Motown on Mondays Phoenix Launches Tonight at Crescent Ballroom

If the sum total of your knowledge of soul, funk, and especially Motown music is limited to either Urban Outfitters' pithy vinyl selection or what you heard on the Get On Up soundtrack, you're in desperate need of enlightenment. And some of the Valley's best turntablists would love to help clue you in during the Phoenix edition of Motown on Mondays, which launches tonight at the Crescent Ballroom.

Described as a "convergence of soul music and dancing," it promises a different sort of vibe than most other DJ nights in the Valley scene, and not just because its taking place during one the slowest nights of the week.

Here's the setup: A variety of some of the better scratchers, mixmasters, and wax workers from around Phoenix -- including Tricky T, Pickster One, DJ M2, DJ Organic, and D-JR --- will drop dance music-oriented remixes of Motown classics on the ones and twos, as well as "close relatives" that boast the same groove and many soul, funk and disco joints to boot. And they'll also be spinning up similar remixes that have been laid down by other Motown on Mondays events across the nation.

And believe us, there are more than a few M.O.M. nights happening around the country. What began as a small night started by San Francisco platter jock Donovan Gordo Cabeza in 2009 has since expanded to a slew of events in more than a dozen different cities, including L.A., Brooklyn, Chicago, Seattle, Denver, and Washington D.C. These "spirited soul parties with a unique vibration" have proven to be such a hit that the Phoenix-based Tricky T and The Blunt Club's Dumperfoo decided that Phoenix needed its own edition of the night.

According to Dumperfoo, who's co-promoting the night with Tricky, the majority of the sounds that are spun at a typical M.O.M. event are of the classic Motown, funk, disco, and soul variety that are remixed and ramped up with a dance music flair.

"It's all about Motown, of course, but they work all kind of styles and sounds into things. You could hear some house versions or some funk and soul remixes," he says. "It's definitely a pretty cool thing."

Turntablists in each city offer up their particular tracks and mixes for a "music bank" that's available to any of the 60-plus DJs and producers involved around the country to use.

"There's like a whole team of DJs that are doing things in all the different cities. There are five volumes of different [Motown on Monday] remixes that showcase all the artists involved, like DJ Platter to Gordo and Cutzo," Dumperfoo says.

There will also be a variety of vinyl being slung in addition to the tracks of the M.O.M. music bank, as well as guest DJs every week. Tonight's launch party, for example, will feature a special set by Cabeza. Each week's edition of M.O.M. Phoenix will be hosted by local artist and party guru Quincy Ross (who was recently featured in the pages of GQ) and will feature Dumperfoo and other local painters performing live art.

Motown on Mondays Phoenix kicks off at 10 p.m. at the Crescent Ballroom. Admission is free.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.