"It's totally a history lesson," says DJ superDimensional, dressed today as Tony Bacchiocchi, a customer at a local record store in search of vinyl. He looks more like the associate art director at Kodak who pays his bills than one-half of Rochester's Framers of Funk, Superduty. Describing Superduty's upcoming show (October 25, at The Bug Jar), he says "You're gonna hear some really old soul from the '60s, then something from the '70s that covered it, then something from the '80s that flipped it, then something from the '90s that sampled it."
Don't worry --- you won't need to take notes at Superduty's gig. Just bring the dance floor's most valuable asset: your ass.
For three years now, Superduty has been holing itself up at The Bug Jar, Rochester's own little CBGB's. And once a month, Superduty's residency proves to be the hottest dance night in Roc-City. This past September, superDimensional and Superduty's other half, New York City resident DJ Ross --- joined by a Mardi Gras-size infestation of partiers ---celebrated their three years inside the Jar with champagne, breakdancing, and the collage of trunk-rattling boom that's earned them their notoriety.
While lights zig-zag and people get their schmoove on, superDimensional and Ross, crammed into the Yugo-sized DJ booth, look like they're waiting for a sitcom to be created based on their lives. superDimensional's like that high school senior who still had comic books, but rolled with the prom queen, anyway. He's the public face of the duo, funny and amiable, shouting for people to get on the dance floor, bobbing his head in groove. The people are digging it.
Ross, on the other hand, looks more like a mad scientist. He's a tall, lanky kid with dreds and that unmistakable air of "the coolest art student on campus." Ross introduces songs looking as if he's launching weapons, the explosions of which are the sounds of approving cheers from the crowd. Even the wallflowers sweat.
"The Superduty crowd is the best," Ross says. "It's rare in Rochester to get such a diverse group of people to come together and get down. Plus, there are so many friends in there that every time we do a show, it's like a reunion. Always a lot of love in that room --- and beer."
Superduty's appeal is due chiefly to its musical diversity: While other clubs have, say, a techno night, or a reggae night, or a new wave night, Superduty throws everything into the pot, and makes it terribly, stankily, super funky.
Ross and superDimensional alternate hour-long sets into the wee hours. You'll hear The Meters, Stevie Wonder, 3rd Bass, Freddie Scott. Notorious B.I.G. is a favorite. But people boot scoot 'n' boogyin' to the Who's "Baba O'Riley?" Believe it or not, it's happened. And then there's all that jungle and house and big beat superDimensional sneaks into the miasma during his set. All this stuff bounces around The Bug Jar's dance floor with so thick a funk bottom it begs a cholesterol count.
A few days after your booty meets Superduty, you'll be driving in your car, hear the Talking Heads' "Once In a Lifetime," and realize, "You know, that is a phat bass line."
"I think, hands down, we have the most diverse set," superDimensional says. "There are a lot of purists in town. There's so much progressive house, rap... but nobody does everything. We'll mix everything, so long as the ladies like it. We play to the women."
Superduty got its start three years ago when superDimensional, Ross, and a third pal were given the Wednesday night slot at the Big Jar.
"Within six months," superD says, "we were getting such good crowds that we got the coveted Friday night slot." From there, things just got "bigger and bigger and bigger."
Ross and superDimensional have been friends long enough not to really remember how they first met. Ross attends school in NYC, while superD makes his home here.
The weeks away from each other give them plenty of time for friendly competition. Scouring record stores in search for fresh funkage, they meet every month to become Superduty and try to one-up one another. At the third anniversary show, Ross poked the aforementioned "Baba O' Riley" into the crowd, and over the thunderous cheer superDimensional cursed Ross for beating him to the punch.
"I was going to play that," he said, mocking disgust. Ross just smiled and continued his assault.
Superduty's brand of funk is a natural aphrodisiac, and not surprisingly, the duo have had their share of adventures. "We were once asked by security to tone it down a little," superD says, laughing. "People were getting down in the corner. So, of course, the first thing we ask is, 'During whose set?' And security says, 'Ross' set.'"
"He could school my ass easily," superD continues. "It's fun to outdo each other peacefully. Sometimes he'll come running up during my set and go, 'What's that?' But Ross does research. He'll go out and spend $500 on a 45. He knows. He'll [also] find something for two bucks that's worth $500."
"I don't know about $500," Ross adds modestly, "but I first got into DJing hip hop in 1995, and I wanted to find all of the samples for the great hip-hop tracks. Before I knew it, I was really focusing on jazz and soul records. Now, I can't go into a record store without digging through the soul, jazz, Latin, rock, disco --- you name it. It's an addiction."
But superDimensional has his share of tricks up his sleeve, too. Back at the record store, he's getting ready for October's installment, looking for the soundtrack to... I won't ruin the surprise.
The October, Halloween-themed "Superspooky" show boasts guest VJs Demonic Dom and VJ the Interlacer, who'll provide "live video loops that will be in sync to the music," superD says. Costumes are expected, of course, but wearing one isn't the most important thing you can do that night.
"All you do is shake your ass," superD says. "That's the secret."
Superduty's "Superspooky" Halloween show happens Friday, October 25, at The Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Avenue, at 10 p.m. Call for cover. 454-2966.