DJ Ayres - no stranger to dance moves himself - fills us in on his favorite event of last weekend's Winter Music Conference in Miami: a private yacht party featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff and Kenny Dope and Louie Vega of Masters at Work all playing together.
When you tour a lot, especially flying, it begins to feel like time travel. Last Tuesday feels like six months ago, and that deadline next Monday is here before you know it. SXSW and Winter Music Conference back to back is extremely demanding; between the gigs (sometimes two or three a day), the interviews, the gifting suites, going to see other DJs and bands, meals with friends you only see once a year, and afterparties, we run nonstop from one obligation to the next without slowing down (or sleeping much) for two weeks straight. It's great fun but taxing. The Scion yacht party last Friday in Miami was a sublime vacation from all that - for four hours, time stood still.
We cabbed it down to the pier with the Scion dudes and skipped the line, so we were able to grab up the best table on the yacht, on the rear deck, in the shade, between the dj booth, the bar and the buffet. DJ Haul set it off with classic LA raps, jamming slow Dogg Pound while the boat filled, and we held on tight to empty chairs until our folks from Paperstreet in Philly and Wax Poetics in NY could join us. The captain made some safety announcements and about 350 party people boarded before the line closed and we left the dock.
Haul got the party going with his Afroheat Sound System blends, and the sun was shining as we ate pineapple slices and drank cocktails, feeling like ballers. I was on that SPF 45, because I'm not trying to burn my pasty skin and miss any of the fun. Waiters brought around chicken satay, bite sized empanadas, and little cheese steaks, which were especially welcome to the portion of our entourage who may or may not have gotten mellow from that sweet leaf.
The yacht cruised out on the Biscayne Bay and Jazzy Jeff got on, scratching his way through almost every great '90s hip-hop record, working his way uptempo to break beats, disco and some groovy stuff like War's "Galaxy." Everyone was smiling, grooving and enjoying the weather and the open bar. The transition to Masters at Work was seamless. Kenny Dope and Lil Louis Vega played a long, flawless house set, mixing in classics like Robert Owens "I'll Be Your Friend," Cajmere "Brighter Days," and River Ocean "Love and Happiness." The entire boat was dancing, the sun was setting and I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else in the world.