Topman, Boiler Room and CGI Records: Neighborhoods - Atlanta Represents the Underground

Photos by Teddy Williams

It seems that I’ve been fascinated by Boiler Room events for some time. Like so many other people, Ever since I saw Toro Y Moi’s infamous set, easily found on YouTube, I haven’t been able to stop finding and watching other great sets hosted by the underground music behemoth. When I got the opportunity to chronicle one of these notorious events a The Sound Table, I couldn’t pass it up.

Most parties ebb and flow, rising and falling in energy, sometimes being interesting musically, but not prompting much movement, while at other times creating such an atmosphere of celebration that all in the room succumb to dance. Topman and Boiler Room with CGI Records: Neighborhoods was one of the rare instances of a party that is both musically significant, and makes you move from the very beginning to the very end.  Ranging from post wave to soulful house, the music took us all on a journey from late afternoon into the night.

Jay Simon, who runs Must Have Records, started everything off with his groovy, soulful house. Showing off his skill by utilizing both decks and vinyl equipment, Jay set the mood off right with a ton of style and fantastic track choices. “You make me happy. You bring me all kinds of joy” banged out from the speakers toward the middle of his set. At this point the crowd began to swell in numbers as well as enthusiasm. With his dynamic sound, Jay’s take on house that evening definitely paid homage the rawness of Chicago and the aggressive high end sounds of Detroit, all the while sounding unique.

The night took a turn for the vocal and slightly psychedelic with Fit of Body’s set. Bringing a guest with him, who provided an interesting layer of vocal melody against the electronic rhythms, Fit of body’s sound moved the party into a more future thinking realm with a new age approach, which was a nice change of pace. This collaboration while a bit more heady, didn’t deter the people from moving and shaking.

Up next was Twins. This is when things got a little weird, but in a very cool way. Twins brought with him an assortment of other equipment. His set incorporated synths, and a plethora of other gadgets that looked incredibly complex, yet was played masterfully. His voice, which reminded me of the style sung by many new wave artists, accompanied the unique approach taken by the DJ. His sound was the most unique of all the performers, something which I think intrigued nearly everyone.

Stefan Ringer closed out the evening with the most eclectic and sexy vibe of the evening. Starting his Boiler Room debut set with the iconic “Set it Off,” Stefan injected the crowd with what seemed like a shot of adrenaline as they began crying out in celebration and dancing harder. Stefan is assuredly precocious. His track choices showed both a deep knowledge of the history of this music and a penchant for the avant-garde. He is a significant talent that is helping put Atlanta on the map of cities with serious underground dance music.

From beginning to end this party kept it coming, providing equally varied and dance-able experiences throughout the night – a wild ride, for sure.

James McDaniel

A man of many talents, James not only writes about music, he also composes, arranges, teaches, and plays. As an Atlanta area high school band director, he stays busy developing his program and writing and arranging for percussion at his place of work aw well as a number of other Atlanta area schools. He is also a gigging percussionist, playing live and doing studio work for InCrowd of Atlanta. Music is more than a passion for james. It is his lifestyle.