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Hang The DJ - Disco Equipment Is Not To Blame!

Sep 10, 2008
They say that disco is dead, I say it has been reinvented. Saturday night fever may not be high on the agenda, but all that is disco is back on the club scene and the folks are funking it up in a multi decade mash-up. The eclectic taste of the I pod generation covers everything from James Brown to Britney Spears, with a liberal dose of Debbie Harry and Liberty X. The rules are out of the window, like the veritable rock n roll TV leaving a 5th floor hotel room.

One of the oddest reinventions of the new disco generation is the introduction of headphones in the club. I've also heard a rumour that this has been happening at festivals across the country. To combat noise complaints and yet keep the little pixies dancing all night long, wireless headphones are being used as part of the PA system. I can't quite comprehend how odd it would be to walk in to a dance tent or nightclub, with thousands of people quietly raving. It is a surreal notion, and one that requires a bit of contemplation. Surely its failure would lie in all those folks singing along. What is going to keep them quiet? Sure, it's not going to be anywhere near as loud as a 35k rig, but it's going to be a cacophony of wailing cat noises and people still screaming at their mate asking if they want a pint.

The quality of such a system can't be up to much either. One of the greatest things about going to a really loud rave is the feeling of the bass travelling through your body. Standing in front of the speakers and feeling the air moving with the sound waves, rumbling through, from your toes to your nose. That experience is not going to happen from a pair of headphones. Maybe they have air blasting speaker simulation systems and an earthquake machine or something. Ah, as long as the music is good, the people will dance.

I'm more of a trad disco girl myself, a bit of Jackson 5 or the Bee Gees; a dance floor that is lit up like Manhattan with a liberal injection of dry ice and the obligatory disco ball keep me a happy little dancing bunny. Although I really don't want to take part in the weird wireless disco vibe, I'm ready to make a move toward the new days of disco. I was miffed enough as it was when CD decks took over from vinyl, and all my DJ friends were up in arms at bedroom DJ's making up disks and just 'sticking them on'. The move from vinyl to CD seemed to somehow be cheating at being a DJ as far as the professionals were concerned. I thought it gave other people a chance to play their music, and is surely less painful than carting a flight case of vinyl around the place!

However, the iPod disco babies have another trick up their sleeve, a DJ-less club night. The new style disco nights consists of anyone in the club plugging in their iPod for 3 songs, any songs, and cutting out the mix master altogether. Hang the DJ or what! This is not a good move; the jockey of discdom provides a seasoned and reasoned entertainment service. As a selector of tunes, the DJ seamlessly spins one tune into another, judging the mood of the crowd and dancing them into a crescendo. A spotty Herbert with iPod can't match that, but an old bloke called DJ Derek can. I was fortunate enough o watch his set at a festival recently and there he was, 75 years old, with his iPod plugged in to the PA and he has the whole crowd grooving to the funkiest tunes this side of the 70s. Goes to show that a good workman doesn't have to blame his tools - Hail DJ Derek and the return of the Disco Days!
About the Author
Dominic Donaldson is an expert in the music industry.
Find out more about Disco equipment and what products are available for clubs and discos visit Why Buy New.
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