The Dirtybird BBQ Sizzles In Red Hook
On the morning of Sunday, August 16th, booty-house fanatics all over the city of New York rose with an unbridled exuberance, beaming with the knowledge that the funkiest day of the summer had arrived – that the Dirtybird BBQ was finally upon us. However an ominous blanket of daunting gray clouds soon cast a shadow of doubt and apprehension over the day’s imminent festivities. As the hour for the gates to open drew near, most of Brooklyn was pummeled by a two hour onslaught of unexpected torrential rain.
This flash flood literally popped up out of nowhere and the frenzied storm never showed up on any Doppler radars until it was too late. Suffice it to say some people were pissed. Droves of homies were caught in the mess and as the clouds began to part the real trouble began. Due to the hazardous conditions that arose after the tempestuous storm, the good folks at Mean Red were forced to push back the start time of the event in order to do their due diligence and prepare the flooded dance floor for the tflocks of red-blooded party goers. However, as the sky overhead cleared and the oppressive August sun showed itself, impatient and understandably antsy party goers took to social media to voice their dissent and frustration with the wait and the overall logistics of the event. In my opinion this brings up an issue that is way to prevalent in our scene at the moment. We live in a culture of instant satisfaction and immediate gratification to the point where some rain and sun literally caused an all out hissy fit on Twitter and Facebook.
So what do you do when your backs are against the wall and it seems that the day is getting away from you? You turn to your leader and hope that they can set the right example and lift the team’s spirits. Luckily Dirtybird has one of the best label heads I know of manning the helm. Claude VonStroke didn’t just make a post on his Facebook page asking everybody to be patient, the Dirtybird head honcho took to the streets to wait it out in the summer heat with wilting waiters. Claude shook hands, took pictures, kissed babies, okay maybe not that last one, but the house phenom made a personal attempt to placate all of Brooklyn faithful who came out to show support. He didn’t just show his face either he really got in there and shot the shit with folks as they waited to gain entrance, and maybe that didn’t solve everything but it definitely showed the initiative and genuineness that you hope to see in big names like Mr. VonStroke.
Once we got inside it was evident why the clean up process was so crucial. This was the first year that Dirtybird was welcomed to 699 Columbus Street, and let’s just say that the venue was a bit bare-boned. Oh, and absolutely awesome. If you miss the days of raving in abandoned warehouses and nondescript vacant lots, ducking and dodging the authorities, then this industrial waterfront location would’ve been a dream come true for you. Dirtybird’s new location was a bizarrely picturesque location that made you feel like you were living out your favorite post-apocalyptic movie. Truck tires adorned with white umbrellas perfectly embodied the wily juxtaposition that this event was predicated on. Piles of cement rubble lay strewn behind fully stocked bars and raging grills. The long dance floor was sandwiched between rows of freight containers and a murky harbor. It was honestly epic as hell.
That brings us to the two most important aspects of the day: the food and the tunes. The venue itself was a rather long narrow strip of pavement with the one stage relatively small in size. However along the lengthy thoroughfare, high-quality speaker systems lined the dance floor every few yards, so whether you were up against the rail or way in the back you essentially got the same high quality sound. One of my favorite aspects of the Dirtybird BBQ is the unmistakable family cookout feel of the whole event. Vibing through the crowd with a cold brew while you munch on a sweet slice of watermelon or a righteous burger, getting down to the undeniably bestial beats of Shiba San, just isn’t the type of thing you get to do in NYC anymore. Kill Frenzy was certainly on point and Justin Martin proved to me why he is touted for a huge future, but I have to give it up to my girl J. Philip and Claude VonStroke. The two set the tone for the day and threw down unforgettable sets.
The cherry on top of the excellent sundae that was the Dirtybird BBQ was getting to see the living legend Slick Rick The Ruler take the stage. As a kid who grew up in New York City all his life, getting to see one of the very icons who established hip-hop for what it is hit the mic was something I will never forget. Most of the audience had cleared out by the time he went up but I honestly could not have cared less, it simply made it easier for me to see him.
All and all Mean Red and Dirtybird Records put on a dynamite event for the label’s epic 10 year anniversary. Despite the inauspicious start the BBQ was certainly one of the highlights of the summer for me and I hope this event keeps on coming back to New York for years to come. With this one completely selling out and the vibes being so on point I can’t see it ending any time soon, and that is a very, very good thing for the city and for the dance music scene as a whole. It’s events like these, that foster a tight-nit community, and are centered around the music and people rather than how you look or how many bottles you buy, that will allow dance music to progress and improve. So here’s to 10 more years of Dirtybird and as Andre 3000 so eloquently once said “You could plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather.” Luckily we like it a bit Dirty.