This past week has seen the 30th anniversary of the closing of one of the clubs that started it all, New York’s Paradise Garage.
On September 26 1987, nine and a half years after it opened, the doors were finally shut on a club that had acted as a beacon of light in a New York that was riddled with drugs, crime and those that were left behind by the Reaganomics juggernaut. Particularly for New York’s gay community, the club was a vestige of liberation in a widely homophobic community.
In Larry Levan, the club’s legendary resident, the Paradise Garage had the ultimate helmsman, someone who is still regarded as the ‘greatest of all time’ in the DJ world.
As fellow resident David Di Pino recalls in this great article with Red Bull Music Academy, from 2014:
“Larry was all about sound. He could care less about mixing… There were nights when he came in, he concentrated, his mixes were perfect and smooth, and there were some nights he came in and he banged everything… because the banging is what made you shock people. You were dancing ‘bah, bah, bah,’ and then suddenly you hear ‘boom’ and you went ‘arrggh.’ Larry loved the reaction.
“Larry loved to shock, and he was controlling the dance floor. He did a lot of popping and a lot of banging in [the records] and he did things that made people constantly scream. Mixing, he liked when it got intense. When you mix beautifully from one record to another, in your mix you create a third record because they blended so well together. You could do that for a while, but Larry always felt if you did that all night long it was boring. It was like a six hour record was on.”
Sadly, Levan would outlive the Paradise Garage by just five years, dying of heart failure in 1992, aged just 38.
[Kudos to BergamoStreetArmy for the upload]