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Thread: Good Gig, Bad Gig.

  1. #5311
    Benny Smyth's Avatar
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    For the first time in nearly 22 years of being a DJ, I went full on DJ Diva on Friday night.

    It was a venue that I had worked at before, but i never had the pleasure of being in the Pavilion, so in the weeks leading up to the big, I got in touch to see if I can scope out the room, check out access etc. I got a one line reply telling me to just turn right at the top of the drive. I'd prefer to see things for myself, but fine.

    Should I take the conveniently located in the garage CS-100s with me for this one? Nope. I'm in a Pavilion, so I'm going to need bigger sound. I have to get the bigger and heavier RCF 712/905 combo from a much more inconvenient spot. You can see where this is going, can't you?

    I arrive at the venue and drive up a path that's only wide enough for one vehicle at a time, to be greeted by two other vans - dance floor and photobooth. After a game of musical vans, we finally get access and I'm greeted by a very nice man, who was the duty manager for the day. He strolls me over to where he wants me to set up, and that includes a little box on the wall that has XLR ports. "You have your own sound system?" "Yes, we do."

    But it wasn't here that I went Diva. I had a quick conversation with the very nice man, where I explained that I know it's not his fault, but I have been in contact with somebody from this venue and this was not mentioned to me. Serendipity meant that we've had a chance to have a conversation before I started setting up, because if we hadn't, you'll be shouting at me for using my sound system, and I'll be shouting at you for nobody telling me that I couldn't, and we'd have a breakdown in relationship immediately. I explained that I'm cool using their system, but as some genuine feedback, this is something that I should have told about before today, especially considering that I have been in direct contact with the venue. He apologised, we joked about it, and moved on.

    It's a sound curtain system - not ideal, but it is what it is. After I set up, I do a quick sound check and from behind the DJ booth, it's very bass heavy. I walk out to the dance floor, and the sound was incredibly muddy - I knew what song was playing, but if I didn't have prior knowledge of that...you have to make an effort to listen to hear it. At which point, I called over the very nice man. "I think there's something wrong with your system." After he confirmed that is sounds the same as it always does, my response was emphatic, and started off with me questioning the qualifications of the technician who installed the system by shouting the words "Who the..." (I'll leave you to speculate where I went with that one).

    Throat now sore and urine sufficiently boiled, it was a fantastic night. The last couple of hours was 00s Emo/Pop Punk kinda stuff, and the guests were lapping it up. Bride and Groom are gushing over how amazing I am, and despite my little hissy fit, the venue were suitably impressed.

    So that made up for the poorly set up sound system.

  2. #5312
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Smyth View Post
    For the first time in nearly 22 years of being a DJ, I went full on DJ Diva on Friday night.
    Calm down dear, it's only a Disco.



    I've had venues insist that I can't have early access, despite bride assuring me ( correctly ) that the room I want will be empty at the time. Benny, I feel your pain, when you've reached out to check in advance.

    I also had the pleasure of working at a venue with a sound ceiling and installed system which was ( once turned up for the disco ) magnificent. It's not all grim.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

  3. #5313

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    I've covered for a friend at a venue where the dance floor is in the centre of the room. Literally in the centre of the room with two rows of tables all around. You then have to stand in one corner and connect into their sound system. There are two bass cabs, concealed behind what look like radiator covers built into the wall with woden frames. One is right next to you and the other is across the other side of the room. On each of the four walls, at ceiling level are what look like small hi-fi speakers. No more than 4 inch at best. So where you stand you can't really monitor the sound and when you speak on the mic, its coming at you from all angles and tone levels, muffled at best and with a slight delay, so you speak but you don't hear for a fraction of a second. Its wierd.

    Their lighting leaves a lot to be desired with a strip of LED lights all round, again at ceiling level, creating a wash upwards. Three Jelly Domes adorn the ceiling. And that's it.

    Needless to say, its not my most favourite place, and the carry in is along three corridors, entering through the main front door of the hotel. The saving grace is that you need minimal kit (yes, Peter, even me) and that you get paid, in cash, when you arrive.

