Touring the United States for the first time is a special treat for any electronic music act, but particularly fitting for Bristol’s Waifs & Strays, whose influences are rooted in the birthplaces of house music, arguably Chicago and New York. We followed their recent, well-received three-city tour, discovering plenty of laughs, a headache or two and the always soothing effects of a great party.
Landing in Miami for last Thursday night’s headlining slot at the beloved Electric Pickle, Waifs & Strays brought a heaping portion of old-school house music to the table. Their notoriety and well-deserved acclaim stemming from several quality, recent productions for Hot Creations, Futureboogie and Leftroom. Along with a number of solid mixes/podcasts, they have defined a sound that is best described as house music reminiscent of the early days of the genre with a fresh twist.
The whirlwind mini-tour landed in New York City the next night, Friday, at Le Bain--often regarded as one of the best NY clubs for quality electronic music. With floor-to-ceiling views of downtown Manhattan as a backdrop and a Funktion One soundsystem, it’s easy for even the most jaded of club veterans to appreciate.
Waifs & Strays recent momentum clearly resonated with the New York event, where a full house and eager crowd frolicked until the lights came on. Hosted by NY’s Bespoke, the evening progressed smoothly from opening talent and Bespoke resident Rami Deejay’s deep house warmth into Waifs & Strays refreshing old-school house funk.
Following a late night in New York, the only thing that made sense was to follow the party to Chicago for the Saturday evening stop on this mini-tour. We encountered a memorable, special evening, hosted by Chicago’s MiM, featuring Waifs & Strays, Rami Deejay and Dan Bain at a unique venue... Gold Star Sardine Bar. Closed since 1997, it was reopened for this and future Sardine Club members-only events. It’s a sultry, swanky cabaret with a long music history that has, in years past, played host to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, Tony Bennett and Dean Martin. When much that relates to EDM and club events is about bigger, louder and stronger, it was welcome and refreshing to hear quality house music in an intimate space that’s everything but.