Hi-Fi: In Focus

Elevator Operator and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swing at Hi-Fi: In Focus.

Elevator Operator and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swing at Hi-Fi: In Focus. Photo by Christina Caira.

On Friday May 27, HI-FI: IN FOCUS took place at The Commodore. This was an exciting event that featured the boss record playing of Elevator Operator and host Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus. Both DJs played the swingin’ sounds of the sixties as presented on 45 RPM seven-inch records.

Elevator Operator, known to his friends as Matt Marando, is a quiet fellow with a very loud talent. He plays in two of the best rock’n’roll bands in the city: Quitty & the Don’ts and The Above*. Both acts are strongly influenced by the sounds of the sixties. He also hosts a radio show on the WFMU Ichiban web stream. The show is called What’s Happening?!?!?! and it features copious amounts of recordings from the sixties. Guess what? At HI-FI: IN FOCUS he played all sixties records all night long (well, with the exception of a Little Richard record, maybe).

Not only that, but the next day, Mr. Operator was on the real WFMU airwaves, filling in at the last minute for our pal Todd-O-Phonic Todd, who was out sick. He must have brought the same box of records to the radio station that he brought to The Commodore because he played about a dozen or so of the same records on the radio show! Ha! (Dig the set list here.) That’s cool with the Boogaloo Bag writers, since he played such great records on Friday night that it was great to hear them again on Saturday afternoon–but this time without people screamin’ and bottles breaking and folks throwing up, such as what goes on at a hip Williamsburg night club.

Our pal Brandon Pierce Peck goofs as Elevator Operator and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swing at Hi-Fi:In Focus.

Our pal Brandon Pierce Peck goofs as Elevator Operator and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swing at Hi-Fi: In Focus. Photo by Christina Caira.

When Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus walked into the club, rap music was being played very loudly. Rap music ain’t so bad in itself, and the Boogaloo Bag writers understand that some people have to try as hard as possible to do and/or say (rap) outrageous things in order to get attention, but does every song have to have the F-word, the B-word and the N-word, over and over, punctuated by “yo” and “money?” It gets to the point when none of it means anything any more. It seems that a rapper these days may be able to get better acknowledgement by suggesting kids stay in school and get a good education. What can be more outrageous than that?

Once the rap records were nixed, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus unleashed a slew of sixties records–or those that sound like it–as can be witnessed by his complete play list noted below:

None of these records are for sale.

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* The Above have a brand new 10” EP out called There Is a Reason (Hidden Volume HV0022). The Boogaloo Bag writers have recently obtained a copy and it is quite possibly the first non-single recording that they have listened to all the way through, both sides, three times in a row! They liked it that much. Although The Above may evoke your favorite groups of the sixties–The Kinks, The Who, The Zombies–this is a thoroughly modern act that adds its own flavor to their six original songs on this collection: an excellent concoction of jingle-jangle melodies and harmonies that sound familiarly unique and exciting.

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Wham-O! Wham-O! Wham-O! Wham-O!

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Your WHAM-O WATUSI crew: Durian Sound, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and Drew Redmond.

On Saturday May 7, the WHAM-O WATUSI continued it’s run at the Bootleg Bar (this was the tenth WHAM-O!) and also continued an international theme—sort of. Guest DJs were the inimitable Drew Redman, who isn’t really international but can be counted on to play some super boss tracks, and the mysterious Durian Sound. Host DJ Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus was very happy to have been able to gather these two into the Bootleg Bar for the WHAM-O.

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Drew Redmond swings at WHAM-O WATUSI!

Drew Redmond is from Carthage, New York, a town that may as well be on the other side of the planet. Probably the only reason to go there would be to gas your car if you were to drive to Ottawa. However, Mr. Redmond grew up to be a righteous dude with some very boss records; thus he has become one of the most popular DJs on the reet music scene. He dropped by the WHAM early and swung with a set of his groovy tunes, then went off to judge the dance competition at the nearby New York Night Train Soul Clap event. He then popped back into the Bootleg Bar in time to play another set around the end of the evening. It’s always a gas to dig Mr. Redmond when he works the turntables. He has a knack for rockin’ R&B and primitive rock’n’roll records that must be heard to be believed.

