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Not Every DJ is a Great DJ

Thursday, Feb. 7 I went to Dunnkirk with a few friends in hopes of seeing a great DJ who could provide some fun dance music and an exciting atmosphere. The DJs billed were Moguai, Dug Knight and Alex Hodes. As designated driver, nights can really start to drag on if you don’t have something fun to do with your less than sober friends while out on the town. I was hoping Dunnkirk would be able to provide just that.

Dunnkirk had a DJ billed that promised to be exciting. His press released claimed he was among the elite ranks of 3Lau and Dead Mau5. We arrived about mid-way through Moguai’s set and what we encountered was fine, but not the thrilling DJ I was expecting. He had several head-bobbers and there were several people dancing. He was good, but not the insane, out-of-this-world DJ I was expecting.

Once, Moguai left the stage, nearly the entire crowd was just standing there, watching the next two make their attempt. A few people had their arms raised in solidarity, but those people were few and far between. The follow-up acts were not much better. With each DJ, the songs became stranger, less pop-based and more techno-based and far more obscure. As obscure song after obscure song went by, my hopes of being about to dance and laugh with my friends were pretty much dashed.

I understand that not every DJ is going to be fantastic. Most are actually more like this string of DJs: trying really hard to break out and make a name for themselves by being unique. Often times, this need for something to make them stand apart from other DJs comes at the sacrifice of music that the audience actually knows and wants to move to. While DJing isn’t the most intricate form of music, it is very easy to make your audience bored with techno no one has ever heard and strange additions that don’t fit the key, beat or theme of the original track.

Not everyone is built to be a DJ and places like Dunnkirk are the proving grounds where said DJs go to perform and end up floundering. The key to proving yourself is crowd participation and reaction. If your crowd is standing staring at you blankly, that’s a sign that you aren’t doing well. If they’re at least nodding their heads and smiling, you have a shot. If they’re jumping around, singing along, and laughing, you’re golden. What I witnessed Thursday night was standing around blankly. It was almost awkward to even be a part of the mass of people watching the DJ, because people were just standing so still.

I won’t be going back to Moguai or the other two DJs billed anytime soon. While Moguai did keep me interested and entertained, the other two floundered so severely that their failures over-shadowed Moguai’s successes. If seeing him is free, I say go for it. It can’t hurt anything and you can deicde for yourself. But if you have to pay, there are certainly better DJs to pay to see.

 I am an Indiana University senior pursuing a BA in Music Journalism through the Individualized Major Program.I am active in Theta Phi Alpha, Marching Hundred and Big Red Basketball Band. I am also a Dancer Group Represetative for IUDM! I aspire to one day write for a music magazine (Rolling Stone's Anthony DeCurtis, give me a call!) and live happily with a family.I am a marketing intern for Pizza X, so if you see the van on campus, look for me! I also write for The Odyssey and WeAreIU.com!I am addicted to Dr. Pepper and Red Bull (I have been known to buy Polar Pops and mix the two sometimes) and I am trying to learn to eat healthier, but I'm pretty rotten at it.
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