Night after night after night in New York, there’s always a party. While some of them tend to blur together into one big party haze (thank you smoke machines), there are certain nights that you’ll never forget.
After moving to NYC in the late ’90s, Ron Like Hell has been a staple in the scene. Whether you’ve seen him behind the decks at Wrecked with his partner in crime Ryan Smith, talking about some of the best music of all time at Classic Album Sundays or recommending records at Academy Records, all of his experiences have shaped him into the DJ he is today. We asked Ron to share five of his favorite musical experiences the city has given him over the years to learn just what gets his feet moving ahead of his set at Good Room on April 23 (grab your tickets here).
Body & Soul – March, 1998
After my first visit to the then already infamous 6 Hubert Street Nightclub (previously known as Shelter) in Tribeca, my return to dance to Body & Soul was by far one of the best days of my life. Yes, days, as B&S was a a party from 3-midnight. That afternoon my move to NYC had been reaffirmed as the best possible decision to do. My mind was anxious to seek new adventures and go further into the music industry. I desired something more than just a drink and boogie, I wanted to feel something new. On that day I witnessed Francois K’s knowledge go deep and beyond what I had imagined. From minimal German Techno to commercial R’N’B, Stevie Wonder to Karen Finley and back to the Rolling Stones then into Acid House, I was floored to see people joined together in celebrating music of all sorts in a year filled with fast BPMs and ‘big tracks’ trying to be the next Daft Punk. There was no other club event capable of achieving this at the time therefore the early days of Body & Soul will forever remain a golden era in dance music for me.
Shopping at Academy Records
I’ve worked in record ships since 1996 but pretty much frequented more than one on average every other day since I was 12. Academy had a small shop on east 10th street back in the 90s which stocked all kinds of genres. For me, this was heaven as I had a chance to finally see promo versions of club singles, jazz promo LPs and psych-rock rarities for sale. To find such stock in most shops is quite common today but before the internet took over, whatever you stumbled upon back then was as far as it got. Why is this listed as one of my 5 favorite music experiences in NYC? Well, I am now a buyer at Academy’s Brooklyn shop 🙂
Dancing with only a crowd of 5 the entire night to Rub N Tug in the side room of Volume nightclub in Greenpoint, 2003
My friends Eric (Duncan) and Thomas (Bullock) took over a room at an old converted warehouse space which had a small table of two mixers and maybe three spirits and only Red Stripe as a beer option. Volume’s side room had a killer sub so the sound was pretty decent if the DJ’s in the booth knew how to use it. Rub N Tug had just come from seeing a disco documentary and were anxious to serve lots of disco and garage house along with the new stuff they were excited about. That night they played for their life it seemed! Just me and 4 other people danced for hours until sunrise. I’ve always said that the best sets are not the ones where you play to hundreds but the gigs where you kept everyone in the room dancing nonstop all night long.
Grace Jones & Dee-Lite at The Palladium – New Years Eve, 1991
My second visit to NYC was for this very special occasion. When my friends in NYC phoned in to Albuquerque to tell me that my favorite nightclub queen would be on the same bill as Dee-lite at the world famous Palladium nightclub, my heart truly skipped a beat. Immediately I purchased round trip tickets to NYC to finally experience and witness Grace Jones onstage for my first time. That night was beyond memorable with Dee-lite in top form singing and preaching a positive message in the music. ‘World Clique’ had just been released the Summer before and Grace was closing out a decade where she dominated nightclubs as the perfect live act. Grace was topless except for a motorcycle jacket, black patent leather g-string and stiletto pumps. She made everyone wait until 3 or 4 in the morning for her incredible 90 minute performance. Have yet to see anything in comparison and probably never will.
Wrecked Turns 1 – March 10, 2012
My Wrecked partner and I celebrated our first year as Wrecked that night and after many phone conversations of what we should play for our 1 year anniversary, we brought all of our favorite dance tunes…disco, acid house, techno, new wave, rock… I wanted this night to be the result of all that we had set out to do – play what we feel and mix up anything we want. From all that I shared in this article, this was the NYC event where all my influences collided into one. I wanted our crowd to hear me, see my soul and explore my collection with an open heart and mind. The night was beautiful. We played a little after 6am being politely forced out, singing and hugging friends on the sidewalk as the sun rose over the Brooklyn skyline. Still so overwhelmed from that night and the fact that many that were there are still Wrecked regulars dancing their troubles and celebrating their own NYC experience with us at every party.
Ron Like Hell is playing at Good Room this Saturday night with Steffi (live) and Fort Romeau plus Eric Duncan in the Bad Room. Tickets are available here.