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August 10, 2010

Canberräng report and djing

Posted by dogpossum on August 10, 2010 1:11 AM in the category djing and lindy hop and other dances and music | Comments (0)


Well, it's been a bit of a long time since I've written anything here. Boo to me. I'm really not sure why. I think it's a matter of being busy with other things, and with simply not writing a lot _generally_. Which is a Bad Thing. But this is a post about Canberräng, the DJing I did there, and the dancing I almost did.

(That's Terra Hazelton in the pic)

Anyways, Canberräng was on this weekend just past, and it was good. I didn't actually dance very much, which surprised me, especially after going so nuts at MSF. I think I've been nursing some sort of bug or cold or something for a while. Or else I've just been feeling a bit depressed or kind of mopey, and nothing makes it harder to get creative on the dance floor like feeling anxious and unhappy. But I've not been feeling all that miserable lately, and I did have a lot of nice chats and laughs and hanging-outs with good folk, so.... I'm just going to blame it on a bit of low-level germiness, a bit of pre-semester anxiety (which is largely resolved now by the happy news that I have only Excellent Teacher for both subjects), a lack of badass running (which I'll fix this week with a return to c25k with the arse-kicking week 5), and a lack of general inspiration.

That paragraph of self-inspection is a bit relevant to a talk about my DJing at Canberräng. I didn't actually dance very much at all, and that meant that I wasn't really plugged into the music for dancing, or to what other people were feeling while they were dancing. I did my first set at the welcome dance at Tilly's, and that was ok. The second set I did at the late night on Friday, which was harder, and which I don't feel was all that strong.
Basically, I think I proved my own theory that I don't DJ very well when I'm not dancing much. I do my best work when I've been dancing a bit, when I dance a bit over the weekend, and when I'm generally a bit more plugged into what other dancers and DJs are into all over the country. I dunno if this applies to other DJs, but I suspect so. I generally feel that if you're not dancing lindy hop (or bal or whatever), you're not really going to do as good a job DJing it.

I had a bit of a case of the shitty pants in the evening on Friday, which was largely related to costuming, but probably just some free-floating menstrual rage and pre-semester anxiety settling on the most obvious target - what I looked like. It took me a while to shake that shit off. I should have just jumped into the dancing and sought out some adrenaline, but I really wasn't feeling physically amazing either. Snot. I live with it every fucking day at the moment.

By the time the late night came around, I was better company, but I was feeling a bit tired. I ended up dancing the first part of the night in the 'party room' which really was. It was warmer in there, the sound wasn't so loud, and the music was fun, funky stuff. Dave and I spent a couple of hours just mucking about in there, beginning with some cuddle dancing and then progressing to no-holds-barred silly dancing on our own, which actually just became straight out dancing-on-our-own fun dancing. I blame Jase for making me move from just a bit of quiet cuddle dancing with my squeeze to dancing like a crazy fool fer serious.

I had a lot of trouble with volume over the weekend. My ears are getting really sore these days when the sound is too loud, and I found I'd get a massive headache if I spent too long in the main room with the horrid volume. I ended up putting in ear plugs and found that even then the sound was too loud.

This is a bad thing, and partly the result of many DJs a) having shithouse hearing themselves; b) just pushing the volume so high it distorts the sound; and c) loudness being too much for nanna. I'm going to start getting serious about volume from now on, I think. Especially in my own sets.

My problem is that the sound system often isn't powerful enough for the space (100watt will not fill a hall, I'm afraid), so DJs pump up the volume. The volume is then so loud that a) the amp or speakers can't really hack it and the sound fucks up; b) the quality of the shitty mp3s becomes extra shitty, and the music stops being a song and just ends up being a bunch of screaming noise. That makes me especially shitty because you end up dancing to _nothing_ but screamy noise, and can't hear any of the more interesting rhythms and instrumentation.

