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Last Wednesday night, despite the lingering rain that has been pestering New Yorkers for the last month or so, I decided to venture out to the newly revamped Mansion, which is now known as M2 UltraLounge–the stealthy moniker that is cover for what’s supposed to be Ministry of Sound’s new NYC effort. If Pacha can bring the funk to New York, then Ministry of Sound sure can too, even if it it takes over a space that has seen it’s better days. I wasn’t much of a fan of Crobar, the club’s original incarnation. But, I must say the venue’s design team have given a touch of class to a huge room that was sorely lacking sophistication.
Showing up to Bacardi’s B-Live was, for me, an off, then on again affair. It was 11 pm and I’d just arrived to my friend’s house across the Hudson in Guttenberg, NJ, where I’m staying for the month to be closer to the city. I knew I had to get up for work early, because I commute about 1.5 hours each way to the office in Long Island. As I sat down to check my Facebook messages, I saw a friend sent me an earlier note asking if I was going to go. If so, she was wondering if I was going to take some shots that she could use for a publication she writes for. Despite my better judgement, I knew she needed my help. I got my butt up off the couch, jumped in the car and shot into the city to see what I could come up with. After all, she’s a great gal and I don’t mind doing a favor for a friend.
Remember, I’m supposed to get up at 6:30 AM to make my way to Long Island for my day job. Staying out late on a Wednesday night is not something I’m accustomed to, but it was for a good cause. Plus, I got some great video and ran into some friends, including Armand Van Helden and my man Ricky and his production partner, Ray, who are working on some tracks as Housing Project (MySpace). More on new music from that crew another time, for sure.
The night was definitely jackin. I go there just in time for the last 1/2 hour of Jazzy Jeff’s set. Every element of every track dropped in that 30 minutes was a bomb that warmed up the crowd for A-Trak, who broke out a big beat infused set of electronic, rock and urban rhythms that kept the crowd jumping until around 3 am. Then, it was DJ AM’s turn to take the wheels. After a few intro tracks, he dropped Notorious B.I.G. and the late night revelers kicked into gear once again.
For Bacardi, this certainly was a highly successful branding experiment. To pack an NYC venue on a Wednesday night until the wee hours of the morning says something about the talent and the offering. Bacardi staffers were everywhere throughout the venue, directing punters to get the pics taken in the Bacardi photo booth, have a custom T-Shirt printed on-the-spot, or grab a rock inspired poster. Throughout the venue, Bacardi imagery was in full effect. Of course, the sure winner was the HUGE, fully lit boom-box, which backed the DJs on the stage. I saw some walking around with messenger bags with a boom box pic printed on the flap. For a commercial effort, they got it right. People dug it and it wasn’t too obtrusive. Even the tour bus out front was hot, which photos of the DJs plasted on the sides.
All in, it was a pretty exciting night for Bacardi and NYC. Definitely a hot event. If B-Live is coming to a city near you, I wouldn’t miss it.
Check out the videos and photos below of Bacardi’s B-Live stop in NYC.