Brienne is certainly one of Boston's best not-yet-famous DJs, and for good reason. Her set was dirty beats, almost entirely instrumental, featuring strong, gracful overlay mixes of beat on beat and electronic melodicizings over electronic. Brienne play..
by Deedee Mignonne on Sunday, October 3, 2010 at 5:51pm
Rarely does The Phoenix cover an opening act or a "downstairs" DJ performance; but Brienne Stepan's set in the low-ceilinged, locker-room-like downstairs at Therapy in Providence had to be an exception for two reasons: Stepan has the true, 1990s house music spirit, and Therapy has the largest fan base of any dance club in the wider Boston metropolitan area. Despite that potential, however, the more visible part of Stepan's dance floor was her own Boston following - a cheering section which includes many of our city's most dedicated and knowledgeable "house heads." But more on that topic later.
The set that Stepan's fans took advantage of was a classic, almost disco, in its DJ structure. Slowly, from a moderately chugging beginning she raised the decibels and thickened the groove. It was a richly textured groove, bluesy and soulful, very much the sound of early and mid-1990s house music - a New York City, Sound Factory soulfulness. Her first 15 minutes of tracks felt like classic train-song rhythm - so basic to house's vision. The music choogled (Creedence Clearwater's term and quite appropriate) forward, enjoyably, almost lustfully. Voiced tag lines ("pay attention""fill my body up! Oooh release me!" ) shone atop the rhythm like aural smileys. Into the groove - as it began to intensify - Stepan also dropped the first ship's foghorn sound I've heard in a DJ set since the disco years (didn't I say it was a classic set ?), in which appeared George Benson's 1974 treat, "Supership." 30 minutes into her set, Stepan was choogling big beats, and bigger. "Smokin' beats," said the voice drop, with a grin.
NOTE: Stepan's setdrew many Bodston House notables. Right up front and dancing were Mandy Sullivan, Tim Poleet, Jarrod Drugge, Kelly Martin, Sean Hall, Phil Modica, Katherine Hennessey, Christrine Guerriero, and Tiffany Pawson. And that's just the cognoscenti whom I saw. I'm guessing there were just as many Boston House regulars at the middle to back of the dance floor.