I'm not suggesting that Canberräng was a particularly bad event for this, but I am stating that most DJs don't pay enough attention to managing volume, and that most events don't actually use the right sound set up for their spaces. I am also stating that I can't hack the pain in my ears from too-loud volume any more. And I know that I can be a shocker for too much volume while I'm DJing. I think it's just that you start adding volume as your ears adjust. You want to get 'more' into your songs, and you do that by adding volume. When what you should be doing is reducing treble or adding mids or whatever.

Anyways, Saturday night I was less of a shitty pants, and had a lovely time at the winery during the day (as per usual). I quite liked the ball - there is no way any other Australian event can top using the Great Hall at the Australian Parliament House. It is the most impressive venue ever. Of all time. I was a bit meh about the band, but then that could just have been a bit of residual shittypants. I am also now firmly committed only to wearing comfortable dresses that make me feel good to Balls. No more fancy, uncomfortable costumes.

The late night was nice. I liked that party room again. It was quieter, warmer, smaller and _felt_ nicer. I did, however, still have a shit headache boiling, and spending any time in the main room (where I really wanted to lindy hop) with the bad volume really hurt. The second DJ was particularly bad for excessive volume, so I ended up hanging about talking to people, eating stuff and apologising or making up for being unexcellent the night before. That last part was ok, because it meant that I really just asked a bunch of nice ladies to dance and then had a nice chat with them. Win-win, really.

I did hear some nice DJing over the weekend. I heard Drew DJ for the first time, and that was nice. I also got to follow Andy DJing on the Friday, which is a) a challenge, and b) excellent. He's a bit of a badass DJ, and whips the dancers into a frenzy with his high-energy party music. He literally had dancers delirious with adrenaline, yelling and throwing themselves about the floor in a frenzy. I was following him, and had the last set of the night. I found that at the end of his set half the room suddenly realised they couldn't walk any more, and had to go home. It took me a little while to figure out the room and I'm not entirely sure I rocked it.

I enjoyed DJing on the Saturday, partly because I was in a better mood, but also because I was sharing the table with an old friend and got to chat a bit, and also because I was a bit more together and had a better grasp of the vibe in the room. But I had made a minor technical error a little earlier. I'd been chasing that headache with a painkiller, and then thought a plate of blue-green jelly would be nice. I was wrong. Oh, my guts. Painkiller + headache + jelly nausea + a sugar rush so mighty I felt faint. But eventually they settled down. And then I went and DJed and it was ok.

A note about Canberräng: it's well run. It really is.

Anyways, here's the set I did on Thursday night. I was second on (9-10pm), and the venue was Tilly's, a restaurant/cafe joint with lots of normal punters eating and drinking. They brought in a temporary dance floor and it was positioned right in front of the DJ booth, which was good.

Title - artist - album - bpm - year - length

Blue Monday Jay McShann and his Band (Jimmy Witherspoon) Goin' To Kansas City Blues 125 1957 3:40
Gimme A Pigfoot Lavern Baker La Vern Baker Sings Bessie Smith 120 1958 3:11
Sugar Blues Terra Hazelton (feat. Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards) Anybody's Baby 113 2004 3:44
My Man Stands Out Di Anne Price Barrel House Queen 145 2010 2:54
You Got to Give Me Some Midnight Serenaders Magnolia 187 2007 4:02
San Francisco Bay Blues Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band with Barbara Dane Blues Over Bodega 160 1964 3:42
Yacht Club Swing Echoes of Swing Harlem Joys 164 2008 3:20
When I Get Low I Get High Linnzi Zaorski and Delta Royale (Charlie Fardella, Robert Snow, Matt Rhody, Seva Venet, Chaz Leary) Hotsy-Totsy 165 2004 2:36
Just Because You Can Catherine Russell Inside This Heart of Mine 136 2010 4:10
Do Your Duty Tuba Skinny (Erika Lewis, Todd, Kiowa, Shaye Cohn, Barnabus, Alynda Lee, Robin) Tuba Skinny 122 2010 3:47
Long Gone John Gordon Webster (with Brianna Thomas, Jesse Selengut, Matt Musselman, Adrian Cunningham, Cassidy Holden, Rod Adkins, Jeremy Noller) Happy When I'm With You 140 2009 3:57
Flat Foot Floogie Carol Ralph Swinging Jazz Portrait 186 2005 3:44
Now Or Never Katharine Whalen Jazz Squad 167 1999 2:14
Knock Myself Out Asylum Street Spankers Spanker Madness 126 2000 2:48
The Spinach Song Terra Hazelton (feat. Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards) Anybody's Baby 165 2004 4:57
Half Tight Boogie Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five Jammin' the Blues 150 2003 3:13

