Sunday, November 19, 2006

Angel Moraes @ StereoNY (New York City) - Nov 18, 2006

Disclaimer: this is how I spent my Saturday / Sunday.

There is only one NYC in the world, and if I were ever to move to the United States, it wouldn't be Miami, nor Chicago or LA, it would be NYC - love the city.

Saturday night and here we are inside of one of those famous NYC yellow taxis in our way to StereoNY, when one of my friends say "we have to go back, I forgot my driver's licence". 12:30am and we finally made it, right in front of this warehouse look like building, with 2 big lines of people waiting to get in. I see this fabulous girl standing in the door with some papers in her hands, and I tell myself she must be the Montreal person I have to talk to, but then I looked to the right to another girl, and there she is, this amazing gorgeous girl, moving her body like no one else in the surrounding area. "You must be Adrienne I told her", which she responded with a sexy "bonjour". It didn't take to long for her to tell us that the golden tickets had arrived and it was time to let some Montreal blood into StereoNY. Thank you StereoNY for allowing the Montreal people to get in the complementary bases.

Before I write anything else, I have to say that the opening night is not the time to judge a club for what it will become. You will only get a taste, and this is when management will know what they have done right and wrong, in order to improve and make it what they really want their new place to be.

I also would like to mention something else, because I got asked many times while in NYC. StereoNY (NYC) and Stereo (Montreal) are not part of the same organization. They are two different clubs, owned by different people, and it is not like Stereo is opening a branch in NYC. The original creator of Stereo decided it was time to open a club in NYC, and he decided to use the same name and logo for his club in the United States, and this is as far as the connection of those 2 clubs will go. Only time will tell if StereoNY will become something similar to what Stereo is today to Montrealers.

Several of my friends in NYC have been in Montreal, and they had the chance to party at Stereo, and when they heard the gang from Montreal was coming down to NYC for the opening of the club called StereoNY, first they were surprise because they didn't know about it, then excited because they remember how much fun they had in Montreal. By the time I had arrived in NYC, there were other events shaping the night of this incredible city, 3 clubs had been closed, including Roxy which is where most of the gay boys would go out to on a Saturday night - what a good timing for this new club I thought.

There were a lot of people waiting to get in, and I assumed that because the lines were big, inside would be insane. In the short period of time we were asked to wait, I noticed several people having enough of lining up and choosing to party somewhere else. When I we finally made it inside (12:50am), there were also some people leaving because they said the place felt empty. I understand it is opening night and management wants to create a buzz, but perhaps it would had been a good idea to let people in faster to get the party going downstairs. One thing I didn't noticed but my friends did, was the sign right at the entrance of the club, were it was warned the club was a gay environment friendly and respect and tolerance was expected from everyone wanting to come in, or something in the style.

We were giving our gold tickets and let in, two lines were created for the security check, which was happening right in the first room, which was decorated in white, and with an enormous {{{Stereo}}} logo - I'm assuming StereoNY wants to create an association between the worldwide known Stereo logo with this new club in NYC. Fairly quickly checked out by the security boys (no smiles) and we are let in to the next step of our entrance. We are then directed by someone to the coat check, passing by the ticket booth with two people inside.

Coat check was surprisingly small for the size of the club, and I hope they are planning to expand it horizontally instead of maintaining it vertically as it is right now. There is only room for one person at the time for coat check, and this was creating an unnecessary slow moving line to finally take the steps downstairs to the main club. Checked my coat and T-shirt, felt the beats coming from downstairs, and couldn't wait any longer and started to dance. Dancing while waiting for my friends in coat check, and having people looking at me because I had no T-shirt on.

My visit to the loo could no longer wait, so I decided to leave my friends behind and move downstairs. You have to walk a significant number of stairs to get down to the club area, and when you finally make it, you find yourself in an area with 2 halls containing 2 entrances each to the dance floor, and at the end of one you would ended up in the main bar area. In one of the halls, right underneath the stairs they have set up 2 big beds for chill out purposes, and in the other end it is just a hall that some people were using to chill out in the "dark".

Got into the dance floor area and had a quick look of my surrounding area, searching for the toilets. Finally saw a sign right at the end of the main bar downstairs and I when I was ready to get in, this big security guy stopped me, grabbed my arm and pointed upstairs. I guess no unisex bathrooms at StereoNY - boys upstairs and girls downstairs. Move myself to the mezzanine level, which is located right above the dance floor, and asked one of the people working there to direct me to the toilet, and she pointed downstairs again. Made the choice to follow some other people to another set of stairs which we finally figured out it was for the emergency exit. Finally made to the toilet, and I'm guessing it had just been painted because it still smell like fresh paint. Big area, but very compact distribution of the urinals and the cabins, located only in one side of the room. Two super small cabins, and there will be no need to put up signs with "one person only" because there is no way two people would fit there, it is barely big enough for one. I'm sure management had plans to expand this super important part of the club.

