Heartbreak, make me a dancer! Pride weekend in New York always brings fun and surprises. This year, OurSceneTV asked me to meet up with this year’s Pier Dance featured performers: Russell Small and James Whiltshire, the incredible UK DJ duo who make up Freemasons and British pop sensation Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Together, they were the headliners at this year’s Pride Pier Dance. Hurray for Gaydar.net for making it possible for them to play NY Pride.
I first saw Freemasons last summer when they made their U.S. debut on Governor’s Island. It was just when their remix of Whitney Houston’s “Million Dollar Bill” was exploding. They were great. The 2010 Pride Pier Dance marked Freemason’s second New York gig. When I spoke with them Saturday atop the swanky new Trump SoHo, we talked about the significance of playing Pride, and the three musical hats they wear: writers/producers, remixers and deejaying clubs and event all over the world. It’s cool how they can write/produce or remix a song and then be able to go out and play it to their fans. Good news for Freemasons fans, they are looking to launch a geography-neutral portal for their music and remixes. Watch out for it.
I really liked James and Russell. Very nice guys. I envy them for being able to collaborate with so many female artists who inspire me: Whitney, Kelly Rowland, Kylie, Beyonce. But it’s their latest muse, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, that have brought Freemasons a lot of good fortune. Starting with “Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer)” in 2009 (see below) and most recently, Sophie’s latest single, “Bittersweet,” which Freemasons co-wrote and produced. I’m a fan of both songs.
Who doesn’t love the song, “Murder on the Dancefloor” from back in 2001. She’s been an active solo artist for 10 years, beginning with DJ Spiller’s “Groovejet.” Since then she’s commanded the dancefloors of Europe and around the world with hits like “Music Gets the Best of Me,” “Get Over You,” “Catch You” and “Me and My Imagination.” Now she’s back with her fourth studio album, Straight to the Heart. When I met her, she told me it will be a very “dancey” record. I love a girl who knows her sweet spot. Performing at NYCPride’s Pier Dance was her U.S. debut. When I asked if she has ever played the States, she simply replied, “Never.” What a treat it’s going to be for everyone at the party, and she’s the surprise guest (though I did see that she tweeted about her coming to NYC with the Freemasons).
Here’s how it works: it started around 5:00 p.m. on the Sunday of Pride weekend, and goes until 10:30 p.m. or something when the surprise artist makes her appearance and then fireworks cap off the evening. So I begin to migrate from the myriad of rooftop parties I have attended throughout the day and responsibly stop by Pop Burger with a couple friends so that we don’t go to the dance on empty stomachs. Smart.
Then we make our way to Pier 54 on the Hudson around 7:00… giving us plenty of time to dance, have a few drinks, you know, the drill. As I walk up, I hear “Murder on the Dancefloor.” Wait. What? She’s already performing? Oh no, now “Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer). What? I have to go back to 14th Street to get my freakin’ wrist band? “Heartbreak” is over. HUGE, sustaining roar from the crowd. I have totally missed Sophie Ellis-Bextor at Pier Dance. Needless to say, I was heartbroken. The silver lining? Who’s the surprise guest then? Is it the rumored Katy Perry? We’ll see. When I did get in, I got a beer and got over missing Sophie and danced the night away to a great Freemasons set, including some of my favorite remixes of theirs: “Greenlight” by Beyonce, “In My Mind” by Heather Headley, and “Bittersweet” by my girl Sophie.
As the night came to an end, Freemasons exited and who’s the surprise guest? ’90s disco diva Ultra Nate. Really? Really. Let’s play a new segment on this blog, “Really. With Brian and Ted.” International recording artist, model and a U.S. debut by Sophie’s on at 7 and the woman who covers Pointer Sisters songs is the headliner? Really. I can report that Ultra did not get a sustaining roar from the crowd that Sophie did. Oh well. At least I had the privilege to meet them all. I have the lucky proof below. Check out me in the sack with the Freemasons and (not in the sack – she’s married) with the stunning Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Let’s just hope she returns to the States to promote her new record, out in August. Look for it!