From underwear dance parties to The Toxic Avenger, it's been an interesting two years for Robotic Wednesdays at Electro Lounge.
Robotic Wednesdays with Dance Robots, Dance! Perform at 10 p.m. April 22 at Kamp's Market & Deli, 1310 N.W. 25th.
The themed parties and colorfully named DJ crews kept hipsters flocking to the dance floor on hump day, but sadly, the two great institutions of the Oklahoma City music scene are parting ways. Local DJ collective Dance Robots, Dance! is moving Robotic Wednesdays from Electro Lounge to the more spacious Kamp's Market & Deli.
Electro Lounge owner Bryan Neel insisted there is nothing behind the move beyond a need to accommodate surging crowds. There is no acrimony between them, and he said the move won't spell doom for the Electro Lounge, 5929 N. May.
"To clear up any rumors, we are not shutting down or stopping," Neel said. "It was a great two-year run for Robotic Wednesdays " very successful for both of us " and every week, we saw new people. But, Electro Lounge has been here eight years and we will continue to be here."
Neel admitted that Robotic Wednesdays eventually became too big for his small bar to handle, so when James Vu from Kamp's Deli offered to bring the event to the Asian District, the split was amicable.
DRD! began as a three-DJ crew which first introduced Robotic Wednesdays to Sidecar bar audiences in 2006 and quickly found success by tapping into three separate scenes. John Bourke brought in the younger club kids, Ed Crunk drew the older rave crowd and Joshua Distance lured in the indie-rock crowds whose tastes were diverting to dance rock and electro.
Vu is a concert and party promoter in OKC, and Bourke said Vu's involvement will bring in crowds the DJs might otherwise lose to Bricktown clubs. Kamp's 380-person capacity will allow the event to grow, and the venue change also opens the dance floor to under-21 crowds.
"Having access to the 18- to 21-year-olds is awesome; that doubles your crowd," Bourke said. "The younger kids come in at 10 p.m., not midnight when there are already people here. When they get here, they walk straight to the dance floor and dance all night."
Bourke said the move further solidifies Robotic Wednesdays, not just for DRD!, but for the metro music community. Bourke doesn't want the event to hinge only on the participation of a select few DJs, so he and other organizers are looking to add talent to help make the event sustainable for the long term.
"There was a really good rave scene here in 1999-2000. Jeremy Dawson (from the Shiny Toy Guns) was a part of that, as was Ed Crunk," Bourke said. "Ed moved away, Jeremy moved away and the dance community fell off. "If I do end up moving away from Oklahoma City, I want to make sure that the scene doesn't fall off again. I want to make sure there is a stable thing going on continuously and that it is self-supporting. Ed could be gone, I could be gone, but the strong foundation of people supporting the scene will still be here."
Music videos might seem a tad archaic since reality television's takeover of MTV, MTV2 and VH1. Basic-cable "music channels" might not have a use for videos, but St. Louis-based DJ crew London Calling does. The crew will fill Kamp's with projectors for next Wednesday's Robotic dance party, creating a multimedia rave experience for those who can appreciate the unique artistry of the music video while dancing deep into the night.
"London Calling is a place where you can hear great music but also see great new music videos that aren't getting played on network TV," said founding DJ Doug Curtis.
Curtis, who is known as DJ Clockwork, said that record labels have noticed, sending him the latest music videos at the same time they're sent to MTV.
"It's almost like running a DJ crew and your own network TV station inside a club," he said. "It really allows us to do some cool things and it's a great vehicle for promotion for the bands as well."
Brit-pop, electro, indie and new wave make up most of London Calling's remix repertoire, Curtis said. Some crowds want only the newest music and videos, while others crave old favorites mixed in, so Curtis said responding to the crowd is just as important as it is for normal DJs. He said the biggest challenge of working with videos is having people so tied up in the visuals that they forget to dance.
"There are so many great new videos to absorb; sometimes they don't wanna dance," he said. "Once the night goes on and the alcohol is flowing, usually the music takes over. By 11:30 p.m., though, the dance floor is packed and no one is stopping to watch the videos.""Charles Martin