Rock and soul connoisseur, curator and partymaker: Deejay Jonathan Toubin’s Soul Claps at BSP are the stuff of legend. As you dance, be prepared to make notes about records you will need to check out in the future. The subject of features in Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Pitchfork and more, Jonathan Toubin brings Soul Clap VII to BSP on Saturday, February 3. The new all-star primal rock trio the Young Skulls performs as well. The show begins at 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10. There will be $100 cash prize for the Dance-Off, courtesy of Jack’s Rhythms in New Paltz.
Toubin’s Soul Clap and Dance-Off had its humble origins in Brooklyn’s underground art and music scene when he began spinning his already-massive collection of soul records, culled from years of crate-digging and online auctions. The inclusion of a dance contest laid the foundation, though the music is never the same.
“This is a soul party, so basically it’ll be all these weird ’60s unsung soul 45s that I find and play for people,” Toubin said. “I get bored with stuff I’ve been doing for a while, or I revisit things I haven’t done in a few years. Usually I come up and play records for around an hour or so, and then we stop the music and have these judges come on the stage and we have this dance contest. It usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes. And then I play records again. Basically, it’s a big dance party with an intermission in the middle that’s a dance contest.”
Just to clarify, because soul music covers a lot of ground: This isn’t smooth soul like Motown or disco; think Stax, but even grittier, with most of the records lost sounds of small labels from the Golden Age of soul. “It might be obscure soul music and late-period R & B, but real exciting: dramatic, with a big beat and a lot of screaming,” said Toubin. “A lot more guitar-oriented, and less of the Motown-type influence. I guess the one thing they have in common is that they were all probably recorded without the means they had in the bigger studios, so in that respect they sort of made the records more elegant. I guess a good example would be Elvis [Presley]. Everyone always says the Sun Records releases were so good, and then he went to the major label and it had all the backing vocals and it was kind of cheesy-sounding. But with Sun Records, it was partially their setup. They couldn’t really afford to put the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on there, you know? A lot of it sounds more contemporary because it doesn’t have that stuff; it’s big drumbeats.”
But while Toubin is a record-collector’s collector, he said that a Soul Clap and Dance-Off is a success when the crowd doesn’t actually consider where the records came from. “I hope they don’t think about it, to be honest with you,” Toubin said. “I want it to be the best, most exciting and unique stuff they’ve ever heard, so they get lost in it.”
To sample Toubin’s deejay artistry, visit https://soundcloud.com/nynt/soulclap3. For more information on this Saturday’s Soul Clap, visit www.bspkingston.com. BSP is located at 323 Wall Street in Kingston.