Sunday Services: Every Sun., 10pm. Free. Bar Noir, 112 S. 18th St.
The weekend doesn't end on Sunday. So says Andy Ortega, whose weekly party at Bar Noir has been drawing a crowd that's not obligated to wake up for work the next morning.
After stints DJing in New York City and at Drinker's in Old City, Ortega put together Sunday Services as an up-tempo collision of hip-hop, house, R&B, garage and grime. The all-vinyl selections skew toward imports he acquires on trips to England.
"I never want to try to out-obscure someone," says the 25-year-old South Philly resident. "If I hear a dance-rock song, I'll definitely throw that in."
Even more accessible is his regular Thursday gig at Loie, which started just after the two-month-old Sunday Services did. "You might hear a few songs both places," Ortega says, "but the crowds are different." For example, the Loie night is steeped more in "classic party music" like reggae and radio-friendly hip-hop.
"I like good, fast, catchy songs," he adds. "Those are universal. It doesn't matter where they come from."
Case in point-five of Ortega's current favorites:
Jammer, "World Destruction" (Jahmektheworld, 2005)
"I picked this up in England, and I've been playing it heavily the last few months. It's a little more off the beaten path than Dizzee Rascal or the Streets."
3 of a Kind, "Babycakes" (Relentless, 2004)
"It's what they just call 'urban' over there. It's like any R&B song but it's got a dance-y two-step beat. Not quite house. It's the kind of music 17-year-old girls listen to in London. It was a big crossover hit there."
DJ Jonny Blaze, "Uptown Girl" (Blaze One, 2004)
"The song is a based on a sample from Billy Joel's original version of 'Uptown Girl,' but it loops the Joel vocal over a traditional Baltimore club beat, with staccato drums, handclaps and whistles. This really has become a signature song on Sunday, to the point where one guy says he comes literally just to hear that track."
Kasabian, "Club Foot" (BMG, 2005)
"Something I just got recently. It was one of these bands you see in NME. They obviously have a big hype machine behind them. I get burnt out on records really quick, so I was just looking for something new and different. I turned it on and I was blown away. I'm a big fan of early-'90s British music like the Stone Roses. It sounds like the Happy Mondays with Liam Gallagher singing. And it turns out the Stone Roses' old bassist Manny is now their pre-set DJ."
Lil' Suzy, "Take Me in Your Arms" (Warlock, 1993)
"Definitely one that I love playing. A lot of people don't remember it when I first play it. It's sort of a Jersey shore classic from the early '90s, like boardwalk dance music. Lil' Suzy started singing when she was a kid and became a pseudo-celebrity. It's upbeat, but it's not ridiculous."
Sat., April 30, 3-8pm. $8. First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St. 215.421.0693. www.rocrite.net
Rocrite founder Amani Olu is the perfect example of necessity being the mother of invention. In his case the necessity was finding a venue that allowed breakdancing. "I've been breaking for the past five years, and I was tired of getting kicked out of the 700 Club and Fluid," says Olu. So in conjunction with B.Informed, the national music and culture magazine he co-founded, Olu and Keanne Lee started Rocrite in 2003. This month B-boys and B-girls will compete in two-on-two battles for a $200 cash prize. On hand for the judging is Grand Niggerous Vigerous and Z No Zeen, whose 20-year breakdancing legacy is one of Olu's main inspirations. The featured battle involves a formidable face-off between two B-girls, Cait LaRok and A-Tech. "They're not battling for money-they're battling for respect," says Olu. Providing the break beats, funk and soul is DJ Skeme of the Sesion 31 DJ collective. (Maggie Serota)