Farewell to FUZZ
Tonight marks the end of an era for a group of dedicated individuals who’ve helped to shape the current, very vibrant state of the underground dance music scene here in Pittsburgh. By now, you’re probably well aware that FUZZ, one of the longest-running DNB weeklies (without changing venues) in the US, is ending its 14-year run tonight at the BBT with a farewell mashup bash featuring former residents. Whether you were a regular attendee, occasional DNB listener or the genre is not quite your thing, it’s important to pay your respect to this long-standing institution. This wasn’t just another club night whose memories will fade away with its absence on the calendar. And so, we’re here to tell you why you should care.
A Brief History
According to their website, Pittsburgh’s strong history of UK breakbeat music began to catch on in the early nineties, with the arrival of jungle as it began to solidify itself later that decade during the heydays of the Steel City Jungle night at Club 168 and Laga from 95-98. A void of sorts was left in the scene after this party ended, and so, a new night called “Balance” that began at the Oakland Beehive and now-defunct Zythos/Z-Lounge, eventually became what is now known as 412DNB. Beginning as FUZE and rebranded into FUZZ in 2004, while seeing folks come and go along the way, this group had finally found its footing – “a dedication to Drum & Bass on a solid soundsystem, top notch locals and high caliber guests for a reasonable cover.” And this, friends, is what FUZZ was all about.
What Makes It Unique?
Quite a few things, actually. One of the reasons consistently touted by the crew is the fact that none of them have ever profited from throwing these events, an admirable feat in a highly competitive scene. John States (DJ Ra) claims, “Any money we took at the door or from merch went right back into the night.” Additionally, all of FUZZ’s resident DJs did not take any money, and any local DJ who played did so for free. “Not once was that an issue,” says Todd Keebler (absolut AKA Keebs). They also pride themselves on bringing in sound every week. Geoff Maddock (Cutups) states, “Until the past five years or so, no venues really had sound that would rival what was brought in every week due to their obsessive need to hear the tunes as they were intended.” Now that’s devotion.
When asked about some of their favorite FUZZ memories, a lot of random moments came to mind.
“One that stands out to me is DJ SS (one of the godfathers of drum n bass and still a heavyweight in the scene) riding to the BBT in my car with the window rolled down slightly because he thought he was going to have to puke…. then getting to the BBT, sucking it up and tearing the place a new one. Super dedicated guy.” -absolut AKA Keebs
Keebs and Cutups have also managed to compile a list of very random memories that helped to make the BBT so special, most of which include pierogies. “The polish sausage/two pierogies (dick and two balls) pinata we made for the four-year anniversary; free hot wings and fries for years; free pool in the basement back in the day; the addition of the smoking porch; the bear and Indian on stage; Carl’s “Polish Pizza” (burger buns with marinara, cheese and pepperoni) that he makes a couple trays of randomly and gives out for free; the time the BBT burnt down; the picture of the girl holding a picture of the pope and the actual picture of the pope hanging on the opposite wall; the pierogie eating contest;” And many more, we’re sure.
Their sense of camaraderie and reputation for throwing killer events with top-notch sound will carry over to their next endeavor a block away at Brillobox. This brand new night will host its first edition February 20, and we’ll be sure to hit you with all the details of that when they’re announced.
For now, let’s close on this comment from Darby Hoffman (DJ SubQ). “As a crew planning events, I’d say that we are always looking to the future musically, which is why I love drum and bass so much. In my opinion, it’s the one of the only forms of music that can assimilate all other music and create something fresh and new. I think Fabio (the DJ, that is) said something very similar 20 years ago, and I believe that it holds true today.”
We’ll see all of you tonight at the BBT. 9PM. $5.