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Getting Kicked Off The Decks + 5 Tips For DJing At Nightclubs

Over the weekend, the internet blew up with video and heated discussion about turntablism prodigy DJ Shadow getting kicked off the decks in Miami for playing music that was “too future”. Today, we explore why some nightclubs have become dangerous places for DJs to try new genres and tracks, and share five solid tips that all DJs can use to ensure their club gigs go smoothly.


A quick summary of this weekends events as a recap – DJ Shadow (whose Twitter bio reads: “I play for smart kids”) started his set at the Mansion Nightclub in Miami Beach, and about thirty minutes in was asked to stop by the club management for playing “too future” music. There’s even a video of it happening (some very not safe for work language in it, you’ve been warned):

Editor’s Update (12/21/12): Looks like Mansion has issued an apology:

“We offer our most sincere apologies to DJ Shadow and his fans for his set being cut short at Mansion this past weekend. This error should not have happened and will not happen again, especially as we pride ourselves on creating an environment that cultivates and respects innovators such as DJ Shadow. We have learned a lot from this error and made changes within our organization to ensure that Mansion’s vision, and the vision of our guests, will never be compromised again.”  -Mansion Nightclub, Miami

2012 has been filled with similar incidents happening to high-profile DJs, including Mansion’s ejection of Dennis Ferrer, the widely-noted booting of Mark Farina from the decks of Marquee Dayclub in Las Vegas and last weekend’s removal of Tommy Sunshine from W.i.P. in New York City. But what exactly causes these incidents? Our friends The DJ Gospel might think it’s the apocalypse, but there’s a better explanation if you follow the money.


If you’ve been living under a rock, the last few years have seen an immense rise in the popularity of electronic music and DJs have stepped to the foreground of pop culture. We’ve seen DJs and producers have success all over top music charts, on award shows, and in producing pop music. This success has translated to superstardom for many – and as festivals with electronic music headliners increased in number and attendance, it’s been clear to venues of all types that there’s a significant amount of money to be made.

Las Vegas and Miami are both party destination cities – where casinos and nightclubs thrive on the business of out-of-towners coming to their city and partying all night long. If there’s a popular performer in America, you can bet that a casino in Las Vegas will try to book them – as the New York Times reported earlier this year, the new stars of Vegas are DJs. Miami has seen a similar growth in electronic music tourism, perhaps best exemplified by October’s announcement that the Ultra Music Festival will expand to two weekends.

Kicked Off The Decks

But just because more DJs are being booked to get feet in the doors of venues doesn’t mean that they’re the biggest money makers once a nightclub opens. As Tommy Sunshine aptly noted in his letter to Vibe after last weekend’s incident:

Basically their #1 priority is their “clients” who spend money in bottle service & what they say dictates the music direction. The DJ’s who have to play to people who act this way don’t deserve this kind of abuse.

For many of the big spenders in nightclubs, they’re not there to hear Shadow’s forward-thinking sounds. A quick perusal of pictures shot at the Shadow gig on Saturday night gives a good indication that the crowd on the dancefloor was into DJ Shadow’s performance – but they also reveal that Hugh Hefner was in attendance.

The club already has all of the cover charges from the crowd once they’re in the door – but if a big-spending VIP like Hefner isn’t into the music and complains, the club and/or promoters will likely take notice (for the record, Hefner could be a huge Shadow fan – he’s just an example of the types of VIP patrons that spend money on bottle service in clubs like Mansion).

Editor’s Addition: The question that arsises – as pointed out in our comments by James ‘Pioneer’ Burkill , is what obligation do nightclubs have to the fans that are coming in to see that artist? A proper venue and promoter should do their homework and have an expectation of what type of night the act that they’re booking will thrive in.  At the same time, the artist’s management should have a role here as well, not only in making sure their artist is treated right during an event, but in making sure that they avoid the types of clubs that have a reputation for this kind of behavior.


Ultimately, DJing at certain venues can become a delicate balancing act for many working DJs. There’s a responsibility to maintain and enhance the environment, mood, and atmosphere of a club night – but that has to be weighed against your own personal artistic integrity and what the limits of your willingness to become a human jukebox is.

1) Play Appropriate Nights/Venues: This is one of the biggest tips a DJ looking to increase their bookings should heed. If you’re not comfortable playing a gig where the crowd might need non-stop top 40 to keep anyone on the dance floor, then don’t take a gig that’s going to be advertised as such.

