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James Holden & Lee Burridge @ Pacha, NYC
by translucent: 09-29-2006

This was definitely a party which reminded me why I liked going out dancing. Hadn't danced so much in a long time despite Holden's best efforts to put me to sleep. Granted, Holden is a prodigy when it comes to producing. However, he hasn't mastered the art of DJ'ing yet. While he has finally picked up on how to beat match, he hasn't made it to Chapter 2 of DJ'ing For Dummies. While he played a bunch of great tracks, these tracks were the type you listen to, not dance to. Every DJ needs to be able to read the crowd and build his set properly. A proper "big room" set should get people to dance. People go to a dance club like Pacha to let loose and get funky. Holden's set would have been perfect for a smaller venue like Sullivan Room or some underground after-hours. Unfortunately, on the main floor at Pacha, despite the best efforts of the lighting guy and the frequent use of the wimpy smoke machine, Holden's set couldn't get me into it.

While I went back and forth between the basement and the main floor through most of Holden's set to keep giving him a chance, I enjoyed the sets of the NY locals downstairs a whole heck of alot more. The Groovanauts were out in full force and took over the back room downstairs. The Outofanalog guys played solid sets. B-Day boy Peter Anthony rocked it with some proper funkiness, followed by Justin R and Taimur Agha, two locals who never disappoint. Much to my surprise, Pacha had $7 Killian's downstairs. Considering that the last time I was there, I paid $11 (tip included) for a Corona, this was a welcome change. Hard to get your groove on knowing you'll need to call your bank for a loan at the end of the night to settle your bar bill.

Before long, it was time for Lee to displace Holden from the booth and show him how it's done. Lee threw down some twisted, techy grooves that could get a paraplegic up and dancing. Burridge worked the crowd like a pro, managing the energy level on the floor to ensure he didnít overexert the crowd yet dropping the right track at the right moment to pick things up again when needed. While he didnít spin a set that was revolutionary, per se, he played one fun track after another, dropping a few getting major play in Ibiza. I was having such a blast, it was time for Holden to get into the booth again to tag with Lee before I knew it.

Fortunately, Lee stuck around to supervise this time. Holden picked a decidedly more aggressive track selection and people continued to dance. Maybe Lee was telling him which tracks not to play. Eventually, James did manage to let the energy drop again. Since it was already past 5am, the club started to empty out, leaving all the regulars on the floor. Lee took over and closed out the night in proper fashion, keeping everyoneís feet moving. I guess Holdenís style had a use after all: clearing the floor off the tourists and leaving dancing room for the regulars.

It was good to see so many veterans from Arc show up to support. The whole party was a bit of a reunion and the usual Pacha meatheads were almost nowhere to be found past 3am. While I had been to Pacha several times since it opened, it was just another big money-making machine filled with a bunch of guidos. I wrote it off as another Crobar until this party. If this is what Pacha has become, then itís undoubtedly the best venue in NYC.

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