Kicking Booty

9/8/06

Wasted tired morning. Anjali and I DJed Booty last night at their new digs at ACME. I’ve always admired the Booty parties and always thought I could provide a killer soundtrack but figured my status as a het male wouldn’t make it easy for me to get a gig at “Portland’s Queer Party For The Piratecore.” Well, head party-person Puppet has been great about letting the Kid give it to the people nasty style, regardless of my orientation, for which I am quite grateful.

Both Anjali and I had to work all day. Afterwards we buzzed by a Musicfest VIP party at the Jupiter to check out some of DJ Safi’s set and score some free dinner. Successful on both fronts. There was a long line for free haircuts and I thought I was foiled in my attempts to get a trim but the kind folks at Rudy’s gave me a coupon for a free haircut. Thanks for that one.

Then we raced home to get ready to head down to Booty. It was a lot of running around and madness and we barely made it to ACME by my start time at 11pm. I prefer not to arrive like that for a number of reasons. One, it doesn’t feel good for the promoters and the other DJs to see the guest DJs waltz in just in time to go on stage. Two, I don’t know what the person before me was playing and I never want to inadvertently repeat a song. Three, I like to hang out and catch the vibe of a party before going on, check out the DJs, see what the crowd is or is not grooving to, etc.

Entering the back patio I was unprepared for just how much they had tricked out the space and what an incredible vibe they had going. When we did our Ghetturista night there recently we didn’t bring in any lights or props and we played a (far too) well-lit barren patio. I was immersed instantly in Booty as colored lights spun throughout a much darker, more inviting space. An enormous ship’s mast sporting shredded sails towered above the space near a huge treasure trunk overflowing with Booty. The sound system had been beefed-up to include four main speakers and two subwoofers. The Booty crew had been hard at work making trip after trip and working on the space since 4pm. It looked great and all their efforts really paid off.

As we made our way to the stage and I looked out at the bodies moving on the dance floor I didn’t feel up for going on immediately, even though it was about that time. I asked Puppet for a few minutes to catch my breath. I begged Puppet not to introduce me but she insisted on getting on the mic and letting the crowd know who was up. Hardly any response other than unmoving bodies and doubtful stares. I tried to look game anyway. I started off with some Reggaeton. After a few songs I looked up and saw the dance floor was now limited to four people. I couldn’t help but notice that before I went on the size of the dance floor was directly proportionate to how big a hit was being played. Realizing that the Reggaeton was not having the desired effect I switched into some dancehall-hip-hop-Bhangra stylee which went over far better. I felt like people were responding to the English portions of the songs far more than the Panjabi vocals so I realized it was time to start dropping some good-ol’ hip-hop. I dropped “Can’t Stop” my favorite track from the last Missy album (More of that Rich Harrison drum clatter.) and then purely for myself, went into “Here I Come” off the new Roots album. I have been feeling that song hard ever since I first listened to it on myspace. Nothing like Black Thought when he starts ripping into a groove. Criminally underrated MC. The crowd flipped when Black Thought started rhyming and I thought “Wow, maybe I can rip some straight hip-hop.” I had more perverse intentions however, I wanted to play some Booty, not just B-boy classicism. I played some truly nasty Trina, some classic Dis’n’Dat remix action, and something I bought special earlier in the day just for Booty.

When I first heard “Crazy in Love” on a DJ white label bootleg I imagined I was one of the only people in the world who knew that song existed. Never watching TV and only listening to the radio a few minutes a week I have no idea what white label bootleg is completely unheard-of and which is already a massive hit when I check them out at the store. It wasn’t until I was in Canada at a cupcake shop a few weeks after first hearing that song that I realized it was a hit, since it was playing on their shop system.

Flash forward to this Summer: I hadn’t liked the “Deja Vu” song at all. It was the first time since Jay-Z’s retirement that I felt he really should retire. He just embarasses himself on that one (Yes, even in comparison to his “Crazy in Love” performance.). I hadn’t yet heard “Ring the Alarm” but when I saw the new Beyonce “B’Day” in the store after being frustrated for the umpteenth time hoping that “Rio Baile Funk 2″ would have hit Portland shelves I knew I had to buy it. Grossly overpriced and soon to be flooding used bins everywhere I just knew I had to get that CD for Booty. I gave it a quick preview at home, and dropped the “Get Me Bodied” track in the middle of my set. It went over bananas as Beyonce’s unmistakable pipes entered the picture. I knew some diva action would work wonders for me. I realized that the title track from the new “Golmaal” film would be a good next song, but didn’t have enough time to track it down in my pile of music (Also unsure of how the Hindi would go down with a crowd that was seemingly much more in tune with American songs.) so I went with another Swizz Beats production for Mashonda which I love. Nas’s feature vocals on the track got people goin’. Makes me proud of a crowd when they’re feelin’ Nas.

After all that hip-hop I thought I would try some Funk Carioca but I wasn’t sure how the crowd would like the Portuguese lyrics and the minimalist Brazilian percussion breakdowns. I went for the rock-style Funk and played an Edu-K remix and then a proper track by the man. At this point it was time for Anjali to take over. I felt like I flubbed my final mix, which always sucks, but it turns out that was the least of my problems. The two turntables were in channel two and three on the mixer and the cd players were in channel four and five. I went from a record in channel three to a cd in channel four. The confusing thing is that channel three is left of channel four on the mixer but I had the crossfader set so that the turntable was on the right side of the crossfader. So a channel to the left is in the crossfader to the right. Somewhere in my mix I got it all messed up in my head. I couldn’t remember what channel I was moving to or what side of the crossfader. I wish I could tell you that I figured this out quickly and painlessly but that was far from the case. Blame it on the fact that Anjali was coming on and I was trying to make the transition between DJs and trying to get out of the way. Multiple times I either pulled the volume down on the wrong channel or moved the crossfader to the wrong side. Comedy of errors. I kept getting it wrong, the song would disappear, get loud, go quiet, I’d be playing one song only, then the other, then both. Finally got it sorted. Total embarassment. A textbook example of how not to end a set if you don’t want to look like a total twat. However, this was just the beginning of the nightmare.

As Anjali is rushing to go on with only a few minutes to spare she swaps out headphones only to find that half the headphone tip broke off in the headphone jack. Minutes until a new song is needed, full dance floor, no way to cue up a song. Panic. We tried pulling and pulling on the thin strands of metal but fingers were not enough to pull the beastie out. I quickly played another song off the same CD after a pause to further end my set in ignominy. Puppet shows up with scissors. Pull and pull and pull. Only manage to break the headphone plug tip again until it is completely out of reach, stuck deep in the mixer. Fortunately a fire dancer went on (Sorry, with my focus on technical mishaps I don’t remember the name of the performer.) buying us some time to get things sorted. Luckily there was another mixer lying around. A frantic switchover involving horrible noises broadcast over the soundsystem and a long pause, and finally Anjali was able to go on. What a mess. Horrible way to begin a set. And my headphones were responsible. My sincerest apologies to Anjali and everyone within earshot for the technical malfunction. Fortunately good friends were in attendance and the conviviality kept me from being too depressed. Thanks to everybody who came out.

IK

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