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Johnny V’s Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Clandestine Reunion, More

In Clubs, Culture
Matt Schmidt, aka DJ Das, at work behind the decks.

Matt Schmidt, aka DJ Das, at work behind the decks.

Johnny V’s celebrates 10 years of business with five straight nights of packed programming. Come Saturday, one of the most beloved parties at the club returns for a 10-year anniversary of its own. Clandestine, the still-revered former drum ‘n’ bass and hip-hop party, will bring back many of its regulars for a stacked reunion.

San Jose’s drum ‘n’ bass scene began in the late ’90s when Thad Jones and Noah Ruiz, more commonly known as DJs Hak and Siphon, created a Sunday-night party called Ghetto Junglism at the now-defunct 301 Stockton. A Wednesday-night party at Cactus Club by the Killa Subz crew followed in the early 2000s but fell when the venue closed its doors in 2002.

Around this time, Ben Daniels, known as DJ / emcee Ax!om, started the San Jose Drum ‘n’ Bass Collective, which later became Clandestine. The night began at Kleidon’s (now Myth Taverna) until its closing forced them to relocate. Luckily, someone in the collective linked Daniels with Johnny V’s owner Johnny Van Wyk, and in early 2003, Clandestine had a new home. The party soon brought international acts through the South Bay, among them New Zealand duo Concord Dawn, British producer dBridge and London-based Breakage.

Though the free night offered something unique downtown, Daniels believes Clandestine’s success really came down to its patrons. “Were weren’t the best DJs in the world,” Daniels says. “I just think it was fun. People wanted to come. … The hot bartenders didn’t hurt. … The fact that it was free didn’t hurt.”

The party hit its stride in the summer of 2004, when it started playing hip-hop upstairs. Local heroes the Bangerz were frequent collaborators. Bridging the gap, Daniels notes that Clandestine was the only local drum ‘n’ bass crew to embrace emcees, a trait that stemmed from their collective musical upbringing.

Though there are no plans to resurrect the night, Daniels does says, “This will be the litmus test to judge whether or not the people I’ve never seen will continue to support the music.” The lineup for the 10-year anniversary shows:

Feb. 20: DJ Troma, Chief Blesn, Saint Tellah and Jeff Turner; no cover before 10:30pm.
Feb. 21: Slap! featuring Jeno, Justin Hale and DJ Jaz; no cover before 10:30pm.
Feb. 22: South Bay Dub Massive featuring Rastatronics, Mercedes Jaya, Audio Dru and AZ Redsmoke; no cover before 9pm.
Feb. 23: Clandestine Reunion: Killa Subz, Method One and Treatment. Also, Yeshua and the Hightones, the Rivals and DJ Cutso at Paddy’s Pub Side; no cover, 9pm.
Feb. 24: Matinee Show with Whiskey Sunday, Talky Tina, Utter Failure and The Bucking Buckaroos, no cover, 5pm. More info.

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