Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Dance Party Playlist, 11 July 2009

During our recent the Julian Woods Community in Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to deejay a little dance party, using my new Vestax VCI-300 and Yamaha STAGEPAS 300 PA system.

The party didn't go exactly as planned -- it was delayed due to a thunderstorm, which turned into violently blowing rain and lightning. We had to quickly shut down the power and pile everything into the center of the tent, and then try to dry it all out. I was nervous about wet equipment and the hundreds of feet of extension cords running into the tent; I was running around drying wet power strips and gear, and hanging the joints between extension cords off the ground to make drip loops, to try to make sure that no one would get electrocuted by a wet cord. But eventually we got it all looking reasonably safe, and I started the music. The STAGEPAS system performed admirably, with very clean sound and a decent amount of headroom in a portable system. A subwoofer would have been nice, but I could only fit so much gear in the van.

Crafting the playlist for this party was a bit of a challenge. I had a group with an extremely wide age range -- babies to elders. I had been handed a CD of mostly slower world-ish danceable stuff and asked to include some of it, and I had some general requests to play some "African stuff" and also some Motown, plus one guy who was a big, big Michael Jackson fan. Veronica was very adamant that I play the gummi bear song. (One of the funniest moments was mixing in that track, gritting my teeth a bit wondering how it was going to go over, and then looking up to see thirty people of all ages happily dancing along with my four-year-old girl). I had come up with what I thought were a couple of great sets, but then had to heavily revise the pre-planned set lists to accommodate the shortened schedule and some additional breaks for announcements, as well as last-second requests.

I was going to post my exact saved playlist, but apparently Serato ITCH has something I consider a rather severely broken feature. It saves what you've played in a "Review" window so you can keep track of what you've played. There is a "clear" button to let you empty the review window and start a new set. I was going to transcribe my set from the review window later, when I got a chance, but it appears the contents of the review window is not persistent between launches of the software. So I've lost the exact playlist. But here is my best recollection. The numbers in parentheses are the beats per minute, as calculated by ITCH. For the most part, the beats per minute gradually increase, except for the breaks for some slower songs. This allowed me to beat-match some of the transitions.

Joe Jackson: Steppin' Out (80)
Bob Marley and the Wailers: One Love/People Get Ready (Extended Version) (78)
The Police: One World (Not Three) (84)
Plan 9: Flaming Red Hair (from the Fellowship of the Ring Complete Score) (85)
Buckwheat Zydeco: Mardi Gras Mambo (84)
Lou Bega: Mambo No. 5 (87)
Boiled in Lead: Sher (95)
MC Yogi: Ganesh is Fresh (feat. Jal Uttal) (100)
Wyclef Jean: La Bamba (101)
Bee Gees: Stayin' Alive (Teddybears Remix) (102)
Baha Men: Dancing in the Moonlight (114)
Information Society: What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy) (118)
Michael Jackson: Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough (Single Version) (119)
The Archies: Sugar Sugar (Pistel Remix) (121)
Eddy Grant: Electric Avenue (122)
A:Xus: You Make Me Feel LIke (Peace and Love and Happiness) (124)


Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes: Up Where We Belong (70)
Crowded House: Don't Dream It's Over (82)
Enigma: Return to Innocence (88)
Angelique Kidjo: Sedjedo (Featuring Ziggy Marley) (100)
Erasure: A Little Respect (113)
Michael Jackson: Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Single Version) (122)
Basement Jaxx: Rendez-Vu (125)
Les Rhythms Digitales: Jacques Your Body (Makes Me Sweat) (126)


Spandau Ballet: True (97)
Johnny Clegg and Savuka: Dela (103)
Stevie Wonder: I Wish (106)
Lou Rawls: You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine (110)
Fatboy Slim: Praise You (110)
Sister Sledge: We Are Family (116)
Brainstorm: We're On Our Way Home (117)
Kool and the Gang: Celebration (Single Version) (121)
Gummibar: Ich Bin Ein Gummibar (German Version) (128)
Erick Morillo and Sacha Baron Cohen: I Like to Move It (from the Madagascar soundtrack album) (130)
Countdown Singers: Mamboleo (130)
Michael Jackson: Thriller (Single Version) (118)
Village People: Y.M.C.A. (Single Version) (126)
Basement Jaxx: Bing Bango (130)
Earth, Wind, and Fire: Boogie Wonderland (131)
Lou Rawls: Groovy People (134)
MC Yogi: Be the Change (Niraj Chag's Swara Mix) (95)
Roxy Music: Avalon (68)

I got a lot of compliments on the set. It was a lot of fun!

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