Doing your homework is a big part of this tip – you should go to a club on the night that you’ll be playing and see what works and what doesn’t. This way you’ll have a good understanding of what the normal crowd is like at the venue and can plan accordingly.

See more tips on taking DJ gigs outside of your normal comfort zone.

2) Communicate and Network: As the DJ, you want the nightclub staff to be on your side in any situation, so make sure you know them. Talk to and learn the names of the promoters, the owners, the managers, and the security – as they’ll be the ones who will come up and let you know if there’s any issues before things get serious. Ideally you’ll get honest feedback from them about how the night is going from their perspective, and if you’re friendly with them, they’re unlikely to come up and give you the axe without any warning.

3) Be prepared to change: It’s easy to get into a DJ booth and get separated from how the music sounds to the audience versus how it sounds to you. Be ready for feedback from the audience, because like it or not, it’s coming. You can be ready for this – if you did your homework and investigated the club previously, you’ll know what types of tracks to keep in reserve in case your selection isn’t going over well.

4) Turn the other cheek: If things go poorly and you’re asked to leave the decks, keep your cool. If it’s appropriate, you can let the crowd know that you’re done , like Shadow did in the video above – where the crowd’s reaction made it clear that they were not happy that this happened.

Remember that your best booking asset as a DJ are your connections, so don’t let the fact that you’ve been asked to leave the decks affect how you act towards the other DJs, the crowd, etc. These people might not agree with the decision to end your set – but even if they do, don’t act brashly and risk damaging your reputation just because this gig didn’t work out.

5) Live to fight DJ another day: No matter what happens during your gig, odds are pretty good it won’t be your last. Figure out what went wrong – was the music not right, or was there just a over-complaining VIP? Don’t let being asked to step down from the decks be your last DJ performance, but look at it as an opportunity to learn more about what types of gigs you want to be playing.

Have you ever been told off for your musical selection and been asked to hand off the decks during a major gig? We want to hear your stories and advice in the comments below.

Header photo and Hefner photos credit to George Martinez for the Miami New Times

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  • Nadellienn Arandia

    This post is great; DJ who
    could perform like this is surely a good DJ. That is why I’m so amazed with wedding DJ
    they are always ready for change, they are doing everything to
    make the party alive and they know how to adjust to every aspects. I guess being
    a professional DJ is not just with its performance but it is also shown with
    their characters.

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  • Andrew Hamilton

    now this as a club dj wanting to start out is what i have been dreading since it became my ambiton, the fact that where i live has very picky music taste is living breating proof of that, in my city there is a mainstream weekly event my friends keep dragging me to, where the dj constantly plays top 40 crap week in week out with barely any change to the set whatsoever, you might get lucky one week and hear something on the lines of electro but only to faded out halfway into more chart stuff and not even mixed properly, on the other hand at single events the local djs actually show talent and actually “mix” which when u go to see a dj is exactly what they should be doing, so when trying to start out i realized that unless you went event or club every week and studied the crowds behavior you can never really fully know what they are expecting, so because of this i have developed what i think is the optimum strategy for club djing, being a cd dj my library of cds is huge, and after carefully planning this came up with the perfect backup plan, my “library” consists of 3 wallets, a 96 slot wallet, a 64 slot wallet, and a 48 slot wallet, now since i work with one track per cd i can easily organize everything on a scale like this, my main wallet consisting of hard electro and house is filled to the brim with cds. simples, now if the crowd reacts badly to this i plan on simply referring to “the second wallet” which despite managing to stay withing the limits of being house remixes or “mainroom” as some people call it is made up of mostly chart music, so if the crowd reacts to how different the electro i’m playing i just simply test the water with something more mainstream and work my way from there, if this happens again throughout a night i refer to the third wallet, this one i suggest throw in a mix of everything, any tracks that u think might just be absolute lifesavers in a really long set or just something for when the club quites down a bit to boost the atmosphere again, now as foolproof as this may sound, you have to keep in mind the preperaton that goes into this method, you need time space, and most importantly, patience, looking through tons and tons of music is always worth the effort, you can always be one scroll or click away from your new “set essential”, this also requires you to be super organized not just with your cds but your computer as well, create folders that only you can understand to keep it drilled into your head and always back things up, i have lost thousands of songs in the past from not having backup and it is a nightmare getting them back, if you have the time and resources to try this method i highly recommend it, and good luck to others wanting to start out.

