Semi-underground loft space 12 Turn 13 has quickly become one of Brooklyn's most dependable dance haunts, particularly when it comes to house music. The genre, however, was only one of the many that were aired out when Kenny Dixon Jr., AKA Moodymann, one of dance music's most enigmatic figures, came to town.
The daytime party seemed at first to be doomed because of the rain outside: I arrived at the club around 6 PM and walked onto a fairly empty dance floor. But despite the gloomy weather, the floor filled up quite nicely over the next hour. Eamon Harkin opened things up, comfortably moving through disco, house and techno as well. Like always, the crowd was into it. 12 Turn 13 regularly attracts the most diverse, unique, and energetic mix of people in any club that I've seen in Brooklyn. The vibe was clearly set by the time Moodymann made it to the decks.
I've read and have been told by friends that you never know what to expect with Moodymann. He went on at around 7 PM and opened with the Rolling Stones' "Miss You," a record that seemed fit for a DJ with a reputation all his own. The records that followed were a mix of soulful house and vintage disco. Within the first hour Moodymann began MC'ing. He made sure to let everyone know that he was playing "real records" up there, holding up a piece of vinyl as if it was an antique heirloom. He made it blatantly apparent throughout the night that he was—and remains—a vinyl purist. Midway through the set he got back on the mic and opened a request line of sorts by inviting the audience to come up and make requests. He said "If I have it on vinyl, I'll play it."
The pace picked up in the second hour and he went through groupings of jazzy house, proper techno and even some indie dance records. A big crowd pleaser was Carl Craig's remix of the Junior Boys' "Like a Child" followed by a Whitest Boy Alive remix of "Done With You." Playing a string of three or four records in one particular genre before moving onto the next seemed to be a recurring theme.
Overall, though, his set ended up making the night feel more like a listening party rather than a dance party. This was likely his intention all along. After his set I made it a point to talk to some self-affirmed Moodymann fans and the general sentiment was that of yearning for more. While talking to a particular diehard, we talked up his productions, relevance and attempted to recap the set that was just played. He summed it up best, when he said that "it is what it is." And, it was what it was: A Detroit legend playing some of his favorites on a Saturday evening.