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Sunday, 20 February 2011

Fascist DJs

It's only the forgettable filler between the bands, isn't it, so who cares about the DJs at gigs? No! Quite wrong. The people putting on the music between er, the music, are important. Of course they are.

And it is my opinion that by and large they're a pretty mediocre bunch. Predictability seems to be their watchword. They’re DJs from Dullsville!

If you're at a twee-indie gig, for example, it's going to be wall-to-wall Belle And Sebastian, Ballboy and other gently tuneful bands beginning with B. A garage gig and you're in for plenty of garage grind, new and old (The Stooges being a particular favourite). Oh it does get tedious.

Very occasionally you can hear some invention and effort entering into the proceedings. One gig last year threw 1930s dance-band tunes into the mix. It was one of the very few interesting between-set selections I can recollect.

It's worth remembering that some gigs don't even have DJs, just a CD or something. A few years ago I used to go pretty regularly to a DJ-less free jazz night, noted for its self-consciously “eclectic” programming. Totally missing a trick, they used to just have a CD with stuff like Jimi Hendrix on it which would get plonked on every week. My friend, in a moment of rare enterprise, asked the promoter if they’d be interested in having him DJ. They agreed. Once a fortnight he’d appear with a different, carefully-thought-out mini-disk-only set: choice dub, bebop, Herman Dune, strange children’s songs. Needless to say after a few weeks they got rid of him for reasons never made clear. That’s the live music scene for you. Effortlessly conservative even when it’s supposedly cutting-edge.

As the long-forgotten Glaswegian punk band The Exile used to put, Mr DJ, Fascist DJ, won't let us play, don't like us at all ...

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