  • Keyvon Pierre, M.D.

    I had a girl ask me to play Lady Gaga at a lounge where they play mostly house. I refused, then she got her friend who said “im getting married tomorrow can you please play gaga.” i refused and she called me names. then she got the manager to come over and ask me if i could play it. i still refused. she left in a huff and i was still asked back next month. dont sell out! and if you do, make the fucker pay you

  • Anonymous

    Fair play to him. I was enjoying that track. What is it?

  • Philosofox the DJ

    It’s spelled ‘Tommie Sunshine’. Normally I don’t correct spelling online, but it’s an artist’s name. The Vibe letter you link to spells it correctly.

  • BPSS of Dub Church

    I’ve read a lot of these comments & what seems to be lacking in this debate is the perspective of someone with real world experience in any of the particular venues in question. A little background; I own & operate Dub Church which until my voluntary closure last week was Las Vegas’ longest running bass music weekly. We existed mostly far outside of the major clubs but our local brand recognition has opened doors that many local bass DJs would otherwise not have access to. THE DAY AFTER Mark Farina was kicked off the decks at Marquee, our crew was booked to play Marquee day club opening for Jack beats & Kill The Noise (who were both booked by the club as a pre EDC teaser). That morning, we received a call explaining the prior days events & were then confronted with, “you guys ready to play electro?”. Our crew played the gig. This being Vegas, there are DJs in our crew who play these sorts of music as their “9-5” job so we took it on the nose & did what we could to appease management. The crowd of 400+ that showed up on our list to the pool that day to see dubstep & d&b were pist. Jack Beats & KTN were issued the same orders as we were & they were pist as well but played what they were told. At one point in the day, just to see if we could get away with it, we told our DJ on the decks to play bass music. The crowd obviously went nuts immediately as they had been waiting for it all day so we determined we should listen to our instincts as Djs & play for the crowd. Upon pulling out my S4 which the club was in fact notified I’d be using as I’m the local Traktor product specialist i was immediately confronted by both a tech & manager & told “fuck no you’re NOT using that!” We were also told to immediately cut the dubstep & d&b & return to the protocol even though the dancefloor EMPTIED as the music changed back. And with that, I packed up, left my friends to finish the gig & went to prep for our own show later that night at our regular venue where WE had booked The Freestylers & DJ Shiftee & had one of the best turnouts in our history because all the angry bass fans were at that point, very ready for some real fucking music.

    Due to our professional handling of the situation we were later asked to program & promote another guestlist for a night at Marquee supporting Borgore (who THEY booked) in their smaller “boombox” room where we were then given free reign of our own playlists & this went exceptionally well for us with management shocked to see that we seemed to entertain the local-heavy crowd more so than their high dollar headliner that their research had told them was “very big in the dubstep scene”

    Another night I was booked at Chateau in the Paris casino. I was closing out the night following Splitbreed, who is a local live Dubstep/Electro act with 2 MCs who draw a mixed crowd of hiphop & dance music fans. I opened with very club friendly trap & urban flavored dubstep & was yanked from the decks just 15min into an hour+ set with a FULL dancefloor because someone in management decided my selections weren’t appropriate & electro was more suited to their patrons tastes. I packed up & let an electro DJ play. Literally within 20 minutes of the change of music, the patio was empty & the party was over earlier than scheduled. These things happen. It’s best to go with the flow because in just a few months, you can expect a major staff change to occur (they always do) and the offending manager will fail upwards into another position elsewhere.

    Things to be aware of that I think many people in the underground scene aren’t maybe familiar with; In Las Vegas & at major clubs in other large cities, “promoters” are the young people hired to hand out flyers & VIP entry cards to passersby & only get paid by the club for getting people in the door on a per head basis. The person handling bookings generally is called a “talent buyer” & is employed DIRECTLY by the club and paid obscene sums simply to know “who’s hot in EDM” & lock them down for the club before the next guy. Genre is inconsequential to most club management as most of them simply regard it all as EDM or even worse, “that EDC music”. The people “promoting” the gig in the advertising sense of the word is the clubs marketing department & sometimes in conjunction with a local promoter whose fanbase can be exploited for the clubs benefit if a more specialized or cult artist happens to be booked. The major Las Vegas casino nightclubs are also owned by “management groups” which are just faceless corporations who are separate in most cases from the casino & very often, NOT even based in Vegas! So the promoter in the traditional EDM sense of the word wasn’t even part of the equation in the majority these cases. The talent buyer at “the venue with the hottest talent in EDM” books “who’s hot”, the marketing department gets the art collateral from the booking agency & gets to work on making shiny graphics to go in the local weekly entertainment papers & billboards & what not.

