Soul Party DJ Jonathan Toubin Tours SOUL CLAP & DANCE-OFF, 5/16-9/23
After heralded welcome-home events in New York this month, Jonathan Toubin, America's rock and soul party DJ, will return to touring this summer. He will headline clubs and perform at prestigious festivals across North America, including Portland, Oregon, where a vehicle struck him in his hotel room last December and left him in critical condition in ICU.
In most of the cities on the summer/fall tour itinerary, Toubin and his enterprise New York Night Train will offer the signature Soul Clap & Dance-Off. An all-soul 45s party and dance contest, Soul Clap began as a way for Toubin to play his records to a small north Brooklyn underground art/rock social community in the spirit of the mid-1990s indie/punk scene in which he cut his teeth as a musician. In the five years between the party’s inception and Toubin’s accident, the humble makeshift neighborhood effort evolved into North America’s most popular soul party, touring across the U.S. and around the world, getting people to dance to music most of them have never heard before.
The Soul Clap brings communities together not only on the dance floor, but also on stage via the Dance-Off judges Toubin selects. Juries have included popular locals as well as cultural figures like Satanic Priestess Karla LaVey, Green Party vice-presidential candidate Matt Gonzalez and musicians like Mike Watt, MGMT leader Andrew VanWyngarden, Royal Trux’s Jennifer Herrima, Jello Biafra, the Avengers’ Penelope Houston, and Monotonix’ Yonatan (who has judged in three countries), Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Nick Zinner and more.
Toubin just resumed his monthly Soul Clap & Dance-Off at Brooklyn’s Glasslands Gallery, and the weekly Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down at Home Sweet Home in Manhattan. These residencies are part of a gradual return to work following a five-month recovery from the accident. Toubin’s return has been covered by The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, The Village Voice, Brooklyn Veganand other outlets, and an interview on WNYC’s “Soundcheck.”
New York Night Train, which puts on all of Toubin’s parties, is a deliberate attempt to offer a higher quality, more unique approach to nightlife. While his concepts often include bands, performance, and visuals, his DJ’ing is typically the most vital component and the biggest draw. Toubin has managed to become one of the country’s best-known DJs by eschewing obvious hits, contemporary trends, and tinny mp3s to focus on high quality, mostly forgotten, but timeless, dance music—exclusively on authentic 45rpm records. Battling what he calls the “laziness, mediocrity, and predictable lack of originality” that makes up the formats of most current dance parties, he is out to shake up culture with a fresh approach to recordings from what he calls “the golden age of popular music.” Over the course of his career, he has stepped away from the constraints of typical DJ culture to have fun with a nightly museum of the most immediate “maximum rock and soul” recordings ever made, bringing a variety of cultures and subcultures together to get down to “the best music you’ve never heard.”
Jonathan Toubin Upcoming Appearances:
New York Night Train’s Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down takes place virtually every Friday night at NYC’s Home Sweet Home. See http://homesweethomebar.com for Home Sweet Home calendar.
May 16 Manhattan, NY Webster Hall - With Ty Segall, White Fence, The Strange Boys, The Men
June 2 Cleveland, OH Beachland Tavern - Soul Clap & Dance-Off
June 9 Brooklyn, NY Glasslands Gallery - Soul Clap & Dance-Off
June 16 Toronto, ONT - NXNE Festival
June 17 Edmonton, ALB New City
June 19—21 Calgary, ALB - Sled Island Festival
June 23 Portland, MN Space Gallery - Soul Clap & Dance-Off
June 30 Pittsburgh, PA Brillo Box - Soul Clap & Dance-Off
July 7 New York NY Lincoln Center - Midsummer Night Swing
July 21 Brooklyn, NY Glasslands Gallery - Soul Clap & Dance-Off
August 4 Austin, TX Red 7 - Soul Clap & Dance-Off
August 18 Kingston, NY BSP - Soul Clap and Dance-Off
August 25 Montreal, QUE Divan Orange - Soul Clap and Dance-Off
September 7 Portland, OR Musicfest NW
September 9 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall - Soul Clap and Dance-Off With DJ Primo
September 23 Asbury Park, NJ - All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival With Thee Oh Sees
A former musician, academic, and writer, Jonathan Toubin is best known as an internationally touring 45s DJ and as the proprietor of New York Night Train, a music production, promotion, and recording company. In five years he has gone culturally and commercially where no other rock and soul DJ has gone before, packing rooms beyond capacity worldwide deejaying, promoting, and producing parties like the Soul Clap and Dance-Off (all soul 45s and a dance contest), Shakin’ All Over Under Sideways Down (raw maximum rock & soul), New York Night Train Happening (underground multimedia spectacle), Polyglot Discotheque (exclusively foreign language freakbeat and psych 45s, dancers, and visuals), Boogie Night (minimalist blues dance party), and now Land of 1000 Dances (60s dance craze party/class). He also does residencies everywhere from boutique hotels like the Ace to infamous dives like Motor City Bar.
Toubin has managed to keep one boot in the counter-culture from which he emerged (punk bars, DIY basements, loft parties, art galleries, music venues, and shady afterhours spots) while crossing over to dance clubs, prestigious festivals, boutique hotels, museums, colleges, fashion parties, gay events, arena pop/rock shows and even raves. Aside from dreaming up the concepts behind his various acclaimed spectacles, he also handles virtually all of the promotion for his enterprise, including up to five fliers a week that are themselves works of art.
Along the way, Toubin has shared the DJ booth with the likes of Kool Herc (who is credited with founding Hip Hop), David Johansen (New York Dolls), Genesis P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle), James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem), Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Ian Svenonius (Chain and the Gang, Nation of Ulysses, Make Up) Kid Congo Powers, Simeon Coxe (Silver Apples), Andy Rourke (The Smiths) Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance), Dale Crover (The Melvins), Devendra Banhardt, Gabriel Roth (Dap-Tone Records, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings), House of House (DFA), Jared Swiley (Black Lips), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys etc), Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion, etc), Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio), Moses Archuleta (Deerhunter), Mr. Fine Wine (WFMU’s Downtown Soulville), Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Paul Ryder (The Happy Mondays) and The Shins.
New York Night Train parties have featured performances by…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead (2-piece hardcore lineup), A.R.E. Weapons, Andrew WK, Calvin Johnson, Chain and the Gang, Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, Excepter, Grass Widow, HEALTH, James Chance, Jim Jones Review, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkeybirds, King Khan and the BBQ, King Khan and the Shrines, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, The Slits, Suckers, Surfer Blood, Talk Normal, Vietnam, Vockah Redu, and others.
Toubin has also DJ’d at shows by artists as diverse as Black Dice, Black Keys, Black Lips, and Black Mountain and Erykah Badu, Mission of Burma, MGMT, Odd Future, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Katy Red, Dinosaur Jr., Spank Rock, and Les Savy Fav. He recently followed Kool Herc at All Tomorrow’s Parties and has appeared at other festivals including SXSW and Ponderosa Stomp.
Soul Clap juries have included a staggering range of individuals: Satanic Priestess Karla LaVey, Green Party vice-presidential candidate Matt Gonzalez and musicians like Mike Watt, MGMT leader Andrew Van Wyngarden, Royal Trucks’ Jennifer Herrima, Jello Biafra, the Avengers’ Penelope Houston, and Monotonix’ Yonatan (who has judged in three countries), Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Nick Zinner, etc.
Photo credit: Eleanor Logan