEN earlier. The music and entertainment were great, but my mood was soured by the madness and disorganization at the gate.
Shine is one of my favorite annual Back to Basics events. This year, the party was moved to Queens inside of Club Amazura. Some of my friends chose to go to Natalie Lamming's Shhhh at Pulse 48 since that party was outdoors and in Brooklyn. However, the deejay lineup for this event was so top notch that I opted to make the trek out to Queens. It was definitely worth it!
This was my first time at Amazura and I was impressed by how large the space is. This is great for a concert. The stage is big and the lighting is fantastic. I am not sure what they were charging for the drinks, but after seeing the tiny plastic cups and the vexed faces, I am sure it was too much. When I arrived, DJ Big Reef was entertaining the crowd. This dude though. I have told people that I don't like to hear hip hop in a party, unless DJ Big Reef is playing it.
I got to see Trinidad's Nuphoric for a second time this weekend. As great as they are, the crowd started dwindling. The doors opened at 11am and it was about 6:30pm at this point. Finally, Back to Basics introduced Olatunji and the stage show began. The groovy soca monarch performed his hits "Wah Do," "Bam Bam" and his latest "Ola." Hips swayed and feet chipped, but people did not really get on bad until the soca psycho, Lavaman took the stage. Leave it to a Grenadian to shell down di place!
As Brooklyn neighborhoods continue to be gentrified, local stores, restaurants, and living spaces are changing to make room for hipsters and trust-fund dog walkers. Not exactly the feting crowd. This means venues have to conform to the will of its residents and are hesitant to host large, loud parties. So will Brooklyn will continue to be New York's soca mecca or will we have to commute to Manhattan and Queens to party? Ticket prices will likely increase if parties are moved to more expensive locations. Promoters have stated that, if we want to make sure that parties remain in Brooklyn, patrons have to respect the venues. They are even going so far as to post party rules on social media to avoid losing access to Brooklyn clubs. The summer season is officially here. So, my people, are you ready to party...responsibly?