Why one- or two-hour DJ sets just don’t cut it… [October 1993]

There are few things more frustrating than having to persevere with a seemingly-endless procession of support DJs while waiting for a headline act to take to the decks. Worth the 20 quid entrance fee? Not even remotely…

But at this article by journalist Tim Jeffery, from The Face magazine in October 1993, indicates that these occurrences are nothing new.

As the author explains, “Heard David Morales or Frankie Knuckles on one of their recent UK dates? Wondered what all the fuss is about? After all the hype about these New York DJs, their UK performances often disappoint.

“This is not because Morales and Knuckles are no good. They are brilliant, and deserve the acclaim they receive. The problem lies in the way UK clubs are run…

“Venues that do not have late licenses insist on crowding as many DJs on to the decks as possible. The byword is quantity, not quality. DJs often play for as little as an hour and very rarely for more than two, and few are likely to take a chance with new music and ideas when the DJ that follows will bang out the latest big tunes and steal the glory.”

As Jeffery goes on to explain, those that ‘dare to be different’ risk not being asked back, resulting in “long nights of banging house with no subtlety, no imagination, no change…

“When the likes of Morales and Knuckles are caught up in this absurd treadmill, we are let down.”

The alternative? How about a 10-hour plus set from Junior Vasquez at New York’s Sound Factory (a DJ I have had the pleasure of seeing myself, at Cielo, around a decade ago)?

“For the first few hours he builds the atmosphere with smooth-sounding garage grooves, teasing his crowd, preparing them for the aural onslaught to come. From around 6am, he unleashes a bombardment of rhythms that will rise and then drop to just hissing hi-hats for several minutes as the crowd is kept teetering the edge of a musical orgasm…”

Sounds like just the ticket.

[Article taken from The Face, October 1993]


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