When Harvey Bassett is behind the turntables, he would much rather you make eyes at your fellow party people than gaze up at the DJ booth. That kind of hero worship is unseemly, plus it mucks up the ecstatic communion he’s trying to conjure on the dance floor. And besides, he once told an interviewer that he thinks he looks like “a little old lady making pizza” up there.
That doesn’t mean DJ Harvey isn’t some kind of superhero, though. Rolling Stone once called him the Keith Richards of dance music, while Time Out recently opted for the less-cool “Forrest Gump of disco.” The point is that Harvey is one of dance music’s great journeymen — a rakish Brit who grew up playing drums in punk bands, but eventually migrated to the turntables where he would spend the subsequent decades making disco sound eternally fresh.
Today, Harvey is an underground legend whose parallel backgrounds in punk and disco explain so much about his enthusiasm, his stylishness, his endurance, his wit and, ultimately, his magnetism. He’s a bon vivant with principles — something we should all aspire to be. Just try not to stare, okay?
With Young Marco and Graham Hatke on Friday at U Street Music Hall. Show starts at 10 p.m. 202-588-1889. ustreetmusichall.com. $15.