The suspense for the Dirtybird BBQ was tangible this weekend. With so many heavy hitters on one lineup, my heart felt like it was climbing up my throat as my stomach did backflips over barbed wire fences. I have had the pleasure of seeing Kill Frenzy, Shiba San, and label-boss Claude Von Stroke a few times before the BBQ, and even without knowing what the maestros J. Phlip and Justin Martin are like live, I knew we were in for a show of epic proportions.
The Dirtybird BBQ is the recurring opportunity for the Dirtybird family to get together and show off their DJing chops, but most of all, have fun and eat some burgers. The crew gets to play out some of their releases from this past summer, such as Ardalan‘s “Function” and “It Doesn’t Want” also Sage Armstrong‘s “What’s Yo Tempetcha” as well as Claude’s new EP “Barrump” and let me tell you, they’re dirty!
Unfortunately, the music gods were against us on August 16th and even though the forecast read partly cloudy with 0% chance of precipitation; at 2:00 PM when doors were supposed to open, the skies opened up and let down a torrent of rain, monstrous cracks of thunder, and peals of lightning. After some debate, my crew took shelter underneath the trailer of a sixteen wheeler in a shipping lot across the street from the entrance to the BBQ.
Eventually, the storm passed and we got in line closer to the front than before. It wasn’t until 3:30 PM that doors opened and we were ushered through a thankfully swift and efficient entrance to the “venue,” getting wristbands and coupons for a free hamburger or drink. I did appreciate the heavy pour and very well-done burger, but it is really hard to manage a good time when your shirt is soaked and your feet are wrapped in small ponds that most people call shoes.
The venue was in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on the docks in an industrial district, behind a burnt down building filled with prowling goats (yes, goats) that overlooked the Erie Basin and Gowanus Bay. Though the venue looked super cool and was in a wild location, I feel like Mean Red, the production company responsible, could have probably sent some people out to get gravel and fill in the large swamp-like puddles that formed after the minor typhoon came through.
Regardless of weather setting and conditions, the music was still exceptional. Kill Frenzy had the nearly impossible task of playing half of his set with one CDJ, and still kept people grooving. I had never seen J.Phlip spin before but let me tell you, she drops some fire behind those decks… she’s small but fierce! Next was Shiba San who constantly impresses me at his sets with his production and scratching, Vive Shiba! Justin Martin jumped on the decks next. His tech heavy and melodic vocal set was right up my alley and got me singing and dancing the whole time. Finally the big bird himself stepped behind the decks and played his standard bumping set. Unfortunately, I was getting into a cab towards the end of Claude’s set and missed Slick Rick. Though from what reviews I’ve seen, I didn’t miss much…
The highlight of the BBQ was definitely the sound, brought to us by Void Acoustics. It was a little heavy on the bass end, but the speakers filled the outdoor venue very well. The Dirtybird crew always put on phenomenal shows, but something about the BBQ seemed more like an album showcase than an underground warehouse party, I didn’t feel like it was… DIRTY enough. That being said, I had not yet stepped into line for the afterparty at Output.
For those of you who have not made it to Output in Brooklyn. Go. No excuses, go. It’s one of the places where great artists go to flex their skills and experiment with their music in a club full of people who want to hear it. There’s no bottle service no taking pictures or videos and the Funktion One sound system is one of the best in the world. The after party was billed as Kill Frenzy, J. Phlip and Justin Martin but we were lucky enough that the whole Dirtybird crew showed up to party. I can’t even tell you most of the tracks that were played because many are still in production. We had a mind-numbingly good surprise set from Claude himself and I can tell you one thing: it got DIRTY!
The BBQ wasn’t not fun once you got in, but there’s something wrong with having a 100% will call tickets for an event this large. Inclement weather is one thing, but the lack of organization at an event of that size is irresponsible. There are a lot of Dirtybird fans out there that are disappointed and angry at Mean Red and rightly so. As a huge Dirtybird supporter myself, I can’t help but feel cheated and disappointed by this event after all the hype and anticipation. As much as I want to, I can’t give the BBQ two thumbs up, because the after party was where you wanted to be.