Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spanish Fly: Part II (Electric Tapaçoo)

(continued from Part I)

Note: I realize cliffhangers can be maddening, and I apologize for any breath bated because of my week's delay in finishing this post. I also apologize to any 'baters.

Saturday, May 15, 2010
, Spain
5:57 AM

Surprise: the replacement mixer didn't work.
The truth is, it kind of worked: two out of the four channels on the mixer were perfectly fine. Two out of four ain't bad! Unfortunately, poor "Darshan" just tried a non-working channel in this photo, and his expression sums up what it's like to fade into silence in front of a club full of people:

This handicap seemed particularly perverse considering the exacting behavior of the club's "hostess" (read: artist liaison/babysitter) and her annoying junior minion
(not to be confused with "Junior Mints," which don't annoy me at all and are infuriatingly hard to source in Spain). Taken together, this duo was a micro-management tour de force. From the get-go, they aggressively demanded 100% of us (maybe even "110%," which hasn't been asked of me since my elementary school's field day back in 1982), despite providing us with equipment that was only 50% functional. In short, the math was not in our favor tonight.

The truth is that their demanding conduct began even before the get-go, the duo already hovering over us prior to our start time with the warm-up "DJ" still mixing his last few records. As is our custom, we
respectfully attempted to let his final record finish before "dropping" our first song, but this didn't play well with our minders: at one point, it appeared as if the agitated Junior Mint was actually going to take my hand and guide it into my record bag in an effort to "jump start" my selection process, thereby hastening our set's commencement. In addition to having to deal with such hostile and stifling behavior, we felt "vibe-icly challenged" (this is a technical term in our industry that roughly translates to "fucked") by the way the club set up the "DJ" area:

As you can see in the photo, a good third of the room we were stationed in was taken up by an embarrassingly deep (and empty, aside from our small "DJ" setup) stage. It's bad enough "DJing" on even a small stage, let alone a giant one, since the crowd inevitably looks upon you as an audience might look upon the actors in a theatrical production. They expect something exciting to happen, even though it is abundantly clear (especially by the second or third hour of the set) that the only thing to be seen onstage is some schmuck with headphones who occasionally changes a record or CD.

To be fair, certain "DJs" do elevate their performances to theater, which runs the gamut from tragedizing a skipping CD to miming an entire DJ set (and presumably getting paid for it, which I do find impressive). I'm always disappointed in how positively audiences react to theatrics, especially when there is no apparent skill involved and/or the theatrics are comprised entirely of half-assed "Eurocheerleading." In fact, I personally find "DJ drama" to be singularly embarrassing, which is probably one of the reasons (alongside not mixing well and playing unpopular records) that I'll never crack any "World's Top DJs" lists. I prefer to "let the music speak for me, man" - and as a result, I can be quite boring to watch when playing alone (luckily, I often have a partner).

Despite these obstacles, the evening turned out alright, although I have fairly low standards and consider a night successful so long as no bottles are hurled at me. There were some familiar faces from our previous visits to the club, which is always appreciated, even if their enthusiasm was occasionally embarrassing; for example, while a crowd cheering a particular mix or record can be exhilarating and motivate a party, one person's solo shrieking at each and every mix has precisely the opposite effect. Still, it's the thought that counts.

Best of all, we got approval from a vacationing Pan, which was a shock considering my aforesaid aversion to "DJ drama" and the fact that he's the god of theatrical criticism:

You can't see his little goat legs or hooves in the photo, but they were there in all their glory. And who knew old Pan loved Red Bull and vodka so much? In this crazy business, you learn something new at every gig.

Saturday, May 15, 2010
Barcelona Airport
, Spain
12:07 PM

I knew I forgot something on this trip: my laptop's power adapter.

Oh well. I guess that's it for this trip.

1 comment:

  1. do you think when you and darshan get really old (like 55), you'll both have guides helping move your decrepit hands from record bag to turntable and mixer, then back again? i think people would pay to see that.

    also, i would like to submit my resume in advance.