I began with Jay McShann because I know Russel always thinks 'oh man, Sam's DJing again' when I start with a song from that album. It was also a good transition from the previous DJ. I played 'Pigfoot' because I wanted to play a bunch of beer-drinking songs with dirty lyrics and a party feel. I also wanted to play all hi-fi or modern versions of good songs, by good modern bands.

Terra Hazelton is a singer I've only just discovered. She doesn't have the best voice, but she does some great songs. Including this fun version of 'Sugar Blues' which I played with Tim in mind, because he loves the Preservation Hall's version of this songs.
Di Anne Price is someone I've just bought a lot of for blues dancers. Best voice.
You know how I feel about the Midnight Serenaders. They are still my FAVOURITE modern band. They have two good albums, but I overplay this particular song. I love it's light, fun feeling, and the way its lovely, light, sprightly feel contrasts with the dirty lyrics. Best trumpet solos.

I then played a bunch of songs I play all the time in Sydney. They all work really well with a crowd, and they're all accessible tempos... well, for the Roxbury in Sydney, where we tend to sit on 180bpm as an average these days.

Tuba Skinny is a new band for me. I like their street-jazz-band sound, but that that aren't all up your face with massive loud intensity. I like the vocalist. I fucking love Bessie Smith's version of 'Do Your Duty', but figured the hi-fi modern version was the best for this gang.

The restaurant manager kept telling me how much she liked my music. I figured the saucy woman singer stuff worked pretty well for an arsekicking feminist playing a dykalicious venue.

There's not a lot else to say about this set. It's pretty samey, really. I was happy with Katharine Whalen, the singer from the Squirrel Nut Zippers who I used to DJ ages ago, but have recently revisited as part of this sort of nu-skool versions of old-school set. All female vocals. Lots of food/sex/drug references. Smaller bands. Novelty vocal sounds.

By the end of this set I was _totally_ over this style of music. And craving some big band. But I have to go catch a bus now, so I'll post the other two set lists later on.

[edit: below is the stuff I added when I got home]

Second set of the Canberräng, 2-3am Friday night.
Title artist album bpm year length

