What was so special about Fluid?
“It's not really big, it's not really beautiful, but it has a vibe unlike any other club,” says DJ Jazzy Jeff of the South Street club, set to close Saturday after 16 years in business. “People come in and lose themselves to the music. The place has an amazing sound system and you have 300, 400 people sweating it out. It's been like that from the first day to hopefully the last day.”
It's the final bow for Fluid. The club, along with downstairs restaurant The Latest Dish, will exit the stage with a Tastytreats party. DJ Jazzy Jeff and Questlove of the Roots will spin.
Tastytreats, a longtime Saturday night anchor on the Fluid schedule, moved to the club in 2002 after a short duration at Filo.
“We worked very hard over the years and we really stuck to what we were about — we didn't change,” says Tastytreats promoter Stacey “Flygrrl” Wilson. “The music, the crowd and the times change but we kept the same vibe with good music and a place where you don't have to get harassed to hear good music and have a drink.”
The eclectic nature of the hip-hop based Tastytreats party — a night where you can hear everything from current rap to classic soul to rock 'n' roll — is representative of the Fluid experience. Over the years, the club has featured everything from drum and bass to new wave, along with DJ giants like Jazzy Jeff.
It was an inclusive world on the Fluid dance floor, once you found the place. The spot doesn't exactly jump out at you.
“Friends of mine told me about a Monday night party there, The Remedy [with Cosmo Baker and Rich Medina], and I went looking for it,” says Fluid manager Oronde Gibson. “I drove up and down the street and it was wintertime so I didn't see anybody on the sidewalk and there was no sign. I said, 'Where is this place?'"
Gibson found it the next week, and eventually started working there.
“There's an ebb and flow there and it's so different from a typical club,” he says. "This club encouraged that ebb and flow, of people moving together, a mosaic coalescing.”
The Tastytreats crew is looking for a new spot, so expect some of the club's parties to go on at other venues. On Saturday, the doors will open early, at 8 p.m., and it's going to be first come, first served. Jeff will be filming the proceedings for a documentary.
“I cancelled some stuff so I can be on the East Coast,” says Jeff, who played the club about one a year. “I'm playing in L.A. the night before and I finish at 3 a.m. and I have to catch a 6 a.m. flight, but I want to get there early to soak up the day.”