My buddy B-Boy is modeling for me in my living room. He's draped his 6-foot-4, 350-pound frame in some black dress pants and a collared, button-down shirt. He's shaved his head so it's all smooth and shiny, and trimmed his burly mountain-man beard back down to a stylish goatee. He looks like an ultra-spiffy, upper-class thug tonight, something like a white Marion "Suge" Knight (B-Boy balked at the comparison, but he knows in his heart that he'd love to dangle Vanilla Ice out of a window by his ankles, just like Suge).
It's a Thursday night, and B-Boy and I are hitting up the club Dirty Pretty in old town Scottsdale, which means I have to wear a shiny shirt with a collar, too. B-Boy and I don't frequent Scottsdale dance clubs (we're usually at downtown venues like Trunk Space or East Valley hangouts like Hollywood Alley), but we heard that Dirty Pretty's Thursday weekly Foxy Bitch Thursdays is bumpin' like a hydraulic-car convention. I want to see what sort of sounds the DJ's spinning.
Once we're inside Dirty Pretty, I start digging on the décor, which has a sort of "haunted bordello" vibe to it. The walls are red brick, covered with large murals of classicist paintings of female nudes, with candelabras mounted to the walls and faux crystal chandeliers hanging above our heads. The crowd is shoulder-to-shoulder, a sea of muscled men in tight shirts and busty babes in short skirts. The women are superfine, grooving to a mean mash-up of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" and Free's "All Right Now" splayed over a steady, digital 4/4 beat.
The man behind the music tonight is Foxy Bitch resident DJ-R. I'd never been to a club where DJ-R was working before, but I'm impressed by the diverse mix he's dropping tonight. He's got a hard line beat behind everything, but he's also ripping rhythms from one song (like Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love") and putting them behind the hooks of another (like Shep Pettibone's remix of Cathy Dennis' "You Lied to Me"). He throws a bit of everything into the sonic brew, from Run-D.M.C.'s "Walk This Way" to Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Down on the Corner" to Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About."
Usually, I'm not impressed by club DJs in our city. Most of them are not turntablists, meaning they don't do any on-the-spot mixing or scratching on the wheels. They simply plug in their iPods and scroll through their preset play lists. I agree with Henry Rollins, who once said that DJs are not real musicians or artists because all they do is play somebody else's songs. So I was doubly impressed when I got a gander at DJ-R's gear at Dirty Pretty. Of course, he had iTunes open on a laptop, but he also had two turntables that he was actually using for live mixes (unlike some DJs, who have the turntables there just for decoration).
And there's never a lull on the dance floor. DJ-R's got everybody in the groove. The dudes are singing along to the songs and flexing their pecs, and the women are gyrating and grinding up on each other. I can't keep from nodding my head to the beat. Even B-Boy's getting into it.
"I'll dance all the way to the bar, just for you," he tells me, taking off through the fray. B-Boy bounces and waves his hands in the air as he plows through the crowd. He's taller and broader than anybody else here, and his method for working through the mob is to just barrel forward.
I, on the other hand, am probably the shortest and thinnest person in the bar, at 5-foot-2 (if it's first thing in the morning, and I'm standing up straight) and 100 pounds (if I'm fully clothed, and soaking wet). My method for getting through the crowd is to turn myself sideways and slip through impossible cracks. Half of the time, I make it through without grazing a single person.
There's a long wait for us to close out our tab at the bar because Dirty Pretty's so busy, and the bartenders are distracted by a smoking hot brunette who's leaning over the bar, sucking on a lollipop. Over the din, I shout to B-Boy that this Foxy Bitch Thursday is pretty cool. It's not a place I'd frequent, because I prefer mosh pits to dance floors, but if I'm stricken with the urge to just get my drink and groove on in a club that's packed to capacity (and I do get those urges on occasion), Dirty Pretty's it. Now, I just need to get a lollipop.