Continuing the essence of progressive music, the underground lives on.
The underground electronic music scene is continually growing, adjusting, and evolving, but to the generation that fell in love during the 90’s and early 2000’s, there seems to be nothing like that moment in time. Kaz and Casey of Whirling Dervish Productions, the promoters behind the recent Sasha Warehouse Party in Denver, knew just how special that time was to so many people, and how badly they wanted a place to feel connected to it again. From start to finish, they created an event that fit just what those people were looking for: The underground evolved.
Denver is not short on electronic music, Beatport’s renowned club Beta is continually bringing in big names in the EDM world (not to mention I had recently seen a fantastic old-school vinyl only set by Oakenfold there a month ago) and there are a variety of clubs, parties, and promoters that have been bringing in some global techno and deep house acts to cater to the young crowds. In an attempt to go be a part of the scene I’ve gone to some of those events, only to leave feeling disappointed in the quality of music and lack of energy in the crowd.
I knew this would be different though. The event page was filled with people reminiscing over the time they saw Sasha, reliving the memories and excited to go see a legend in action. Not only does Sasha carry with him the essence of what brought so many people into the music in the first place, but he is still living the music, traveling, DJing, and producing at as high of a level as ever. A Sasha warehouse party with a secret location not to be announced until the night before contained all the right elements to bring a mix of nostalgia and appreciation for the present.
With only about 100 tickets left, the promoters took it to another level: they announced Quivver as an opener. His impact on the progressive scene is legendary and incomparable, and the remaining tickets were quickly sold out. 5 days later Quivver had a guest mix on John Digweed’s Transitions, a bit of synchronicity for Kaz whose close long lasting relationship with Digweed included Whirling Dervish’s first party together in Denver last year.
Kaz Qamruddin aka The Brown Elvis and one part of Whirling Dervish (the name given to him by partner Casey when describing his working style), is a passionate lover of the music and what he does. His goal is to “throw awesome parties” where experience and atmosphere are more important than the size of the show, keeping the numbers low so that it feels like a party for his friends (“anything after 1500 becomes impersonal”). He’s hosted hundreds of events at under 500 people, and 50 – 75 events of more than 1000 people, and said this Sasha / Quivver Warehouse Party was one of the best ever. Since he thrives on people being happy, it’s no surprise this was considered to be one of his favorites of all time.
Not only did it feel like a party for Kaz and his friends, but it felt like a party for my friends that I hadn’t met yet. Being able to talk to others in the crowd about the first time they saw Sasha, what their favorite record is, and how excited they were about being there was an incredible feeling. You could feel it as soon as you arrived.
The crowd was educated, grateful, graceful, fun, and joyful; appreciative of where they were and what they were experiencing. The professionalism and atmosphere created by the venue, promoters, and all the staff did not go unnoticed by the crowd. You could feel the respect every one had for what had been done to make this whole experience something special.
Even though it was professional, it still felt underground. This was a warehouse whose location wasn’t announced until right before the show, with music that you had to know to understand, and a party distant from the regular downtown scene. Though a far different experience from the underground raves most had gone to in the beginning of their journey with the music, there still came with it a distinct feeling of being home.
Quivver and Sasha brought the music that reminded us why this love lives on. When you first walked in the door, which opened at 8PM, into the beautiful EXDO Center, you were greeted by Quivver on stage. An amazing thing to see. How often does that happen? He said he had to pull out a whole new set for this show, he’s not used to playing opener! But he did a fantastic job getting everyone who walked in on the dance floor and lost in the music, a blend of melodic and dark progressive that grew and grew as the night went on. The crowd was deep in it by the time Sasha hit the stage at 11PM, launching into a dark rhythmic set with seamless flow, touches of old school, and continuous waves that pulled the crowd into its depths and whirled everyone into a world that existed in this moment. 3 hours went by in a flash. When the lights came on the crowd never stopped, still lost in the groove.
A last minute addition to the event was the Quivver After Party – for as classy and clean as the Warehouse Party, the After Party brought it dark & dirty, in all the right ways. With the heat left on in the venue and no water, the promoters quickly ran out and purchased cases of water to give away, and 150 partiers got to experience Quivver at his best: Deep, Dark & Nasty.
“This party has been nothing but perfect” Kaz told me. And I think we all can agree. Weeks later and everyone was still talking about it.
Music is our religion, Dance is our worship.
With this success under their belt, Whirling Dervish isn’t slowing down anytime soon. They are hosting nights at the classic Denver club The Church starting with Guy J on June 1st, then bringing Digweed back on July 20th, and Hernan Cattaneo on August 24th. A TBA Warehouse Party rounds out the Summer. Their low ticket prices (starting at $10) are testament to their desire to bring the music to the people, and to continue creating parties that are all about the atmosphere and energy, and for being with friends, old and new. Casey and Kaz wanted to be sure to extend how grateful they are to their whole team and all who had helped them, with special thanks to the audience for their continued support. They can’t wait for the next time everyone is together again.
Video by Mike Cook of Negative 4 Productions
Reminiscing on the night, I look forward to the future. To feel connected with others through the music is a divine experience, something that cannot be faked or forced, but is built from passion, love, and sincerity. I am grateful to be shown that the music still has a special place in so many hearts, that people will always appreciate quality and dedication, and that we can continue to flow together with the ever evolving essence of underground.
Get tickets for this Summer’s Thursday Night Services
Check out my interview with Quivver on FRISKY Talk 002 & listen to Quivver’s Controlled Substance on FRISKY: