It's a full moon and the delicate white light coming off the ping-pong ball in the
sky doesn't disappoint, all the rumors stay true. People are driving crazy,
zig-zagging in and out of lanes trying to find that intangible something that just isn't
there, and then there's us, a couple of post-eighties hippies with heads full of
psychedelics and spicy Thai food, crawling through the Mission on our way to the
radioactive Hunter's Point. We pull up to the office on Quint to check our supplies
and consult the map. A six-pack, a sack, some chocolate, a
little special tea, a case of water, a couple of rights, and a left...
Looks good, let's roll.
Nestled along razor wire fencing strategically placed to keep the lemmings
from plunging into the murky deep, Kelly's Mission Rock closely resembles the
rock in San Francisco Bay. The streets are lined with hundreds of cars, and
close I hear
them feeding the animals $3 well drinks while bleeding their ears and making
them stupid with deafening levels of drum and bass so they can procreate. After
playing Frogger with the heavy metal vampires I walk up to the five-deep layer of
security in front of Kelly's entrance and ask one of the 300 pound rhinos where will call
is. He grunted something and pointed his finger as I ducked and prepared to run.
Arriving at 11 pm at a show is pretty average for me, but from the outset I
miscalculated what I was getting into, and this was as crucial an error as Bill
Buckner's boot in game six of the 1986 World Series. The only thing happening at
11 was the stench of washed up oysters flirting with my nose hairs, and worst
of all I couldn't leave the venue to relieve my anxiety.
The show was organized into three different DJ areas [Gary Coleman], the
Ubiquity Garden (which
we'll get to in a minute), the back porch, and the upstairs of
the building. In theory, this was a good idea, you have DJ Greyboy spinning one
while Zeph and
Rourke are playing on the back porch, and you let the crowd work
their appetite for Grandmaster Flash. Unfortunately, there were two things
working against this plan: nature's freaky full moon, chilly touch, stanky bay and all,
coupled with a layout that has the entrance rolling people right through Greyboy's
dance floor. But F#@$ it, nothing is perfect and although Friday's all-nighter had left
me raw and abused I got a beer and stumbled out to the back porch where DJ
Zeph and Rourke were tag teaming the funky stuff like Tommy Lee and Kid Rock.
Add DJ Platter into the mix and the dance floor got nice and sweaty, the
as one of Kenny Roger's meal deals.
After Platter left the scene I rolled up to the bar and picked up a sipper of the
kickin' chicken before walking over to Greyboy's set. Greyboy hit me in college by
bringing together my favorite elements of acid jazz and hip-hop, melting beats into
something cool and blue, so you can imagine I was a little bit shocked to see the
mere handful of stragglers on tap to vibe on his dance floor. I gots to hand it to the
dude though, he pulled off some brilliant funk in the energy-diffused situation. Too
much space in between the walls can make a DJ a dull boy (and did I mention it
like a crab stand at Fisherman's Wharf?), but he worked through it. The first few
minutes he toyed with a quiet groove anchored by congas and a smooth flute that
recalled some of his early recordings with Karl Denson. It was like a lullaby that
had me slippin' away in my imaginary cradle, but right at the perfect moment he
opened up his can of gas laying out a hot and bothered groove that sounded like
Pam Grier and Isaac Hayes doing the dirty donkey circa '71.
Don't look back to see the wasters in your tracks when the shit gets funky.
There may not have been a lot of people out there, but the ones that were rocked it.
A big, tall, blonde girl on platform shoes wearing a pink satin bikini top, porn star
glasses, and a big smile didn't stop gyrating all night and for this gets the first
annual award for "funkiest human being dressed out of Dame Edna's closet."
While I'm at it, I gots to award the prize for funkiest, most original DJ set to Andrew Jervis,
who was spinning to a lone Japanese girl in the cold crab lot while we was all
getting hot and sweaty to Flash.
Grandmaster Flash hit the stage circa 1:30 am, postulating the old school
proverb, "In order to know where you're goin', you got to know where you came
The Grandmaster spoke from behind the decks, "Now here's how it works. In
order for this to work successfully, when I ask you to put your hands up in the air,
will you do it? [pause] When I ask you to make some noise uncontrollably, will you
Make some mutherf&%$#@ noise!" Imaginary crowd roar. "And when I play some
hot shit on the decks will you shake your motherfu*&in ass? Do it! Now these are
the three important elements for a successful old school party! And I have one
more thing to say.. If there is anyone out there in the building sufferin' from the
severe illness of being too fuc*$’n cool, you better leave now."
The rectangular dance floor, overflowing with people into the bars and outside
on the deck, began to shake, and with a one for the money, two for the show, off the
rocket ship blows. Grandmaster's thunderin' blast of turntable scratches, with a
right hand strong like Dr. Claw's, launched the party into the early seventies as we
began a journey through the history of what was, and what is now, hip-hop. With a
rollin' and tumbling bass line the beats were as heavy as Oprah and absolutely
He took us through the seventies with Chic's "Good Times" and the "Superman
Theme," into the eighties with a tribute to Jam master J, cuts by Run DMC, LL Cool
J, and the Beastie's "Brass Monkey." A medley of Michael Jackson songs,
beginning with "Don’t Stop..." had lovers and strangers grindin' like the ship was
going down in a blaze of glory, and by the time he turned up the Naughty By Nature
hip-hop anthems "Hip Hop Hooray" and "OPP" the crowd was a flowing sea of
good green stank.
Piloting this fantabulous voyage to the birth of new hip-hop came as naturally
to Flash as choking on a pretzel did to George W. Grandmaster, being an elder
statesman from the first generation, never lost sight of his fallen brothers who had
contributed so much to the art form, eulogizing Jam Master and paying tribute to
2Pac and Biggie by cross fading "California Love" with one of Biggie's hits.
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