    Remember these clubs are VERY competitive so they also drive rates up in bidding wars. Skrillex in fact, was stolen from a local promoter here by a major club because after his first booking at an off-strip event went so well just at the time his stock was going up, the club offered his agency well outside the range of anything the local promoter would ever be able to afford thus locking in the exclusive & setting the precedent for major acts to be essentially unattainable by non-corporate entities in vegas. The same acts that play in LA or San Francisco for 500 want 15-2500 to play in Vegas simply because the perception is that EDM is what’s making big money here.

    One person in the chain worth blaming is definitely the artists booking agent because obviously the agent is going to want the commission on that 50,000 fee from Surrender more than the commission from Joe Blow’s rave party where the entire budget is 15,000. Nevermind the fact that the rave is probably the most appropriate artistic avenue for their artist, the money at stake trumps all else. I’m not a fan of his music but Skrillex went from touring with just his laptop & trigger finger to a full scale LED & projection mapped production after vegas…..

    As a p.s. to anyone who talks shit about the american electronic music scene, Americans INVENTED House, Techno, Electro, Acid, Breaks, Hardcore, Garage AND HipHop! Along with Jamaican Reggae, that pretty much accounts for the root of ALL modern dance music genres worldwide. I myself am incredibly partial to genres from the UK, but the U.S. is the source of it all. I’m the last person to be tooting the horn of american patriotism (or even defending Las Vegas for that matter) but if you live here & complain about the state of our scene & are not making any effort to better the scene by throwing better events & educating people through music, your opinion has little place in the debate. It’s people like you that are holding us back by contributing nothing more than negativity.

  • What if you audition for a gig with a 3 hour set, it kills and they invite you back on a random night because some one else fell out. I feel like they should know what they’re getting. Suddenly they want you to change everything you’re doing and become a hip-hop DJ even though you’re a house DJ.

  • Hefner was not there, he’s a miami look-a-like that gets hired to show up at clubs and act like he is Hef.

  • Sam @ The Edit Rooms

    Let the DJ your follow on from have some space as he packs up – he might make it an awkward transition next time if you hurry him out!! Sam @ The Edit Rooms

  • Sam @ The Edit Rooms

    Let the DJ your follow on from have some space as he packs up – he might make it an awkward transition next time if you hurry him out!! Sam @ The Edit Rooms

  • As long as I have contracts signed and get paid, it’s all good. I’ve never been kicked off a stage because of what I was playing, but I have had HUNDREDS of high maintenance girls give bad top 40 and hip hop requests while batting their eyes at me, thinking that’s going to work after 18 years of doing this. I pretty much ask for the BJ right there, then I’ll play their song. Haven’t had to play one yet:)

  • Dantum

    anyone know the track he was playing before he got booted?

  • IP

    *****************************Did you guys really steal that Independent Philly photo?

    It looks super suspicious with that crop.

    If so, that is soooooooooooooo sketch, dudes.

  • He got kicked off while playing one of my favorite songs. I’M TOO FUTURE FOR ALL Y’ALL.

  • It just shows how the mainstream mega clubs like these are out of touch with the talent they bring in.. They’re just chasing names that have potential to increase sales.

    Booking Manager- “We just booked DJ Shadow.”

    Club Manager- “Who’s that?”

    Booking Manager- “I have no clue, but he’s super big with the kids, so the line should be around the block.”

    Club Manager- “Perfect. I’ll be sure to let the hosts know to charge more for bottles that night.”

  • djForti5

    Were all forgetting one thing. Ish happens!!! No matter how much you prepare anything can happen. You can go to a gig and expect a fan friendly turn out and it could just happen that your fans are mostly busy that night or become outnumbered by a larger group with its own opinion and possibly lots of cash. No matter how much we love the music when its all said and done this is also a business. My main point is that you cant judge a venue, dj, promoter, booking agent, …. on one incident and just point fingers and make generalizations. Well you can, you just look a little ridiculous for doing it. And maybe im a jerk for saying this but I really wouldnt trip if you flew me to your city, gave me money and then told me to go and do whatever i want. And if i really wanted to play a set for my fans i would just take the party to another venue which i am sure would love to have me.

