One of the stranger things we've heard about as of late is
, a venue in Greensboro, North Carolina, just a few minutes from Quaker liberal arts school Guilford College, that's hosting Baltimore club shows: A late November Say Wut show, and last month, DJ Pierre, Murder Mark (with Tt the Artist), and James Nasty. I was at the Say Wut show and can say that it inexplicably rivaled most club events in Baltimore and ones with far more resources outside the city. It was pretty weird and pretty awesome. These quasi-DIY club shows are a collaboration between a supportive college, an open-minded nightclub, and an enthusiastic 24-year-old, Miami-born undergrad named Adam Katzman. Through e-mail over the weekend, Katzman took some time from his studies and scheming to discuss why he wants to bring Baltimore club to North Carolina.
Why did you decide to bring Baltimore club to Greensboro, N.C.?
Since Mad Decent, M.I.A., Major Lazer, etc., are all big at Guilford College [in Greensboro], and a lot of their music has significant pieces of Bmore club in it, I figured it best to book people actually from Baltimore. The day after the last show, I interviewed Murder Mark, Tt, and James Nasty on the radio. Nasty talked about artists putting their name on Baltimore but not putting Baltimore on their name. This is something I have also thought about.
What got you interested in Baltimore club?
Well, two things, really. The first was a 2007 M.I.A. show in downtown Miami where she brought out Rye Rye. The second was that cliché that a lot of Baltimore outsiders are guilty of mentioning:
. With Rye Rye, there was really no context. M.I.A. just brought out this limber teenager who danced and rapped faster and better than everyone on stage and I was kind of in the dark with aftershock until a few weeks later when the "
" video dropped.
CP: And then, there's
. . .
, of course. Around the same time as that M.I.A. show, I was taking a break from college, dividing days between working back stock at American Apparel and reading music blogs. One of them was [former
contributor] Tom Breihan's
. He excitedly mentioned
and Baltimore club a whole bunch and Breihan has a way of transferring his enthusiasm onto others.
Given Baltimore club's niche appeal, were you worried about people not showing up?
Well, with any show, the first hours are denial, denial, denial. "People will show up, this won't be a bust, yadda, yadda." We've had to push the shows back an hour because it was basically me, the bartenders, the bouncer, the club owner, and the artists until co-managers showed up at 10:30 and then it's an on-rush of, "If you book them, they will come." So thanks, naked indian! Also, everyone that has showed up.
Overall, how did the shows go?
With the first one, a Say Wut and [Dipset producer and MPC performer] Araab Muzik show, it was a fingers-crossed kind of pairing in that both kind of work in hip-hop, and both deconstruct the traditional pop/rap song structure before folding it back, with a propulsive sense of repetition and release. Because that worked, I wanted to try out a straight Baltimore club show. Fortunately, DJ Pierre, Murder Mark, and James Nasty were interested in making the six-hour drive.
I was there for the Say Wut show and was pretty impressed. It seems like the "straight Baltimore club show" went over even better?
Totally. A lot of the kids at Guilford might be into jam bands, bluegrass, or indie rock, but they're also really into Top 40. What's great about club music is that it takes Top 40 tracks and redefines them with a regional bent, but at its base, there's something universally recognizable about it. I call it the "Girl Talk effect." Both club shows were amazing. Thanks to Max Cawley, General Manager at
for allowing me to book the shows, and Hugo Pascale at
for agreeing to host them.