Second-story men: Ellipsis everyone's cup of tea
Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar
Saturday, May 17
The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar is (a) bazaar in both senses of the word. It is the only eatery/café not located at ground level on the Downtown Mall.
Walk-up stairs transport you to a world where the types of tea and methods of drinking it are as diverse as the clientele who patronize the joint. You can find gourds and teacups for sale, as well as various other tea-drinking-related paraphernalia. The décor is eclectic and ethnic with hanging plants, high backed chairs, and eastern artwork all over the walls. The atmosphere is calming and the staff welcoming.
In the last few months the Twisted Branch has been host to a few musical guests as colorful as the teas on the wall behind the bar. Not long ago, I caught three West Coast underground hip-hop acts there. It was quite an odd experience seeing them perform their rapid-fire lyrics over abstract beats to a small crowd of folk comfortably relaxing on couches drinking Yerba Mate shakes...
This time around the music was transplanted from the clubs of Orlando, Florida, in the form of DJ Ellipsis and his body-rocking Two-step and UK Garage selection. The deep kicks and snapping snares of Two-step and Garage unevenly stutter underneath a low rolling bass and various blips and other computer-generated effects.
It's a sub-genre that has recently been popularized with the success of British acts The Streets and Ms. Dynamite (who's rumored to be inking a deal with Dr. Dre). At first the scene was laid back as if people were hesitant to turn the docile venue into a full-blown dance party. That sentiment was soon lost as Ellipsis– with the help of MC Waterloo– laid on a barrage of infectious beats and dub-style vocals reminiscent of the London underground. It wasn't long before people had pushed tables to the side and turned the middle of the café into a dance floor.
Ellipsis' cool demeanor behind the boards contrasted with the hard edge of the music. He carefully selected and mixed tracks with the precision of a veteran. When the evening ended, the night manager had to fight to get people to leave. Everyone wanted more drink and more music.
Word has it that Twisted Branch will play host to many more events like this one. So if you're looking to be transported from the same old everyday Charlottesville lifestyle, you may want to tune in to what's going down above the Downtown Mall.