Music News

Failing the Acid Test

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These traveling clubs go over big in Los Angeles, where the local L.A.P.D. is too busy battling crack to bust an illegal nitery. But here, when the Payback began attracting enough clubbers to cause a dip in the business of rival nightspots, someone started snitching to cops that underagers were frequenting the post-punk speakeasy. The ensuing weekly hassles by the police led to the demise of this swinging alternative-dance space.

The Payback was proof that there are Valley club crawlers willing to support progressive music. And lately other dance halls around town seem to be wising up to this fact. While most clubs still show little daring in their pre-1 a.m. playlist, deejays have recently been cutting loose during after-hours. Flores claims the after-1 a.m. crowds, particularly the underagers, seem to be getting hip to the electronic house beat. "Three months ago, I wasn't able to play a couple of Acid House songs without throwing in a New Order song to keep the crowd going," he says. "Now I can get away with playing sets of it during after-hours."

Acid House may be as fleeting a clubland trend as the hustle. It certainly isn't going to have the same impact as hip-hop, no matter what the fad-happy U.K. music rags say. Still, A.H. is the most exciting thing to happen to dance music in years, and it's time local clubs got hip to it--before last call.

Maybe the malaise of the Phoenix club scene can't just be blamed on backward deejays or unreceptive crowds. There are those like Selby who feel the cause of the affliction lies a little deeper. "We keep telling ourselves here in town that we're behind, and we're always going to be behind," she figures. "It's just a mentality that we need to get out from under. There are some of us who don't believe that. There are some of us who believe that if we stop telling ourselves that we're ugly, maybe we won't be anymore.

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John Blanco