Archive for November 2011

Oppurtunity Knocks For The Laptop DJ

November 30, 2011

Every second Thursday, Downtown Sanford hosts Alive After Five, an outdoor event involving merchant booths and entertainment.  Also, local artists set up on the sidewalks and sell their work.  The event happens between 5 to 9PM.

Taken during Alive After Five

One Thursday, I received a call from Little Fish-Huge Pond, my Tuesday and Wednesday night gigs.  A band was scheduled to perform during the event.  I forgot why they weren’t tongiht.  Yet, I was asked did I want to DJ in their place. I was going to perform outside in front of the bar.  Each Alive After Five contains a theme.  Because the evening’s theme was Motown, Motown music was what I was going to play.

With no plans for the evening, I accepted.

Flash forward two months later.  Little Fish-Huge Pond scheduled another band to perform outside.  Agreeing to show up at five, the band didn’t appear until 6:30.  Then, after setting up for an hour, they didn’t start performing  until 7:30.

Fed up with bands, Little Fish’s owner asked me to DJ future Alive After Fives.  Of course, I accepted.

As I write this blog, I think about DJ friends at The Peacock Room in Orlando, dudes who either showed up extremely late for scheduled gigs or didn’t show up at all. As for the late-comers, after one DJ spun for about two hours, the other DJ was just now entering the building.  For some reason, this rubbed folks scheduling the events the wrong way, especially when the late-comer was the organizer for the event.  Then, there’s the guy whose always behaving hip around The Peacock Room.  He acts hip.  Talks hip.  Dresses hip. Yet, twice didn’t show up for his own gig.

I guess reliability and talent is why I’m receiving more and more gigs, especially gigs usually reserved for those longer in the game than me.  Again that’s just a guess.  For right now, I’m enjoying the ride.

Photo by Joe Austin

Old School Friday at The Peacock Room

November 28, 2011

Last Friday at The Peacock Room, I played an old school set, 80s/90s hip hop and soul.

Because it was the night after Thanksgiving, I was forewarned business might be slow.

To fit the theme, I decided to wear a hoodie.  I wanted to look my 90s Ice Cube best.

Photo by Joe Austin

Last time I DJed a Friday night at The Peacock Room, some patrons worked on my last damned nerves.  One dude kept shoving his cell phone in my face, showing me his music request.  With others?  After playing their request, they returned and made another request.  Then, after that song, they made another request.  On and on they went with that bullshit, playing the DJ like a jukebox.

Tonight, as I played old school, two separate requests approached me for current artists. One dude wanted to hear David Guetta.  After telling  him tonight’s theme, he later requested Stevie B.  For him I played “Spring Love.” A young blonde wanted to hear A Tribe Called Quest and Kanye West.  After telling her the theme too, we settled on A Tribe Called Quest.  For that I played “Award Tour.”

The two women in the following pic requested Latin Freestyle.  For them I played “Fantasy Girl” by Johnny O.

I decided old school for several reasons.  For one, you can hear the current hits in any other bar or night club.  Two, when it comes to The Peacock Room, it’s wise to DJ with a theme.  Before you know it, patrons start requesting songs and genres you definitely had no intentions playing.  Another reason?  Many Peacock Room patrons are in their thirties and forties, a group who would appreciate 80s and 90s music.

Just like I was told, the crowd remained small.  Still, something surprised the hell out of me.  Normally, I would play The Peacock Room on a Sunday.   After word got out I was going to be here on Friday, some  of the Sunday night crowd showed up.  A small town DJ from Sanford, Florida achieved what some big city Orlando DJs only wish they had, a following.  And does my small following pull an attitude about me using a laptop?  Hellz no!  They are more focused on the music versus my equipment.

When it comes to old school, the only thing I’ll do different next time is playing 80s funk and soul first. Beginning the night with hardcore 90s hip hop can almost clear the bar.  In a bar’s first shift of people, folks just wanna talk.  Cypress Hill telling people to throw their sets in the air is not good background music for chatting.  Next time, just like with Miami booty music,  groups like Wu-Tang and NWA might have to go on after twelve.

Too busy worrying about my mix and heading to the bathroom, I didn’t take any photos until towards the night’s end.

Enjoy.

