Antal at Salon Des Amateurs

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  • From about 11 PM on Saturday, people walked into Salon Des Amateurs from the cold, wet Düsseldorf night and hung their coats on the vertical wooden strips that line one wall. Though the venue looked and felt perfectly normal inside, it faces an uncertain future. A water leak has infiltrated the Salon's walls and floor, causing damage that'll take weeks or months to fix. Even if the venue manages to swallow the cost of repairs, which are due to start soon, no one really knows what's going to happen next. After shutting abruptly in mid-January, the Salon successfully negotiated to reopen last weekend for two parties. Saturday's headliner was Antal, who was playing in Düsseldorf for the first time. The Rush Hour founder's style is perhaps more soulful than the music we associate with Salon residents like Tolouse Low Trax, Vladimir Ivkovic and Lena Willikens, but he has a crucial common denominator with those DJs: a broad, adventurous taste in music. Both Antal and the night's host, Teorema, kept it slow and atmospheric early on—Antal dipped into his collection of South African kwaito, while Teorema played dub records. Antal's selections proved a snug fit for the Salon. He snuck in a couple of disco classics, like Candi Staton's "When You Wake Up Tomorrow," and framed them with stranger, more obscure cuts, including a flurry of well-received Brazilian tracks. He and Teorema shared duties throughout the night, and when someone played Carlos Maria Trindade and Nuno Canavarro's "Blu Terra" at around 4 AM, my ears pricked up. I'd pegged that song as home listening fare, a solitary pleasure, but it provided a sweet, swaying dance floor moment. The atmosphere was upbeat, but the Salon's future remained a topic of conversation at the bar and in the smoking area outside. Ivkovic and another key Salon affiliate, Jan Schulte, were both in the crowd. Tolouse Low Trax, meanwhile, watched on from between the booth and the bar, cigarette in hand. Next to him was Luka Kurashvili, a barman at the Salon and a talented painter who designed the sleeve for an upcoming record on Themes For Great Cities, a local label. This is just one small example of the casual cross-pollination of art and music the Salon has fostered since it opened in 2004. It would be a huge shame if that were lost. Photo credit / Chrisa Ralli