Monday, August 30, 2010

#MusicMonday: How To DJ From the #1 DJ

It's not secret that DJ's are on the come up in this current state of pop music. We are currently seeing the biggest upsurge in the popularity of electronic music and acceptance into mainstream American culture since it has broke into the music world in the 80's. Thanks to many top 40 hits these days employing some blatant qualities associated with house and electro aspects, even people who used to doubt electronic music's staying power are grooving to it now. A biproduct of this? DJ's used to be associated with hip-hop and turntablism. Today's world of DJ's seems to be leaning into a much different direction; the direction of electronic dance music. Who better to learn from than from the best? I credit for the discovery of this great video. Learning how to DJ from the world's #1 DJ. Armin van Buuren has always been one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. He's a class act, a pro, and loves to see others below him succeed. This video further cements my beliefs. Enjoy!


A night out with Matt Darey and TranceFamily SF (8/28/2010)

Would like to take this opportunity in this post to give a very special shout out to the awesome people at and the good time they showed me this past weekend at my most recent home away from home, Ruby Skye to see Matt Darey and roll all access style. I've been very familiar with Matt Darey from his nocturnal radio show that I've had the chance to be able to check out from here and there. His name has also resurfaced a lot with remixes from other artists I follow, along with being a household name in the trance and progressive house world since the mid 90's. Something that struck me huge in the show...despite being a veteran in the game, the guy doesnt look like he ages a bit! Talk about being well preserved. Good for him. If there's any herbal secrets I should know of, I hope he tells me next time I see him. All jokes aside, the show was amazing. Beside dropping some of his old faithful hits and remixes, like the "Lost At Sea" Remix with Ashley Tomberlin, he dropped some great tracks that are blowing up the dance floor these days. From my recollection, Steve Angello "KNAS", Dada Life's remix of Kaskade's "Dynasty", and Deadmau5's remix of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" to name a few. What a night. The crowd seemed really responsive as they should be for a DJ of that caliber. Getting the chance to speak with him at the end of the show, he seemed like he had his doubts on the caliber of his performance. If that set was any sort of lackluster, I can only imagine what Matt Darey would consider his best performance. Sometimes we are our own worst critics, but at Ruby Skye, he definitely tore the house down. Cheers Mate. Hope to see the man back soon. That aside, everyone should go check out They have an amazing staff and share a mutual passion for electronic music, much like myself, that has huge potential of networking the bay area in a way we have not seen yet. Big ups to the trance heads!

Whose excited about Matt Darey? Clearly I am (on the right)


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Now Playing: Blank & Jones "Miracle Cure (Martin Roth NuStyle Remix)"

Hey what's up everyone. It's been a good week in the music world as usual. Finding some good beats and discovering some new artists and that's always fun for me. While going through some songs however, I re-stumbled upon one of my old favorites that came out in 2008. I know it's Throwback Thursday and 2008 isn't necessarily quite a "throwback", but oh well. I'm putting it up anyway. This is a downright mind blowing track from Blank & Jones, remixed by Martin Roth called "Miracle Cure". I remember first hearing it on Armin van Buuren's yearmix 2008 CD and it took me forever to track down. Since it came up on my beatport, I remembered how much I loved the track. I think it deserves a re-spin. This is what dance music is all about right here. Check it out:


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Show Review: A night out with Sander van Doorn & friends

Greetings everyone on this rather hot Sunday night in the Bay Area, as I happily write this very special entry in the "rehab clinic" blog documenting a weekend that was without a doubt one for the books. Typically I try to write shows reviews the following day after, but there was just so much going on this weekend that I couldn't hold out an hour or so to sit down and put thoughts onto a computer considering the non-stop ups and downs I have had all over the bay area. From Martinez to San Jose, this one had endless hits including two electronic shows in San Francisco, a visit to San Jose to cheer on the Earthquakes, and a quick visit to the beach. Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked. Let's get to what I really wanted to talk about...

Sander van Doorn @ Ruby Skye, San Francisco, August 20th 2010

Disclaimer: it should be understood that I have been following Sander van Doorn for quite some time and Ruby Skye has and always will be one of my favorite venues in San Francisco. This is for any points made in this entry that appear bias. Follow me? Perfect.

From the get go, I had a chip on my shoulder leading to this show when it has come to seeing Sander van Doorn live in the bay area. I've had opportunities to catch his live act but several outside interferences have hindered that. Him being an opening act, my typical late arrival, venue's poor organization, long lines, hearing about the show too late, etc etc. Certainly big amounts of frustration, considering I've been sold over as a huge fan ever since the release of his track "Riff" on the Supernaturalistic album and hearing it and other classics non-stop on radio shows like A State of Trance and played at live shows. I felt like this was a chance to redeem on previous failures and finally catch one of my heroes in the EDM world.

