Moby Spins Techno-Magic At Holiday Bash

Basement Jaxx, Dido, Shootyz Groove also on hand at invitation-only Boston date.

BOSTON — There are DJs, and there are DJs ... and then there's Moby.

So it couldn't get any better than having Moby spinning discs at your private holiday party. Just ask the fans who had that kind of experience Tuesday night (Dec. 7), when they reveled in Moby's turntable madness at a holiday blowout sponsored by WFNX-FM.

"Who says techno has no soul?" said Emanuel Cardoso, an avid Moby fan and a witness to Tuesday's groove-infused spectacle.

Moby's appearance was part of Y2FU, an invitation-only shindig also featuring Dido, Shootyz Groove and Basement Jaxx. The event was held at the Roxy, a club located in a historic hotel in Boston's theater district, and it drew about 1,300 dancing fans.

The club's ornate, nouveau-baroque decor was decked out for the holidays with supersized three-dimensional stars in red and white hanging from the ceiling and swags of greenery and tiny white lights draped on the balcony railings. Two huge Christmas trees flanked the stage. Three mammoth mirrored disco balls were suspended over the dance floor. Spinning circles of red and green light were projected on the walls and floors. To add to the mayhem, the radio station provided party hats and noisemakers, orchestrated a premature New Year's Eve countdown and dropped balloons from the ceiling.

Not surprisingly, the bill drew a crowd that was ready to dance, and when Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton, the British duo known as Basement Jaxx, stepped onstage to do their thing, the dance floor seemed to seethe with blissed-out, bopping bodies. Flashing lights kept pace with the BPMs churned out by the two producers.

The Jaxx, who scored a dance club hit in 1999 with the single "Red Alert

(RealAudio

excerpt) from their debut album, Remedy, issued sound from

behind behind a mountain of gray and black equipment cases. They were

joined for part of their set by vocalist Corrina Josephs, a part-time

member of the progressive house combo. A computer monitor occupied a

prominent place atop one of the cases, and the only traditional instrument

visible was a black acoustic guitar, which remained in its stand at the

front of the stage throughout the set.

But the real draw Tuesday was clearly Moby, and the energy level in the club ratcheted sky-high in anticipation of his arrival. When the DJ finally stepped behind the table, delighted whoops and high-fives erupted throughout the crowd.

The DJ has attracted fans in both the U.S. and UK with such tracks as "Honey" (RealAudio excerpt) from his new album Play.

Moby worked with two turntables and wore earphones. Proving that his legendary DJing prowess isn't just hype, Moby served up a pastiche of chants and echoes, sounds slowed then sped up, and bits and pieces of music and found sounds, some recognizable and some not — all set to mind-bending beats. No one was immune to Moby's magic — bartenders, waitresses and security guards were all body-rockin' by the end of the night.

Once Moby set up a groove, he'd step back from the table, seemingly to gauge crowd reaction. He smiled when his eyes lit on the woman draped in a huge white feather boa doing a jumping-jack dance, or the couple trying, with marginal success, to swing dance to the pulsing techno beat.

The dance floor and the area in front of the stage remained jam-packed with moving bodies all night. Further back from the stage, pockets of people formed their own euphoric dance groupings, and some people danced alone, eyes closed, in their own world, grooving to the beats.

Ashley Mills, 24, of Galveston, Texas, captured the Zeitgeist of the evening, saying, "There's a lot of good bands out there, but I really think electronica is going to take over — it's going to be DJs and electronics. That's where music is going in the new millennium. The pendulum has shifted."

WFNX used the show to raise money for the families of six firefighters who died battling a massive warehouse blaze in Worcester, Mass., on Dec. 3. Mike O'Brien, 28, of Holbrook, Mass., who manned the fund-raising table outside the club, said he didn't mind missing most of the show. "I'm having fun out here, and it's for a good cause." President Clinton is expected to attend a memorial service Thursday for the Worcester firefighters.