  • Fr3dD-E

    Like it or not, I think that the most important thing is that we don’t have to remind ourselfs that we are Dj’s, our work is to make the “room/party” enjoying their time.
    Don’t forget also that for clubs owners we are employees and that’s why they treat us like so.. OF COURSE THE PREFER THE MONEY THEY MAKE despite everything else!!
    If you are called to a gig it’s important, as said in the article, that the DJ knows where he’s going but also that he’s ready to face any kind of situation.
    All this is and it always has been part of the game and I don’t think is gonna change no matter who is the dj or where he’s playing..

  • Welcome to the rise of mediocrity. Pop is eating itself as we speak! Yeah, follow those 5 tips and enjoy those gigs as a wedding DJ/human jukebox. I’m really disappointed that that a site like DJ Techtools, that champions innovation of the art of DJing would be so quick to roll over and acquiesce like that. These douchbag club promoters and owners have to remember who it is that actually made their shit possible. It’s the 30+ years of innovative jocks from around the world that made EDM what it is today. Larry Levan is rolling over in his grave right now…

  • Non A Mus

    You credit George Martinez in your roll overs, but not other photographers… You’re an idiot.

  • Independent Philly
  • Independent Philly
  • Independent Philly
  • Independent Philly
  • Independent Philly
  • Independent Philly

    Where’d you steal this photo from DJTECHTOOLS???

  • Independent Philly

    You have 12 hours to take down the photo you purposefully stole from our site (removing our logo) or, according to the copyright language on our site, we will be suing you for copyright infringement. Remove this comment again if you please but we have already contacted the proper people. If you wanted to use our photo, all you had to do is ask. You are thieves. You will be treated as such.

  • Independent Philly

    Ironic to write an article about DJ etiquette in which you
    steal a photo and crop out the logo and assign no credit (photo: That
    photo, was stolen and had the logo cropped out (which clearly violates
    the copyright language on the site,, that it was
    stolen from). Photographers
    work hard too, not just DJs. That’s pretty much akin to one DJ stealing another DJ’s track and then removing all signs that it belonged to someone else. Stay classy DJTECHTOOLS.COM.

  • tom

    if I was a customer I would kick off big style. I would want my money back straight away, if worst came to the worst would get some buddys together and smash the place up. ps I am british we have abit of a rep for it

  • Lyndon

    Guys like DJ Shadow and Mark Farina are producers. Creators of new and innovative music. It sickens me that that people treat DJs like jukeboxes. I suppose that analogy sort of works at the wedding DJ level. But the fact of the matter is, you wouldn’t book Frank Zappa then get pissed when he won’t play disco covers. The attitude toward DJs is all wrong here.

  • 6) A Dj contract protecting your integrity as an artist. Artist contracts should have terms that ensure that things like that don’t happen.

  • Shadow. You are a LEGEND!!!! ENtroducing+ LSD basically shaped who I am today!!!! I saw you at identity in Pittsburgh. YA Skrill fuck and Rusko and all them were there but I came for YOU!!!!! And you did not disappoint!!! Keep doing what your doing(I know You will) In this culture of fake ass non musician, celebrity ball swingers YOU remain true TO THE MUSIC!!! And that is as it should be!!!!! Fuck the haters! Electronic music is and always has been about pushing the limits, innovation and evolution. To call some ones music too futuristic isn’t a diss on you. It’s a diss on the hoards of dip-shits who have recently jumped on the dance music band wagon!!!! (I just realized I wrote this as if Shadow himself were going to read it! Oh well, fuck. You sir are a n artist and you’ll ALWAYS my respect!!

  • My question is.. rather than asking him to stop playing, couldn’t they have asked him to switch the vibes?…

  • ollie

    I’m always surprised that the people that are complaining all the time are *never* dancing! Even if you play exactly the track they were requesting. Just give them a friendly nod and keep on doing your thing 🙂

  • Ryan Supak

    Does anybody have the full track listing? I’d be curious to see if he tried to “compromise” at all. There is definitely some “edgy” or “future” stuff that frat guys or rich kids or “whatever-group-you-think-you’re-better-than” will listen to and appreciate. Maybe it has to be on an iPod commercial or in a Wes Anderson-type movie first, but the tracks are out there.

