Wednesday's Memory Lane: Worst gig, ever

We go on with the Memory Lane. This time I wanted to share something educational, so you can listen closely and learn.


This happened when we had had our Disko WTF?! collective for about six months. We got a request for a dj gig from a friend of mine, a rather weird request. We were offered a gig in Naantali, in a club we didn't know, performing before and after BIG Finnish pop singers. I mean top 10 material, some of the artists were in top 10 even when my parents were young.

The request split opinions inside our group. I wanted to do it. The money was good and I thought It'd be a nice experience to play our stuff for a full crowd in a superb setting. The other fellas didn't want to do it. They had good reasons: didn't know the crowd, couldn't play same stuff as the main performer, we had odd disco records, not a hip place to play, too long a distance, people wouldn't get us and so on.

Oh boy, how valid those reasons turned out to be.

I did end up taking that gig. I thought: Why not, I have some good new records and some stuff that EVERYBODY loves. No problemo. I ended up doing it alone as well, was actually my very first time doing a solo gig. Turned out to be the worst gig ever for me and probably for the audience as well.

For starters, it didn't start that well. I was informed that I should come around half past ten or something and I'd get to play after the main artist - who was second or something in the national Idols singer contest that year.

I was thinking about how should I go there and eventually chose the bike. It was a longer journey than I had expected (1,5 hours of biking), I almost got lost on the way and when I got to the place I was out of breath, sweaty and got to hear that I SHOULD HAVE been there at nine. Which was like two hours ago.

Well, I took my records and a free soda (didn't get free beer, dj's usually do) to the open dj booth that was standing at one end of the stage. The mixer setup was somehow wrong and I remember having to wrestle with it for a while. I called my mates for advice. It was back then when I always played with Ripatti and Akahiljane and never had to put the mixers and decks in order just by myself. Eventually I got them to work so that I could play one track from a cd and another from vinyl. I had intended to play a lot more stuff from cd's but now suddenly had to switch back and forth. I think I also got the volumes jumping up and down since I couldn't leave the booth and listen around when playing - loads of records + drunken hi society idiots don't mix - and I didn't see (or understand) the level bars on the mixer.

(This was my starting song)

So, from a technical point of view it was a disaster already.

It was the same thing with entertaining aspect, or in this case, slowly but surely pissing of the crowd. I only had like 45 minutes to play before the artist and an hour and a half after him, but I played all the vinyl I had and most of the cd tracks. Nothing seemed to work. I had some Finnish disco for ironic fun, had some stone cold classics like Madonna's Holiday and MJ's Don't stop til you get enough and very poppy guitar songs like Walk like an Egyptian.

Not a single positive reaction from the crowd.

I think I had played for 10 minutes when the first dissatisfied customer asked if I could play "something completely different to what I was just playing". And people just got more aggressive and drunk from that moment on. I felt cornered since there was no one else there and everybody could just come to my face and do whatever. People were gathering around the edge of the booth at the end of the unfortunate set.

Here's some of the memorable feedback I got from the well-behaving people there:

A female Guido: Play Michael Jackson.

Me: I just did two minutes ago. And I'm playing a mashup of MJ and Owner of a lonely hear just now.

Female Guido: Yeah, but play Beat it.


Female Guido with black hair: Have you been playing shitty music ON PURPOSE for the last hour?


Random Guido: Stop playing this HOMO MUSIC!


‎Indie Guido: You wouldn't happen to have MGMT?

Me: Nope, but I know the band.

Indie Guido: I mean, this record doesn't have anything (I'm playing this).

Me: It DOES: great bassline and awesome synth work.

Indie Guido: Oh look, The Screaming Stukas (points out to the screen of playlist computer).

Me: Well yeah, but that's the playlist computer. Ain't happening.


‎Aggressive-looking buddy Guido: My friend told me to ask you to play some better music.


‎Super Guido: Hey, you wouldn't happen to have Brian Setzer?

Me: No, sorry.

Super Guido: Where's this music coming from?

Me: From that spinning record over there.

Super Guido: Can I see the list of the records you have?

Me: I don't have a list.

Super Guido: Can I go through your record bag?

Me: No you can't.

Super Guido: Well... You wouldn't happen to have, like, Brian Setzer?

Me: Still no. I don't have that much rock with me. Some Clash, Bangles, power pop from 90's.

Super Guido: Yeah, that Clash sucks ass. You wouldn't happen to have, like, Brian Setzer?


It was like this all the gig through. When I saw the lights turned on, I must have thanked god I could stop that nightmare of a gig. After the biking there, surprise mixer problems, worst gig experience ever, there was still the biking home to do. Here's a photo of me, you can read from my expression what I think about the night and the surprising distance between Naantali and Turku.

Even if the experience was pretty dreadful for such a beginner dj as me, I still feel pretty happy that I did it. That's what young guys should do; stupid crazy things, maybe learn from them and pass them on as good stories. I remember even when the shit hit the fan in the midst of the gig I thought that it was somehow humorous or would be humorous when I got to tell it afterwards to other people. So you can take some good advice from me (and I'm happy to give more) but don't steer away from new experiences. And always keep your cool.

Tomorrow another story from the DWTF vaults,
- Peffis

No comments:

Post a Comment