Arriving at Ruby Skye via car vs taxi always adds on another 30 minutes minimum thanks to looking for parking in packed SF on a Friday night. The line to get into Ruby Skye? Make that another 45-60 minutes depending on your position in line and what time you have arrived. This has always been one of my points of frustration with the place as the organization's may fault is always with the entry. Sometimes it feels like it doesn't matter whether you bought tickets or not, printed them out vs willcall, or free guest list because everyone waits in a line anyway. A line, I might add, that becomes infinitely longer as people cut in line. Last time I came to see Cosmic Gate, I waited 60 minutes. This time? Thanks to printing out tickets it shortened my trip just a little bit, but would have been the same if I was just buying tickets at the door. Very convenient eh? Something definitely needs to be done about this. The time passed by a little quicker this time thanks to some new crazy friends that were made on the walk to the venue that were traveling from Barcelona. They had never heard of Sander van Doorn but wanted to check out Ruby Skye. What a night they were in for...

Once inside, I realized I was right on time as the last opener put on his last few tracks. Cue the madness put on by SvD!! The big hype leading up to this was the release of his Dusk Till Doorn compilation that very same week. As expected, many tracks from that release were spun including some of my favorites: "She Gives Happiness (Arty Remix)" by D-Mad, "Moment" by Stoneface & Terminal, and "Tweak Your Nipple (Tiesto Remix)" by Faithless. He dropped some of his own tracks too that made for a classic mix including the epic "Hymn 2.0". As I imagined it beforehand, the crowd was nuts. Ruby Skye always has a good balance of dedicated fans of the night's act and newcomers just along for the ride not knowing what is going on. Both demographics seemed like they were enjoying themselves and packed the dance floor with an incredible amount of energy. The venue's stage production, lighting, sound, background images, and gogo dancers have always been a point of strength when it comes to shows here.

The kicker that made my night all the more epic? Besides making some international friends and introducing them to our domain in the own little groupie moment of watching Sander van Doorn in action up close, toasting a drink with him, shaking his hand, and talking to him after the show turned into one of those surreal moments that took me back to when I was a teenager meeting Papa Roach for the first time. Rarely does one get to experience watching one of their musical heroes up close. But meeting them? Makes it an entirely different show. In an all exclusive world when it comes to DJ's and electronic dance music, this one felt all in the family. I'll certainly see this show and Sander van Doorn himself in a very unique light from here on out. Not to mention him taking the time to also embrace fans out on the dance floor; telltale signs of a DJ dedicated to his fanbase and craft. Let's break it down now...


Crowd - As I mentioned, the Ruby Skye crowd is always a unique blend of club goers ignorant to who is playing on stage and dedicated fans. All were in big time for this show. But who couldn't be? SvD was just spinning so well and dropped the hits. Everyone was dancing.
Production - Ruby Skye never disappoints in the spectacles they put on to make sure their club looks nothing less than world class. I certainly appreciated it all. Kudos to them for not disappointing.
Organization - As I mentioned earlier, Ruby Skye has issues when it comes to who they let in and who they make wait at the entrance of the club. Much to work out here. Ticket holders and will call guests should be the first ones to get let in. But hey, what do I know about clubs?
Lineup - Considering I didn't arrive to the club in time to catch the other DJ's, I can't say much to this respect. I have heard much about them which makes for good company for SvD but unfortunately was not able to catch them in the mix.

Rating: Great tunes, world class DJ, great crowd, great club, great friends. Isn't that the recipe for success of a Friday night in San Francisco? It was a breath of fresh air to come to a show like this and be reminded that DJ's love their fans and take the time to show it even during their hectic schedules. Things just came together perfectly. I'll remember this one forever. ***** (5 stars).

***** - Perfect night. Legendary show
**** - Great night. Very enjoyable
*** - Decent night. Some things were hit or miss but overall fine.
** - Boring night. Not too many enjoyable things at this show.
* - Terrible night. Everything went wrong with this one. Where's the booze?

Cheers and Goodnight music heads.

~Mark Menjivar

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Random Thoughts: Deadmau5 at VMA's

What's up everyone? Welcome to another late entry into the rehab clinic blog. Hope everyone is having a good week so far. It's getting to the close of summer and sadly that means back to school for a lot of people out there and colder weather slowly throughout the coming weeks though. Indeed a depressing time for everyone unless they completely love the fall season. Honestly, anyone that actually prefers fall season to summer must be a sad, lonely person. All that aside however, I've had some thoughts brewing in my head lately in the world of music. I haven't put a random thoughts posting in quite a bit. I've been thinking too much about long columns and important pieces to come up with that I have forgot to update with simple ramblings. So let's get down to it...

There's a lot of talk right now about the much anticipated (and dreaded for some of you) MTV Video Music Awards. Oh man...a lot can be said about these awards and MTV as a whole, but let's just say that these are the 2nd biggest awards in music behind the grammys. Many, like myself, could argue that the MTV VMA's are just a horrible waste of time and production money to hand out fake awards to payola artists who everyone already knew was going to win anyway. All that aside, we still watch them anyway. Ratings keep things on tv so we're all guilty for this one. I plan on writing a full piece in anticipation for the VMA's to look out for that one. But right now I have just have one thought I want to share on this...DEADMAU5 IS THE HOUSE ARTIST?? It has been announced that one of my favorites, Joel Zimmerman aka Deadmau5, is going to be the house artist for the VMA's this year. This is a shocking but yet awesome announcement. Good and bad things can come out of this, but it certainly means that the electronic scene is alive, well, and on the come up. I'll drop another piece on how electronic music becoming popular is also a double edged sword. In the meantime...I just send out my congratulations for deadmau5. He has been a hard worker.