    I’m not saying that even would have worked, or that Shadow doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s a great hero of mine. I’d just like to know more facts.


  • Mark Quest

    yeah I doubt it’s as Black & White as DJ Shadow would have you believe.. I don’t buy for minute that management told him his music was ‘too future..’ That sounds like the words of a burnt hipster, not a multi-million dollar club manager. Have you guys seen the mansions website? They have people like Bass Kleph playing, and even Carl Cox for NYE.. I’m sure any business owner out there would actively protect their i nterests, and Mansion wouldn’t be any different. The onlyreason this is even getting exposure is due the internet & some underground fans of DJ Shadows genre trying to push it on the masses, which in a kinda weird way, is commercialism – the very thing all the ‘cool kids’ are trying to avoid lol.. I have no doubt DJ Shadow sucked & wasn’t keeping the crowd pumped, hence why were leaving 5-10 minutes into a set. Unfortunately it happens to ALL Djs, whether they are big or notl I recall vividly in 1994 when Carl Cox played in Perth, Australia for the first time. Everyone was looking at each-other like ‘WTF is this shit?’.. No-one gets it right all of the time – ever heard the expression ‘you can’t be all things to all people’?

    *underground DJ gets asked to stop playing – DJ & fans respond by saying sensationalist things like ‘kicked off the decks’ to stir up hate
    *95% of the crowd wasn’t feling his sub-sub-sub-genre of music
    * Management had a “ERMAGHERD! this guy sucks & is causing the people who pay our wages to leave & waste their cash elsewhere!”
    *EMERGENCY CONTIGENCY PROCEDURE = replace DJ with someone who ‘respects’ the crowd & actually cares if they are having a good time or not to hopefully keep the punters inside
    *Pffft to Musical Education whilst I’m out trying to have a good time – like you honestly are there to ‘progress musically’ & not there to get wasted, have a good time & hopefully pull a bird/pick-up/get lucky

  • Anonymous

    Venues that kick DJs off the decks should pay the audience that came to see him their entrance fee back. There’s no excuse.

    • I totally agree with this statement. No one pays to see part of a show. There’s a contract with the entertainment that they will provide their service or pay restitution, the opposite should be true as well. Honestly, I think everyone at that show was cheated out of their full evening’s entertainment and because of that, they should threaten to file a class-action lawsuit against the establishment if they don’t refund the full price of the ticket… what ended the night wasn’t an “act of God”, this was a decision made by a human and that’s what this type of law was created for… wrong-doing against more than 10 people through the same effort.

  • RickJagger

    DJs are like a fart in the wind– putrid and obnoxious for a moment, but gone the next. Enjoy your moment in the sun, and say hi to Wayne Newton for me while you’re on the casino circuit.

    • Sounds like this guy was one of the VIPs whose decided to “slum it” and talk shit to the DJ community, which they think they own. This is a Website for (Digital) DJs and the promotion of DJ skills/techniques/etc.. It is for the betterment and uplifting of DJs and by calling a DJ a “fart in the wind”, you don’t understand that DJing is a lifestyle, professionals need to be respected where they work, and you’re insulting everyone here. I hope you stick around and learn something and hopefully regret ever uttering those words.

    • Spacecamp

      Enjoy your moment in the sun?
      For a moment?

      Please learn more about DJ Shadow first. Sounds like you’re not really someone who likes music at all?

      • RickJagger

        I do recognize that DJs “make” or at least play music. Unfortunately, it is rhythmic-based music that ironically NEVER deviates from 4/4. Why? Because you play, i.e. stand in front of electronic devices, for a bunch of half-retarded, drunken, drugged-up assholes who just want to bounce their heads in a semi-comatose state. Stop getting butthurt every time a venue kicks you out–you know your scene is all about making people move and not making them actually think about anything meaningful.

        Further, getting booted from venues or booed off stage is nothing new in the rock, blues and jazz worlds; it’s been going on since practically the beginning of time and you’re not experiencing anything novel. The only difference is that those genres actually have people who play instruments and sing lyrics in front of an audience, not stand in front of a laptop 🙂

        • Lyndon

          You have demonstrated that you have no idea who DJ Shadow is. He’s not some 4/4 club banger producer. He actually does create music to make people think about meaningful things. The most simple example is his track “Why hip hop sucks in 94”. He’s done award winning movie soundtracks which are specifically created to impart a mood. He’s worked with David Lynch, a director who is very far removed from the mainstream. He created “Endtroducing….” an album that nobody else has come close to replicating.

