By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Yes, the party is now history, but it deserves pointing out that "Spooks in Space" a few weeks back in Columbia, Mo., presented by St. Louis' Superstars of Love, was a goddamn epiphany, one of the best raves we've ever been to, a sensory overload of music and eye and brain candy; laser freakouts; and an overall generally positive vibe that left nearly all the revelers in a state of bliss. It's one thing to rent a space, sound and lighting systems and a few name DJs and charge a $20 cover (all of which the Superstars did). But to transform these ingredients into something magical takes immense talent and timing.
Despite the ever-present threat at a Superstars party that something's gonna give (truth be told, they've flubbed in the past -- and, honestly, who would have thunk that anyone could pull off bringing in both Carl Craig and Sandra Collins for Halloween?), "Spooks in Space" was great. You walked into a room that was absolutely electric -- lights, lasers, manic strobing images shown at breakneck speed -- and immediately you were consumed. As the night moved on, Detroit techno DJ Carl Craig spread a warm fuzz over the crowd for two hours of intense organic beats. In the other space, St. Louis DJ Tré was pumping out jungle as a huge hole opened up in the middle of the room. A mosh pit? Not here. The only shoving was unintentional, the transgression quickly mended with a smile and an apology. Rather, in this space break-dancers and B-boys went robotic, doing headspins as the circle of spectators watched and applauded each dancer.
If you've never been in a space at 5 a.m., stone-cold sober (no alcohol at all here, though the Ecstasy was flowing freely, judging from all the dazed souls sitting on the floor, sucking on lollipops and giving each other backrubs), watching 2,000 people in a state of euphoria dance their asses off -- not 2,000 people standing there kind of shaking their collective rump-a but really dancing to the amazing trance and techno that Sandra Collins was churning out -- you haven't lived. Sounds like a stretch, sure. But to needle your way through a maze of people with heavenly gazes in their eyes and huge grins on their faces, well, that's something special. Something to remember the next time you're at a Mississippi Nights show with your feet planted in concrete and your ass immobile.
The best part: not one big problem to spoil the vibe. "There was one girl," says Superstar of Love David Alter, "who took off her top and pants and was running around the party kind of flipped-out. But I believe we got her out one of the exit doors." (Good idea: Shove a naked tripping girl out one of the exit doors -- like that's not a recipe for disaster.) On the flip side, sounds like at least one soul is taking our recommendation from a couple of weeks ago for more nudity at music gigs. Keep it comin'.
Next stop, "More Good Stuff," thrown by St. Louis' Kindred Grooves, featuring Chicago house genius Paul Johnson, along with other members of Chicago's Pushpac Productions, as well as St. Louis stalwarts Merlin, Stan Doublin, Dankskii, Foster, Hypo and Adam Louis. That one is slated to take place the day after Thanksgiving -- Nov. 26 -- at a location to be determined. The last "Good Stuff" was, by all accounts, a monster, and we're expecting nothing less this time around. Call 995-9215 for info, or check www.kindredgroove.com.
Send all local tapes, tips, discs and detritus to "Radar Station," The Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Blvd., Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130; e-mail: radarstation@ rftstl.com.