Rave Rock Strikes Back
Props to my friend Tricia Romano for a great piece on "rockstar DJs" in this week's Voice. Particularly enlightening was the fact that Martin Gore apparently beatmatches (why am I not surprised?) and, moreover, spins German minimal techno (again, not surprised!). But one graf in particular jumped out at me:
A few months ago, Sunshine was at Happy Ending when he saw Alexander Technique wearing a T-shirt that said "No Beatmatching." Alexander explained that Princess Superstar was asked to play the MisShapes party, but with a caveat: There was to be no beatmatching and no playing of electronic dance music.
This actually happened to me once, except I didn't find out until mid-gig. It was in San Francisco, one of those parties that combined rock bands with DJs, a sea of black bobs and black eyeliner and skinny black blazers — in other words, the kind of scene that invariably makes me feel old and way out of touch with Generation Myspace. The band was pretty "meh," or actually probably worse, five skinny, stylish guys with perfect hair doing a capable-but-nothing-more ape of every other guitar band on earth. Afterwards a colleague of mine played disco and electro, and the dancefloor thinned as the crowd moved increasingly toward the bar and the bathroom stalls. I thought I'd have a chance if I brought things down slow, so I kicked off with Isolée's incredible "It's About" on Freundinnen, and then worked my way up through slow, gritty jackers like Vibert's "I Love Acid" and a long, agonized Losoul B-side. (I remember the setlist only because this is a trio I drop with some embarrassing frequency.) No one was dancing, particularly. Then the promoter came up. "Could you maybe play something a little less, uh, electronic?" On another day, I could have, sure — but no one told me the brief, and I'd brought my usual bag of house and techno and minimal; they'd told me the party was intended to bring together SF's divergent rocker and raver communities.
Maybe I needed a t-shirt too. Not "No Beatmatching," but rather the one hanging in the window at Tweekin': "No Fucking Requests."