Bidding farewell to DJ Bruno at Boston Rocks
“The place is over, but the movement is not over, the movement continues,” says EVANS THESEE (a/k/a DJ E2-E4), Boston DJ legend and now softwear engineer. “It’s like a tree. You can take off some branches, but it’s going to grow again.” Thesee is speaking to me in the kitchen of Boston Rocks in Fanieul Hall, and tonight all of Boston’s house scene has come to bid farewell to another installment of Utopia, Boston’s best deep-house weekly. Its founder, DJ BRUNO, is going back underground to find yet another venue. As the tourists clear out, Bruno’s crowd streams toward Quincy Market and the dance floor, positioned directly behind the landmark’s giant flag. The club has lost its taste for deep house and Utopia — after three years at Boston Rocks — must move.
“It’s hard to do house nights around here,” explains RODNEY MARABLE, who used to engineer Bruno’s WMBR radio shows in the 1990s. “The crowd isn’t very alcohol-centric and a lot of venue owners are unable to recognize that something that takes six months to build, people will be coming here for years. It’s like a snowball.” As the night runs later, even more people come out from the shadows. “It will live on and hopefully it’ll come back to the club,” says JASMINE MORENCY, Bruno’s niece and ticket-taker. “I’ve been listening to house music for a very long time. Growing up I had to listen to it! Everyday he’s like ‘Listen to this? Does it sound good?’ and I’d be like ‘No!’ and he’d go back into his room. I wouldn’t see him for days!”
Morency is handing out CD-R copies of Bruno’s I Love Utopia mix, of which there are 200 to give away. As well-wishers climb up to the DJ booth, Bruno asks each of them, “Did you grab a CD?” “I love Bruno!” proclaims fan, househead, and local bartender SANDI MICHELINI. “Anytime Bruno runs an event it’s a place where everyone can come together, you never have to worry about attitude.” “The power of sound that he plays, his tunes, there’s no limit,” says Boston clothier PATRICK SIMON in a thick Haitian accent. “Sometimes, after a very stressful week working, you feel like doing something relaxing. It’s very spiritual. The name that he gives the night describes it very well.”
The theme of relaxation comes up again and again with Utopia regulars, who also repeat that the night is not over. “When I come here to Utopia, it saves me a hell of a lot of money on psychotherapy,” says JOYCE CROSS, a graphic designer who used to bartend at the legendary Loft club. “It’s not like the hip-hop clubs or the R&B clubs or whatever. It’s just positive energy. It’s done in this building, but it will never be done. You don’t need the building.”
“As an artist, I have my ups and downs and house music was the only thing that kept me balanced,” says dancer CYNTHIA MARIE BOGUES. “That’s why I don’t date men in the house scene, because if I’ve broken up with him, I can’t go to the house club! It’s my sanctuary.”
: New England Music News
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