Dance dance revolution
An oral history of how the Chemical Brothers, all-night raves, and a massive club scene made Orlando's EDM scene legendary
Published: July 3, 2013
COLLINS: Promoters like Stace Bass were also pivotal to the establishment of the electronic music scene by using their passion and commitment to create some unforgettable events, which included some incredible DJs and live performers including, but not limited to, Sasha, John Digweed, Tony Depart, Cosmic Baby, Young American Primitive, Joe T Vannelli and Frankie Bones, to name a few.
FORTIER: The Edge was the other Orlando big room after AAHZ. [It] opened in 1992 with Icey at the helm. This is where Icey crafted his sound and helped launch the breaks genre.
DJ ICEY: I worked at the Edge from opening in March 1992 to [closing] in June 1996, [during] which time I threw large raves at the venue three to four times a year, with our biggest always being the Memorial Day and Labor Day Sunday parties.
DJ SANDY: I started DJ’ing around Tallahassee, but heard of the scene in Orlando. I had to see it. I went to the Edge – God bless the Edge – and my life changed forever. What people do not realize is the Edge was built as an alternative club, and it was the shit. All about rock, amazing shows. DJ Icey had the chance to do some dance parties [there], and they blew up.
DJ ICEY: Before Pearl Jam blew up, they played [the Edge]. Their album was out, but radio had not picked up “Alive” yet. Geoff Gordon from Cellar Door concerts dragged me out to the back shed to see them play one night. There were 20 people back there.
REMARK: AAHZ, the Edge and Firestone were the most important, influential clubs in the scene. AAHZ because that’s where it all began, the Edge because of their massive parties, and Firestone for really putting Orlando on the map with dance music and bringing in literally every renowned DJ from around the world.
CLIFF T: They broke all the rules of what clubs were supposed to be at the time.
Q-BURNS: Phat N’ Jazzy should get a bit of credit. I’d definitely be doing a different style of music if it wasn’t for how I haunted that club night, listening to what BMF was spinning.
The Scene Blossoms
FORTIER: By 1992, things had settled. There was the start of an “industry” forming. There were a ton of people and businesses built around the music. Record stores, clothing stores, clubs, bars, people making tapes, making T-shirts, magazines and more.
DJ ICEY: The rave events I threw at the Edge were very successful for their time; however, part of the success was that we attracted people from the whole state, especially on those bank holiday weekend shows. We had Edge venues in Ft. Lauderdale and Jacksonville during various years between 1992 and 1996, so it was easy to cross-promote. Everyone we ever booked in Orlando stayed at the Travelodge downtown, as it was close to the venue and no one ever complained; the Brits all used to rave about it back then.
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