Smile Politely

Miss Haze: Back in the 217

With the amazing amount of art and culture around C-U this weekend, the after-party for the Boneyard Art Festival will no doubt be at Cowboy Monkey Saturday night when Miss Haze brings her 2014 Smoke City Tour through town for a rare drum and bass show. Miss Haze, a DJ/MC/producer from San Francisco with past residencies at Irie Cartel and Shelter, started djing when she was only 15. As an MC, she has a vibrant style and beautiful voice that draws you in to the vibe and flow of the music. Her catalog of original tracks and remixes and her experience opening for acts like Widdler and Wick-it the Instigator give her substance and a confidence that pulls you into her bubbly personality — and makes you wish she played in town every Saturday night.

The 2014 Smoke City Tour is not Miss Haze’s first show in C-U — she knows our town, our scene, our people. She played a Dubstep Massacre at Cowboy Monkey in 2010, a Dubstep Masquerade at Canopy in 2011, and a Girls <3 Bass show at High Dive in 2012. Last summer, in addition to her show at Cowboy Monkey, she headlined a Velvis show where she played DnB to a packed dance floor until sunrise. She’s seen the kind of parties C-U is capable of and she brings the right energy and music for dancing until you’re a sweaty mess of exhilaration and exhaustion.

If DnB is a unknown genre to you, think 170–180 bpm broken beat drums and deep basslines — at its most basic form, it is drums…and bass. A detailed discussion of the amen break or jungle is probably a too much for an introduction, but many folks describe dubstep as basically half-time DnB, which is probably an oversimplification of both genres, but it would give someone unfamiliar with DnB a bit of a reference. And just as with anything all-encompassing like “rock” or “house” or “pop,” there are many subgenres of DnB as well, but rather than debate drumstep or neurofunk, let’s just say that the bpm and drums and bass are the overarching umbrella encompassing a lot of DnB styles. Overall, expect fast tempos — prolly as fast as you are going get in electronic music — and deep bass which is best heard in a club with an amazing sound system, in my opinion.

Miss Haze is currently touring to support her EP, Smoke City, with stops in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Denver, and elsewhere before she returns to her home base in San Francisco. In addition to producing her solo EP, Miss Haze collaborates with another Bay area DJ, Corrine, under the BITCH PLZ label. Together they produce mixes and book shows under the BITCH PLZ brand. So while she’s putting out an EP on Beatport, and putting together a successful partnership under a clever brand name, she’s also working with producers to remix her tracks, their tracks, everyone’s tracks. Busy, busy, busy…and amazingly talented. 

If you guessed that Miss Haze’s musical tastes run deep, you’d be right. She’s got an amazing ear for original music production and track selection for remixes. If you want to get a taste of what else Miss Haze might have up her sleeve outside of DnB, then you should definitely check out the Boneyard Art show Where the Tracks End where Miss Haze will play a surprise chill set Friday night along with local DJs Belly and Mertz. It’s a secret though, so if anyone asks, say Harsh let the cat out of the bag.

Miss Haze’s yearly tour through the Midwest always includes a stop here in Champaign for a show, but she also comes to visit people here that she’s come to know over the years like both local support acts, DJ Tim Williams and DJ Belly. DJ Tim Williams is a veteran DJ in the Midwest. With regular gigs in Champaign and Lafayette along with occasional shows in Chicago, he can easily go from playing dubstep at a Masquerade to sexy-time RnB on Sex and Candy line-up. Recently, Tim has been putting together house shows at Cowboy Monkey and the next bimonthly Jack: A Night of House event is in the works for May. Tim’s knowledge of music is vast. Name a genre — DnB, house, Top 40, rap, country, industrial, techno — he can play it, talk about it intelligently, and then school you without even trying. He’s that good and an amazing complement to any show he’s added to regardless of genre.

Rounding out the night is local DJ Belly who was recently added to the Giraffage show at the Highdive later this month and the graduation weekend Kastle show at Canopy in May. While Belly might normally play hip hop, RnB, dubstep, future garage, or future RnB at Radio Maria or Mike ‘N Molly’s or Soma, he rarely has the chance to play DnB outside of a stray track or two here and there. Outside of a show at Mike ‘N Molly’s over three years ago, I honestly can’t remember the last time there was an all DnB show here in town.

With these three veteran DJs of electronic music, Saturday’s Miss Haze show is the best opportunity locally to hear quality DnB for the heads, but it’s also an amazing opportunity for those unfamiliar with it to catch Miss Haze as she rolls through Champaign and brings Smoke City to the Twin Cities.

Show starts at 11 p.m. Cover is $5.

Top photo courtesy of Spomer Photography.

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