Back to the future

Chuck Love, Rise Club, August 3, 2007
By MICHAEL FREEDBERG  |  August 7, 2007
Chuck Love

Chuck Love got house-music fans’ attention with “Livin’ at Night,” a dark-textured, funky track with a droll vocal that nailed the genre’s preference for partying after midnight. Now, two years after that track first appeared (on the OM label), Love has his first full-length CD, Bring Enough To Spill Some (also on OM), and last Friday he came to the after-hours club Rise to promote his CD, spinning its tracks and many others like them. His sound on the CD is much more jazzy than funky, and not at all dark. (That was also the case at Rise.) And his new tracks feature guitar riffs redolent of those of late-’70s and early-’80s disco. From the melodic smoothness of “Back in My Life” and the easy-going Carib beat of “Bailando” to the dreaminess of “Long Way Down,” the slow drool of “Next to You,” and several boppish beat tracks (“Low End,” “Get Me High,” and the title number), one hears echoes of the J.B.’s, late-’70s New York funk bands, Maceo Parker and the Horny Horns, and the James J.T. Taylor–led version of Kool & the Gang. Even the CD’s version of “Livin’ at Night” feels softer and more gradual than the edgy up-tempo of the hit mix.

At Rise, however, Love showed that current methods of mixboard DJing — on CDs, not 12-inch vinyl — give new intensity to his music of reversion. At mix points he would speed up the tempo and turn up the volume to bring the new track in over the old. He used the sampling knob to repeat riffs of various sorts — guitar obbligato, drum flourishes, percussion. His vocal tracks emphasized the soft, floating harmonies of late-’70s soul rather than the distorted, subversive vocals heard in house. Love also attracted a room full of dancers not often seen at Rise recently: guys and gals in couples, groups of women with long hair, no body-builder types at all. Wearing clothes as casual as a Jimmy Buffett concert or as smoothly chic as an outdoor cocktail party, Love’s dancers looked just as discofied as his music sounded. Back to the future it was, and they loved it.

Related: Kenny Chesney, Something for everybody, Nightwatch, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , Maceo Parker, Jimmy Buffett, Kool & The Gang
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