Rag Mop Bob Crosby and the Bobcats Bob Crosby and the Bobcats: The Complete Standard Transcript 164 1950 2:15
Davenport Blues Adrian Rollini and his Orchestra (Jack Teagarden) Father Of Jazz Trombone 136 1934 3:14
Madame Dynamite Eddie Condon and his Orchestra (Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Condon, Sidney Catlett) Classic Sessions 1927-49 (Volume 2) 176 1933 2:56
I'se A Muggin' Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys (Jonah Jones, Raymond Smith, Bobby Bennett, Mack Walker, John Washington) Stuff Smith: Complete Jazz Series 1936 - 1939 161 1936 3:14
[Gettin' Much Lately?] Ain't Nothin' To It Fats Waller, his Rhythm and his Orchestra (John Hamilton, Bob Williams, Herman Autrey, Geoge Wilson, Ray Hogan, Jimmy Powell, Dave McRae, Gene Sedric, Bob Carroll, Al Casey, Cedric Wallace, Slick Jones) Last Years (1940-1943) (Disc 2) 134 1941 3:10
Sweet Nothin's Midnight Serenaders Sweet Nothin's 154 2009 3:14
On Revival Day Terra Hazelton (feat. Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards) Anybody's Baby 219 2004 3:41
Dinah Preservation Hall Preservation Hall Hot 4 With Duke Dejan 154 2004 5:01
You Can Have My Husband Tuba Skinny (Erika Lewis, Todd, Kiowa, Shaye Cohn, Barnabus, Alynda Lee, Robin) Tuba Skinny 144 2010 3:49
Joog, Joog Duke Ellington and his Orchestra Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 146 1949 3:01
Solid as a Rock Count Basie and his Orchestra with The Deep River Boys Count Basie and His Orchestra 1950-1951 140 1950 3:04
C Jam Blues Duke Ellington and his Orchestra At The Hollywood Empire 185 1949 3:23
Mop Mop Teddy Wilson Sextet (Emmett Berry, Benny Morton, Edmond Hall, Slam Stewart, Big Sid Catlett) The Complete Associated Transcriptions 1944 144 1944 4:58
Peckin' Johnny Hodges and his Orchestra (Cootie Williams, Barney Bigard, Otto Hardwick, Harry Carney, Duke Ellington, Fred Guy, Hayes Alvis, Sonny Greer, Buddy Clark) The Duke's Men: Small Groups Vol. 1 (Disc 2) 165 1937 3:10
Turn It Over Bus Moten and his Men Kansas City Blues 1944-1949 (Disc 3) 148 1949 2:38
Sweet Patootie Noble Sissle's Swingsters (Sidney Bechet) Shake 'Em Up 117 1938 3:16
Chasing Shadows (-1) Putney Dandridge and his Orchestra (Roy Eldridge, Chu Berry, Nappy Lamare) Classic Chu Berry Columbia And Victor Sessions (Disc 1) 137 1935 2:40
Do Your Duty Bessie Smith acc by Buck and his Band (Frank Newton, Jack Teagarden, Benny Goodman, Chu Berry, Buck Washington, Bobby Johnson, Billy Taylor) Classic Chu Berry Columbia And Victor Sessions (Disc 1) 121 1933 3:31
Blues For Smedley Clark Terry, Ed Thigpen, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown Oscar Peterson Trio + One: Clark Terry 137 1964 6:57
It Takes Two to Tango Lester Young and Oscar Peterson Lester Young With the Oscar Peterson Trio 104 6:09

The previous DJ (Andy) had been playing massively high-energy stuff all set, and people were kind of insane. The change over of DJs is usually a natural break, and you often lose the crowd at that point of a late night when people suddenly have a chance to stop and think. I didn't do the best job ever, either, so I lost people there. I really didn't know what I should be doing, and just didn't feel confident. Whereas I feel I had something going on the previous night, this night I was a bit up in the air. It really makes a difference if you're not feeling the lindy hop (and I wasn't). But it wasn't as shit as it could have been. A few people said they liked the set, but I expect more of myself.

I began with 'Rag Mop' as I know it's a good energy song. But by the end, people were a bit buggered and even I was feeling a bit over the 'big' sound. 'Davenport Blues' is my good easing-back song, but it actually builds energy towards the end, so it's a good way to get back to high energy again. I played it as a mellowing-out song, and as a transition to some older stuff I wanted to play.

I overplay 'Madame Dynamite' at home. I wonder, now if we should worry about playing stuff we overplay at home when we DJ at exchanges, or if this is the sort of stuff we should play, because it's representative of our style? I think, in my own brainz, and in regards to my own DJing, that I'll play some stuff I know works (especially if I have a crowd with plenty of my local dancers in it, as Canberräng did - 76 Sydney people, and only 86 locals + assorted others). I'll also play stuff that I haven't tried at home, but only if I'm reasonably sure it'll work (eg it's good sound quality, it feels really good, it has the usual markers of a 'good' song, etc). I tend to play higher tempo, more complex songs when I'm doing larger events like MLX, or events like MSF with a crowd of more experienced dancers. Canberräng was a decent sized crowd (about 200 at late nights, perhaps a few less), but I wasn't entirely sure it was the right place for really unusual stuff. But that didn't make me stop and second guess myself.

