Article Title:Review: Bearracuda
Author or Credit:Leif Wauters
Published on:15th November 2011 - 10:09 am
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Story ID:11049
Text:Picture - Get It On! I love a dance party when you spend it with good friends and the night is a joyous celebration of those friendships as you dance together as a group." So said long-time Australasian icon of the bear community, Barry "Baz Bear" Taylor, after Bearracuda made its second furious tour through Auckland last Saturday night at K' Road's 420 Club. Once a tiny, underground club in SF's dingy Tenderloin, this party machine has grown by leaps and bounds, swallowing loads of DJs from every corner of the community and stretching it's furry claws into one urban Mecca after another. First it was the US and Canada that fell to it's awesome power, followed by last year's conquest of New Zealand and Australia. Well, we lapped it up so much last time that a return performance was a no-brainer, and who better to be Bearracuda's local partners in crime but Urge Bar. With a joint goal of serving up a down, dirty and delicious time, the combination of vision and experience was a win for everyone! In a land where the rare chance to kick it up amidst voluptuous, sweaty men comes once every few months, my friends and I were gagging (I love that phrase) for some foot-thumpin' madness. Even though I'd tasted the sweet nectar of dance a little over a month before in the Motherland (during SF's Folsom), my husband Morris hadn't enjoyed the innards of a club since last August'sTop or Bottom?took over the same space. Ye olde work hard / play hard adage was readily applied to the evening's antics and everyone who was due got what was coming to them...and then some. The truth is that the Urge boys have the 420 Club dance party formula down to a simple science. Getting tickets was easy, with options to buy online, via retail outlets or through select "hosts" in the Auckland community. Then we could show up at Urge before the party to get our wristbands, eliminating the queue possibility. With us being early birds this wasn't a concern, but it also gave us time for hugs and chats before the rhythm of the night took over (thank you, De Barge). After these bears were banded we headed over the motorway to the second-story home of our upcoming antics. No line, straight up past the ever-attentive and hug-weilding, soon-to-be-Kiwi Alan Granville of Urge Bar. For that matter, there were hugs all around - from Alan's partner Paul who was nailing down the video show, the night's technical guru and lighting puppeteer Kent, even the DJs. I think the only folks we didn't hug were the bar staff and that was because our waters were SIX BUCKS EACH. Half that price and I would have hugged them like family! Well, maybe not, but it didn't get them on my Christmas card list, that's for sure. I've described the space before but for those new it, 420 Club is a long, simple room. After coming through the door the dance floor is straight ahead and to the right. Then wrapping along to the left is a long bar followed by the slightly raised seating area with a massive view over the motorway that includes the Auckland Harbour and Bridge. Opposite the bar is a wall of chain and a couple of raised counters, with the men's and ladies' bathrooms behind (both being open to all during this MANtastic event). There's something to be said for the simplicity. It's doesn't take much to dress it up, and there's certainly little manipulation needed. That's another enduring facet of Urge Bar's dance party success: they keep it simple, focused on the men and music. The few basic additions they did make were homey and unobtrusive. The bright wall art behind the DJ booth was the most striking add. It was a marriage of the Bearracuda brand with the recently popular NZAF tattoo campaign. It was pretty AND had a purpose. Well done. Other walls were dressed with US and AU flags joining NZs, an almost identical line-up to Tri-Nations' decor in February, but the tie-in was obvious and honoured the international syzygy that would be striking the club. What would be the backdrop of the party's performance art later in the evening was camouflage netting with EL-wire woven in towards the ceiling. Then back past the bar a slow-scroll of masculine visuals splashed across the chain wall.It was all engaging enough while not being distracting and left room for the biggest visual news of the night - the best lighting at an URGE event to date. Just four well-situated moving lights and a single, full-spectrum laser piercing down the middle were all the tools Kent needed to make the room twirl with colour and energy. His operation was well thought out and a delightful side to the main dish. Sydney's DJ Matt Effect took up the musical march at 10 pm. I have a soft spot for opening DJs for they really have to work for it. Inside they know that once the crowd reaches a certain titration point and the general mood has bubbled up enough that they'll have bodies to manipulate. Until that point they just play fun tunes to an empty floor, peering through the sweeping lights for familiar faces who have yet to come up and pay their respects. It can be a lonely slot, that is unless the DJ's someone like Matt who knows that if folks aren't ready he can play fun tunes for himself. If they lure ready dancers to their posts all the better, but this can be his time for a little fun, and it was. I was listening, and the set he was building was delightful. Of course there's a point where the flesh feeds the beat and magically the music's pace and purpose leaps when people start dancing (or is the cart before the horse, I really can't tell sometimes). The fact is that Morris and I were the first on the dance floor, as if to subtly say "get over here bitches", and within a few songs our wide open space began to close in with other swaying bellies that were latching onto Matt's chunky tracks. That's how it went until 12:15 when America's entry in the Bearracuda line-up took to the decks. Francisco Guerra has been building a sturdy reputation in the Southern Hemisphere with a list of conquests that includes his introduction to New Zealand for the premier of this event last year and the closing slot in the Hordern Pavilion during the 2011 G  
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