Bars & Nightlife: Pulling the plug on Too Much Love

  • Article by: MICHAEL RIETMULDER , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 30, 2014 - 4:08 PM

After making it a top dance night, DJ Sovietpanda spikes the Love and gets ready for Real Fun.

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DJ Sovietpanda worked the sound equipment during a Too Much Love dance party at First Avenue in July 2009.

Photo: Star Tribune file,

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In 2006, Peter Lansky’s DJ résumé was shorter than Paris Hilton’s. With just a single club gig under his belt, the aspiring party thrower launched Too Much Love, which would become one of the Twin Cities’ most popular dance nights of the past decade.

“If you ask the DJs I played with the first week, they will tell you all of the terrible technical mistakes I made,” said Lansky, nursing a Bloody Mary during an interview at Liquor Lyle’s. “But the room didn’t really care,” he added with a laugh.

At first, “the room” was First Avenue’s 250-capacity Record Room. Within six months, Lansky’s indie-dance-inspired party got the call-up to the fabled club’s much bigger main room, where it ran weekly until late 2012 when it returned to its Record Room roots.

It was an impressive run for Lansky, his party and his brand of music, which he says would not have sustained weekly parties in big markets such as New York or Chicago. “So, it’s very weird, and it shouldn’t have worked,” said Lansky, better known as Sovietpanda. “We tricked people for a long time.”

After pulling the electro wool over partiers’ eyes for more than seven years, Lansky is retiring the parties (and his pseudonym) with a farewell bash Saturday. In its place the 28-year-old, henceforth known as TML, is launching Real Fun — a new party co-helmed by James Frickle of Wak Lyf, a DJ crew that just ended a two-year run at Kitty Cat Klub in Dinkytown. “Since I’ve done all of it on my own so long, it’s definitely time for me to change it up and go crazy,” Lansky said.

Lansky and Frickle, former roomies, decided to team up. Real Fun, which kicks off next Saturday in the Record Room, looks to find the common ground between the disco/house/techno hybrid TML evolved into over the years, and Wak Lyf’s anything-goes format.

“We got away with doing a lot of stuff,” said Frickle, aka Jim Frick, sitting across from Lansky with a set of Budweisers. “You can’t necessarily go to a party where you’ll hear Enya and then something that came out the other day on some crazy techno label or something. That was super cool. I want to be able to do that with the new thing with Pete. Maybe not necessarily Enya.”

Continuing in the TML tradition, Real Fun looks to avoid being pigeonholed as simply a house or techno night. Lansky said he will spin “interesting club music.” Like many astute DJs, Lansky and Frickle aim to walk the line between accessible and esoteric — balancing crowd-pleasers with adventurous but not-too-challenging tracks.

The 18-plus, almost-weekly party runs the first three Saturdays of each month and will also incorporate visual and design elements. “We’re kind of going for sinister party,” Lansky said. “Those nights where you’ll be like, ‘That was super fun, but that was kind of dark [laughs].”

Frickle jests that Lansky plans to go out spinning shirtless while getting the TML logo tattooed on his chest (oh, live webcasted too). The ex-party panda has less audacious or flat-out odd plans for TML’s finale, saying he will man the decks all night, playing four hours of music “the night has memories for.”

Aside from local college kids and house heads, count James Murphy, of LCD Soundsystem and DFA Records fame, among those saddened by TML’s sunset. Lansky and Murphy met after Lansky started a DFA message board in high school. Lansky brought the dance-punk star to TML twice, nights that live in First Avenue infamy. In fact, Too Much Love was partially named after an LCD song.

A recent post to LCD Soundsystem’s Facebook page (presumably by Murphy) praised Lansky and his dance night. “It was such a beautiful party and I was very proud to play it more than once,” it read. “Sad that it’s ending, but things always change and move and end, and we have to look forward to whatever is next.”

What’s next is Real Fun, and its founders’ goals are pretty simple.

“We just want to have a rad party,” Frickle said matter-of-factly. “That’s pretty much the extent of it.”

A cause as noble as any.

 

Michael Rietmulder writes about bars, beer and nightlife.

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