It’s Saturday night around 8:30 P.M. and I’m on the Desert Hearts Brooklyn event page trying to lock in the address for their party at 99 Scott in Brooklyn. The address ends up being 99 Scott Street (LOL), but that’s no longer relevant as I read the words “THE LOCATION HAS BEEN CHANGED THE NEW LOCATION IS WAREHOUSE 11, … LONG ISLAND CITY.”
I’m intrigued. My night has just taken a turn for the best with this last-minute location change and now I KNOW it’s gonna be a night to remember. Call me nostalgic but Desert Hearts pulling the old switcheroo instantly takes me to a time long ago that somehow still feels like yesterday! Allow me to break it down.
Back in the olden days of rave, we didn’t have things like permits and licenses. Promoters would literally secure a warehouse for the night and set up basic sound and lighting that probably wouldn’t even rival a good sound camp these days. There was no minimum age because there weren’t any bars besides “smart bars” that served $1.00 juices and water and nitrous “bars” that served $2.00 balloons filled with nitrous oxide. They were totally illegal, filled with minors, and highly at risk for being busted. Also, THEY WERE GREAT!
The police were SERIOUS about it though. In the early nineties “rave buster” stories were everywhere. Society was certain that “techno music” and “drug-fueled rave parties” would be the demise of a young Gen. X. I actually got arrested in the height of the anti-rave frenzy at a Halloween party in Milwaukee, Wis. when I was 15 and spent the whole night and next day in jail for violating curfew!
Because of the risk of being busted, flyers and tickets had no addresses on them. You would buy your ticket and there would just be a phone number on it. The day of the party, you could call the number and a recording would tell you the address to the map point. A couple of hours before the party began, the map point would open and you would go there and get your actual ticket to the event with the address.
Sometimes it was so risky, they would add a second map point just to evade police. It was the only way to keep it safe and secret and it TOTALLY added an edge to the experience! If you’re lucky enough to have witnessed first-hand the evolution of rave over the years, it’s hard to not get nostalgic and excited when little blips from past pop up on the old rave radar in 2019.
But back to last Saturday night in Queens, when I rolled up to the new location not knowing what to expect and after parking in the projects, my boy called me and told me that the building looked like a plain apartment building. The thumping bass line as I rounded the corner told me exactly which “apartment building” I was looking for and within a few minutes I was in. I got there a bit early as the boys promised a FREE open bar from 10 to 11 P.M. as a way to make up for any switcheroo stress. Well played boys!
When I got there, Lee Reynolds and Porky were going B2B and the energy was just starting to pick up. The clock said 11:30 but it was 4:20 in there all night, which was amazing! Shout out to the girl who brought the disco ball totem, slash impromptu dance floor limbo stick! It’s unicorns like you, my darling, who keep the roots of rave alive!
It felt like a high school dance if I’m being totally honest, and not in a bad way. If anything, that made it more nostalgic. The way the building was set up is what gave me the high school vibe, with coat check being on the first floor and the party being on the second floor. The space really felt like a high school gym, complete with a wood floor and a balcony that went around the whole room.
Side note – In Chicago in the nineties, Catholic schools figured out they could make money on hosting open dances for kids from any school, charging $5.00 to get in and they were some of the ILLEST parties I went to in high school. Imagine me bumping to dope house music and hosting many a dance battle! (BIG SHOUT to Top Rock Crew and EOD!)
At midnight, my spirit animal, Mikey Lion stormed the decks with rave veteran Doc Martin and they took us on a chugging, chunky, bass-heavy journey through sound that kept our bodies hot and gyrating for the better part of two hours. After that, Marbs took over with his deep, guttural beats followed by another B2B with Lee and Porky!
They had vendors in the back of the room selling festival fashions and the like, and then at the opposite end was their stage and VIP area. Although that didn’t much matter as one of my other homeboys was in there like he belonged all night with a GA wristband and all the DJs were on the dance floor with us! THIS is what sets Desert Hearts apart from everybody else.
These guys REALLY LOVE what they do and they REALLY do it for the love. I danced with Mikey and Lee for a good while, had the longest convos, and got the BEST pictures with them! Although if you guys recall from my Elrow recap, Mikey and I ALWAYS take the best pics! At this point, I’m convinced we will forever take the best photos because we have the best vibe! If you haven’t had the chance to catch up with the boys at a Desert Hearts party, you’re really missing out on a one of a kind party that is purely all about House, Techno, and Love. I suggest you get your little rave booties in gear and get them out on a dancefloor with these guys as soon as you can!
Until next time, Stay Fresh!