          I don’t think he can really be considered all that underground at this point. Then again, you have no clue who he is and what he does.

  • Kenny

    i used to DJ at a bar on a military base in southern california when i lived there. it would be hit or miss. people in the military are a hard crowd to play for at a bar because everybody is from a different lifestyle.. some from the urban lifestyle, some from the middle of nowhere oklahoma and grew up riding bulls all their lives.. most people that were out didn’t even want to hear music they just wanted to get drunk. the most prominent night that sticks out to me is when i was booked to DJ the night of an NBA final game, which actually ended up being the last game in the series, which i thought would have worked to my advantage by people staying at the bar and wanting to get more drunk.. WRONG. it was a thursday night, most of the guys had to get up at 4 or 5 in the morning and left after the game was over which was the same time i started playing.. it got to the point where the bar closed early because they didn’t have enough people in.. that’s not my fault, i’m just providing entertainment… when they told me to wrap it up because they were closing early, i stopped, went to get the money and was explained that i was the reason they were closing early because i made them lose money that night by driving people away… ARE YOU KIDDING ME! i’ve never heard of such bullshit before in my life. i still didn’t get paid but i sure as hell let everyone i knew know about what that bar had to say about me. that’s the worst business i’ve ever come back.. you don’t book somebody, and then at the end of the night tell them you can’t pay them.

    • Abraham Polk

      1/2 up front, at least, always…. thanks for sharing your experience…. My gma played piano at military bases in the way back… it was another world back then…

  • johnny

    any club worth playing wont have a fucking VIP

  • I’ve never actually been kicked off, but I have been asked to change up what I was playing and/or “lighten” up my set because it was too abrasive. I have actually had to tell other DJs to get off the decks, and they are usually my friends, so it kind of sucks. But at the same time, reading the crowd and making sure the audience is happy is a VERY big part of DJing. I’m not a famous DJ, so I don’t have hundreds or thousands of people coming to hear ME play, so I have to adhere to the format of the venue and make sure most people are happy (you can’t please everybody).

    BUT, in the part of these BIG time DJs getting the boot, the promoters/clubs should know what they play. They have paid their dues and most of them have a specific style and that’s what they get booked to play.

  • People who can’t even feel challenged with one of the most basic and inherent expressions of human intelligence: music… and they pay for it!

  • In Denis Ferrer words, I quote:

    -Someone with big balls bitched they wanted “EDM”

  • Meow

    Yes, I was DJing at a pretty poppin’ night club in Houston Tx on a friday night. Since I was playing from 12-2 I figured I would start off tech house and then go to more bangers and top 40. Well after 30 minutes I got kicked off because I guess they didnt know I was going to step it up shortly. Then around 1:30 I actually went and kicked the current DJ off, and played my bangers. Still makes me angry though

  • Miami

    Everyone loves controversy, and on the bright side, I’m sure DJ Shadow gained some new fans and definitely a lot of attention.
    Gossip is quick, and here are some facts: That guy was not Hugh Hefner (although looked like him), no one told Shadow his music was too future (his words), 5-10 minutes into his set people started complaining and leaving, and by 3:30 am when he stopped playing only his fans were left in the crowd outraged (understandably), the video footage is after Shadow was already asked to stop playing.
    Anyone buying bottles and most girls get into Miami nightclubs without buying tickets or paying entry fee. If DJ Shadow brought more fans into the door then Mansion wouldn’t have asked him to stop playing since the crowd wouldn’t all be leaving. The reason other DJs like Steve Aoki don’t get pulled is because they fill the club with fans.

    • You kind of have to wonder

      Dear Mansion spokesperson, next time you step up to defend your employer publicly, please be so honest to properly identify yourself… 😉

      I believe you that it’s not Hugh Hefner in that photo, I believe you that “too future” was DJ Shadow’s own words, and I even believe you that most of your regular patrons and most of the other random bottle sevice crowd were leaving.

      The one question that remains is: why the hell did you book him???

