CMJ Music Marathon 2008 Day 2: Stones Throw Showcase
Words and Pictures by John Bohannon
Let’s set the record straight here, the Gallery Bar is chic, but it’s also the most unorganized place I’ve ever been to. They proceeded to let people in… then kicked them all out because they didn’t check RSVP’s at the door. Oh, it gets worse. We then waited in line for nearly two hours just to get inside, and the music started 2 hours late. So those there to see Madlib and J-Rocc had to wait until the wee hours of the morning. Thankfully, despite the wait and the disorganized nature of the venue, the Stones Throw cats delivered.
Obviously the warm-up DJ, Mayer Hawthorne kept things old school as we were walking into the venue. Spinning strictly old soul tracks, he set the tone for the rest of the night. Not exactly an easy task considering who is up after you. DJ’s are less of openers and more of vibe setters, so if one DJ can’t deliver then the whole vibe of the night is ruined. With Stones Throw, you need not worry about the vibe ever being killed.
Peanut Butter Wolf
When Peanut Butter hits the decks, you know things are about to get serious. While some of the DJ’s were using Serato throughout the night, Peanut Butter Wolf was having none of it and spun the real wax. With a stellar mix of soul, hip-hop, jazz, and funk from around the globe, people started dancing whether they wanted to or not. Peanut Butter Wolf has enough skills for an entire wrecking crew of DJ’s, and frankly puts many of what’s “hot” out there to shame. This stuff is timeless. Not to mention, he’s got style
To be honest, this was the highlight of the showcase. I once heard from a DJ’s perspective, that you are only as good as the last record you played. If that’s the case then Pants just kept getting better and better. He understood the crowd in front of him first and foremost, but he was playing tracks that people recognized from hip-hop hits, such as original samples from the likes of Biz Markie. It was like playing musical trivia with this man, but no one stopped moving long enough in order to figure out what exactly he was playing. They got lost in the records -- in my mind, a perfect turntable set.
One of the newest cats on the Stones Throw crew, Funk brought a different vibe than the rest of the crew. Playing more dance-worthy tracks and heavy beat based down-tempo records. The crowd ate it up just the same. Somehow melding that slow down style into a hip-hop electro jam was beyond my knowledge and grasp of the turntables. Once again, if you run with the Stones Throw crew, you roll with the best of the business. If you can scratch faster than Qbert but don’t know your records, this is a crew you won’t find yourself hangin’ with.