The international portion of the WHAM-O program was ably taken care of by DJ Durian Sound. As record dealer Menda, he has sold a number of weird records to The Boog over the years. The recent WFMU Record Fair was no exception. Durian Sound is a world traveler who spends quite a deal of time in East Asia. Indeed, he played a number of rockin’ records from the region, and around the world, mixed in with some cool R&B and even gospel records. With Durian Sound in the DJ booth, it was as if the Bootleg Bar had turned into an exciting, international discothèque! A gallery of some of the records he played can be seen here:

45_Apples 45_Buzzard 45_Chinese 45_Guven 45_Irama 45_Panix 45_Peerless 45_Psalms 45_Rhythm 45_USSR_Beatles 45_WardSingers

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus also played a few international releases. There were some gals from Spain in attendance, so a slew of Spanish language records were played in a row. Also played were records from Turkey, the Netherlands, France and Germany. Calypso, reggae and Afro Beat sounds were all represented. Here’s a list of all the records played by The Boog:

 

None of these records are for sale.

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Rip! Rig! Panic! Rain!

The elegantly appointed Robert Bar features a trio of lava lamps next to the turntables in order to remind the DJs to play groovy music.

The elegantly appointed Robert Bar features a trio of lava lamps next to the turntables in order to remind the DJs to play groovy music.

A few months ago, when Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus received a call from Nogood Nick asking him to DJ at the Robert Bar on April 29—another Rip Rig PanicThe Boog jumped at the opportunity. After all, The Boog had nothing going on DJ-wise that weekend; The Boog digs swingin’ with Nogood Nick at the Rip Rig Panic; and The Boog digs the elegant Robert Bar (where the DJ booth has a rubber mat to keep the DJ’s feet from getting sore!); plus, with spring having been sprung, the chances are good that the weather will be nice enough for The Boog to ride his bicycle to the club—it’s that close to Boogaloo Omnibus Productions Worldwide Headquarters.

Ah! But if only life were that easy and uncomplicated! As it turned out, that Friday April 29 was the first day of the three-day WFMU Record Fair. That in itself wouldn’t be a big enough reason to upset plans, however, The Boog had bought a table to sell records on the Saturday and must be at the site around the ungodly hour of 7:00 AM in order to set up. Once Mr. Nick was informed, he suggested The Boog play an early set, and he’ll get another DJ to work late.

That day, The Boog spent a good portion of the afternoon and early evening at the Record Fair, buying a few records. When it was time to go to the Robert Bar, it was raining. No way does The Boog bike in the rain—the brakes won’t work, and the water on his glasses will prevent him from seeing very well. So it was the F Train that took The Boog and his box of records to the gig. Unfortunately, once out on the street, The Boog walked four blocks before he realized he was heading in the wrong direction. In the rain.

When a wet and irritated Boog finally arrived at the Robert Bar, Nogood Nick had the place swingin’ with his groovy sounds. The club was full of people. Our pal Lady Dawn was in attendance and holding court in the corner with about a half-dozen of her friends. What could have been a disaster ended up being a fun night. Mr. Nick played a few more jams, as The Boog prepared his records and ordered a drink. Robert Bar has a selection of fine, artisanal beverages, one of which is called The Fez. This sweet yet sour concoction, which The Boog imbibes in its non-alcoholic configuration, is most excellent and highly recommended. The Robert Bar is the perfect place for Rip Rig Panic. It’s retro-modernist atmosphere blends perfectly with the equally tasteful records that Nogood Nick tends to play.

The Boog provided an audio aura for about an hour and a half featuring recordings that may be described as jazzoid, funkified and/or soulish. Roped in to assist with DJ operations once The Boog had left the building was a British fellow named Patrick Syms. Unfortunately, the Boogaloo Bag writers were unable to stick around for his set(s), but Nogood Nick assures us that he played some excellent rare groove jams and that the evening continued in a most pleasing manner.

Hopefully, the next time time Noogood Nick invites The Boog to swing at a Rip Rig Panic that things will go much smoother for him. Meanwhile, here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus:

 

None of these records are for sale.

P.S.: The next day, The Boog woke up at 0-dark-hundred in order to sell his records. He also bought a few. Many of his finds will be played at future Wang Dang Doodle events; of this, you can be assured.