Atlanta's Q100.5 FM sponsored Groovefest 2005 last weekend at the posh Compound featuring an incredible roster of DJs (Charles Feelgood, Darude, Blank & Jones, Skribble) and live performers (DHT, Ago, Aurbey, Reina, Jes, Nadia Ali, and Narcotic Thrust). Writer Jodee Graham and I roadtripped down and came back with some observations and pictures.
Compound is an exceptional club. Although the performances were on the two outdoor stages, we made a point of venturing into the indoor spaces. The venue is beautiful with a very upscale, modern design and impeccable decor. I haven never seen such an amazing bathroom. The staff was increibly friendly and helpful. The uniform shirt that employees wear is even fairly chic. Drink prices were reasonable and an informal survey of party people gave the beverage quality a thumbs up.
Q100 and In Like Flynn entertainment did a great job securing a popular lineup and keeping both stages moving with constant entertainment. Capable sound guys were on hand who kept everything sounding good with the changing of DJs and live performers.
The four headlining DJs all won the crowd over and got their spaces packed with dancers. I have often wondered how Darude managed to make the DJ list - but after watching him work the crowd, building from house to trance with a diverse set - I knew why. It's rare that you see a DJ communicate his personality when spinning and Darude did just that with gestures, signs and just getting into the music as much as the crowd was. Even though he was up on the stage, it felt like he was one of the crowd.
Blank and Jones are clearly Atlanta favorites. There were lots of people wearing B&J t-shirts and watching their every move. Its rare that you see DJs get rushed like that when they leave the stage. Their energetic set built up to its finale, a remix of "A Forest" that everyone sang along to.
Charles Feelgood played a funky and bouncy house set that was oddly split by the AGO performance. Both parts saw him getting the crowd chanting along and working up a sweat. The highlight for me was hearing him drop The Sharp Boys' "Maniac."
DJ Skribble was working really hard. I am not sure that the Atlanta crowd knew what to expect from the MTV and Perfecto alumnus. People were a bit cold at first but as soon as Skribble played Tiesto's "Love Come Again," he found his groove and the dancefloor filled.
With one noticable exception, all of the live performers were in good form - singing energetically and getting the crowd into the music.
Aerial 2012, an Atlanta-based electronica act with two keyboard/laptop players, live drummer, saxophonist, female vocalist and male singer/toaster was an impressive new discovery. Their music ranged from drum and bass to house with an incredible energy in their live performance. Look out for their new song "Energy" and check out their website www.aerial2012.com
Dance music can be quite regional, so its always interesting to see how different crowds react to music. Narcotic Thrust's "I Like It" is such a major KTU/New York record that it was surprising to see that the Atlanta crowd was much more into Yvonne's performance of "Safe From Harm."
Club favorties Aubrey and Reina were both in great voice and sang their hits to an enthusiastic crowd response. I heard many in the crowd singing along to Aubrey's "Stand Still" and Reina had everyone singing the chorus for "No One's Gonna Change You."
It was as if producers Gabriel and Dresden were in attendance, since their vocalists Andain and Jes both performed. While Andain's apparent lip-synching and low energy performance seemed to disappoint many, Jes of Motorcycle drove the crowd crazy with an extended version of "As the Rush Comes." Quite interesting was watching the crowd sing along to "Around You," the new Motorcycle song which hasn't even been released yet.
Having seen her before many times, Nadia Ali has never sounded better live. She was joined on stage by Serge Givant on keyboards and a guitar player who filled out her sound and made it feel like a big stage performance.
Both European acts DHT and Ago seem to have been influenced by Scooter with a female vocalist accented by a male singer chanting to the crowd. Edmae of DHT sounded amazing, overcoming some monitor problems during the dance version of "Listen to You Heart" by really emoting during the unplugged version. An interesting version of Alanis Morissette's "Uninvited" finished off their set, while Ago started with "Tell Me Where You Are" and then launched into a medley of Spankox's "To The Club" and Eyes Cream's "Open Up Your Mind." Producer Agostino Carollo was up their chanting along and leading the crowd a la Scooter. Although most of the crowd didn't know their music, they were all participating.
Groovefest 2005 Pictures