Junior fills the dance floor
September 1, 2014 1:03 PM   Subscribe

Junior Vasquez is one of the top jungle/house/tribal DJs on the planet, and he's been working his craft for decades. While a round-up of his amazing remixes is probably due at some point, here we will look at his DJ sets, both live and direct to record. We will start with his tribute to the long defunct and much beloved Sound Factory [58m].

January 22, 1994, Sound Factory, UK Radio "Essential Mix" [~2h]

A DJ set from Arena at the Palladium: Part 1 [55m], Part 2 [52m]

Junior Vasquez Live Vol 1 (double CD release, 1997) [2h18m]

Junior does a live set at Pavilion in 2009. Not for the faint-hearted. Notorious Part 1 [2h25m], Notorious Part 2 [2h11m]

What exactly was the NYC club scene like during Junior's heyday? Palladium Closing Party, Aug 31, 1997 [~1h35m]. Audio is less than stellar, but Junior is spinning, and so is the crowd.

Need more Junior after this taste? Mixcloud has you covered.
posted by hippybear (9 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Oh god I thought this might be an obit post and I'm still having palpitations.
posted by elizardbits at 1:04 PM on September 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you consider that just about every club he's been recorded at is now closed, it might as well be an obit post.

But the man himself has survived heroin and meth addiction and has outlasted most of the venues he's spun at. I suspect he's immortal.
posted by hippybear at 1:19 PM on September 1, 2014

The only thing I miss about my ex the DJ is access to his record collection. So. Much. Junior.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:49 PM on September 1, 2014

I lived for the Sound Factory. It was like church. I had spiritual experiences there solely from the music, the dancing and the sense of community. His mixes could inspire epiphanies on a group level.

I feel lucky to have been there.
posted by ltracey at 6:12 PM on September 1, 2014

I'm stoked that a man his age is still going strong considering dance music's youth obsession.
posted by Monochrome at 10:30 PM on September 1, 2014

I miss everything. I miss the Sound Factory, I miss the Sound Factory Bar, I miss the Limelight, I miss the Red Zone and the Tunnel and the Roxy and the Palladium. I even miss USA. I miss the Loft and the outlaw parties. I miss 10,000 dodgy afterhours. I miss lifting a friend's bike to run over the bridge to billsburg to pee because it was faster than waiting for the junkies to get out of the bathroom at Gas Station. I miss spending $10 on 5c otter pops for everyone at Robots from the bodega across the street at 5am on an August sunday when it's been 100 degrees out since yesterday afternoon. I miss Tuesday nights at Nation and Thursdays at Vinyl. I miss the free bagels at NASA. I miss falling asleep outside of Liquid Sky and waiting for anyone to show up so I could get their copy of my house keys and go home and take a goddamn shower for the first time in 3 days.

We're all grown up now, apparently, with marriages and kids and divorces. Too many people are dead, whether by their own choice or by misadventure, and I miss them every day. There are a lot of people whose recovery process means that they can't come around anymore, and I miss them too. Some, but not many, people have changed in ways that I can't honestly say are for the best, and I miss them most of all, the people they used to be, back when everything wasn't really all that beautiful but we tried our best to make it be so.

ugh nostagia why
posted by elizardbits at 10:53 PM on September 1, 2014 [12 favorites]

Fantastic post. Again!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:26 AM on September 2, 2014

Gawd how I hate Junior Vasquez.

I think that if I had been in NYC in those days and gone to the Sound Factory I would have the same love as others do. But I was on the other coast, and sometimes overseas, and so I would only read in the forums about these amazing spiritual journeys Junior was taking people on. And I was so envious. I had my own peak experiences, but they sounded nothing like what was happening in NYC.

Finally I got the chance, but much later. I didn't get the spiritual Junior. I got cracked-out angry Junior. I've rarely felt such contempt for the dancefloor coming from the DJ booth. He's waiting for his kids, I was told. It takes him time to find the zone. Then you'll see.

They never came. He never entered the zone.

I tried three times. He was awful ... and I mean awful ... each time. And each time those in the cult of Junior were there to defend him, even as he made our ears bleed.

He does this to clear out all the people who can't understand him. They said. Once they're gone he'll play. And I heard he did recapture his greatness once. At 5 pm ... seventeen hours after the party started, ten hours after he was scheduled to start, and five hours after we had left in sheer frustration.

I wish I could have been there at his peak. I wish I could have gone on those journeys with everyone. I have so many friends who still talk about the magic of those days.

But please don't tell me he's still going strong.
posted by kanewai at 3:23 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

But please don't tell me he's still going strong.

Here's an hour of his set at The Underground on NYE 2013.

You can judge whether he's still going on strong for yourself.

(Honestly, I think his White Party 7 mix CD is one of the most astounding 1h20m of DJ mix I own. An entire novel is set within those tracks. All pretty great jungle/house with huge diva vocals (Junior is VERY partial to diva vocals), it starts out as bitchy and angry as all hell and by the end is so full of love you want to hug the world. LastFM, iTunes, Amazon [Stay away from the Grooveshark version -- it's in the wrong order, which ruins it.])
posted by hippybear at 7:15 AM on September 4, 2014

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