Double Booking Events Sucks

November 25, 2011

When I hear I have to share my night with another party, I often cringe.  From my hosting poetry nights in the 90s and on up to my current DJ gigs, rarely have I ever witnessed a positive outcome from double booking two different events.

Often times, miscommunication happens. Already prepared for  my evening, I find out at the last minute something else has been included.  Most times, it’s a band or bands.  Other times, it’s a birthday party.

As this goes on, you never know who told what to whom. Sometimes, you may think a member of the other party disrespected you when it wasn’t even intended.   One night at a local bar, after being told the stage would be free after eleven, another band was setting up at exactly that time. All this time, I’m thinking the bands are being disrespectful.  I’m thinking the organizer for the previous bands promised the bar owner a clear stage at eleven. Now they were going over that promised time. Then, after their performance, a member of the last band mentioned he thought they had the stage until TWELVE!   Like I mentioned before, you never know who told what to whom.

Something similar happened between Steve Roberts (a local tattoo artist) and I. One night, I did a DJ gig at Little Fish-Huge Pond in Sanford, Florida.  This was during the nights I played music behind the bar  counter.  I would connect my laptop to the stereo system located behind the counter.

Anthony Girardi and Steve Roberts

The bar became packed.  As this happened, Steve handed the bar owner his cell phone and requested the owner to play a metal group’s whole album.

What the fuck? I’m thinking. Did this motherfucker just go over my head?

After two or three songs, the bar owner and I decided to hand Steve the phone back.  One or two songs were okay.  But playing the whole album was pushing it.

It was at this time, I found out Steve was having a birthday party in the place.  That I didn’t mind.  Still, I never forgot the phone incident.

As time passed, I eventually started Djing on the stage versus behind the bar counter.  Then, as everyone called me “Stone Crazy”, Steve began calling me “Crazy Stone.”

Damn, man! I thought.  First that phone shit.  Now this crap!

I figured this wasn’t a battle worth fighting. There were more things to worry about versus some dude who can’t get my name right. Despite my views towards him, I decided to be cool with Steve anyway.

I never had anything against his taste for metal music.  I just thought some of it was inappropriate for the evening.  Still, because he requested it, I had to play it anyway.

Yet, Steve tipped more than some people.  Also, he didn’t always pick metal music. Some song requests were appropriate for the evening. Another thing, after someone corrected him, he did start calling me “Stone Crazy” and wondered why I never said anything.

Still, my mind  kept focusing on that phone incident.

As more time passed, Steve disappeared for awhile.  During his absence, my DJing evolved.  Sick of being played like a jukebox, I quit going online for songs and stopped taking every request.  Because I wanted a more woman friendly atmosphere, I upgraded my play list to current dance songs and past dance songs.  I still play rock.  Yet, just like with other music, I watch out for songs that may ruin the evening.

I didn’t think much of Steve until two of his friends (drunk white womenz) aggravated my ass one night.  Seeing how funny it was, I blogged about the incident in the now infamous “I Need To Hear Britney Spears ASAP”.

On that same blog, Steve commented my description of him, something he didn’t like.  He apologized for the name confusion and began riffing my past DJ skills.  He wasn’t aware I stopped going online.  When his comment labeled me a jukebox with a face, it proved why I definitely needed to stop going online for song requests.  Instead of a DJ, folks began seeing me as a jukebox. Then, when his comment said, “Know your role”, I steamed.

Seeing Steve and I arguing on Facebook, Chris V stepped in and explained Steve was referring to my role as DJ.  Still, “Know your role” appeared, if not racist, but definitely elitist. To me that sounded like “Know Your Place”.

After talking through e-mails with Steve on Facebook, I began seeing things differently.  His handing the owner the phone wasn’t intended as a slight.  After hearing he could have a party at Little Fish, I assume Steve had no idea a DJ was scheduled that night.  Even if he did, Steve’s deal was with the bar owner not me.  Naturally, because he made the agreement  with THAT person, he’s going to hand his phone to THEM.  Plus, I didn’t know anything about a party until that night.

I understand bars attempting to make money.  Also, I still got love for Little Fish. Yet, see what happens when you double book two different events?  Some folks walk away with unnecessary beef.  Because of that, I make a personal public apology to Steve Roberts.