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Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008

Donald Glaude: LoveFest Redux

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   The last time I heard Donald Glaude I was at Mighty, a San Francisco venue tucked away in the shaded alleys of the Mission District. The year was 2006; it was late September and I had traveled to the Bay Area alone to dance away the weekend at the U.S. version of The Love Parade. Back then it was still called The Love Parade, an offshoot of its Berlin godfather (the original Love Parade), and like its sister celebration, this one sparkled as a kind of glitter-ball gathering that spewed itself through the narrow pathways of Market Street, then dazzled the masses until sundown in Market Square. Early in the day, Mylar balloons glistened in an almost glacial sunlight. Floats filled with people dressed as birdmen and Geisha girls set up shop, as DJs plugged in decks and amps and commanded a marathon dance party that barely took a moment to breathe between day and night.

  I remember that weekend as eight weekends in one, but the funky, tribal house mystique of Glaude stayed with me for well more than eight weekends combined. I still remember his demeanor on stage to this day, a socket plugged into an electric room that smelled stuffy from the sweaty vibe of dance. At the time, I had already written about this music for years, countless previews of DJs and producers I may know or not know, but had rarely felt the brute (er, beat) force of a live performance. Glaude's 2005 release "This is Me" (Moist Music) had already been out a year by the time of my inadvertent stumble into the party, and it was well after sunrise when I went back and dug into its creativity. A classically trained musician, Glaude brings an artist's ear to a dark, tribal sound that drives audiences straight into the night and leaves them wondering where they are. By the time they find a way to turn on the lights, they wish they had a road map that showed them the course.

  On Saturday, Oct. 11, The Step Up recreates its own version of LoveFest, the same party that once bore the name "Love Parade," while still managing to keep its creative fervor alive. With Glaude fresh off this weekend's romp in the Bay Area for LoveFest 2008, we can only hope for a repeat performance.

  I can smell it already.

  Donald Glaude returns to Milwaukee for "ThreeFest" presented by The Step Up at Three (722 N. Milwaukee St.) on Saturday, Oct. 11. With DJ Ek. Music 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Cover charge: $10.

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