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The Washington Post

Friday, May 9, 2003

The Washington Post Weekend

Thanks to Code, Nation Is Buzzing Again

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22804-2003May6.html

By Fritz Hahn

Special to The Washington Post

Friday, May 9, 2003; Page WE05

Every Friday night for nine years, Buzz brought the world's finest DJs to Nation (1015 Half St. SE; 202-554-1500). Fatboy Slim, Moby and Paul Oakenfold all appeared at the ravelike gathering, gaining international recognition for the club.

But Buzz's run ended last September after a series of drug arrests outside the club and the military's outright ban on personnel going to Nation. Buzz has since relocated to Baltimore, and Friday nights at Nation have remained dark, barring the occasional concert or out-of-town DJ.

So the announcement of a new Friday event called Code was bound to generate excitement. Promoters were offering an 18-and-over dance night at Nation, with a big-name DJ spinning electronic music on one of the best sound systems in the world. The party would last until 5 a.m. The comparisons with Buzz were obvious -- except that Code was never intended to be "the new Buzz."

The man behind Code is promoter Masoud Aboughaddareh (known simply as Masoud A.), who made his mark running events at mainstream, upscale dance clubs such as Dream and Home. "I don't want to be Buzz," he explains.

"I'm trying to bring in more house and international DJs and make it more than just a rave scene."

To that end, while electronic dance music still rules Nation's cavernous main room -- renowned house music DJ Steve Lawler was featured at Friday's opening event -- Masoud A. promises DJs spinning salsa and Latin music on the multilevel outdoor patio and hip-hop in yet another area.

The whole structure, with separate areas for dramatically different forms of music, is closer to the setup of Dream than Buzz, and seems designed to lure a similarly professional, free-spending crowd.

On opening night, though, it was clear that most of the audience came to hear Lawler. Early on, after submitting to rigorous searches at the entrance and before the main hall opened, a majority of the crowd hung out on the patio. Dressed in T-shirts and baggy pants as well as Armani Exchange gear, patrons grooved to house music and took in the picturesque view of the Capitol dome while chatting with friends and sipping drinks. Inside, others loitered around the edge of DJ Dirty Handz's hip-hop dance floor, occasionally venturing out with some popping-and-locking break-dancing moves.

But when the main room opened shortly before midnight, the patio and hip-hop rooms turned into ghost towns as the crowds streamed into the concert hall, drawn by the insistent thump of house music. I wandered through the other areas a few times as the evening went on, and though a few couples gamely danced to the lively salsa beat outside, all the energy seemed to be in the main room. There, as the bass shook the floor and colorful lights swept the walls and floor, some in the crowd danced as hard as they had in Buzz's good ol' days. Women danced wildly on the stage and on top of the speaker cabinets while bearing luminous green glowsticks. People shimmied from the middle of the room to the bar for a Red Bull energy drink and back again.

Besides the variety of music, some of Code's policies seem to be tailored to the upscale crowd that might never have considered going to a rave event. For example, the dress code will be getting stricter.

Events at Nation have had restrictions -- ostensibly to keep out drug paraphernalia such as surgical masks -- but Code will take it one step further with a "casual but cool" dress code. What that means is up for interpretation, but Masoud A. made it clear that he'd like the audience to look smarter.

"There are still kids wearing UFO pants," he says, pointing out a group on the patio wearing the wide-leg polyester pants popular with younger dance music fans. He shrugs. "We'll try to get people to dress better, but it will take time. We're not going to turn people away. I want people to start dressing up by choice, not by obligation. We'll tell them, you know, 'Next week, try to dress up a little more.' But for me, the attitude you come to the door with is more important than the clothes."

Code has also added two VIP areas on the second floor. One is a large tent with billowing white sides, filled with tables and chairs. The other is simply a larger, refurbished room with its own bar. Such perks don't feature prominently at other Nation events.

You don't really need to pay for the privilege of sitting down, however, as the balconies and catwalks overlooking the dance floor have plenty of couches and comfy chairs, which are perfect for taking a break from the action. Rest is advised, especially if you're planning to stay until 5 a.m., when the headlining DJs finish their sets.

Grammy-winning remixer Roger Sanchez will be spinning an eight-hour marathon of house music on May 16, and Italian DJ Mauro Picotto, a fixture in the top 10 of numerous magazines' "Top DJs in the World" lists, is appearing May 30. Friday features the eclectic Lisa Loud, an Englishwoman who's been spinning house, techno and breaks for more than a decade, and Lee-Cabrera, a duo that's been making waves with its remixes and original, Latin-touched house tracks.

While crowds may not pack the venue expressly for hip-hop and salsa, Masoud A. is confident he can keep them coming for the featured electronic DJs. "There are a lot of house and trance music lovers who only want to hear what they like," he says. "As long as we give them the great DJs and music in the big room, they'll be happy. But I know other people also like hip-hop and salsa, and I'm going to bring in live hip-hop and salsa acts, too. . . . I don't want to limit

. I want to cater to everyone who wants to dance, not just one clientele. "

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cut out of the article:

masoud a told the washington post, "I don't want to be like buzz, I just want my promoters to TELL everyone it's going to be like buzz. and then I am going to book two of buzz's resident DJ's and have drum and bass in the front room, but like I said, I don't want to be buzz."

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Originally posted by djbuster

cut out of the article:

masoud a told the washington post, "I don't want to be like buzz, I just want my promoters to TELL everyone it's going to be like buzz. and then I am going to book two of buzz's resident DJ's and have drum and bass in the front room, but like I said, I don't want to be buzz."

interesting. i don't think the promoters should tell people its going to be like Buzz. That is very misleading as Buzz was an all EDM event and Code is clearly not (at the moment). There are a lot more differences than just the music though.