Then I played 'I'se a Muggin'' by Stuff Smith etc, but not the 'musical numbers' version that was a bit chic in Herräng/the US recently, because that version shits me. But this version is cool because it end with the suggestion that listeners flip over the record to hear the musical numbers game. I like this song (and other Stuff Smith stuff) because it's a good transition to other vocal-heavy, quirky/funny stuff like Fats Waller.
So I played some slower Fats Waller that I know people like. It has a lovely shouty shout chorus at the end.

More Midnight Serenaders. Sell out.

The Hazelton version of 'Revival Day' was a mistake. Why? It was too late at night, and people were too tired. I didn't build up to it with something slower tempoed, but higher energy. I was definitely pushing an agenda - I wanted to play that specific song to show it off. But I mistimed it's position in the set, it cleared the floor, and generally fucked up. That'll teach me. I knew it was a risk, I knew it probably wouldn't work, but my judgement was off.

So I played that version of 'Dinah', even though it's a bit long, because it's really good. I've played it before as a 'recovery' song, and it works well. It feels gentle (rather than in your face), and I use it for running and find it a good, consistent, 'encouraging' song that keeps me going with its lighter, gentler sound. It's a very familiar, iconic melody, but played at a much slower tempo than usual. It's hi-fi. It has some excellent solos, but no lyrics. It can sound a bit samey, but it's a good samey. You'd have a nice, safe dance to it. It did the job.

By this point I finally figured out that people were tired. It was about 2.30 and people were really feeling Andy's arse kicking. So I played this mellow Tuba Skinny song. I'm not entirely sure of the vocal style of the singer (she sounds a bit too soul for this stuff), but it's a nice, easy tempo and another good recovery song. But it also has some nice breaks, and builds a little towards the end.

'Joog Joog' is one of my go-to songs. It has an odd intro (Ivie Anderson I think?), which usually has dancers turning up their noses. But it also has a really good, solid, driving thumping beat that's not too intense. It's a real 'joog joog' rhythm. Which is just what the lyrics are all about. It also builds and builds. At this point I was also thinking 'what the fuck am I doing with this small group bullshit? We are ready for some proper big band action. Four on the floor and no cheating!

I often play the 'Joog Joog'/'Solid as a Rock' combination. 'Solid as a Rock' is a solid favourite, and the clapping and familiar rhythm always get people up and moving. It was a nice step up in energy from 'Joog Joog' and worked just as I'd intended. I had the floor totally full with 'Joog Joog' then I was a winner with 'Solid as a Rock'.

Now, from here, there were a number of things I could do. In a usual setting, earlier in the night, when dancers have lots of energy, I'd step it up, tempo and energy wise. I'd go up from the easypeasy 140bpm to 180 without a qualm. So I took a punt with 'C Jam Blues', thinking I'd safely built then energy up to the point I needed. But I underestimated the lateness of the night and also the effect the hard floor was having on dancers' bodies. If I'd actually been dancing more I'd have realised just how tiring that floor was. That version of 'C-Jam Blues' is another new one for me, and a little lump of gold from a collection of transcripts. I love that action: broadcast and recorded 'live'. It's 1949, so it's the same 12 month period as the last two songs, and really meshed well with their late swing era style. It's still solid, chunking Ellington (rather than wacky doo later Ellington), it's a very familiar song and melody, it has some extremely badass solos, and it really rocks along. Great dancing. And people dug it. It just slowly killed them until only a few strong couples were left.

So I decided to recover with some more solid swing (smaller group, though), and another new purchase. It's a very good song, it just doesn't quite rock for dancing in this setting, as the small group experimentation with repeating (and repeating and repeating) the riff got a bit dull after a while.

I figured 'ok' and followed up with another favourite, but also a song that starts mellow and then builds. But it annoyed me a bit with its earlier sound. I decided to just stop fucking about and go back to playing the favourite/solid later swing era stuff. And to ease off the bastard tempos. 'Turn It Over' is a song I used to play a _lot_ in Melbourne, but which I hardly ever play in Sydney. Mostly because it doesn't work on the shitty, under-powered Swingpit sound system. But it's such a good, fun song. And it worked perfectly. Crowd returns to floor. I promise to be kind.

