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Monday, March 17, 2014

WMSE’s Latenight Beat Generation Live @ Highbury Pub

March 15, 2014

wmse latenight beat generation
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For most radio stations, a 33rd anniversary would be something to celebrate, but not exactly a milestone, given the odd, alliterative and not-even-divisible-by-five nature of the number. But for WMSE, one of the only stations in the area to regularly spin vinyl, 33 (and the implied third) is a great excuse to celebrate everything that makes them unique, the eclectic programming, the variety of formats heard on 91.7 and the general spirit of aural adventurousness that has kept the listener-supported broadcast service on the air for over three decades. To mark the moment, the staff of intrepid volunteer DJs have organized a variety of parties, special shows and record spins all over the city, one of the most enticing being Saturday’s live remote broadcast of the Latenight Beat Generation, WMSE’s Saturday night dance music staple.

Hosts Stephen Keller and Paul Matthews bring the best in new techno, house and more to the station’s airwaves week in and week out, but tonight they were doing so from the cozy confines of the Highbury Pub, a soccer-centric south side watering hole known for its DJ nights in addition to international matches. This being a special occasion, the pair were largely free of the Public Service Announcements and promos that are usually part and parcel of most any non-commercial radio broadcast, allowing them to get deep into their individual mixes with minimal distractions. For the first half of the three-hour show, Keller got the night going with some hard-hitting, kinetic techno, blending bouncy beats and futuristic surfaces, while Matthews spent the latter dropping house and trance full of exotic textures and tribal flourishes.

Though you could pick out distinct genres rising and receding through their respective sets, Keller and Matthews both showed off the anything-goes genre-bending that makes nine to midnight on ’MSE such an enjoyable time slot, dropping pop hooks and big rave buildups wherever they were appropriate. When the clock struck 12, Keller and Matthews, who had been mixing via computers and a vast array of equipment, turned the reins over to local drum and bass DJ Deepstar, who broke out the 12 inches, bringing the vinyl-inspired aspect of the anniversary back into the equation and keeping the party going off the air. Attendance ebbed and flowed as the night went on, but on the whole it was an impressive, energetic turnout for a busy Saturday night and a fun anniversary present for the station’s loyal listeners.