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Danny Howells vs. Danny Tenaglia @ Arcspace
by translucent: 06-29-2002

Great seeing everyone! I had fun. That fun progressively disintegrated into enmity. The night started out really well with drinks at the Emerald Pub. We met up with a bunch of Dreamers and then walked over to Arc. Some reinforcements were already there and we cut right to the front of the line. After a short wait (for us, anyhow...Luba & Dee were there for about an hour), the doors opened and we all went in. Being the first peeps in the venue, all of us took over the bass stack to the left of the stage. We chilled out to DH's ambient tracks until more people started to filter in.

As the place filled up, Danny transitioned to some disco house. By about 12:30, Arcspace was full to capacity. The air conditioning system that was supposedly fixed was barely noticeable. If it is “fixed,” then it’s the least effective AC system in the city. Since it seemed to be working somewhat earlier in the evening, it seemed as if Arcspace management intentionally turned it down to increase the inside temperature to such an unbearable level that patrons would be forced to buy more beverages. I must have spent well over $100 at the bar on non alcoholic drinks for two. I think I spent most of my night making trips to the bar and back. Even the “chill out” room felt like an oven. While the speakers piping in the music were a welcome addition over last weekend, it was pretty hard to “chill” when the room was so packed that if you fell backwards, you wouldn’t break a 90 degree angle. If the AC system was known not to be ready and not intentionally turned down, the least management could have done is set up a bunch of inexpensive industrial floor fans like they did back at Twilo. The only respite from the Amazonian heat was a hallway near the exit door. It was full of lethargic clubbers who were either too broke to buy more water or simply got fed up with the lack of ventilation on the dance floor.

Whenever we trudged back to our Dreamer outpost on the bass stack, we arrived with new bruises from the intentionally errant elbows of the equally irate crowd. Arcspace transformed from the polite, family-like vibe of Vinyl to a crucible of rudeness and hostility. Looking around, it was easy to notice the change in the patronage. Before the renovation and the name change, the patrons came there only for the music and for one another. They came prepared to dance in shorts and sweatpants, sneakers and comfortable shoes. There are plenty of other parties in NYC to go get dressed to the teeth and party glamorously. Vinyl was known to specialize in nothing but music. Everyone knew to leave the Versace at home. Apparently, the name change to “Arcspace” was mistaken as an opening of a “new” club in NYC by many patrons. They came wearing their designer duds and then got upset when they got them all sweaty.

The number of patrons wearing Armani became less and less surprising, considering the escalating admission price. While the price was $30 when the doors opened, it progressed by an additional $10 about every hour or so after 1 am. The $50 that patrons were forced to pay past 4 am was a new level of absurdity. I’m all for free market economics, but this is highway robbery considering what you get in return for bending over and grasping your ankles. Unlike many of my fellow clubbers, I am fortunate to be able to afford $50 to go see a good DJ. I agree to the old “you get what you pay for” adage. Yet, there is little agreeable about paying such an exorbitant amount to see Tenaglia and Howells, two Arcspace regulars that spin there practically every weekend for much less. Granted, there should be a premium for seeing them go “head to head” in one night. But for the same amount of money that this party cost, wiser clubbers could see Tenaglia on a Friday and Howells on the Saturday right after.

Speaking of DJ’s, I guess I might as well as actually get to my review of the music. Howells was good but uneven. Every time he would build up the energy with a succession of good tracks, he would blow it by dropping something lifeless and out of place. It seems as if he heeded the prior criticisms of his overuse of the siren and binges of repetitively hard beats. Unfortunately, he over-adjusted with an often too sweet and disco-like sound that was not my personal preference. I would have gladly endured his “repetitiveness” from a year ago for most of last night’s set. It wasn’t until maybe an hour or two before he passed the decks to Tenaglia that he actually spun anything that compelled me to shuffle my feet. Danny Tenaglia took over with his usual soliloquy on the microphone. I’m a huge fan of his, but honestly, I didn’t pay all this money to come hear him speak. Fortunately, he kept his jabbering to a relative minimum and dropped some quality beats. I wish we had it in us to enjoy more of his set. Unfortunately, Olga and I were too old and too sober to last more than an hour or so into it. If we weren’t so exhausted from the heat and from the constant physical abuse on the dance floor, we would have loved to stay and close out the night. We felt it wiser to exit before ether heat stroke set in or either one of us got angry enough to strangle the next unapologetic, Prada-wearing tart that elbowed us.

I don’t think we’ll ever return to Arcspace whenever they have any “special” events. I’ll save myself the effort by donning my clubbing clothes, jumping into a hot shower and then having Olga beat me like a pińata while taking my money and flushing it down the toilet.

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