'Sweet Patootie' is a lovely song, and not one I've played for dancers before, though I play it a lot at home. It's slow. It's very slow for lindy hop. And as I put it on I said to myself "right, you lindy hoppers, you can dance fast, but can you dance slow?" and they could. It's such a good little melody, such lovely, drawly lyrics, such dirty dirty entendre... _And_ it's Bechet with Noble Sissle, which is my favourite Bechet. It has the sort of rolly rhythm of a later swing era song of the 40s, but it's actually only late 30s. It feels like it's going to become some good, solid Kansas early rnb, but it doesn't quite. The dancers really liked it. Which was a big relief.

So I followed up with 'Chasing Shadows', which is a song Trev put me onto aaaages ago (he played it to very good effect one MLX yonks ago), and which I adore. I have a faster, fun version by Louis Prima in the 20s, but this one is perfect for a mellower crowd who still want interesting rhythms and melodies. I love the vocals. The Roy Eldridge/Chu Berry combo is unstoppable. Putney Dandridge is kind of nothing (I looked him up in the discographies, and he's only done a few recordings, really, in the vein we like), but it's a nice, chunky slower song just right for a late night lindy crowd who aren't really up for extreme lindy hop any more.

'Do Your Duty' is my favourite Bessie Smith song. That's her and a stellar cast of musicians. Truly amazing. I also had to make up for playing the modern version the night before. I often play this song late at night at exchanges, and I find that dancers really like Bessie Smith's delivery. I'm always surprised by the way people respond to her singing, even through the static and shitty recordings. I always get comments from dancers, and it's not that common to see dancers respond that way to a vocalist. I see Billie Holiday get the same response in blues rooms, but it's a rare thing to hear dancers really _feeling_ the singer's delivery in the way they feel another musician. I think Smith is underrated by a lot of lindy hop DJs, and I always try to play more of her in blues rooms. I think she (and Billie) are very important in the history of jazz and blues. I think Smith is super important in jazz and swing history because so many musicians played with her earlier in their careers as accompanists (Fletcher Henderson, Clarence Williams, Buster Bailey, Louis Armstrong, Don Redman, Jack Teagarden, Chu Berry, Benny Goodman(!), Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge), and I'm sure her indomitable style shaped their music.

Then it was time to go home, and I was feeling a bit badly behaved. So I just changed style without the clutch. I love 'Blues for Smedley' and often play it late at night. Best solos ever. Then another Oscar Peterson, but this one has the best lyrics by Lester Young. There's nothing quite an elderly man of indeterminate sexuality and certain inebriety asking you to take your knickers off.

It's late, now, so I'll have a look at the third set tomorrow. If I can be bothered.

[edit: the Saturday set]

This is the set I played on the Saturday night, doing the second last set and starting at 2am. I began with James Brown because they needed a song to play while people bashed at the piñata. If ever there was a time to need the Mexican Hat Dance song... but I'm not sure the level of craziness that song induces is really a good thing when blind folded people are wielding a giant stick in a crowded room.

title artist album bpm year song length

Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine James Brown Sex Machine 110 1991 5:17
Every Day I Have The Blues Count Basie and his Orchestra (Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Williams) Complete Clef/Verve Count Basie Fifties Studio Recordings [Disc 8] 110 1956 5:12
Blues In Hoss's Flat Count Basie and his Orchestra Chairman Of The Board [Bonus Tracks] 144 1958 3:13
The Jumpin' Blues Jay McShann and his Band (Jimmy Witherspoon) Goin' To Kansas City Blues 155 1957 3:04
I Diddle Dinah Washington Dinah Washington with Quincy Jones 153 3:05
On Revival Day Carrie Smith acc. by George Kelly, Ram Ramirez, Billy Butler When You're Down and Out 189 1977 3:49
I Ain't Mad At You Mildred Anderson No More In Life 158 1960 3:04
Gimme A Pigfoot Lavern Baker La Vern Baker Sings Bessie Smith 120 1958 3:11
Lemonade Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five (vol 5) 117 1950 3:17
Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra with Sonny Parker Hamp: The Legendary Decca Recordings 134 1949 3:24
Savoy Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra (Trevor Bacon) Anthology Of Big Band Swing (Disc 2) 166 1942 3:05
Leap Frog Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra (Luis Russell) The Complete Louis Armstrong Decca Sessions (1935-1946) (disc 7) 159 1941 3:00
Don't Be That Way Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra The Complete Lionel Hampton Victor Sessions 1937-1941 (disc 2) 136 1938 2:36
Alligator Meat (B / R Vox Only) - Joe Swift, Johnny Otis Ban Joe Swift, Johnny Otis Band Studio Cuts 122 2:56
My Blue Heaven The Cangelosi Cards Clinton Street Recordings, I 145 4:12
You Got to Give Me Some Midnight Serenaders Magnolia 187 2007 4:02

