James Brown Tribute – Aftermath

This was quite the big evening out for fallex and his love this fair night. We don’t go out very much anymore. The reasons are many, but generally revolve around the fact that we work too much (no energy), and now own a house (no money). Blah, blah, blah. We started with delicious Italian dinner at Trattoria Strada. Then we caught a birthday roast of Melina’s friend (and performer at the underrated Basement Comedy Theatre), Curtis Smythe.

After we’d had our fill of pasta, cream sauces, and humor that would make Bill Hicks blush (a little, anyway), we were off to the Apache Cafe. Located just through the tunnel from Georgia Tech (in the bowels of I-75/85, where 3rd St. dead ends), I’d made my way to this establishment (as Apache Cafe, and as I first knew it – Yin Yang Cafe) many a time to see the likes of Erykah Badu (early days), DJ Mark Farina, Entropy, and many more. Not to mention locally and nationally acclaimed hip hop and techno DJ’s (note: I have no knowledge techno or its many permutions, but you may see me dancing my ass off to it, depending on how many adult beverages I’ve had) – too many to recite (or remember). Anyway, what better place to pay tribute to the man, than a local bastion of african-americanism with tons of history as it pertains to mostly hip hop, but with plenty of funk, poetry, and just an all around atmosphere of grooviness, for lack of a better term.

I think we were at the intersection of White and Bread.

The dj’s all represented a little differently. Kemit – an Atlanta staple, spinning hip-hop and jazz for years – was on when we got there and played pretty much all James with some JB’s, mixing a little. Next was Sammy B of the Jungle Brothers. Sammy lost the crowd a little mixing in Lil John and other hip hop, but kept it mainly music by, and containing samples of, the Godfather of Soul. Next was Applejac, another staple of Atlanta hip-hop shows. AJ undoubtedly had the best set that we saw, mixing and cutting nothing but James and his infamous bandmates. He admittedly fucked up on the cut a couple of times (once egregiously – but forgivably – at the top of his set), to be understood he’s probably nervous just paying tribute to such a great musical talent.

The crowd was into the whole eveing, dressing in plenty of retro disco gear, and we followed suit (see photo of pasty individuals above). as even if you weren’t planning on dancing, the spirit of the music took you over. No matter who was spinning, the dancefloor was getting loose the entire time. We stood toward the back, wallflower that I am until the liquor hits. But the alcohol wasn’t working fast enough and the music took over. At some point or another, the dancefloor, usually up front toward the stage, took over the entire club. It could have been Cold Sweat, or possibly Papa Don’t Take No Mess, but the transformation was evident. Then, just as soon as it happened, the dancefloor resumed its normal size and position, and people took to wiggling where they stood all around them.

The entire evening, films from various concerts played behind the dj’s – James Brown’s Lost Tapes I believe was one title – and an artist, known simply as W, crafted a chalk rendering of the tributee on stage. As I watched the films in the background, I noticed that James Brown never stopped moving, no matter what. It was the same sort of infection that the groove caused in him that caught several of the would-be bystanders tonight. Anyway the whole show was truly a multimedia extravaganza. The one thing I was surprised to not see, really, was breakdancers. Considering the location, and the fact that James Brown basically invented the breakbeat, I’m surprised a couple of local crews didn’t scope it out. Oh well.

Food, comedy, dancing, drinking, and scene. The evening was a success on all fronts. I was hoping to have more pictures from this event, but there were supposedly no photos allowed except for certain ‘media’ types. I’ll do better next time.