Monday, July 30, 2007

Event Review: Lord Kook, Pup, and Aaron Neonbunny Spin at Naughty

Naughty at the "undisclosed SoMa location" on Friday night was a great little bit of fun, though in our room, the crowd quickly thinned after they'd had enough of using the St. Andrew's cross, and I learned a little bit about what kind of music does and doesn't work in a tag-team situation.

Our DJ appearance at Naughty set a number of firsts - first time that their new DJ rig was used, first time to have live DJs in what was basically the dungeon room, and the first time that I have played in a tag-team situation. As with all firsts, there were some unforeseen complications and outcomes. With the DJ rig, it seemed that no one had considered that turntables need to be grounded, and when they're about two feet away from the mixer on either side, creative solutions need to be found - in our case, scraping some paint off an electrical conduit and affixing the grounding wire with some tape. I guess that turntable DJs are a rarity in this particular venue, since I couldn't reach the turntables themselves while standing at the mixer, a situation that makes it a little difficult to adjust the platter speed while you're mixing in or out. The mixer was a Behringer of a type that I've never used before, and I found the feel of it to be a little clunky.

We were set up in what amounted to a side room, with a double St. Andrew's cross on a stage across from us. The boyfriend and I broke one of them in while Neonbunny took a turn on the tunes, and they got pretty steady usage up until about midnight. We had been told by the promoter that having DJs in this room was something of an experiment, and though we tried several different approaches throughout the evening, it was hard to move the crowd from hanging out and watching the on-stage action to actual dancing. By midnight we had clearly lost the vibe, with some folks stopping by to look in but then heading out into the main dance area, where Shatter was spinning the kind of things he might play at Bondage-A-Go-Go or Substance at The End Up. As with parties of this sort, there are many people who arrive early in the evening to play, and then head out around midnight or so to go home and have actual sex (though there was some real sex action going on in our room as well). I had hoped to bring in a stronger, harder vibe that I thought would appeal to the industrial-oriented crowd, but it was also pretty clear that, in our room at least, it was much more about playing, with less interest in dancing. As long as we could put down a steady beat that you could flog to, the audience was satisfied.

I've not tag-teamed before, and I discovered that much of the music I had brought with me, and my concept of how it worked, depended on my having long stretches of time in which to play it - switching over after three tracks to a different DJ who plays music in a different genre is not conducive to creating the deep techno groove that I usually try for. My first half hour on the decks felt like my best, since I was mixing electro tracks like Solvent's "Radio Ga Ga" and Rex the Dog's "I Look Into Mid-Air" that went well with both Lord Kook and Aaron Neonbunny's music, but later in the evening, when I tried going into Cristen Jost and other artists on the Sender label for a darker, deeper mood, it felt very incongrous and frustrating. I think I played a number of really great tracks, but not being able to get into a consistent sound with the other DJs played a role, I think, in our having such an empty room at 2AM when the party began to wind down.

At the end of the night I enjoyed the chance to come out and DJ, but was disappointed that we had not done a better job of holding that space. The original offer for us to DJ had included getting paid for the night, but, given the lack of energy in our room, plus the fact that the even was also set up as a benefit for one of our acquaintancaes, we declined to take any money for what we had done. Things went over well enough that I think we'll be invited back again, but this time I hope we'll be able to do a better job, now that we also have a better idea of what the venue and crowd are like.

1 comment:

NeonBunny said...

Oh, i don't think it was us. The best dj in the world could have been playing in that room, and the vibe wouldn't have been much different.

If anything, some decent lighting in that room would have done 1000x more than any music could have done for the vibe.

Sin used to be different years ago. They used to host their events at actual nightclubs, and people actually did go to dance, not just cruise with their partner.

I also noticed that even the main room, in the busiest part of the night, rarely had anyone dancing...

Perhaps next time, we go with the fact that no one will be dancing, and play music from there... Or maybe do a little something to improve on the ambiance beyond just music...