I could do anything I liked, really, because the piñata thing kind of interrupted the flow. When I first started DJing I used to start with the Breakfast Dance and Barbeque version of 'Every Day I Have The Blues' because it's slow and lets me build the room up from nothing. I started with this version because I hear it so rarely. It's from the Mosaic Basie set, and is a really good duet. I decided I wanted to play some hi-fi big band action, in part because I was sick of small groups, and also because I wanted to play 'easy' stuff that everyone would like. It worked well.

'Blues In Hoss's Flat' just because.

'The Jumpin' Blues' because it continues the theme. I wanted to echo the shouty male vocals and keep to the hi-fi big band action.

'I Diddle' because I was sick of the in-your-face wall-of-sound, both emotionally (it's pretty intense) and volume-wise (the previous DJ had really overdone the volume in a bad way). It's a total sell-out song, but then I still like it. It's fun to dance to. And sometimes it's just nice to play songs everyone knows, so everyone can have some fun.

I was watching a dancer on the floor and thought 'imma gonna play this song for her' and that's why I played 'On Revival Day'. It's not the version most people play - it's faster and a stack of fun. It went down well, and that particular dancer ran up to me in a froth saying "I love this blah blah blah!!!" in a kind of delirious crazy-person shout. So I figured that was a win.

I've promised myself I wouldn't play 'I Ain't Mad At You' again, but it's a fun song. I love Anderson's voice. The breaks always go down well.

But by then I was all up in people's grills with the energy and big sound, so I mellowed it out with _another_ overplayed favourite. But 'Gimme a Pigfoot' is a good song.

Then I wanted to get a bit more old school, and 'Lemonade' (overplayed song no.6 599 000) is a good transition.

Then another overplayed party song. But people enjoyed it. I was thinking of building things up with some old school big band, and 'Savoy' is a good tool for that job (another overplayed one). But people were looking a bit arse-kicked, so I played 'Leap Frog', which is kind of mellow, but builds up. It's great lindy hoppping. They looked tired, and I felt a bit tired, so I mellowed it out again with 'Don't Be That Way', which is a supergreat song. 'Alligator Meat' isn't that great, but it's easy and fun.

Then I was sick of all that rubbish and decided to play something more interesting. That version of 'My Blue Heaven' is a good one for rebuilding a floor, as it's kind of light and easy-going, but it builds up. And it's a really good song.
I finished with another one of my overplayed favourites. It's the only one song I played twice over the weekend. I think it's also the only song that I'd heard played before over the weekend, which I then played. I tried my best to avoid re-playing songs I heard other DJs play, but I could have missed one as I wasn't really paying attention to other DJs all that much. But I'm really sick of going to exchanges and hearing the same songs over and over again, in every DJ's set. I figure, if we're not good enough to make a set work without revisiting the same old shit, we're not good enough to play an exchange.

Righto, that's it for my Canberrang DJing. Not as exciting as I'd hoped. But I didn't suck arse. The first set was the best one, I think. Though I enjoyed doing the last one the most, and people really enjoyed that one the most.

Posted by dogpossum on August 10, 2010 1:11 AM in the category djing and lindy hop and other dances and music


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