Your First Gig Experience
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Your First Gig Experience

    Now before I begin, I gotta say that it can be the most difficult thing in the world to MC and spin in front of 150 people. They're all staring at you and waiting for you to basically mess up.

    The promoters on my team promoted the party as an top 40/dance event. So, electro pop. It was nerve racking, and I started to sweat. Could me, a bedroom DJ, go from spinning at small parties of 20 to now playing at a local bar that is now packed with 150 people? Somewhat, yes. I started in with something familiar to the crowd and kept the tracks light. It was a weird event, because it was mostly an Asian crowd that came for the karaoke every other night (the place was a karaoke bar). It was a business that was going downhill and typically had only a few tables a night. This night, on the other hand, was packed and we were throwing a special DJ event.

    I got up on stage at around 10:30, and mixed well into the next two hours with nothing but top 40, and the occasional hip hop. I'm a big EDM head, so it wasn't exactly the type of gig I dreamed of, but I couldn't complain. The crowd grew and grew. Soon, the people started to come up and request tracks I did not have. I was totally unprepared and my palms instantly got sweaty. I was working with two CDJ 900s and a DJM 800 mixer, no DVS... ALL USB RekordBox. Tough tough.

    I quickly tried to read the crowd, and noticed that they much preferred hiphop, something I don't usually play, and something I don't usually carry. I was petrified, but I had some tracks that would please. Around 12:30 was when I felt the fatigue, the folks were now looking at me for a good time. Little groupie girls kept bothering me, and dancing around me. Any other situation would have made me prefer this, but tonight was not the night. I needed to focus. I screwed up PLENTY of times, but the crowd didn't seem to care much at this point with the amount of alcohol being passed around. At 1:00am, we had to turn people away due to capacity issues, people were enjoying the night, but there were a few disgruntled patrons that wanted their songs and genres. Total jerks, really. They would walk up and randomly say things in my ear like:
    "You don't have this song? You suck!" "We want more hip hop!" "Give us a booty shaking song!"

    Some girls started to grind on stage and almost knocked over all my gear. I was not happy and was exhausted. I kept messing up and could feel the eyes staring at me, but the night went on. I relied solely on my fader to switch the tracks by now, I wasn't even trying anymore. FINALLY AT 3:45AM, I got to stop. By now, I forgot what sitting down felt like, my ears were shot, but every one shook my hand and said that I played great tracks and it was awesome. The owner was very pleased and wanted us to throw another event, but I was too tired to even think about it. I was embarrassed by my performance, but no one seemed to noticed the mistakes except some of the promoters. They told me I did a good job and thought that they must have been nuts, but I guess that's a good thing.

    Anyways, I learned to always be PREPARED FOR ALL GENRES of music. You never know what you may be in for, and try not to be too nervous. Relax... enjoy all the positives, don't be too anal with your mix. Not EVERYONE in the crowd is a DJ and won't care for the smallest transition issues. Pay attention to the crowd, know what to play. Anyways, at least I got offers to work at other bigger bars and even a small nightclub after the event.

    This was my first gig, and now I'm wondering how was your first gig? Nervous? Bad? Good? I want to hear it.
    2x CDJ900 - DJM800 - Xone XD2-53 - Ableton Akai APC40 Edition - Rekordbox - 2x HS80M - HS10W - 2x DXR12 - DSX12

  2. #2
    Tech Guru sarasin's Avatar
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    Dude...sounds like it was the BOMB!

    Let up on yourself a bit. I think you did Ok by the sounds of it.

    LONG set...

    Learn from it and use the energy generated there to get more GIGS!

    APC80:STR8-100's+Ortofon Concorde Scratch\Electro:ButterRugz:TSP2-NI Audio4DJ:Xone22+Innofader:MacBook Pro 15"
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  3. #3
    Tech Mentor
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    You need to enjoy yourself more! The first gigs it's hard because you're all nervous and stuff, in my case a little (ah well, not always a little ) drinking helped heaps. I made me think like the crowd, and track selection became like a second nature, suddenly there was no need to think about it at all, and people coming up to you complaining won't bother you nearly as much if not only the crowd, but you as well are having a good time.

    Glad it all went good though, but don't start slacking because the crowd was happy. If you feel like you can pull off better, work at it and the yield will be huge.
    Dell XPS 15 1080p -|- Kontrol X1 -|- Kontrol F1 -|- Akai LPD8 -|- Audio 6 -|- Traktor Scratch Pro 2.5 -|- 2 * Reloop RP-4000 M3Ds

  4. #4
    Tech Mentor Lilac's Avatar
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    First gigs are an absolute nightmare. You think that everyone will hear every mistake and that you'll bomb the set instantly.

    No one really cares though. Well done mate!

    The more you gig, the less nervous you'll get.

  5. #5
    Tech Wizard
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    I'm with the above. I remember my first gig, scary as hell haha. But definitely fun after that!
    Congrats on what sounds like was a good job.

