Instead of writing a ‘normal’ event review like I did last year (check out The Big Swing Night @ Leapin’ Lindy 11), I thought I’m writing about this night from the perspective of the Swing DJ.
The Biggest Swing Party in Switzerland
Last weekend (February 8-10, 2012), the popular Lindy Hop weekend Leapin’ Lindy 12 was happening in Switzerland’s capital Berne. Currently, the Big Swing Night on Saturday is the biggest Swing Dance Party in Switzerland.
Many key points were similar to last year’s edition:
- Location: Kultur-Casino Bern, Great Hall
- Dancers: 700+
- Band: Gordon Webster 7 feat. Naomi Uyama
- DJ: Swing DJ Chrisbe (that’s me; for those who read the first time on this blog)
Setup of the night
The event started at 21h with a DJ set. The first band set was scheduled for 22h, but we waited another 15 minutes to have a nicely crowded floor.
After the first band set of one hour, the presentation and social dance shows of the teachers took place. These were followed by a short DJ set and another band set.
During the second band break, my task was to suddenly interrupt the party with a song that was going out of tune (thanks to DJAY) so that the MC Tim Collins could come up with a story to initiate a soul train cake walk.
Some dancers brought a wooden cake into the room, the band was climbing out of that cake and the third band set could start. That’s how it looked like:
Cake Walk at The Big Swing Night
If you know Gordon Webster, then you know that the band is always playing longer than they are supposed to.
Don’t get me wrong, this is totally awesome, especially when you have such a great band in the city!
Well, the party finished around 4h in the morning instead of 3h and eventually, I have DJ’ed more than three hours that night!
The Responsibility of the DJ
A friend of mine said to me during the evening:
“As a DJ, you must have a lot of responsibilities!”
Yup, that’s true.
He told me the story, that he was at a concert just a few days before, and after the last band set, while the audience was still applauding and asking for an encore, the DJ started a song. The audience was so upset, that they were booing the DJ.
The DJ didn’t take care of the band, because the applause is the reward for any performing artist!
But he didn’t also take care of the audience, because they didn’t get a chance to ask for one or two more songs from the band.
As a DJ, there are some important points to think about:
- Create an atmosphere that suits to the live band and that helps them: they don’t want to perform in front of a bored audience
- Choose songs which are in contrast to the band sets: different tempos, styles etc.
- Do not play the same titles as the band. There are always exceptions, though, e.g. when you choose a total different version.
- Give enough space to the band, that means don’t start the DJ set too early, while the audience is still applauding. Wait for a sign of the band that they are really finished, or when the light technician is changing the spot to the DJ booth.
Another Tip: Bring Your Own Cables
A short rehearsal for the teacher shows was scheduled before the dance night, but it didn’t happen. So the organizers and I didn’t know what music the teachers will need for their shows. Either if I will have it on my laptop or if they will bring memory sticks, iPods etc.
So I decided to plug the cables I brought with me into the mixer and prepare the sound settings: one for my laptop and two for iPods. That was a good choice, then I needed all of them and it was very easy and comfortable to switch between devices during the show.
I Had A Great Night
It was a big pleasure to me to be once again the DJ at The Big Swing Night and also an honor beside such a wonderful and energetic band like Gordon Webster’s, which is in my eyes – and I repeat myself – the best live band for swing dancers you can have!