July 11, 2004
Tom Harvey bounded up to the bar wide-eyed and adrenalized, smiling like he just won a marathon. He was in the middle of his set spinning house music at The Hi-Ho Lounge Sunday night. The music was set to transition on its own, so he had a couple minutes break until he went back to his hour and a half plus performance. Harvey danced behind his console, shouted affirmations, and lit cigarettes quickly and nervously.
House music is bound in black and white by its thumping 4/4 beat, but Harvey added variety and color with his breakbeats and record selection. The music had a continual positive vibe, assisted by the spiritual, zen-like vibe of his mixes. Harvey notably ran a dance record over Ravi Shankar’s sitar and morphed Santana’s “Oye Come Va” into some massive beats. Harvey was also a fan of dub and reggae music.
His selections were eclectic, and this was half the reason his set was enjoyable. He’s known to use pieces of Kiss’ disco record, “I Was Made for Loving You,” and he’s incorporated pieces of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” On Sunday, Harvey instead played Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech from his march on Washington and a clip from Pacino in “Carlito’s Way.” The aggressive bumping of the music went well with Pacino’s “You think you’re big time?!”
The other reason his set was fun was because he was very good at turning knobs. He knew the music well enough to know when to elevate the volume of both records simultaneously, and he knew when to turn one mix down and let the other ride out for effect and contrast.
The place was filled with DJ’s. Too bad there were only ten people there. Dancers, even spaced-out hippie girls, would have added energy to Harvey’s performance, but there was a good vibe anyway. Everyone knew each other, and they had been barbecuing all day, rotating DJ’s. There were free hot dogs at the end of the bar. And condiments! DJ’s play every Sunday night at the Hi-Ho, so go watch a scene start.