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Raving fans

A decade later, DJs get re-acquainted with Re-Unite

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In 10 years, little has changed within rave culture, though its prevalence has diminished considerably. But for just one night, dust off your biggest, baggiest pair of pants, dig up a miniature backpack and liberate your Peace, Love, Unity, Respect (P.L.U.R.) pony-bead bracelets from the dusty cardboard box in the garage. On December 6, Re-Unite at Studio 54 Afterhours will bring back together a group of DJs and fans from the underground dance music scene in Las Vegas for a raver reunion, 1990s style.

In August of 1998, "Unite" was held in what used to be the North Las Vegas desert (now a maze of tract homes). A group of club and rave DJs hauled generators and speakers to the middle of nowhere, and inexpensive Kinko's fliers instructed attendees to bring good vibes and glowsticks to the free party.

"What's funny is when this party happened, I was just a raver. I wasn't even a DJ," says Chad Stolarick, AKA FunkyBadChad (who used to spin under the moniker Twilight and can frequently be see at Godskitchen). "I just evolved into a DJ and this happened to be a big party from back in my time." DJ Rion (formally Romio) spun at the event and estimates a thousand people showed up, as did a million crickets who apparently liked techno and proceeded to cover the speakers. "We even had a police helicopter fly over the whole party, shine a spotlight on the entire crowd and I just remember everyone flipping off the police helicopter," Rion says.

"The party went until the sun came up, which was pretty rare for those times," says Joel Roberts, AKA Buddy, who deejayed at and helped organize the original event. "It was pretty much every DJ in town on the lineup," says DJ Eric Forbes, who also played at Unite and is now a resident at Studio 54 and Tabu. "It was kind of some of the first culture of that scene. A lot of us that were DJs out here came from big cities," Forbes says. "[Unite] was kind of the first start of some more underground music and underground parties in Las Vegas away from the Strip."

Re-Unite came about when Rion recently moved back to Las Vegas from Arizona. Reminiscing with Stolarick over drinks, they decided to see if it would be possible to stage a reunion of Unite's DJs and ravers. After just a few phone calls and MySpace messages, Re-Unite was in the works. "We're going to bring in the crowd that used to run with us back around that time up until early 2003," says Stolarick. "It could be a lot of the Club Utopia crowd also."

"The majority of the DJs from Unite and the underground party scene are still active in the realm of electronic music, many currently residents or regulars at clubs in Vegas," says Roberts. For Re-Unite, Stolarick, Roberts, Forbes, and Rion will be joined by OB-One (resident DJ at Moon and The Playboy Club), John Michael (remember Liquid 303 Records?), DJ Shoe (Little Buddha and Mix Lounge), Duane King and Robert Oleysyck, who still spins guest spots all over Vegas. Each DJ will spin about a 30-to 45-minute set. "I'm going to dig through some of my old records and bring out some of those beats," says Oleysyck, who plans to spin vinyl as much as possible for the night. Other DJs will gear their sets toward exposing attendees to as many new underground tracks as possible, while some intend to blend a combination of old and new.

"Ten years ago, there was a lot of politics involved in the electronic/underground scene and the DJs during that time," Rion says and cites many DJs were competing for status. But for one night in 1998, differences were set aside. "Ten years later, all these DJs are still around, still playing and still open to the idea of playing such a short set just to make this party happen," says Roberts. "For one night, we were able to just put [our issues] aside, go up there and play and do our thing and put on a good event for people. I'm thinking that it's really cool that these same guys are still willing to do that." Unlike the clothes we used to wear, it looks like a little P.L.U.R. never goes out of style.

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