Anyone who was once a raver, backpacker or cross-pollination of the two can recall the dark days of that inescapable big, black, blocky headline, “The Party’s Over!” back in the early 2000s. It was smeared all over mainstream media following the federal blitz on dance music and warehouse parties, dubbed crack dens by the government. The vibe was officially vanquished and still shaky even a few years later, but considering the regular, raucous ragers going on in present-day America, it’s pretty clear who got the last laugh. DJ-centric parties—where making the crowd dance is the sole focus—are blowing the roofs off dive bars and clubs across the U.S. From Flosstradamus in Chicago to Steve Aoki in Los Angeles to DJ Klever in Atlanta, party rocking is back in a big way.
“Oh, it’s aaaaaall about the party now,” confesses award-winning DJ and Allies crewmember Klever (a.k.a. Josh Winkler) over the phone before a gig in San Diego. “I wanna see sweat! I want to see puke on the ground just to let me know people are really having a good time. I wanna see hands in the air, and people packed like sardines.”
In case you’re unacquainted, Klever’s a pale-faced 30-year-old who looks like he was once the invisible kid in high school but later became the badass he always envisioned himself to be. He’s got far too much style and has smothered his skinny frame with tons of tattoos, but I digress: the man is devastatingly deft behind the turntables, a talent recognized worldwide when he took the DMC championship title in 2000 and again in 2001. As a remixer, Klever is probably most known for his remix of Lloyd’s “Get It Shawty,” which he’ll throw in most of his sets that are a crunk cornucopia of hot ATL beats, nostalgic pop jams and adrenaline-pumping indie tracks.
“I used to be like, ‘Let me show these people my scratch patterns and my juggling!’ But now it’s about incorporating a little bit of that, but mostly playing bangers, educating the crowd on certain tunes and just watching them have a blast,” he says. “That’s really what it’s all about. Seeing kids go crazy, people yelling and having fun.”
And if he keeps up this momentum, the parties he plays will definitely make headlines—and we’re crossing our fingers it’s not of “The Party’s Over” variety. (Jen Boyles)
Klever joins tour-mate Tittsworth, with BFF residents Zebo & Heather Doble at Berlin, 954 West Belmont, (773)549-0203, on December 6, 10pm-4am. $10, $6 before 11pm with rsvp to going.com/kleavagechicago.