By RFT Music
By Drew Ailes
By Bob McMahon
By Allison Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
The ninth Washington Avenue Beat Festival (or Beat Fest, as it's known to people who don't have time to enunciate every little syllable that comes their way) will be shaking up Wash. Ave. (see the time we're saving here?) this Sunday, playing, as it always does, off the fact that you don't have to get up early on Monday's Memorial Day (unless you have a lousy job). To get the most out of Beat Fest, you've got to have a plan, and if you don't have time to enunciate syllables, you sure don't have time to work this out for yourself. That's why we're here.
Although there're plenty of restaurants around Wash. Ave., few are so centrally located and good as Wasabi. You'll need protein to get your groove on later in the night, and raw fish is just what the doctor ordered. Plus, you can start a sake binge that you can carry on to Lo, which should be your first Beat Fest stop. The key to Lo is to get there so early that the doorman makes fun of you -- this ensures you'll be able to sip fruit-infused sake in one of Lo's booths and get pumped to the drum 'n' bass sounds of Lo DJ Rah B before the tiny club fills up to the density of a black hole.
Once it takes you five minutes to reach the bar, cross the street to Tangerine to check out Sexual Vietnam, which wins hands-down for best name at Beat Fest. SV is an offshoot of the Litterthugz crew, which is also home to much-missed St. Louis ex-pat DJ Mike 2600. It's a mini-version of Sexual Vietnam playing Beat Fest this year, with Doug Surreal and DJ Cougar Shuttle mixing live beats and freaky sounds for the crowd. Even though Tangerine can get as cramped as Lo, it's hard to be more than three steps from the bar, so you should be all right until you feel the urge to dance.
When that happens, ease yourself into dance-machine mode with a trip to Club Isis to check out hometown hero Black Spade from Soultyde, who ought to get you into the groove with some head-nodding hip-hop.
Feeling the rhythms yet? Push it up a notch at Rue 13 with Joshua, a.k.a. DJ Iz, who'll be spinning the steady, heavy house beats that will get Rue's awkwardly placed dance floor hopping.
On Washington Avenue, all roads lead to Velvet, and Beat Fest is no exception. The highlight of the evening will be a set from international producer/DJ Dave Audé, whose remix of t.A.T.u.'s "All The Things You Said" had more going for it than just underage lesbian necking in the rain (not that it needed it). Audé will spin bouncing melodies and solid dance beats until you don't think you can move another inch. But you will.