Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What to do when you got no power...

There are times, as a DJ, when you have to dig deep in order to get through a gig. This can be for a number of reasons, and many of them have nothing to do with the type of music you're playing (although if they do, GOD help you, cause you're talking about hours upon hours split into 3 minute, 30 second daggers through your brain). For me, faulty gear or an oddball setup is often the culprit when I have a challenging gig since, let's be honest, I'll play the sound of water dripping if there's some type of beat layered behind it.

Last Saturday, I played one of those challenging gigs. (pause for dramatic effect).

As you'll recall, on said Saturday I DJ'd the Tagür-featured/sponsored opening at the Art Whino Gallery. Really neat concept - the artists took pristine Tagür shoes, created a painting of their choosing, and decorated the kicks as a companion piece. There were some really stunning pieces at the gallery - and seeing the level of custom footwear coming through the door on the feet of the spectators, this show was well appreciated. The gallery space is lovely - open and clean, with high ceilings and lots of extremely cool art and even cooler artists. The owners are nice, the booze is free - you get the picture. The setup is such that you're pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. Being that Tagür was the main draw of the event, I knew there would be a high hip hop contingent in attendance, so I did my homework, beefed up my hip hop selections, just got my head on straight for the gig. I knew solid turntablism was going to be a must, and that, basically, I had to be as bad-assed as I could for this gig.

Soooooo then the torrential downpour and the tornado "thing" sort of befell the DC metro area. And apparently the power just sort of... stopped happening at the gallery. Cue the DJ needing to be resourceful.

Walking in and seeing the owner of the space you're about to DJ in pacing in front of the door, waiting for you to arrive whilst simultaneously wringing his hands is never good. Trust me. "Please please PLEASE can you help me figure out how to make SOME level of music happen?" he said. "NO PROBLEM," says I. At that point, the lights were on, and I figured there was a cord askew or something.

So I tried unplugging and re-plugging cords

And I tried switching out cables

And I tried going into the shop next door and running a friggin 150 foot power cord into the gallery...

...but there was just not enough power for everything. There was enough power to light up the little indicator light on the bad-assed, 15" JBL powered speakers, but apparently that was all that was going to be online as far as speakers were concerned. There was actually not enough power to make sound come out of the speakers, no matter what we tried. And we tried everything. The charger for the iPod that the gallery owner brought to play music before I started worked. My mixer worked. But, alas, neither the speaker nor my CD players were having it. Not even kinda. Not even plugging them into separate outlets, right by the main breaker box. SO, having 1/2 power might make it possible to keep the iPod charged while we passed around the headphones amongst the gallery patrons, but it wasn't really going to make any level of atmospheric-type sound happen in the packed gallery.

The very, very, VERY packed gallery. The very packed, very un-air conditioned gallery. The very packed, very un-air conditioned gallery - wiiiiith the owner of Tagür Footwear walking around, probably wringing his hands a little.

Little known fact about me - I sweat. A LOT. Especially when I'm nervous. I know - ew. But, seriously, if it was possible to power a city with a nervous, sweaty brow, I'd be strapped to Main Street with a gutter on my head. Whee. So not having air conditioning and having assloads of stress piled on did not help me to feel too terribly "fresh", if you will. We came to the conclusion that we needed a stronger generator - but the closest one was an hour away, from our best calculation. And since they haven't perfected the whole "sweat-channeling thing I'm thinking about, we had to put our heads together a bit.

Then, a moment of brilliance in the midst of this sweat-soaked situation. The generator in the gallery owner's Cadillac Escalade.

Yes, it turned out that plugging an extension cord into a generator in an Escalade parked out front partially saved the day. While I often think of such cars as sucking the life out of our planet, I have to admit that I was actually kinda happy with this solution. Cause... um... it was the only thing that had enough power to get the speakers going. Now, my CD players were a different story. We were afraid to blow the generator, so knowing that outlet power could power an iPod, my laptop, and my mixer, and having the right connectors to get it all hooked up, I figured, what the hell? I may as well try something I've never tried before.

I'll be honest, while the show was already hot, the music side of the event went pretty amazingly, considering we only had one speaker, who was drawing it's power from a 50-foot cord plugged into an Escalade, and we could only power an iPod and a laptop aside from that. I couldn't beatmatch - hell, I couldn't even CUE up music under less than a few seconds; so being on my toes wasn't just important, it was imperative. In spite of that, some serious breakdancers came out in full force and rocked it the fuck out for almost 2 hours.

Check this out:

Granted, I'm not featured in the video, but you can't have everything...

SO, all of that being said, here's as much of the setlist as I can remember at this point:

DJ Y, alias JY - Le Da Soul (Back to Acid Jazz mashup)
Information Society - A Knife & A Fork
Digital Underground - Kiss You Back
Lifesavas - Hellohihey
Black Sheep - the Choice Is Yours
Coldcut Featuring Roots Manuva - True Skool
Dizzee Rascal - Fix Up, Look Sharp
Beenie Man & Panjabi MC - Jogi (NY Mix)
The Whip - Blackout (Shinichi Osawa Remix)
Uffie - Pop the Glock
The Chemical Brothers - Galvanize
Yelle -Je Veux Te Voir
Hot Chip - (Just Like We) Breakdown
M.I.A. - 10 Dollar
Fugees - Nappy Heads (Remix)
Shabba Ranks - Ting A Ling
The Ting Tings - Shut Up and Let Me Go
Beenie Man - Let Him Go
Snoop Dogg Featuring E-40, MC Eiht, Goldie Loc, Daz & Durupt - Candy (Drippinn' Like Water)
Missy Elliott - Work It
Giant Robot - Get Up (w/ Hosni)
Eazy E - Gimmie That Nutt
Snap - Snap
Lyrics Born - I Like It, I Love It
L'Trimm - Cars that Go Boom
Dizzee Rascal - Dance Wiv Me (feat. Calvin Harris)
Timbaland - The Way I Are
Lil Mama - Shawty Get Loose
Unk Featuring Outkast - Walk it Out (remix)
KRS-One - I can't Wake Up
Eric B. & Rakim - Microphone Fiend
Avery Storm, Jagged Edge, Nelly, P Diddy & The Notorious B.I.G. - Nasty Girl
MSTRKRFT - Street Justice
The Count and Sinden - Beeper
Datarock - Fa Fa Fa
Autokratz - It's On
The Chemical Brothers - The Salmon Dance
Mr. Oizo - Flat Beat
Justice - Genesis
Mad Kap - Dopest Verse

There were other songs, but that's what I remember.


Jean-Yves said...

Hey Miss, thany for spinning "LE DA SOUL" ! Cheers, DJ Y alias JY

Jean-Yves said...

Hey Miss! tahnx a lot for spinning "LE DA SOUL" . Cheers, DJ Y alias JY

dj lil'e said...

HEY!!!!! Your mashup is BRILLIANT - well done! it's rare that I actually get to let someone know how awesome they are at such things.

I also played it here: http://youlovelile.blogspot.com/2008/08/tinderbox-8708-setlist-and-commentary.html