  4. #5314
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattydj50 View Post
    The saving grace is that you need minimal kit (yes, Peter, even me) and that you get paid, in cash, when you arrive.
    That's not a concept you've really grasped, is it?
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

  5. #5315
    Imagine's Avatar
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    Default Nailed it....twice!

    If only every weekend could be like this one. I'd happily go back to Friday and repeat the last two gigs for the rest of my days.

    Friday, a school Xmas party that isn't a school Xmas party. OK, it's a year group of school kids originally scheduled for December and then moved to Friday due to you know what, but not organised by the school and not on school premises (they're still a bit funny about parties in these parts at the moment). The reason for organising it was a nice one too...they wanted the kids to let their hair down after everything they've been through over the past couple of years (I think the parents wanted to do some of that as well ).

    All in all, a blimmin' satisfying couple of hours full of the usual adrenaline fuelled games, wig changes, silly dances and snow. Not for the first time recently I was also asked "do you do this for adults?". I need to start marketing Capt. Chaos parties for the grown ups (with some grown up games) - I think it might just have legs in a very niche sort of way.

    And then Saturday's effort.

    First - I need to make a confession. My name's Wayne and I played Superman at a wedding (it was requested by a guest and sanctioned by the bride)

    Now then, my first wedding of the year (rescheduled a couple of times and they actually did the "deed" last July so more of a celebration of the fact). After my last couple of outings with grown ups, I was in near panic mode as to how it'd pan out. Would it be the third lemon in a row?

    You know what - my fears were completely unfounded!

    Gorgeous barn venue in deepest, darkest Norfolk (not too far from Her Maj's country pile), a really laid back couple who 100% trusted me to deliver the goods, 100 guests that were well and truly up for a party and an all day job as well (and as an added bonus I was fed a lovely plate of bangers and mash during the wedding breakfast - proper wedding food instead of the usual rubber chicken that's normally on offer).

    Downside to this venue - it's a pain to get in and out of involving a gravel car park, a sloped path to the entrance and guests milling around in front of it! Oh, and you're expected to be in and running in 30 minutes (the same at the other end of the day as well!). Yup, I can actually do that....sort of. It actually took 32 minutes to get out but that's because it was -2 and the van needed to be defrosted before I could move it

    Afternoon pleasantries, speeches, food etc done and dusted and we're on to the first dance. The guests joined in after I'd got the nod from the 'togger and BOOM! Unlike most parties, I never once had a lull on the floor. It was absolutely rammed all night, mainly to 90s R&B, 70s disco and a LOT of 90s pop, plus the usual suspects like Brightside etc. Oh, and a good smattering of cheesy delights too (well...why not?). Superman actually rammed the dance floor!

    Agreed with the couple to do a false ending otherwise I was never going to get out alive and it's a strict 12am finish (and off site by 12:30!). Chants for one more were met with massive cheers as I rolled out When You're Looking Like That from Westlife (the last song as requested by the couple) and that was enough to satisfy them

    Time for a well earned sleep now - I've earned my keep this week

  6. #5316

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    Quote Originally Posted by Excalibur View Post
    That's not a concept you've really grasped, is it?
    Oh, I don't know, it took me 20 minutes to pack up and load out last time I was there and most of that is walking top and from the car.

    The problem there is that the kit they do have was probably installed in the 20th Century.

  7. #5317
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Default On the road again.

    The most low key after wedding party ever! A Rugby Club I've worked before, with lovely staff, brilliant ground floor access, and acres of room to set up.
    I knew it was too good to last. Buffet appeared to be available from the off, except it was never actually announced. It wasn't overly taken up. Another one with every age from babes in arms upwards, lots of grandchildren. Bride appeared to be the epitome of Grandmas everywhere, and the grandchildren were included in just about everything.

    Music brief was 80's, 90's Elvis, Depeche Mode and Bruce Springsteen- Tougher than the rest. Not overly restrictive, although I didn't play many of The Usual Suspects. Groom was a big fan of Simple minds and Depeche Mode, and apparently ( as the muscle relaxant took hold ), Queen and E.L.O.

    The end came with fewer bodies than the start, but plentiful praise for my work. A better night than many recent ones, but not marvellous. Perhaps I should lower my expectations? ( Nearly typed standards there, oops).

