In our transient town, hundreds of thousands of Bostonians turn over every four years, but the venues tend to remain the same. In the last six months or so, though, two Boston locales have transformed: the GOOD LIFE on Kingston Street and the brand-new ALCHEMIST LOUNGE at the former home of Triple D’s in Jamaica Plain. Both are pursuing DJs as a main draw.
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“We’re testing people out to see what people like,” says Alchemist co-owner Lyndon Fuller. “We’re mixing it up a lot. We want to play what everyone else is not playing in the city.” Fuller’s lounge is a total refit of the former “old-man bar.” A music fan and long-time bartender, he paid particular attention to the sound system. “Remember the Palace Nightclub in Saugus?” he says in an enthusiastic British accent. “ ‘Twelve nightclubs under one roof’? Massive place. We got the main sound system out of that. It’s a beautiful set-up.” He employed friend and “audio maniac” Joe Stewart of Guitar Center to outfit the booth. “We’ve set it up so all the DJ has to do is bring his needles and headset and he can plug and go.” Fuller is one of Boston’s best-loved bartenders, and he paid special attention to the bar. “The speakers are set up so that you can whisper your drink order to the bartender, but five feet away from the bar you can’t hear yourself think if you don’t want to.” The Alchemist DJ line-up is pretty diverse: a Northern Soul night, a funk/soul night, a Sunday rockabilly party. Fuller’s rationale for the mix? “It’s JP, baby! It’s the biggest mix of people you could ever meet. And it’s awesome to come in on a Friday or Saturday night and watch all these different groups of people just mingling with each other: punk-rockers talking to lawyers, you know, it’s awesome.”
PETER FIUMARA, owner of the Good Life, has a different clientele. “All the financial people, great bunch of guys and girls, have embraced this place as a place to go after work,” he says of his newly redesigned restaurant and vodka bar. “We’re packed for lunch. But thing is, they all take off.”
To solve this problem, Fiumara has called upon the Superfriends of Boston DJs: Batman SCOTT BLISS, Aquaman BRYNMORE, Superman KC HALLETT, Green Lantern DJ PAUL FOLEY, and the Wonder Twins, DJ KNIFE AND TOMMEE. It goes off downstairs at the Afterlife Lounge, all brick and flat-paneled TV screens. Originally from Newton, Fiumara escaped for a spell to New York City, where he DJ’d at W Hotels, fashion shows, and even Christy Turlington’s engagement party, so he knows his music. “Boston’s a small place, I respect everything that’s going on in the city, but musically I like tons of stuff, so the idea here for us at night is showcasing really good talent. I’m not going to lie, I like 50 Cent too, but you can go hear him at Faneuil Hall all day long.” This Friday, KC Hallett takes the decks, Paul Foley’s on Saturday, and Thursdays features the Martian Manhunter of Boston nightlife, the man the staff calls “The Professor,” BROTHER CLEVE hisself. Circuits caught a bit of his set while sampling some of the modern basement’s potables (all kept in freezers behind the bar), and, you know, the man hasn’t lost a step.