The Detroit maverick plays all night long at a new audiophile club.
Last Saturday, Theo Parrish played all night long at Basic. I was confident his uncompromising attitude towards music, sound and the dance floor would complement the club's ethics. Stepping inside, I was quickly drawn to the soundsystem, which sounded well harmonised with its surroundings. Parrish was already bringing an impressive range of frequencies to life, delivered by two large, custom-built stacks designed using the blueprints of Richard Long and Alex Rosner, sound engineers at New York's Paradise Garage and The Loft respectively.
The main room, heavily scented with incense, quickly filled with a keen crowd, many of whom stayed in their coats to keep warm. (A severe weather alert had been issued in Naples that day and cold winds were fanning through the club's entrance.) Fela Kuti's "Zombie" helped set the mood. The 500-capacity main room soon brightened with flashing lights and trippy LEDs.
As the night hit full swing, Parrish seemed intent on delivering a clubbier set than usual, possibly because of Naples' house music heritage. Outkast's "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" was masterfully slipped in between soulful house tracks and signature Detroit gems. By this point, with the cold winds long forgotten, the polite yet colourful crowd were showing no signs of shyness. Cuts like Gherkin Jerks' "Acid Indigestion" went down a storm. The atmosphere ramped up further when Fingers' "A Path (Virgo Tracks Version)," a staple of Parrish's sets, prompted a small group of local voguers to strut their stuff. Dramna, a performance artist dressed head to toe in fetish garments, also put in an appearance, accompanied by a slave on a leash.
Sunlight was timidly pouring in through the glass windows when Parrish finally lifted the needle off his last record. He welcomed the crowd's applause with a bright, satisfied smile. As he packed away his vinyl, die-hard fans greeted him affectionately. Just before leaving the club, he took one final sip of top-notch Jamaican rum—straight, no chasers.
Photo credit / Alessandra Feni