The police were following them on Facebook. Or so says Eddie Proulx (aka DJ Eddie P), who had a thousand kids waiting in a Coeur d’Alene parking lot last summer for a free electronic show. But the police were also there, ready to shut them down before they could get started.
Eddie P, a Coeur d’Alene DJ, wanted to throw a free party. Granted, it was huge and he probably didn’t have the necessary permits — but because it was electronic dance music (EDM), or EDM, Eddie P says the local authorities called it a rave.
Raves mean glow sticks, lasers and kids rolling on Ecstasy. And guys like Eddie P think these parties have given electronic music a bad rap, especially in conservative areas like the Inland Northwest.
But even the DJs seem divided over whether the rave stereotype is true to life. Eddie P acknowledges the presence of drugs at raves but says that usage is minimal and doesn’t define the experience.
“How many kids are going out at college parties and drinking alcohol until they die or going out and crashing their cars?” he says. “These ‘raves’ are just parties where we happen to play electronic music.”
These “parties” are growing in Spokane and electronic music is experiencing a renaissance. But local DJs say if the scene is going to beat their rave reputation, they’ve got to get out of the party scene and into legitimate music venues.
But convincing venues to host electronic parties is a struggle.
“My personal fear is that these parties will be a rave,” says Shannon E., promoter and public relations manager at the Spotlight Lounge. “When you bring in stuff like that with a bunch of underage kids, it can bring in trouble. That’s why we haven’t done any here.”
The EDM scene was once alive and well in the Inland Northwest.
“There used to be a big underground scene in the early 2000s,” says Jeremiah Williams-Carr (aka DJ Vick Vegas). “Under World Productions were the top promoters bringing in big DJs and throwing epic, old-school rave-style parties.”
Today, Spokane has seen a surge in monstrous house parties (think warehouses and personal residences) that play electro-house music, trance, dirty Dutch and dubstep — music you won’t hear anywhere else.
“It’s like we were in an electronic music recession,” says DJ Eddie P. “But now we’re on the brink of a new era for electronic music in this area.”
Vick Vegas and Eddie P want to make sure this renaissance is headed in “the right direction” — which means booking parties at legal music venues with full security precautions and insurance.
Thanks to a handful of DJs and promoters, venues here are warming up to the idea of strictly electronic sets. Heady Works Productions has hosted several “womp sessions,” at Stage54 and the Sons of Norway lodge, which featured dubstep and electronic DJs. Last January, a party that DJ Eddie P played drew more than 600 people into Ventaja Studio.
“I don’t think we should be worried about these parties being a rave,” says Patrick Kendrick, a promoter with Platform Booking. “It’s keeping kids in one spot, and they don’t necessarily involve violence or crime.”
Kendrick says one venue owner (whom he declined to name) was pleasantly surprised with a recent electronic party thrown at his venue. The owner told Kendrick that the 800 or more kids in the audience minded their manners. Afterwards, he only found three discarded bottles of Coors Light.
Eddie P and Vick Vegas, hope their upcoming show featuring veteran house DJ Donald Glaude at the Luxury Box will be a catalyst for the movement. Glaude is a Tacoma native whose electro-funkadelic sets have been compared to the music of George Clinton and James Brown, but with turntables.
“Having Donald Glaude come to Spokane is like having a big rock band come,” says DJ Vick Vegas. “The first time I saw him, I just lost it. I was out of breath. He was killing the crowd with noise.”
Vegas says he booked Glaude as the ultimate test to see what Spokane’s scene can support outside of house parties.
“If we can support quality performances like Glaude, it’s going to make the scene grow collectively and introduce more people to the music,” he says.
Most importantly, Eddie P adds: “We just want to put these shows together so that we can make a thousand people sweat and dance and have as much fun as possible.”
Donald Glaude with McSquared, Eddie P, Beauflexx and Dawnchaser • Sat, Feb. 19, at 9 pm • $15, pre-sale at 4000 Holes, 1610 N. Monroe St.; $20, at the door; $30, VIP Lounge • Luxury Box • 10512 E. Sprague, Spokane Valley • All-ages • 325-1914