Soon after DJ Leon arrived in Houston from Taipei, Taiwan, in early 2004, he got his first job stateside at Club Vision. It quickly turned into a weekly gig, but then the place closed and Leon had to find a new residence. Fittingly, the 30-year-old dance DJ's career was resurrected -- thanks to a spot called Resurrection, where he now puts on Sounderground Saturday nights (which run well into Sunday mornings). "Resurrection called me up after I released my second CD, Reality," says Leon. "My idea was to bring out up-and-coming new talent." And somewhat surprisingly for the dance scene, the decks aren't entirely dominated by dudes: Sounderground features Lady-Elektra and DJ MJ, two female hard-trance DJs who attract both the guys and girls.
At its heart, Sounderground is still an after-hours dance party. But it's not always easy to get the detoxing, energy-drink-imbibing, out-till-the-wee-hours dance crowd to freakin' dance. Leon does it by mixing everything from funky house to IDM and using computer-generated projections and lasers. If all else fails, he chooses what to play by what people are wearing on their feet. "If they're wearing tennis shoes I'll play house and hip-hop," Leon says. "If there are a bunch of high heels, I try to do breakbeat." Choose your footwear wisely and prepare to bump it starting at 10 p.m. Saturdays. 711 West Gray. For information, visit www.moonflydj.com. $10. –- Travis Ritter
Saffron's Moroccan Mint Mojito
There was no denying the rodeo was rolling into town. Everywhere I went, I encountered another bunch of drunk good ol' boys slapping each other on the backs of their denim shirts, slobbering down whiskey and calling each other sons of bitches. I finally escaped the madness at Saffron (2006 Lexington, 713-522-3562). Inside the 400-pound wooden front door, the place was tranquil, with couples and small parties sprinkled about the dining room. Being dateless, I took a seat at the bar where Dan talked me into one of his specialties -- a Moroccan mint mojito. He seemed like a big fan of Hangar One vodka. "We're one of the few places in Houston that offers the whole line," he proudly told me after placing my drink in front of me. We made small talk and I sampled a few menu items before settling into a slight trance listening to the house music. Seeing everyone sprawled out around tables without their shoes made me think of my dirty socks. I settled up and had every intention of going home to do the wash. Needless to say, I'm still recycling my laundry.
1 ounce Hangar One Kaffir Lime vodka
1 ounce Hangar One Mandarin Blossom vodka
Splash fresh lime juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
3 sprigs fresh mint
To make simple syrup, reduce equal parts of water and sugar over a low flame by half. Let cool. Fill a shaker with ice and measure out vodka and lime juice. In an old-fashioned glass, muddle simple syrup and two of the sprigs of mint lightly. Pour in the contents of cocktail shaker and garnish with remaining sprig. Stir lightly and enjoy. -– J.W. Crooker
Ballers and Shot callers
It's not like the Rockets, Spurs and Mavericks need any help right now, but Texas All Stars, a group that promotes pro basketball, is hitting H-town to get us excited about our teams. And to get us drunk. This weekend, they're hosting a dance party with DJ Steve Nice at Boaka Bar and a more low-key affair at Red Cat Jazz Café, with Dean James & Friends entertaining. Rumor has it that some NBA athletes may attend, so be sure to look around (and up) at 9 p.m. Friday, March 4, at Boaka Bar, 1008 Prairie, 713-225-6372, and at 9 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at Red Cat Jazz Café, 924 Congress, 713-922-0104. For information, visit www.texasallstar.com. $10 to $20. -– Julia Ramey
Party by Numbers
You know the scenario. You're drunk, baked or both with your friends when someone looks over at the clock and notices the time: 12:34 a.m. "Dude, what does it mean?" someone asks. "Exactly," someone else responds. We're not sure if this is what transpired when the folks at Super Happy Fun Land devised their 3,4,5 Festival -- which evidently celebrates the date March 4, 2005 -- but we wouldn't be surprised. Toast the day with a lineup of local indie bands that includes The Dimes, Buxton, Apology, Electric Space Party, Stolen Library and The Guns of Will Sonnet. 8 p.m. Friday, March 4. 2610 Ashland. For information, call 713-880-2100 or visit www.superhappyfunland.com. $5. -– Steven Devadanam