It may sound overly sentimental to say that Claude Young coming to Pittsburgh and tag teaming with Shawn Rudiman was an experience of a lifetime, but for a small city with an exceptionally tight-knit electronic dance community, it could be summed up no other way. Belvedere's, a dive bar located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood in the East side of the city, filled out quickly that evening with both the techno devotees and the insouciant club-goers. A dark, smoky room with a low ceiling and a well-worn dance floor, the space seemed to be made for the throb of underground techno. Dense sound made nearly palpable by the four-corner speaker set-up and live controlled visuals that flashed behind the DJ booth fleshed out the skuzzy atmosphere composite of a dreadlocked bartender serving cheap beer.
Local DJ Mad Tom Brown started out the evening with his usual domineering presence on the decks. His sets always reach deep enough to prove his house knowledge yet he's always deft enough to slip in some tracks that are quite modern as well. The warm-up from Brown was an anticipation builder for the double act to follow. Rudiman began playing solo. Like a mad scientist behind the PA set up, he danced to his own techno, turned knobs and fiddled with slides to produce the kind of handmade dance music rarely heard in the little city of Pittsburgh. Young joined him on stage and, in matching Technoir-Audio Pittsburgh Techno tees, the two maestros began riffing off of each other.
Dancing and mixing with the delight of a couple of kids and the skills of a couple of vets, the crowd responded in kind to the duo's set, egging on the wizardry. The house lights flicked on at 3 AM and the floor was still filled in front of the stage with sweaty bodies moving to the beats. When the music stopped, Rudiman and Young embraced like old buddies and a diehard who remained, speaker side, muttered with wide eyes, a head shake and a breathless gasp, "I just went to church."