Experience Underground Music at Barra Hookah

By on 12 January, 2018 in Amanda Burbank, Bars, Fun with 0 Comments

Photo by Daniel Olive

Last Friday night we attended Gravity at Barra Hookah for the second time. The dance music party series is now to be a monthly feature at the hookah lounge. Three local DJs: Oz Entertainment, BG, and Chasing, started this event in November last year as a way to promote underground house and techno music, electronic genres created in the 80s. When I asked the guys from Gravity to pick one song to include with this piece as an introduction to this style of music, they chose a song by Mr. Fingers. “Can You Feel It” from 1986 is known as one of the first deep house records and this meta song is still beloved today. Little did the DJs know, I was putting this blog together to a soundtrack of Mr. Fingers.

It’s not the kind of music that you listen to, it’s the kind of music that you feel. Personally, I’m not a dancer, but both of the times we’ve attended, I’ve felt immersed in a collective experience. From my cozy corner couch, I feel one with the dancers. The music is communion and for the most part it takes the place of conversation, even with the friends I came with. It seems to move the colored lights that stream across the ceiling. The laser lights feel the music and are dancing too.

“Can You Feel It” speaks to the communal nature of the “vibe of house” and perhaps explains some of why the DJs desire to share it with the residents of Montgomery.

“Let there be house!” and house music was born.

I am, you see,
I am the creator, and this is my house!
And, in my house there is only house music. But, I am not so
selfish because once you enter my house it then becomes OUR house and
OUR house music!” And, you see, no one can own house because
house music is a universal language, spoken and understood by all.

To get to this underground music venue it feels like you literally go underground which adds to the experience. The music and dancing (and smoking!) take place in the basement of the quirky old building that houses Barra Hookah downtown near Cramton Bowl at 1408 Madison Ave. Upstairs is chill and much quieter with patrons smoking and sipping wine in an open room filled with fascinating art that I always pause to view. But as you head downstairs, walking through the glowing lanterns suspended from the ceiling, you feel like you are perhaps in outer space descending into the unfamiliar atmosphere of some other planet–one with black lights and a smoke machine. The art collection continues downstairs but in the darkness and strange illumination from the light show the pieces add to the atmosphere in a different way than they do upstairs. Faces on the wall feel like participants in the party.

At Gravity 2.0 I not only watched the lights and the art and the dancers, but I also enjoyed watching the DJs. I always enjoy watching DJs, the same as I enjoy watching musicians perform. It is intimate and inspiring to see the passion that they feel for the music they are sharing, that they have carefully curated. Last weekend Oz Entertainment played an all vinyl set. I’m not sure if I have ever witnessed a DJ intent in front of two turntables, the classic Technics beloved by DJs worldwide. The movements are a dance, an art. I’m certain that DJing takes intense concentration, knowledge and creativity. I am always impressed when I get to watch people in their artistic element.

Some people come just for the music and dancing (there was a $5 cover charge before midnight, $10 after midnight), but this party is in a hookah lounge after all and we enjoyed sharing a pipe with friends (everyone is provided their own mouthpiece). They offer a wide variety of flavors, including tobacco-free, and they were willing to mix flavors to come up with something special that I particularly enjoyed this time, when my husband told them that I didn’t like fruity. Every time we’ve attended an event there the staff has been friendly and helpful and we’ve enjoyed interacting with them.

In the promo for the event, Gravity promises not to disappoint the open-minded. “Dancing shoes required, weirdos welcome, cell phones on the dancefloor discouraged, bad vibes and stank attitudes strictly prohibited. See you on the dancefloor!” The events start at 9 p.m. and go until 2 a.m. The next one will be held on February 2, and they will continue on the first Friday of every month until further notice.

Amanda Burbank is an observer, savorer, poet, artist, mother, wife, and lover of beauty and life. Unexpected events found her family living nestled in the deep south woods within a family home built by her great grandfather. From there, she works as a freelance writer and photographer. Her heart is to live a life of acceptance and perhaps help others to see beauty in the unlikely through well crafted words and photographs of lovely ordinary everyday moments. https://www.instagram.com/mandyburbank/

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