1993.01.24 – Rave New World, Oculus, Tulsa, USA

Date: 24th January 1993
Event: Rave New World
Venue: Oculus
City: Tulsa, OK
Country: USA


Extra info:
According to DJ Scotto (visit his site: www.scotto.tv) The Prodigy decided not to play due to insufficient production value and no stage (the warehouse was very raw). Moby and Richie Hawtin still performed and Liam and the boys hung out while Liam DJ’ed.

Tulsa’s first underground rave club was Oculus, brought to life in 1992 by Mark Matthews and Snap, who was the resident DJ. Oculus stayed open less than 18 months but in that time it was THE spot to hear techno house music in Tulsa. After hours, all ages and no alcohol, Oculus was a huge warehouse downtown, and also housed the original site of Thing One Records.
This was a Sunday night show, following a big Saturday night show in Dallas (footage of that Dallas party is on YouTube thanks to Scottie). Several of us drove to Dallas and then back to Tulsa to catch both shows. This was the biggest techno/rave event in Tulsa at that time.
Prodigy refused to play since the PA was not up to their standards. Liam did spin a sick DJ set, as did Snap. Moby’s performance was amazing and he rocked the crowd. The openers were dope as well. There were several hundred heads in attendance, including the entirety of UAT Krew. Hek and Codak drove from Kansas City to be in the house, joining up with the Tulsa boys for an incredible night out.

Review by Mark Brown (TulsaWorld.com):
Event: “Rave New World” concert, featuring Prodigy, Moby, Cybersonik and F.U.S.E.
When: 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Oculus, 1st Street and Detroit Avenue
Tickets: $15 in advance at Thing 1 and Mohawk Music; $18 at the door
It isn’t at all ironic or accidental that England’s biggest club band owes a lot of its success to a public service announcement.
“Charly,” the smash dance hit by Prodigy, is also the name of a fictitious character, a British Smokey the Bear, who took to the airwaves at random, educating children of the perils of talking to strangers and not doing homework.
One of Charly’s warnings was particularly catchy. “Charly says: “Always tell your mommy before you go outside.’ ” It was meant to halt a rash of child disappearances. Liam Howlett, songwriter of Prodigy, repeatedly sampled it onto a rhythm of bass lines and drum beats to create a rave anthem.
Dance club patrons who don’t know who Prodigy is know “Charly.” Howlett was heavily into hip-hop music until the racist
attitude drove him from it. He was producing what he thought to be good dance music, and he didn’t like black people telling him that because he was white he couldn’t possibly be a hip-hop artist. “I’ve always been into music,” said Howlett from his hotel
room in rain-soaked Los Angeles, “and spent most of the last three years going to raves. To me, the club scene has always been about music more than anything else. It’s the only part of it that remains so energetic. “I was working as a graphic designer when I bought my first keyboard and started writing hard techno and dance songs. To me, it’s about writing good songs and being respected for it, not whether I’m black or white or whatever.”
In 1991, Howlett released “What Evil Lurks?” at the height of the rave movement. Rave developed out of England’s acid-house scene of the late ’80s, when Ecstasy and techno music was the prevailing recreation of British youth.
Many bands have used the term to describe their music – Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, EMF – but rave has always had its own identity, and it was based more on fashion and good vibes than on any one style of music.
“I don’t like the word rave because it’s been watered down so much,” said Howlett. “More like … dance party. The important thing is loud sound. We use this incredibly large sound system – 50,000 watts in clubs really too small to handle it.
“The rave just feeds off this loud energy. When you can feel the building start to shake and see the lights bouncing off the crowd, dancing and sweating to these big bass lines, then that’s what gets us going. We’ve seen some moody, rowdy crowds in America and that’s not what rave is about.”
Prodigy blends music with a powerful stage show – complete with dancers, a disc jockey, and Intellabeam lights. Additional DJs and three more bands make up the “Rave New World”tour, including New York’s rave sensation, Moby, of “Go” and “Next Is the E” fame.
“Our shows are incredibly energetic,” said Howlett. “We’ve got two great dancers that give this sort of mad and theatrical style to the performance. More than anything, it’s all very spontaneous and dramatic. None of the dancing is choreographed.
Leeroy and Keith just go off with the buzz of the crowd, and that’s really what Prodigy is all about, being up there doing our own thing.”
Before British rave became MTV-speak, it had its devoted following of DJs, club owners and fans who hoarded the scene’s novelty. When Prodigy produced “Charly,” clubs and radio stations quickly made it a staple on their play lists.
Then a music magazine wrote a nasty piece on how the hit was destroying rave music by bridging it with other dance and pop music. The English media are noted for not trusting native bands that become successful, and Howlett discounted the story as just another stab.
“Prodigy is one of the few rave bands to survive the media hype in spite of our success. I couldn’t believe they wrote that interview to tell people that we killed rave with that song.
“Since that story, though, they’ve gotten hundreds of letters chastising them for giving us such a bad time. Everyone involved in the rave scene knows we’re not successful for commercial sake. What’s happened is that our following – which started in a very underground atmosphere – has just grown huge while remaining relatively underground.”
Underground status may be short-lived for Prodigy. Locally, Howlett’s songs are catching on like wildfire, getting heavy play in dance clubs and selling well in record stores.
“Dance music will survive as long as it captures the emotion of the dance floor,” said Howlett. “Technology keeps giving it new definition.
“The sampler has actually made techno music. Without it there wouldn’t be the music. It isn’t just about producing other sounds, it’s about going forward. You can take a song and do anything you want with it, and I’m not talking about borrowing other people’s stuff.
“Prodigy uses bits and pieces that are out there to do a song, but there’s much more to the final product than some strange background noise or voice. I like to think of our music as a combination of techno sounds, hip-hop beats and other happy elements.”



Photos from the show:

This was when Mark Matthews and Snap brought Prodigy and Moby for one of the early raves downtown.
Photo inside the original location of Thing One, a corner of the huge warehouse venue known as Oculus. It was the first subculture store in Tulsa selling records, turntables and streetwear.
Snap was the godfather of the Tulsa scene really, the biggest influencer back in the day and regarded as THE man.
Peep Liam’s record bag, he did indeed bless the turntables with a wicked set that night, and Moby gave a full show to a crowd of several hundred.

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