14 July 2008

Hang the DJ

Back home after travelling up to Slane over the weekend to play a gig. A few years ago I was playing at a friend's house party when two of his housemates asked me to be their wedding DJ. It was late in the evening and neither of them had a boyfriend, so I said "sure, why not" figuring the chances of this happy event occurring in the near future were slim to none. Six months ago I got a call from one of the two women, who had subsequently found a fiancée and reminded me of my promise. Thus I found myself on Saturday night at Slane Castle playing to about 150 people.

I've played for a number of friends' birthdays, a good few corporate events and this was my second wedding. Weddings are tricky because there is a very mixed crowd in terms of generations, backgrounds and tastes, and the cheese vs 'artistic integrity/dying slowly inside with every song that I play' conundrum is a difficult dynamic to balance.

Saturday night was more of a corporate set, mostly 90's and naughties indy-rock (Madchester to Killers by way of a mash-up or two) finishing on '99 luftballoons' and "Come What May" for the happy couple's last dance - their request for a last song, but it was really sweet. The crowd were very responsive, and I had fun and was very happy with the set (professionally, not artistically; my choice of music did leave me a little dead inside, this being the type of set that got me invited two years ago to play the International Rugby Board's Christmas party). But as my sister's husband, who happens to be a professional DJ, has said on more than one occasion, "Unkie Dave you are here to entertain, not to educate".

Yes, but how much of his soul is still intact?

The first wedding I played was for much closer friends, with very similar music tastes to me. I ended close to 3am with a little cracking breakcore, the bride and groom dancing obliviously in the middle of the crowd while everyone around them going crazy (video below). This would be more typical of the type of gig I want to play, but the audience for this is somewhat more limited, and usually less open to new musical experiences.

The bottom line for a wedding though is that it should all be about the bride and groom, not their family, not their friends, and unfortunately not the DJ's perishable soul. Just them.

Which is why I won't do any more weddings.

(thanks ebauche for the video, it's cool to see the night from the other side of the decks)


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