    60th Birthday tonight at a golf club I'm working at a lot for a multi-op. Hope this one's a blinder. Heaven knows, I need one for my ego.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

  8. #5318
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Default Beware false hopes.

    Ah well, a bloke can dream of packed floors and frenzied crowds, can't he?

    Saturday was somewhat of a curveball. Although a 60th birthday, most guests were 30-40 with pre teen children, and the requests reflected this. At least I didn't get any for Bad Boy Chiller Crew!

    Why is it that venues know you're coming, and don't move any furniture in readiness? So you move a few chairs and tables a bit, and set up the appropriate kit in the space you've made, nice snug fit.

    Then they do what they should have done earlier, and clear a football pitch sized space round you! Thus, my discreet little rig suddenly looks a little undergunned. I have to own up to making a wrong guess at this point, too. I went for a Chauvet Batten, and two Hadrons, a powerful, but less than frenzied rig. Adding a Crossfire XP, or a scanner would have worked better perhaps.

    I worked hard, and at times had a busy floor, but if I'm honest, I really struggled, even though one guest came up early, and asked for " lots of cheese ". Only around a quarter of the guests reacted well ( dancefloor wise ) to it. It wasn't the magic bullet. To be fair though, I could see seated guests singing along to many songs, tapping feet, etc.

    Sometimes we are harsh critics.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

  9. #5319
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Default Well it was some improvement.

    I'm firmly convinced that we set ourselves too high standards. For me, last night's wedding was acceptable. Once I'd been granted access. Hotels, communication, and forward planning don't seem to go together. My Boss, Mr Jackson, was told evening only, on more than one occasion. I turn up my customary two and a half hours early to find the reception in full swing to be informed " we thought you'd have set up early".

    Not an insurmountable problem, and I was fully ready fifteen minutes before kick off. Guests were let back in twenty five minutes before, but that's life. Well, this lot set off at a gallop, I played tracks from recent(ish) now albums and we were away, quite a few parents dancing with their young offspring. We had the First ddance/father-Daughter, and StepFather- Daughter dances, before the cake cut, and as you'd guess they burnt themselves out. I never had an empty floor, and at times it was very busy. My, but I played some varied genres, and most of it passably mainstream.

    Highlight ( not ) of the evening was the inebriated bridesmaid who had lost the power of comprehension, and most of her balance sensors, who nearly moved the booth into the bar next door when she fell into it from my side, while trying for a request!

    We limped along for the last hour, and all in all, a good night was had by all. Next week, the seaside again, with Karaoke. It just gets better and better, though to be fair, I may have a roadie for this, fingers crossed.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

  10. #5320
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    After the wedding at Mr Jackson's residency, it was my turn to be Boss. He had a blank diary, and graciously agreed to roadie for me at a Karaoke birthday party near Scarborough. The lad is a technological genius in certain areas, and tuned up my VDJ settings a treat in many ways. He was tremendous value, carrying kit in and out, playing at least half the gig, and even singing the first song, in true Presenter style. The man's an absolute star.
    It was another gig just like the last few, where guests and client were very happy, DJs were happy to take the money. Dave called it exactly, about ten minutes in!

    This week, Marquee Wedding, for predominantly Young Farmers, with a band comprised of their erstwhile compatriots. They had assembled from all points of the country, for this gig, and what they lacked in cohesion and slickness, they made up for in " Stage Presence". They had that in abundance. The whole day was planned to be " relaxed ", and was so relaxed that it was running about three hours late before I started earning my keep properly.

    The band came on, and had the floor absolutely rammed all through their set, and with the amount of time I had after that, it was just too easy to play Indie Anthems and some of The Usual Suspects. I packed up my kit, and the bits of PA I'd shared with the band ( Really, two Mackie 450s wasn't going to be pleasant at that level without fairly big subs ) and went home.

    If I'd turned up at about 9pm, used minimal kit, and been able to park the van next to the tent, it would have been the gig of the decade. With the various issues, it was just hard work, if rewarding.
    Excalibur. Older than the average DJ.

    www.excaliburmobiledisco.co.uk

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