The first time I encountered the growing buzz surrounding the new party situation known simply as VAULT – a new monthly event at Middlesex Lounge (315 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA) focused on presenting good, solid dance music with deep, dark flavor – was back in the month of June. On this night, 320 Entertainment was presenting a brand-new party vibe of its own: the futuristic feast of house, techno and bodypaint we call KNTRL. If you were there, all y’all remember what an insanely dope evening that grand opening party was. If you weren’t, you read about it in these very pages, and then fronted to your squad like you were there.
Well, that said, amid the supersexy flow of good vibes that evening at ZuZu, who would walk in but a Boston area legend: my brotha, DJ Bob Diesel. A man who came to Boston from New York way back in 1987 to set the night on fire via the 1s & 2s, Bob has since traveled the world over doing what he loves to do more than anything in life. His reputation as a Boston nightlife icon is well-earned, and if he starts telling you “Hey, you should really check out this new party,” well family, you best hear his words and take heed. He was joined on this night by she who is the architect of the VAULT party experience, herself a genius of the wheels of steel and one of the most creative people I know in our scene: she is known in these here parts as Byoosik. Together, Byoosik and Bob came armed with fliers advertising this new VAULT party. I was way too immersed in overseeing the launch of KNTRL to completely focus on my encounter with Byoosik and brother Bob, but I made certain to tuck away the flyer (which, now that I think about it, may have actually been a business card) and further examine what this was all about.
Really, in order to describe the essence of VAULT, there are no words I can weave together here that will do it justice. This is a party that exists on a level unto itself, and really, there isn’t a better way to present what it’s all about than to look to VAULT’s official social media pages. According to their Facebook description, the VAULT “manifesto” is as follows:
“This is the sound of Berlin. Heavy bass lines and throbbing rhythms undulating under dark, yet playful, melo…dic details.
Amidst a newly reunified city, a vault was unearthed. A sound emerged from this space: Dark. Dirty. Raw.
Our goal is to bring that vibe here to Boston.
We will showcase local, regional, and international acts who fit this vibe, focusing not only on DJ sets, but live performance as well. We are not bounded by genre. This is exceptional dance music. This is a journey.
Pure and simple.
Immersed in sound and minimal lighting, you are free to simply be yourself. Leave judgement behind. Lose your mind to the music.”
Facts only, family: Byoosik has come up with a winning recipe here. The grand opening on July 7, featuring Byoosik and Shuave joined by special guest Omdose, saw Middlesex Lounge packed out in a way not seen since the peak of DISCO-NNECTION’s Middlesex residency. Sadly, your boy Mr. Golden missed this one, and yes, I still have the blacks and blues on my legs from kicking myself to prove it. With the obvious exception of KNTRL, there have not been many dance music parties that have really captured my attention and imagination in recent times. The prospect of entering the VAULT, however, truly tantalized me. Byoosik did a super rad job of getting me excited for this. Especially when I found out the sophomore edition – which took place this past Tuesday at Middlesex – was going to present what she referred to as “Deep. Dark. Diesel.”
Yessir: my dude Bob Diesel was getting behind the decks at Middlesex to drop a set unlike any other he had shown us before. As the one & only “Nature Boy” Ric Flair used to say: “NOW we’re goin’ to school!” Can y’all give me a “WHOOOOOO!!!” for this?
Okay. So now, the date of August 11 was set in stone in the Golden planner. No lie, this had me legit excited. So much, I invited Mr. Diesel to be a guest for an interview – and for a live mini-set – on 320 Entertainment’s Monday Night GOLD the week before, to give our listeners a taste of what the VAULT was all about. This was not Bob’s first foray into the studio with me for a radio interview – and in turn, I have also appeared on Bob’s WZBC radio show Progressive Black – but this one would be something truly special. To have Mr. Diesel in our studio doing what he loves – setting the decks ablaze with energetic house beats with an unmistakable vibe all his own – was a moment that reminded me why I love this industry so much. Mixmasters like Bob Diesel, DJ Bruno, Hectik, Frank White, Bianca Oblivion, Glowkids, Byoosik, Spindrift, Daz-One and others represent the core of what makes Boston nightlife truly great. They are, like the old V66 used to be out here, “the beat of Boston.” To have Bob dropping some serious fire for us on Monday Night GOLD was a helluva great honor. Yet this was just the appetizer for what would be a monumental main course straight outta Berlin, coming eight days later.
When you walk into Middlesex on a night the VAULT squad is in the building, the first thing you notice is its overwhelming promotional presence. Truly after my own heart, this team presents itself in a larger than life manner that other promoters could learn a few things from: the VAULT logo looms large in the front windows at Middlesex, and its message touting the guest DJ of the month looms just as large. Upon entering Middlesex, you immediately encounter such unique visuals as an illuminated hand-built mini-satellite courtesy of Byoosik, and for the on-screen visuals, you will see piles and piles of 3D glasses waiting for you. Yupp, 3D glasses. Not since my fifth KISS concert in 1998 – the game-changing Psycho Circus tour – have I f***ed with any kind of a live 3D presentation. Yet, here we were at VAULT, and here we were, f***ing with 3D all over again. Okay. Now I am getting beyond amped for this.
From Byoosik’s opening set, the musical mood and tone was set for the night. It was a sample of the dark, ominous dance vibes that would cast a shadow over us all at Middlesex. As I listened in a corner joined by my darling homegirl Mariah (seen to my right in the featured headline image), I found myself entranced by what Byoosik was presenting on the decks. This was a sound I just wasn’t hearing anywhere else, with a setting that was totally unique from anything else we have happening out here right now. I was truly impressed with what Byoosik had created and presented to us. Yet all I could think about was, “Lawd…I wonder what Bob is planning to do with this.”
What he did was take us on a trip to Berlin.
Ladies and fellas, this man went IN. Bob Diesel was a man on a mission this past Tuesday, and he had the city of Cambridge going all the way up. This was a totally different side of Bob Diesel; we are so accustomed to the kind of uplifting house sounds he drops for us, that we never could have imagined he had something this dark, this ground-shaking, in his heart and soul. Yet, here we were, experiencing something historic. This was Bob Diesel at his dirtiest, his heaviest, the most raw sounding set I had ever heard him put together. The shared feeling in that room was one of euphoria. I was floored. Hell, we were all floored, just gobsmacked by what was being unleashed on us. Bob Diesel, a man who is a friend and colleague, who has worked clubs across the globe – a man I have had the honor of spinning alongside with in the past – was turning in one of the strongest sets of his long, storied career, and here we were experiencing it. This was the kind of night you talk about with your squad for years to come.
The next VAULT party – set for September 8 – features another one of Boston’s finest, John Barera, on deck. You already know Mr. Golden will be in the building for this one. For me, VAULT has succeeded at doing something few parties have done in recent memory: it has turned me into a regular. Indeed, I plan to be present for VAULT on a monthly basis going forward. This is thanks to Byoosik for bringing this one of a kind concept to life, to Bob Diesel for leaving everything he had in that DJ booth, and to the wonderful new family I met this past Tuesday – Fallon (she of the Daily Toast), Julie, Erica, I see all y’all. Parties like VAULT are what remind me why the 617’s nightlife scene is as dope as it is. The sounds of Berlin, tagged up with the vibes of Boston: this is something you guys need to live for yourselves. Facts only: once you enter the VAULT, you will totally want to move in.