Sunday, March 20, 2011

Show: Irish Party at STU

I played another show at St. Thomas University tonight. To be honest, it was one of the toughest dance floors that I've had in the past dozen or more shows.

The format was a bit different than normal. I was asked to try to play a mix of "Irish Music and Pub Music" for the first hour or two, and then move into normal club dance music for the last couple hours. I played a dance set at the same school only three weeks ago, and it was one of the best events that I've played in ages. But tonight's show was harder.

For a DJ, trying to analyze the dance floor is the hardest part of the job. No matter how much music you know, you can't just play the music that you like personally, or else you're probably not going to make a lot of people happy. And what's tougher, the music that one person enjoys is quite often NOT the music that the next person enjoys. For a DJ, the best dance floor that you'll ever get is one where everyone likes the same kind of music, and it's also a genre that you like. But no matter how talented you are, if you have a "fragmented" dance floor, you're going to be banging your head against a wall. That's how I felt tonight.

Generally, around my corner of the world, there are three main genres of music for club-goers: classic rock, hip hop, and dance music. I'll ignore indie music, which is another important category, but not one that many "club" goers listen to. The indie-loving hipsters hang out in the cool bars (by the way, I occasionally work as a bartender in one of those sort of places, and I love it - you can find the "Ducky's" photo album on my facebook page). Anyway, usually, each person on the dance floor prefers one of those three genres, then tolerates or appreciates a second of the three, and prefers to avoid (or adamantly detests) the third.

So for tonight, since it was a couple days after St. Patrick's, I assumed that I'd be playing a combination of classic rock and "east coast" music and Irish or Celtic music. And I did. It actually went over much better than I had hoped (and I enjoy playing this sort of stuff). I prolonged moving into the dance music for a bit longer than expected. At this point, I was worried, because I had moved with some pretty up-tempo east coast music (Great Big Sea) right into dance tracks that actually had a slower tempo. So for the first ten minutes of dance music, it felt (to me) like the tempo was "dragging." Mental note for all DJ's out there: if you're in a situation like this, you're far better off just dropping to a track with a really slow tempo at first, to break up the energy expectation, and then start building slowly again. I knew this lesson; I just thought I could ignore it tonight. In retrospect, I'd do it differently. But other than that slight hiccup, once the "dance music" (top40) started, the energy of the dance floor really started to pick up.

Hip hop wasn't a problem tonight. I don't mind playing hip hop at all, in fact I enjoy it at times, but tonight wasn't the right setting. Luckily, I only had three requests for hip hop tracks. By the way, "Black And Yellow" was one of those requests as usual. When I started playing that back in September, I really liked the song but had no idea that it would peak six months later, instead of within the month. But I think I was able to steer two of the three requests to top40 tracks, so not a big deal.

The only real problem was that a lot of the people who really enjoyed the east coast music didn't seem to be completely into the dance music too. The dance floor was great for a few hours, but towards the end of the night it started to die down. I'm not used to that. I'm used to having the "peak" of the dance floor be at the end of my set (when I headline at clubs), then the lights get turned on and people go home wanting more. I suspect that since I was playing at a university, with a lot of students who are approaching finals in a few weeks, they were pretty worn out (especially after the real St. Patrick's parties on Thursday night). And to be honest, I also played two tracks tonight that are extremely popular in my own university town, but which didn't go over well at all tonight. Different universities, different mindset. Live and learn.

But anyway, although it was a pretty challenging night from my own point of view, every night can't be the best show of your career. There's no question that I'd still go back to play there again, and I still enjoyed most of the night. And learning new nuances about a dance floor is something that a DJ needs to be prepared for, even after years of experience. Also, the promoter/organizer was great.

Here are track listings from tonight's show. Remember that the first part was all supposed to be classic rock and east coast, and the rest could be loosely categorized as "top 40" and "club dance music." Also, more than a dozen of the dance tracks that I played in the second half of the set were requests - some of which really surprised me. Here we go:

01. Chumbawamba - Tub Thumping.
02. Georgia Satellite - Keep Your Hands To Yourself.
03. Men Without Hats - Safety Dance.
04. Johnny Cash - Ring Of Fire.
05. Signal Hill - Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard.
06. George Thorogood - One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.
07. Nazareth - Hair Of The Dog.
08. Grand Funk Railroad - American Band.
09. Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar On Me.
10. Rick Derringer - Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo.
11. Dr. Hook - Cover Of The Rolling Stone.
12. Stampeders - Wild Eyes.
13. Steven Stills - Love The One You're With.
14. Rawlin's Cross - Long Night.
15. Derek & The Dominos - Layla.
16. Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall.
17. Ram Jam Band - Black Betty.
18. Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music White Boy.
19. Sweet - Ballroom Blitz.
20. Golden Earring - Radar Love.
21. Loverboy - Loving Every Minute.
22. Thirty-Eight Special - Back To Paradise.
23. Run DMC - Walk This Way.
24. Los Lobos - La Bamba.
25. B-52's - Love Shack.
26. Dee Lite - Groove Is In The Heart.
27. Great Big Sea - Run Runaway.
28. Great Big Sea - The Night That Patty Murphy Died.
29. Signal Hill - Cracklin' Rosie.
30. Spirit Of The West - Home For A Rest.
31. Great Big Sea - The Old Black Rum.
32. Great Big Sea - Mari Mac.
33. Riviera Project - Young Folks (Robbie Rivera Electro Mix).
34. Ian Carey & Snoop - Last Night (Extended Mix).
35. Usher - More (Gareth Wyn Remix).
36. Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull - On The Floor (Brian Cua Summer Club Mix).
37. Rihanna - S&M (Joe Bermudez & Chico Extended Mix).
38. Paul Oakenfold & Benny Benassi - Otherside (Rock Radio Mix).
39. Katy Perry - ET (Dave Aude Club Mix).
40. Ke$ha - Take It Off (Jake Walmsley 2010 Electro Remix).
41. Beyonce - Single Ladies.
42. Taio Cruz - Dynamite (Mixing Marc Club Mix).
43. Enrique Iglesias - Tonight I'm Lovin' You (Clean Edit, maybe Dresden & Johnston?).
44. Paradiso Girls - Patron Tequila.
45. Black-Eyed Peas - The Time/Dirty Bit.
46. Kylie Minogue - Get Outta My Way (Tommy Love Dream Mix).
47. Pink - Fu**ing Perfect (Liam Keegan Club Mix).
48. Nerve & Ollie James - Irresistable (Chuckie & Gergori Klosman Remix).
49. Beyonce - Diva.
50. Edward Mayo - Stereo Love (Molella Remix).
51. Swedish House Mafia - Miami 2 Ibiza.
52. Rihanna - What's My Name (Steamweaver Does Moran & Rigg Club Mix).
53. Lady Gaga - Born This Way (Liam Keegan Extended Remix).
54. Britney Spears - Hold It Against Me (DJ Kue Remix).
55. Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition (Axwell & Dirty South Remix).
56. Tiesto & Diplo - C'mon.
57. Sonny D - Barbara Streisand vs. Sofi Needs A Ladder.
58. Global DJ's - Sounds of San Francisco.
59. Madison Avenue - Who The Hell Are You.
60. Alyssa Rubio - Keep On Dancing (Wideboys Club Remix).
61. Alex Lamb - Freedom (John De Sohn Remix).
62. J Pearl - It's Getting Physical (Wideboys Dub Mix).
63. Kim Sozzi - Rated R (Jump Smokers Clean Extended Mix).
64. Remady & ManuL - Save Your Heart (Extended Club Mix).

Sorry, no photos this time. I forgot to bring the camera.