The sound system is powerful and I'm sure it will sound deliciously incredible when they finish tuning the machine with people inside. Finally I managed to make it to the dance floor, and if you stand right in the middle of it and look up, you will see a set of 8 different size disco balls hanging from the ceiling, kind of cute. Keep looking up and you see the second level, which is basically a mezzanine where people can have a great view of the dance floor. If you have been at the Unity Club in Montreal, it is kind of the similar concept.

I kept looking to see if I could find where the DJ booth was set up, until someone told to look right in front of me, and there it was. The DJ booth looks like those closed bunkers with a horizontal frontal open area. Angel Moraes and another guy were inside, dropping the sounds for the night.

Interesting choice of music by Angel Moraes - I have seen him in action several times, and I would say the initial part of the his set was not what I expected from the opening night, not from this master of the music. The music was good when we arrived, but it became kind of mellow shortly after. This gave me an excuse to explore the rest of the place and the people.

The crowd was mostly straight, with some people wearing blazers and nice evening dresses. Others were fairly comfortable in their sexy jeans, and thee was even a drag queen dressed in this interesting yellow (?) out fit. There is bar located in the mezzanine level, right beside the men's toilet, and another one in the lower floor, right in front of the dance floor. There is a good sitting area located behind the main bar, and right in front of it, and if I'm not mistaken there is a small stage area, full of sofas, right in front of the stairs bringing you down from the mezzanine, which people were using to dance as well.

Lots of people working at StereoNY all of them wearing a black T-shirt with Stereo written on it, or was it StereoNY? Walking around and this security guy looks at me and asks me "Where is your T-shirt?" I looked at him thinking why are you working here, and I tell him "in the coat check, where it belongs". Those who know me will understand T-shirts are the first thing I get rid of when I go dancing. I would say the majority of the people working at the club, were friendly. They had this cool attitude, trying to figure out what kind of club, and what kind of clientele they are going to have to deal with.

The crowd is still to be defined, the opening night was mostly straight, and the combination of slow music, not feeling the crowd, and other points, made my friends decide to change of venue for the evening. I decided to stay because I really wanted to see what Angel Moraes had in the sleeve for the night. No longer after the departure of most of my friends, and the music really went downhill to my taste. Was it hip hop what Angel was spinning for a second? I have no idea, and surprisingly the crowd liked because they were even kind of singing along at the end of the phrase of the songs. One of my friends looked at me and told me relax, to calm down because the tunes were probably songs that Angel like very much and he wanted to drop them to the crowd.

My friend decided to take off to Crobar, and I decided to move upstairs to chill out and check out the crowd. Finally the music stopped and Angel welcome everyone to the club, showing off a little bit the power of the sound system, and then finally, and I repeat, finally the Angel Moraes that I know came out of the shelf. It was an explosive beginning with hard vocal beats that made the dance floor move as it should. I was still recovering from his initial set, you know it is like when you are traveling with some friends, and then you get a flat tired in the middle of the way, it takes a little bit of time to go back to the road.

Great tunes and I really wished Angel had given us this incredible doses of rhythm early on in the evening. Nevertheless, I finally put myself together, got my smile back in my face, and went dirty in the dance floor. I do miss having a box to dance on top of it, and actually checked to see if I could used something else as substitute. I even looked at the main bar area, but the security guy near by looked really mean, so no way I was going to try to dance there, plus there is not enough space anyway.

Angels Moraes played a good set of House Music for the gods, unfortunately I could not feel the vibe of the crowd, and when this perfect combination occurs, is when you have these memorable evenings you will remember for a long time. I'm pretty sure Angel Moraes is very proud of his new creation, and much more when the club start to take off with its more defined clientele.

Whoever decides to go to StereoNY, should read the warning at the entrance of the club, the one I missed but my friends didn't. If this club is able to attract people from all walks of life, where it doesn't matter if you are black or white, straight or gay, fat or fit, cute or ugly, and if they all come for the same reason, for the love of the music and to dance, then New York get ready because you are in for an unforgettable trip of good time.

The location has potential to become an excellent place to spend some hours dancing and enjoying the company of your friends, and the new people you meet. Coming from Montreal I'm not used to pay USD 8.00 for a Heineken, but because I came from Montreal I got in for free - so fair enough - and I have no idea how much the cover charge was for the evening. It was probably 5:00am when I left the place.

I'm glad I decided to come to NYC for the weekend, I had the chance to meet some interesting characters, do some power shopping, check out the beautiful men around, dance to the tunes of different DJs, and most important of all, to spend some quality time with my good friends.

Furthermore, I wish the best to StereoNY, Angel Moraes and whoever is involved with this new club. I understand it is not easy to be in the nigh life in NYC at the moment, but whom better than New Yorkers to show to the world you want to continue enjoying your life.

Definitely I want to go back in a couple of months, and check out this club again, this is when I will be able to tell you if Montreal (Stereo) was able to inspire a club in NYC (StereoNY), with something Montreal received from the big apple (inspired by the legendary Paradise Garage) - a place were people feel like they are in their second home.

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