Show and Chantelle

Chantelle Hylton is leaving Portland, and few people probably know what a significant role she has played in the lives of DJ Anjali and The Incredible Kid. Besides being a wonderful person, and a great friend, Chantelle has done so much to help us get to where we are today. In the Fall of 2000 The Incredible Kid played his first club gig at Satyricon on Halloween Night. However, the first time The Incredible Kid and DJ Anjali shared a club stage together was New Years Eve 2000 at the Medicine Hat Gallery, where Chantelle was the booking agent at the time. In 2000 Caleb Peregrine and the Kid had been throwing some wild and out of control dance parties at the Borthwick Manor. (How often do both the police and the fire department show up at a party at the same time, in response to reports of witchcraft and devil worship accompanied by open flame? Really, we were just recreating the French Revolution complete with a working guillotine and a mob of cursing French peasants in our back yard. –Technically this Bastille Day party was in 2001, but it gives you an idea of the sort of craziness we were getting into.) We were really eager to throw a New Years Eve party, but we needed a larger venue than our much-abused home.

One night in late December Caleb was seeing a show at the Medicine Hat and saw his old friend Chantelle. He talked to her and found out that she was working as the Medicine Hat booking agent, and there was a last-minute opening for New Year’s Eve. Chantelle reserved the space for us to take over on New Year’s Eve. The Kid knew he wanted to feature Anjali in the DJ lineup for the New Year’s Eve show. The Kid introduced Anjali to DJing in the Winter of 2000, and was impressed by her eclecticism (which rarely overlapped with his own), and the bhangra and Bollywood tracks in her bins, which were a revelation. A lot of last-minute planning and promotion went into that New Year’s show. It almost didn’t happen. The then-owner of the Medicine Hat was one of the higgest assholes I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with in this business. He threatened to shut down the night before it had even begun, because he decided at the last minute that he would only open the doors to the public if we raised the cover charge from what we had advertised. It was only through Chantelle’s skillful negotiation and willingness to give up her own fee that things went ahead as scheduled. Despite the unbelievably craptacular sound system, and the eagerness of the security to throw people out for nudity and flagrant drug use, the Medicine Hat show was a raging success. Those of you who were there will remember the scaffolding and black plastic recreation of the 2001 monument, and the staggered black and white balloon drop at midnight.

After this night Chantelle kept the Kid in mind, and when she started booking the Blackbird, I was brought in for several events. One was a group DJ night that Chantelle thought would be perfect for the Kid. Eventually she turned the night over to me entirely, and I invited Anjali to share what would become a six-month residency at the Blackbird. During that time Chantelle worked hard to bring some attention to the night, and eventually got Zach Dundas, the music editor at the Willamette Week in those days, to come check out a show. He wrote us up, but unfortunately by the time the article came out, the Blackbird had decided that DJ nights weren’t working for them, and bands were the way to go. The article brought us so much attention at our next residency, the Kalga Cafe, that one has to wonder what would have happened had the article dropped when we were still playing the Blackbird. At the time Lola’s Room was having great success with DJ Gregarious’ Friday nights, but had had a hard time establishing something successful on Saturday night. Chantelle highly recommended me to Lola’s booker, Jimi Biron, and the night was all set to go, when Jimi decided to instead go with a hip-hop promotions company at the last minute. That hip-hop night failed after not too long. So, after the article came out, I contacted Jimi again, to see about doing a one-off bhangra event at Lola’s Room. He was intrigued by the article, and decided to go for it. It was a smashing success, with 300 people through the doors our first night. After another equally successful party at Lola’s room, we chose to move to the Fez Ballroom, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Over the years Chantelle has always thought of us, and provided us with wonderfully unique opportunities. While she was booking at Berbati’s she brought us in for our six-month Rocket Rickshaw residency. We were able to host the first John Peel Day show there, the year following his death. Chantelle provided DJ Blackmarks and myself with our Ghetturista residency at Berbati’s. She also booked DJ Anjali and I to open up for Digable Planets for their reunion tour. –A great show!– Through her graciousness and thoughtfulness, the Kid even got a chance to perform under the big tent for the Cirque de Soleil opening night after party. (If only I had brought more Madonna for the fourteen-year-old Russian ballerinas.) The day we found out that Berbati’s had decided to let Chantelle go, we were scheduled to perform at Rocket Rickshaw that night. We called and cancelled our weekly on the spot, out of solidarity.

Since then our professional lives have not crossed very much, but now that she is leaving Portland to book the Knitting Factory in New York City, she has shown just how much she has not forgotten us over the years. In the next months we will be starting our new first Saturday monthly at the Knitting Factory. Chantelle, you have always been such a sweetheart. Thank you for all you have done for us over the years, and we look forward to seeing you in NYC.


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