  6. #6
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    They said turn this on, turn this on and turn this on. DO NOT DO IT OUT OF ORDER!!! Then they left. Half the room wanted hip hop, half the room wanted new wave. For some reason the same crowd kept coming back week after week so I guess I did a good job.
    Chris Jennings FHP

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  7. #7
    Tech Mentor SquireC's Avatar
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    Usual banter with punters that.

    "Hi, can you play 'Nicki Minaj'?
    "No"
    "Any Lady Gaga?"
    "No"
    "OMG YOU'RE SO SHIT"
    "Go away"

    Same shit, different night. Water off a duck's back, don't let it bother you. 1 or 2 people every night for me do this. Funnily enough, the rest of the bar/club are loving it.. and you see them back next week.. can't be that bad eh?

    I play predominantly house (funky, disco, progressive, tech) and the amount of crap you get asked for is ridiculous. If you think you can incorporate a track into your set and it won't affect the rest of your crowd, go ahead. If not, don't.. regardless of how amazing the girl is who asked. There's always an excuse and if you play out enough, you'll master them!

    "Already played it"
    "I've just played it 5 minutes ago"
    "I don't have it with me" Etc.

    My first gig in a bar was for a DJ competition where I commited to doing a classics set. Was shaking like a shitting dog, but did the right thing. Knocked back 2/3 JD and cokes and just enjoyed myself.
    I've been DJ'ing a while now and a crowd isn't going to notice any minor mistakes, the only time anyone is going to notice is if you stop the music by accident or your beats sound like something for a horse racing track, double beating everywhere.

    Don't sweat the small stuff, glad it went well.
    http://soundcloud.com/squirec Mixes mainly containing funky/disco/chicago/swing house. Although, there's always room for a little something different.
    Equipment: 15" Macbook Pro (Mid 2012), Traktor Pro 2, Traktor Kontrol X1, Pioneer CDJ 1000 Mk2 x 2, Pioneer DJM 700, Sennheiser HD25 Mk2 headphones.

  8. #8
    Tech Wizard
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    Thanks guys! I'll be sure to keep it up. The long sets are a big no no for me now. I think I'll just clock out at 3 hours instead, haha.
    WOW, sounds like there are a lot of crappy people with crappier attitudes out there. I don't get why they would want to pester the DJ so much. It's extremely obnoxious!


    I'm hoping that I'll get to have another successful event. Somewhere down the line, I want to be confident enough to able to enjoy myself while mixing.
    2x CDJ900 - DJM800 - Xone XD2-53 - Ableton Akai APC40 Edition - Rekordbox - 2x HS80M - HS10W - 2x DXR12 - DSX12

  9. #9
    Tech Convert
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    Dude, it's so funny that you posted this. I literally was going to start a new thread because of how nervous and sick I feel today. I have my first real gig to play tonight and it's mostly all Asian people as well(it's a private party at a club). Mine is a hip hop event as well and I don't mix it often. More top40, EDM stuff. Not the dream like you said but it's something. I'm kind of hoping mine turns out like yours though where no one cares about the mistakes because I KNOW it's going to happen. I've only been able to practice a couple times this week and I do not feel prepared at all. It's difficult not to be hard on yourself though. I'm very very hard on myself and probably should ease up but easier said then done.

    Anyways, glad your night turned out ok. Hope mine does as well!
    Traktor S4
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  10. #10
    Tech Wizard
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    My first gig...my legs were shaking and my heart was pounding. I think I went through 2 packs of cigs and AT least 9 drinks inside of an hour and half set. after that it started to get easier and now its like second nature and I get the itch to play infront of people...on the other note I rarely play requests...I always bring a friend that stands next to me or in the entrance of the booth and kinda acts as a bouncer...so annoying people have to pass by him first. normally hell be like hey Tay you wanna take a request for the cupid shuffle and Ill just look at him and laugh, hell then turn to the stupid skank that requested it and politely say no. or like one time this dickhead dude bro was like..."Fuck your Techno shit...Gimmie something to grind to" and seeing as I dont play Techno I politely corrected him and said my favorite excuse..."all my hip hop is in my other harddrive at my house"...I mean I coulda gave him some moombah or some something around 100bpm but the dude was being a dick...so finally after like 2 hours of this he come back and is like "Dude...I cant grind to this Techno shit gimme something slow and sensual..." I looked at him and since I was already in a transitional part w/ just a straight 4 on the floor i looped that shit...grabbed the mic and said "excuse me ladies if I could have your attention...Tell me something...if you had your choice do you want it Slow and Sensual..." they all cheered "...OR...Fast, Hard and Out of control???" every girl went fucking nuts...i then proceded to say "Oh Ladies...this dude here has herpes...so stay away from him!!" everyone laughed and cheered and just kept mixing my "techno" music and even got some girls up in the booth dancing with me...last I saw the dude left in a huff with his boys skitterin behind him...Point of the story is...when you are on the decks...YOU are god...you control the mood the atmosphere the party, if people are digging what your playing(or to drunk to care) then keep doing you...its working! Otherwise dont let people intimidate you or make you feel bad...if you dont have it...you dont have it...you dont want to play it...dont play it...its all up to you!

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