by Nichelle Hodnefield on
I went to Ruby Skye for the first time recently, on Friday, April 30. I've been an electronic music aficionado (and DJ) since the late 90's, and usually when I go to a night club or bar, I go for the artist performing or to hang out with friends. This time I went because I was in the area. The headlining DJs that night were DJs I had last seen over 10 years ago and I was curious what they were playing these days. Furthermore, I was curious about Ruby Skye. I didn't feel like drinking, so I have no review on the bar service or drinks, just the overall experience. Here's the play-by-play: I went after 11:00PM and the line didn't seem to be very long, nor was there an artificial delay at the door. The bouncer who checked my ID and the girls behind the cash register didn't even bother to look me in the eye or greet me. In fact, the one of three girls behind the register that took my money simply rang up the register and put her hand out without saying a word (I figured out the cover price by looking at the register display.) A fourth girl that was next to the register stamped my hand with a big metal1960's-style mail stamp that looked like it was going to hurt (It didn't). She didn't directly acknowledge me either. I got inside and the opening DJ was playing some rather cheesy vocal house. It reminded me of the cheesy vocal house records I bought 10 years ago before I knew better. He had some really bad clipping/distortion on a few tracks. He didn't really get much better; I think I liked the last track he played. The club dancers were also dressed rather cheesy -very late 90's rave- The dancers' costumes that night needed major work, especially the girls dancing above the DJ. Most of them were good dancers; two were "meh". One of them was exceptional. (to the DJ's left, by herself) There was a female employee walking around selling glow stuff and other items. She was very friendly and happy - a nice contribution to the atmosphere. Close to midnight, a few changes happened inside the club that drew me in a little more: the lighting changed, the mezzanine dancers above the DJ were preempted by a large projection screen, and the large circular scaffolding above the dance floor was lowered from almost ceiling height to below the mezzanine level. (This scaffolding has about a dozen programmed lights on it) All of that is good theater; it makes the club experience more of an adventure when things change around you. In addition, after midnight the way the lights hit the disco ball make it seem like the room is floating sometimes. The sound system is bloody LOUD, and it gets louder as the night goes on, but overall it is EQ'ed pretty well. I recommend ear plugs. The visual projections that night were absolutely shitty and unimaginative, unless I suppose you are on lots of acid and therefore anything is entertaining. I'd rather watch iTunes' Visualizer. I think the problem is the level of sophistication that the visuals displayed did not match what the club portrays overall. This really interfered with my enjoyment - unless you are dancing in corner somewhere you have no escape from the visuals, and they really don't match the music well. There was ONE visual that was pretty interesting - a rotating mass of bubbles with spikes coming out of it. That visual reminded me of the end of the old Amine film Akira. The crowd that night was friendly and unpretentious; they seemed to be mostly suburban nine-to-fivers with a moderate amount of diversity. Lots of people were dancing the whole time. A couple guys bumped into me and apologized up and down. I may have missed it, but a coat check for the urbanites that didn't drive would have been nice. One good thing about Ruby Skye is that if you go there, most of the people there are probably pretty exited to see whoever the headlining DJ is, otherwise they wouldn't be paying a steep cover charge and drinking expensive drinks. With the right DJ/event, this place probably has a pretty good vibe. I bet their upcoming White Party/10 year anniversary will be fun. I think that theatrical-type events like that are probably where this club really shines. That said, it is unlikely that I will go to this place unless there is a DJ or event that I REALLY want to experience. I may go again sometime to see if I like 4Fourteen, the space above Ruby Skye - I didn't even see it.
by Gary Stadtler on
My friend's dad is a D.C. lawyer who spent his law school student days wandering Greenwich Village and listening to Joni Mitchell play open mics at The Bitter End. This is the downtown scene Mr. Hiebert told me he longed for on a recent visit to NY and the Back Fence is where he brought us. Warning if you have a peanut allergy - they do give out complimentary peanuts (no, not the kind that tells you you look beautiful) and the shells line the floor (I thought it was sand at first.) So to avoid anaphalactic shock, don't come by. But everyone else can frequent this dive bar for cheap(ish) drinks. Suggestion: Come by on Monday nights. It's slightly quieter than the rest of the week. Open Mic Night means you may discover the next folk talent and the duo we saw this week was mellow and enjoyable.
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