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Cover 07/03/2013

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

Photo: , License: N/A

Eddie Pappa aka DJ Icey

Photo: Photo by @kimballcollins, License: N/A

Photo by @kimballcollins


CLIFF T: [EDM is] so big now because of the previous generation setting the groundwork, just as the previous generation did with disco and early electronic acts like Kraftwerk, New Order and Depeche Mode.

Q-BURNS: I think people talk about Florida as a whole in the ’90s electronic scene more than Orlando gets pinpointed. Orlando indeed was an epicenter, but it seems to me much of the memory of that, in terms of national awareness, has been washed away.

DJ THREE: Orlando was a game-changer on so many levels. So many records that were shelved at an A&R desk – like the Hardfloor remix of “Blue Monday” – ended up getting pressed because of Florida dance floor moments (with credit to Sasha’s power as well).

CANNALTE: I’d like to think that, hopefully, one day people will also realize that, back at the tail end of the ’80s and blazing into the ’90s, there was this little movement of dance music that happened here that was mirroring what was going on over in Europe and around the world – something that eventually caught on nationally, but for a brief time, it could only be found here in Orlando.

CLIFF T: Electronic music doesn’t let you live in the past. A whole new generation is creating their legacy now.

DJ SANDY: To the new kids: Don’t fuck it up.

The Places

AAHZ: Unanimously cited as the mother of the movement, this seminal dance night at the Beacham Theater cultivated the late-night dance soil in the early ’80s that made the massive ’90s explosion possible. With an emphasis on the then-nascent European acid house sound, AAHZ vaulted the international DJ careers of residents Kimball Collins, Dave Cannalte and Chris Fortier. It also debuted stars like Sasha, Digweed, Cosmic Baby and Dave Seaman in Florida
before closing in 1992.

The Edge: Located at 100 W. Livingston Street (currently home to H2O Church) and open from early 1992 to the summer of 1996, the Edge started life as an alternative rock club, hosting early-career shows by the likes of Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Blur and many others. Thanks to the efforts of DJ Icey, these rock shows were complemented by after-hours dance nights, which would often kick off around midnight and go until the very early morning. Due to its large capacity, the Edge also hosted enormous raves on holiday weekends that would often draw thousands of attendees.

Club Firestone: Located at 578 N. Orange Ave., the club now known as Firestone Live opened in 1993 and went on to carry the big prime-time torch lit by the Edge with budget and flair, further cementing Orlando’s party credentials and earning national recognition by the likes of Rolling Stone and Billboard. Occasionally hosting concerts, the club’s heart and identity has always centered on dance music and continues to bring in DJs and acts of international profile.

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