Quantic Music Mixed Media Series Museum of Fine Arts, Houston August 22, 2014
About halfway through Quantic's set this past Friday evening amid the art of the MFAH's Cullen Sculpture Garden, DJ Sun shuffled excitiedly towards the area immediately behind the stage, dancing, hands raised up to Heaven and grinning wildly. "That's from my country!" he shouted at British-born DJ and producer Will Holland, better known as Quantic.
It was a special moment between the two vinyl enthusiasts, both of whom prefer to spin 45-rpm records without the crutch of a laptop. The song in question was "Opete Kwasi" by Suriname artist Sopiang Kawina. And not only did Sun dig it, but the crowd accepted it and every other selection that night with the upmost respect and energy as they experienced one of the most noteworthy DJ sets the city has experienced this year.
You may remember Quantic from his hit 2005 collaboration with Nikodemus entitled "Mi Swing Es Tropical.". A festive electro-salsa-cumbia track, it blends the classic tones of traditional Latin musica with a fresh and fun attitude felt throughout Quantic's performance.
The set began with a mix of a classic West Coast joint from Dr. Dre's catalog mashed up with cumbia, causing the dance floor to swell and pulsate to the rhythm. I remember attending raucous Latin Wave parties in the same sculpture garden ten years ago, events where DJ Sun coincidentally provided the outstanding soundtracks. Seeing the multitude of salseros and B-boys move to Quantic's beats and remixes brought back so many wonderful memories, no doubt leaving an imprint in the Mixed Media attendees' hearts that will endure for many years to come.
And he wasn't nearly done. The musical journey made stops all over the world, with "A Mover La Colita" by La Sonora Dinamita, to "La Boa" by Sonora Santanera, and even a cumbia version of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust". There was seemingly no fear in Quantic's selections, as he played what he wanted when and where he wanted, and the crowd soaked it up and demanded more.
It was a salsa medley capped off by Sonora Carruseles that got DJ Gracie Chavez's heart pumping. "This doesn't even feel like Houston right now!" she proclaimed as we both shook our bombóns next to the DJ booth. Indeed, I remember this feeling of wonder and magical Latino vibes from visiting cities such as Miami and New York CIty, where this type of amazingness was delivered on a regular basis. But in Houston, receiving this quality of sounds is beyond special, it is rejuvenating.
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Before the night was over, I heard a bit of Zydeco, a track which featured an Andean flute, a disco combination, tribal drum patterns, quebradita, and even an Eastern European dance that had some members in the audience doing their best Tchaikovsky "Russian Dance" impersonation.
As the night came to a close, there was a smile on every attendee's face. When was the last time you surveyed an entire crowd and witnessed 100% satisfaction? It doesn't happen often, I can assure you that much...that is, unless Quantic is in the mix.
Personal Bias: Believe the hype. Quantic does not disappoint!
The Crowd: Sweaty fashionistas and dashing dancing dudes.
Overheard In the Crowd: "I feel like I'm in New York right now!" -- DJ Gracie Chavez
Random Notebook Dump: Is the practice of spending the majority of the night waiting in line for watered-down drinks at the bar instead of on the dance floor strictly a Houston thing? Or is that standard elsewhere?
When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Marco points his camera lens towards the vibrant Houston music scene. Follow his adventures on Instagram at @MarcoFromHouston.
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