I'm also curious as to who the two Buzz residents are. Deep Dish? Do they count as one or two? :confused:

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Originally posted by tinybutterfli

interesting. i don't think the promoters should tell people its going to be like Buzz. That is very misleading as Buzz was an all EDM event and Code is clearly not (at the moment). There are a lot more differences than just the music though.

I'm also curious as to who the two Buzz residents are. Deep Dish? Do they count as one or two? :confused:

haha - yeah - i guess i was couting deep as one and dish as the other:D :D

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Yo Buster lil FYI for you Deep Dish specifically Ali went to High School w/ Masoud and he was actually the first promoter to booked Deep Dish into Nation before Buzz was a party there. This is over 4 years ago. Yes they are the former residents of that night.

Secondly get over the fact that our promoters do not and will not compare CODE with other clubs or promoters. If people ask us what the difference is, it's simple, clientelle.

We are booking quality talent which really has nothing to do with the party that was there prior to CODE. It has to do with our personal choices and tastes of talent we have been working with for over a decade.

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Can you book Danny Howells or Sander? Or both...please no Sister bliss,saw her in Amsterdam she sucked...the main dance room became empty everyone moved to the other room.

Good move getting Deep Dish!

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Originally posted by cotoncandydream

Yo Buster lil FYI for you Deep Dish specifically Ali went to High School w/ Masoud and he was actually the first promoter to booked Deep Dish into Nation before Buzz was a party there. This is over 4 years ago. Yes they are the former residents of that night.

Buzz has been at nation before it became nation (formely capital ballroom) I think it was around 94 that Buzz made the move to that venue. Explain yourself.

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They were at a couple of venues before Capital Ballroom (Nation) Sorry for the confusion by using the present name.

From the Buzz site.

During that summer, Buzz got word of a new venue opening up in DC – a mid-sized venue that would be used primarily for concerts and shows, but that could double as a dance venue. It was called the Capitol Ballroom (now known as Nation). The cavernous space gave off that warehouse vibe, but with permanent sound and lighting systems, the reliability factor was very high. Buzz reopened at the Capitol Ballroom in October of 1995.......

Masoud was also throwing events there funny thing is that DD weren't headliners when he put then in there. But it was also a long time ago.

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They were at a couple of venues before Capital Ballroom (Nation) Sorry for the confusion by using the present name.

it's quite alright. America still loves you.

The cavernous space gave off that warehouse vibe

Revaluation's arsehole :D

Buzz reopened at the Capitol Ballroom in October of 1995.......

Damnit, there goes my brownie pts. Off by a friggin year. I'll try again nx century....

Masoud was also throwing events there funny thing is that DD weren't headliners when he put then in there. But it was also a long time ago.

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Originally posted by cotoncandydream

Yo Buster lil FYI for you Deep Dish specifically Ali went to High School w/ Masoud and he was actually the first promoter to booked Deep Dish into Nation before Buzz was a party there. This is over 4 years ago. Yes they are the former residents of that night.

Secondly get over the fact that our promoters do not and will not compare CODE with other clubs or promoters. If people ask us what the difference is, it's simple, clientelle.

We are booking quality talent which really has nothing to do with the party that was there prior to CODE. It has to do with our personal choices and tastes of talent we have been working with for over a decade.

oh really? thats interesting...what was the name of masoud's party? i used to work at the capital ballroom as the lighting tech. over four years ago? buzz was at nation for much more than four years and deep dish played for buzz way over four years ago. i dont remember any parties there that masoud did other than one he might have been involved with...some party called 'stars' or something. was that his? please let me know - i'd love to find out.

as for your promoters - don't tell me to get over anything. i personally heard your promoters say, "code at nation, just like buzz' and saw them go up to people and say the same. am i the only person that heard this? NO. lots of people heard them saying that and were pissed off by it. the excuse you claim your promoter gave you about how people were asking him if the party was going to be like buzz is bullshit.

it seems like they are really good at that actually... like this past weekend in front of club five for example - when they were telling people that deep dish was going to be playing at nation when they were done spinning at 1223. don't get upset at me for pointing out the crap that your promoters are talking.

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I will get you the name of that party love but ;) and do me a favor if you see one of our promoters pulling that shit get a pass from them and ask their name I would love to know who these people are.

1223 dude I think people are taking what is said and completely warping it DEEP DISH will be spinning on June 6th @ Code not that night. I am just seeing a pattern of people really twisting info and it's not cool.

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Originally posted by cotoncandydream

1223 dude I think people are taking what is said and completely warping it DEEP DISH will be spinning on June 6th @ Code not that night. I am just seeing a pattern of people really twisting info and it's not cool.

yeah - that's what i have been saying the whole time. its not cool when people working for you are doing this shit.

and i dont think a bunch of people that don't even know each other are twisting info - they have just been talking about something that pissed them off. i dont think it is some grand conspiracy against code - i think that the shady things these promoters keep saying is being called out.

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Originally posted by spinsaikel

"The cavernous space gave off that warehouse vibe

Revaluation's arsehole :D"

uh......Ive been told this. I dont know about it personally.

why you gotta drag me into this beeyach...

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Originally posted by revaluation

why you gotta drag me into this beeyach...

only because you complained about getting flamed from the get go. and besides...it's been awhile. just consider it a happy reunion.

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