DJ Amber: dj, producer, musician + creative soul

DJ culture, events, and assorted advice with San Francisco-based DJ and producer, Amber.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004



I have left Just Say Agency. My mother taught me that if I can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.


California and Texas have one thing in common: People who don't live there think everyone who lives there is crazy in one way or another, and those people are thinking wrong. Texas rules, and I'll knock anyone who says otherwise.

A truly memorable weekend playing in San Antonio with Samira and Reid Speed this weekend. Out-of-state gigs are always an adventure, and this weekend was no exception.

Big hugs to Yvonne (aka Plastech Little), and Josh and Keith--who have made me a big fan their crew BUCKLup Entertainment, who didn't even put on the event I played. They were our friends, drivers and even heros this past weekend.

Took the new BART extension to San Francisco Airport. A total lifesaver, I definitely recommend it. The first leg of our flight was Frontier Airlines to Denver, then on to Austin. Samira and I laughed as we saw the Denver airport workers on the tarmac in heavy coats, gloves and hats, as we sat comfortably in our tank tops knowing we were moving on to warmer cities. Samira was a quick fan of Frontier, as they offered her favorite beer, Newcastle Brown Ale while I enjoyed the air travel mixed drink of choice, the Bloody Mary.

A hop over to Austin and were had arrived, including a friendly and on time pickup at the airport by Yvonne and Josh. Stayed at the La Quinta Inn on the airport which had a great room, view and pool. I never did get a chance to use the pool, but in the early A.M. on Sunday we did see a couple enjoying effects of the hot tub. Reid Speed gave good advice as she yelled, "Get a room! Wait, you have a room. Go to your room!"

Wicked good dinner of pork chops, potatoes and veggies (I had the big country spirit) at Macaroni Grill which gave me enough fuel to last the night, including our one-hour drive from Austin to San Antonio. The event itself was held in a great warehouse in an industrial district on the outskirts of San Antonio. If only San Francisco had such clean, usable warehouses...a prime event space that would make any San Francisco underground party fan like me green with envy. And just minutes from the local jail, charming!

Plastech Little and Samira both battled soundsystem issues, and the distractions that come with every wannabe sound engineer crawling all over the equipment trying to diagnose the source of various sound jumps, cracks and cuts. Ah, the joys of a one-night-only soundsystem setup. However, rocking breakbeats sets from both kept the crowd moving, no doubt.

It did my heart good to see the crowd jump with excitement to Reid Speed's solid jungle set. It's the right thing to see jungle in the main room of an event instead of playing off in a second room; the good response to Reid's set this night proved it can work and can even be just what the night needs. As these ladies played, I walked around and met great people from throughout the crowd including Rudy, Joe and many others whose names and can't remember but whose smiles were genuine.

At last, it was time to take the decks. The turntables were set up battle style (vertically, with the tonearm at top) which slowed down my reflexes as my hands moved to places where the buttons and needle ought to be and didn't find them there. But, since I've been working on my scratching I've become more used to either battle or standard style. I moved from tech-house to some of my late-90s hard tech-trance at a blazing fast speed, when I saw how much they loved the fast jungle tempo I knew they could keep up. Samples and scratches came fast and furious, I think I just might be able to work more of this stuff into my sets in the future. Samira had already lost her voice at this point, but shook her fists into the air to show she wished she could yell for me. Thanks, girl.

I'll gloss over the fast decay of the party situation at this point. Drama came, drama left, but by the time it was gone the music had stopped and it had stopped by my own hand. I was just sorry it had to happen, but not as sorry as the guy who was scheduled to play after me and--I later learned--had been standing behind me with his headphones on and jack in his hand during my entire set.

Up until dawn, good laughs at the expense of Adam & Eve in the hot tub (see above), then off to bed and a fantastic late check-out of 2pm.

If you would like to meet the most unskilled waiter in the history of time, complete with water in your lap, visit the IHOP near the airport in Austin. I think his name was Dave. He told us not to tip him and we declined the free shake he offered.

Just a little time until we all need to get the airport, so we take a driving tour of downtown Austin. Beautiful town. Sometime during the middle of our drive Reid realized her plane may not leave as late as the thinks it is. Yep, we're late. Time to go the airport--as fast as possible. Reid runs from the car to the terminal, and after we say goodbye to our hosts Samira and I check in at the America West counter. Samira goes for her ID, and it's gone. In the rush to leave the car to get Reid on her way she has left her sweater behind. We don't have the number to our driver, and we both panic until Samira realizes she has another picture ID on her (what are the odds?) Thank goodness I have a travel partner for my flight, including a three-hour layover in Phoenix.

(Hello to the flight attendant on our Austin-Phoenix leg. Hope you're still getting along well with your new boyfriend, but there's nothing wrong with taking a business card from the doctor in row 16 you thought was cute. And as much as you liked the college sports team on the flight, they weren't really our type so you can have them, too.)

I recommend the Fox Sports Grill (as in Fox television) in the Phoenix Airport. Samira liked it because she could smoke inside, I liked it because the entire ceiling is lined with televisions and they played fantastic music including a release from Naked Music. We shared a drink with the fellow from our row on the Austin-Phoenix flight, who we discovered happened to be a co-worker of the same guy who had driven us to the airport. Small world. Oh, and hello to Burke who works at Raytheon in Los Angeles proper--thanks for lending Samira that dollar to tip the waitress.

The rest of our trip was less eventful, or perhaps we were more tired, as we coasted into home. A whirlwind 36 hours that made sure we'd never forget this trip to Texas.

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