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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 4 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 27
DJ Almond Brown hosts HARD BLOCK at The Cuff
Arts & Entertainment
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DJ Almond Brown hosts HARD BLOCK at The Cuff

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

DJ Almond Brown, one of Seattle's best known House music deejays and co-host of 'Now Being Served,' a music and news podcast that has been well received, has a new night at The Cuff and things are heating up.

'My new night is called HARD BLOCK, and it's every second Saturday at The Cuff,' said Brown. 'I really felt the need to create something that was very music focused and am trying to book local and national artists that are relevant and have musical versatility. We can't live on the circuit sound alone, and I want these DJs to be able to step outside of their usual sound. It's OK to play REAL house!'

'Going to Chicago for Frankie Knuckles birthday party really changed my perspective and I'm devoted to preserving the legacy and sound of house,' he said. 'So the night will be a continuous evolution of genres. I also felt the need to do a night that was pointed a bit more towards masculinity. You'll see that the lights are lower, we've omitted basically all pop, and it's sexy!'

'I want everyone to check it out!' said Brown.

'What's exciting is that I'm bring DJs to that room that you would usually pay upwards of $100 an event to see outside of our area,' he said. 'So it's this really intimate experience to hear these acts, and watch them do their thing. And it's breathing some life back into The Cuff.'

As a veteran DJ, Almond Brown has noticed that there is sometimes a decline in Gay men who go out to the club. And he says that matters 'because we're losing a bit of our nightlife fabric.'

'For years that was all we really had to connect, was to go out. It was the one thing that binded us,' he said. 'There was the weekend we looked forward to to see friends and feel safe and free. I think we've lost a bit of that over the years, in part to technology and frankly, complacency from our local entertainment providers.'

Almond Brown has been a DJ off and on since the 8th grade. 'I use to DJ my school dances and parties on Hilltop in Tacoma. Music is the only thing I do really well. Whether I'm writing it, performing it, it's the one thing I can say is truly built into my DNA. I may not be able to point out where, Tanzania is on the map, but I can tell you who played percussion on the Con Funk Shun Loveshine album in 1979! (Sheila E.)'

'But, I do this work because I love so many folks in this community, and I really want to be a point of reference for quality shows and productions,' he said. 'I feel like I have so much support from the core community, and I feel like it's because I've always delivered, musically, politically, and stayed a REAL MOTHER F@$#$!

Almond Brown told Seattle Gay News, 'The Cuff will always be my home.'

'I realized that profoundly during and after the shit show I went through with Q,' he said. 'When I was doing my first residency at The Cuff ('Sensorium') almost 4 years ago, I got to the point where I felt I needed to focus more on production and my musical taste was shifting a bit. Puppy has always been nothing but a sweetheart to me, and it pained me to leave, but he was gracious when I did. But I'm back! And we need The Cuff to be successful! It's one of the last venues on the Hill we got left in a rapidly changing Capitol Hill. But it's vital that they address their music programming issues and recognize the changing tastes of what I feel is a demographic being overlooked. It's not 2002, baby!'

DJ Almond brown says Seattle's Gay Nightlife is 'kinda bouncing back.'

'Seattle is on fire right now in terms of music and DJs on the 'house head' side, and I think it's starting to spill over,' he said. 'There are so many theme nights right now, and I really think that variety is what we've needed for a while now. I've certainly seen a shift out of the 100 requests for Britney Spears tracks a night, so it's definitely made my nightlife experience better! Seriously, I find myself recently running through Neighbours and R Place more and more, and I think it's because folks are just looking for more options again.'

Why should Gay men support LGBT owned/operated businesses? 'I think the reasons are obvious. Where will you go when they disappear? I want to support everybody coming out, straight or Gay. But to a degree, we need to stop pandering to 'straights' and this notion that we're evolving at such a high rate that we should just accept it. If 20 Gay guys went to a straight bar and took their shirts off, there would be a problem. And you know that! Until we're at a place where the playing field is equal regarding heterosexual privilege, we need to proceed with caution. It's been proven once here locally how easy it is to cast our community aside, so if you're patronizing any straight club, you're operating under a false sense of security.'

Some little known facts about DJ Almond Brown are, 'I used to do stand-up comedy and was on HBO's 'Funniest Man in America' waaaay back in the day! I lived in Anchorage, Alaska for almost 6 years and I have been chased by a moose.'

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