Friday evening was a jaunt to three venues: Shore Club, Jazid and Chalk.
The contrast between the three spaces is pronounced. Shore Club's outdoor space is the most elegant outdoor venue I've seen in South Beach: a wooded wonderland with clusters of lanterns at ground level. Comfortable seating (and a hammock) was situated in various coves for private conversations, with one side dominated by speakers and the DJ setup. Mikki Afflick, a deep house DJ I'd heard last year, was on deck. The rains that drenched SOBE earlier that afternoon were gone. The weather was perfect and the hammock was heavenly. Afflick was every bit as wonderful as the venue.
Jazid, on the other hand, is a run-down place with an excellent reputation. Two DJs from Europe, Nermin and Patrick Bo, had their event there. I did not get a chance to hear Nermin, but Patrick was on and he was excellent, proof that venue is nowhere as important as sound.
Chalk, Miguel Migs and Lisa Shaw
Chalk was a wild card – we were not sure if we would get in. I had spoken to an intense and no-nonsense man named Jesse the day before. He assured us that there would be no problem, a promise that regularly gets broken in the rush of WMC. When we arrived, it seemed like Chalk would be off the table. Jesse was barraged by people clamoring to get in (we could not get his attention, and his assistant wasn't giving us any love). We were told to get in the back of an ever-increasing crowd.
Jesse came to play. He was dressed sharp as a tack, fit and retro-fitted with suspenders, slacks and a starched white dress shirt. Despite efforts of the other door person to herd us in with the masses, our perseverance paid off and Jesse came through for us – we got in.
Chalk was every bit as stylish as I remembered, with pool tables taking up almost half the space (hence the name). The ping pong area had been cleared for dancing, a good-sized area set off by long metal-beaded curtains from the pool tables, VIP seating and the main bar.
The groove was typical Salted Music, a classy, jazzy house sound favored by Miguel Migs and his crew. I saw singer Lisa Shaw come in, and bade my time until I could approach her. Lisa and I had not spoken for a couple years and I wasn't sure if she would be available for a quick interview.
As she was walking to a small stage and microphone for her in front of the DJ booth with Miguel playing, I maneuvered over to help her step up to the mike. She sand some of my favorite songs on the Salted label, including “Lose Control” (click here to listen to the song).
We spoke at length afterwards, like catching up with an old friend. “I've been writing a lot,” she said. Shaw has an album due in May called Undetected in collaboration with Victor “Ticklah” Axelrod. It is being produced, I believe, by Dave Warren, the same man who produced her last two albums.
With some regret, I ended the interview. Fans were lined up to meet her, and the pressure of their expectations was palpable. More of what we discussed will be featured in a future article: UDM Versus EDM.
Next: the fifth and final day of WMC.