November 2005, The Roxy
The Roxy. The place I've sworn I would never return to, after the famous Dance Floor Dissing Incident that took place on Puerto Rican Day 2003. I'm only here because my friend DJ Jerry Bonham is opening for slightly-more-famous DJ Paul Van Dyk.
I arrive at the Roxy with my buddy NYC Eagle DJ Mark Cicero. At the door, we undergo the most invasive personal body search I've ever experienced. What the fuck are these kids bringing into the Roxy these days, hand grenades? Homeland Security ain't got nothing over the Roxy door staff. Oh, wait. We're on the list! A different line? Another search? Awesome! At least at the VIP entrance we get handed a free CD (which I immediately lose).
The crowd is young. Very young. And high. Very high. Paul Van Dyk has brought in a huge audience of straight kids. Mixed in are the oddball raver fags here and there. And of course, as in any Manhattan nightclub, we have a healthy representation of Japanese club kids, always keen to be seen. But overall, the crowd is muy bridge-and-tunnel, as my friend Allen would say, looking down his nose. Allen is from Kansas City, Missouri.
Jerry's set is amazing, inspired, as always. I've been in love with Jerry's artistry ever since we first began shouting back and forth to each other through the chain link fence around the DJ booth at SF's Powerhouse. Jerry is my absolute favorite DJ in the world and coming from a relentless DJ hound like myself, that's saying something. Jerry motions for Mark and I to watch him from the wings of the stage and we stand up there until a truck-sized security man grabs my arm, making me scream a little bit. Yes, yes. We will get down from here.
The promoters tell Jerry to cut his set short because a recent crackdown on nightclubs is forcing The Roxy to close by 4am tonight and they need to get the headliner onstage early. Paul Van Dyk climbs onto the platform, a make-shift DJ booth constructed over the edge of the dancefloor. There's a firestorm of cellphone camera flashes and a jumbo-jet worthy decibel level of screaming when the crowd spots Van Dyk. Jerry puts his records away while Van Dyk hooks up his two Powerbooks.
Jerry invites us back to the regular DJ booth which is being used as a VIP area for this show. I peer down at the crowd over the edge of the booth and wonder if I look as tiny as Peter Rauhofer always seemed to be, when I'd look up at him in this spot. We chat and soak up the free booze (Grey Goose and Red Bull for me) and look at Paul Van Dyk's back while he cues up MP3 files on his Powerbooks. I'm not sure that this is actually DJ'ing but I guess I can't argue with 2000 screaming fans.
I'm quite happy to spend the entire night up in the DJ booth, cuz hey, free booze, but the other guys want to wander around amongst die Kinder. I spend a few minutes getting elbowed at the bar and start wondering what might be going on up at The Eagle, but decide to stay as long Mark and Jerry want to.
I get in line for the men's room. The line is about 30 guys long but moves with a brisk efficiency I'm unaccustomed to, compared to the Roxy's gay nights. As I reach the door of the restroom I come upon a raucous scene. The bathroom is boiling hot, the mirrors are partially steamed up. There's a line of seven guys along the wall to match the seven guys standing in front of them at the urinals. Everybody is dancing, even the guys that are pissing. Everybody is shirtless except me. Everybody is under 25 except me.
Then they see me, these happy dancing carefree young men, and the visual effect is not-unlike when a high-school Vice Principal sticks his head inside the door of an classroom that is missing its teacher. Full stop on the happy. Hands in the pockets. A couple of quick departures. I feel like The Thing That Came From 10,000 B.C.
I'd leave, but I really do have to piss. One brazen lad, pupils as big as saucers, walks past me in a fog of Special K-bravery and taps my chest. "Dude, you are like so totally obviously a cop, it's like...totally....um, obvious."