Sunday, September 21, 2008

For Whom the Music Matters

There's almost a 100% probability that the individual that this post refers to will never read this, however it's important enough for me to post regardless.

I'd like to give some major thanks and kudos to a one DJ LickA Shot.

In a depressing, half-under-construction artificial city a million miles from Nowhere DC, an upscale lounge and nightclub on the top floor of a disgustingly wasteful and overdone $960 million building plays host to a well-paying pharmaceutical company on the final night of their 4-day convention.

In amongst the dozens of LCD screens, crystal chandeliers, white leather couches, open and flowing bar, the buffet tables of light-bite fare and the wall-to-wall interactions between drunken co-workers, stands a guy who just wants to dance (me).

The DJ providing the tunes tonight has graced the decks of such venues as Velvet in Miami, Fluid in Philly, Cargo in London and has opened for R-Kelly & Jay-Z. But tonight, for his crowd of mostly white, mid-40's and balding sales reps, middle managers, CFOs and Team Leads, the quality of his mix is nowhere near as important to them as the color of their bullet points in their PowerPoint presentations.

He could have easily phoned it in with an automatic wedding reception playlist of "Footloose", "You Shook Me all Night Long" , "YMCA" and "Hollaback Girl" to which his audience would have just as well shuffled and shimmied around the club while holding their Heinekens and hitting on fellow employees.

This guy, however, was not about to slack off even given the lack of musical education of his audience tonight. He played the requisite songs ("We Are Family", "A,B,C", etc) needed to get that crazy group of girls out on the floor, dragging their embarrassed and awkward male co-workers, franticly downing their Red Bull & Vodka's to adequately dismiss of their inhibitions, but mostly he gave us real material that we could actually use (referring to myself in the plural- sort of weird, but it feels right).

Stuff like Madonna's "4 Minutes", Rihanna's "Disturbia", Usher's "Yeah!" and Flo Rida's "Ayer".

Nothing to be said about any deep lyrical content or creative song structure, but all great, backbeat-driven, easy-to-step-to tracks. All work well with my special blend of lock'n'pop, liquid and make-it-up-on-the-spot footwork.

So, I'm having a pretty good time.

But then, this drops in from out of nowhere:

Nightcrawler's "Push the Feeling On".

There was absolutely no reason for our DJ to drop in this track (even for short 45 seconds that he had it spinning).

It's not a track to get people off their seats or out from the bar onto the floor.

It won't make girls wiggle, bounce or shake anything in particular and I guarantee no one on the floor recognized the tune from any other club or wedding experience and perked up.

But for myself and others who've enjoyed the electronic music scene for quite some time, it's a classic track. It's a landmark tune, one that I remember exactly where and when I heard it for the first time. Tonight, I heard that classic Robin S-esque organ and those vocals come fading in, a big smile came across my face.

I knew the music was in the hands of a professional.

None of the pharma attendees would ever put any meaning into the nonsensical, chopped up vocal track. He didn't even play it for me, because I didn't request it (and I wouldn't have even thought to).

He played it because the music mattered.

Thanks to DJ LickA Shot for creating a fun and energetic atmosphere the other night. Thanks to the club management for not kicking me out when I was the only one in the VIP section taking control of the light-up glass floor (although that is sort of freaky - dancing out on the edge like that). And thanks to those members of the convention who personaly acknowledged the skills of the DJ and yours truly.

PS. DJ LickA Shot is on MySpace

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