The Beatdown

As far as crazy parties go, I've seen my fair share of glowsticks, but in the summer of '99, I found myself on the side of a mountain outside Los Angeles, where I was one of 15,000 people witnessing one of the greatest sets of music ever. Sure, a few events etched the scene into my slightly mushy memory banks--the girl that OD'd on GHB next to me, the hitchhiking to and from the show, the near-death experience with a head-on car wreck down the winding mountain road--but mostly, I remember Derrick Carter. His seamless five-minute mixes and incredible programming powers turned the mountain into a sonic Vesuvius; even better, he did it all with the effortless ease one might expect from someone making a bologna sandwich. It was the kind of show that made me want to see him again and again (only without hitchhiking the next time), and a few years later, when he played at the former Red Jacket, Carter dropped a remix of Carl Thomas' "I Wish." It was the kind of remix that made me salivate--I had to know who did the rework. I looked down at the turntables mid-song and realized Carter was pulling off that remix on the fly, synching the original track with a blank white label platter. As if to rub in the talent, he spotted me looking and shot me an "it ain't no thang" look, only to thumb through his record bag for his next crowd killer. Ain't no mountain high enough, is there, Carter?


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