      DJ Shadow is well known to play sets that are everything but “easy to digest” and full of surprises and music that is rather experimental or even avantgarde (one could even say “future”…). This is especially true for his concept tours, like “In Tune and on Time” or the current “All Basses Covered”, of which the gig at Mansion was supposed to be a part, as I understand.

      Regarding the “All Basses Covered” tour he just recently said that he “wanted to use the opportunity of All Basses Covered to get back to
      his roots of performing unheard material on a new audience”.

      When you book a DJ as part of a tour, you should make sure you understand what that tour is about.

      Booking DJ Shadow on this tour to your place and then wondering why you crowd doesn’t like what he plays and then ask him to leave because of that is like booking Skrillex to a country festival and being surprised by people not liking his music…

  • technicaltitch

    If I were a punter I’d have demanded a refund.

  • Honestly, I don’t think pulling the DJ who was entertaining the crowd had anything to do with the crowd or appeasing fans. I honestly think that this is a case of someone with money throwing their weight around and being able to tell a famous artist “You’re done, because I have more power than you and I say so.” To the wealthy person’s friends, they become “cooler” in their own right and this becomes a ‘comparing male sex organs’ contest. I’d be interested to see the statistics of a night club’s population/ “it factor” after one (or more) nights of shutting down the entertainment the people came to see. Information like this is useful against wealthy patrons attempting to throw their weight around. I can imagine the establishment owner talking to someone armed with these statistics… “Sure, you bring in more money tonight than the average attendee, but they bring in more money (as a whole) over the long-haul… and they’re the pretty ones. So, if you don’t like the entertainment, we can call your limo… Sir?”

  • My question is, apart from the promoter, venue or VIP… is the artist’s agent to be blamed? Isn’t he supposed to prevent this stuff from happening?

  • bigbeatzz

    I was a resident for that company for a while, I can confirm that they do this at mansion and their other clubs. I actually saw them do this to Sebastian Ingrosso and Deadmau5 (not that I care , but they are big names). It was a hard to be a resident at their clubs, the words “play more commercial” was a recurring event which I eventually grew tired of and quit. That said, they run a tight ship that is as close to corporate as you can get for a club group.

  • Shmoo

    Yeah I’ve been spinning in Chicago for 12 years, and there have been times where I’ve dropped Yoshitoshi deep house tracks and been accused of playing trance. No joke, I believe one time it was the Smith and Selway remix of Flim Flam by Yellow Sox. I had people in the crowd literally turn their back on me. But luckily at this point, the crowds have caught up and really love the deep wonky stuff. But for a while there, I even had bartenders getting angry with what played.

  • Great article. A great story about the world of deejaying. Well done

  • DJ Doc X

    I got a simpler answer. F*CK MANSION and f*ck all those commercial clubs and f*ck anybody who shows up and tries to tell me what the f*ck to play. They can f*cking f*ck off and f*ck themselves the f*cking f*ckitty f*cks.

  • jdh

    Lets not forget, that it is possible that he sucked and the ‘too future’ comment was a way of putting it nicely. I saw him empty a massive room a couple years back and it was painful to watch and listen to. I was so excited to see him play, but his set couldn’t have ended any sooner and I’m a super open-minded, forward thinking fan who loves ‘future’ music that many people would call ‘noise’ (autechre, devine, curtis roads, etc.) If he did suck though, the question is if it’s right for the promoter to interrupt a respected artist’s set. Ultimately, I think the promoter and his management share most of the blame for having booked him for an event that wasn’t right in the first place.

    • Abraham Polk

      I like your comment, you’re open minded, but you acknowledge he killed a dance floor… what happened? I mean, I love autechre too, even if they make me cringe…and I would almost never play them out…so what happened at this event with shadow?

  • RT

    so, let us get this straight shall we all? the venue hired one of the most well known DJs on the planet…which means the venue and attendees allready knew what type of music he plays…which means had he played top 40s commercial music he would have been BOOED by those people who paid $30 to come hear DJ shadow play a DJ shadow set. Doesn’t matter what venue, what night, what city, who attends, who performs before and after him, his fans paid to see him do his thing, period. ps. Dan, as helpful as the 5 tips are, at the end of the day on those type of clubs the minority bottle service and celebrities are the ones commanding the night…they are basically turning Djs into request takers and Karaoke machines.

  • antifmradio

    unfortunatelythis also happened to me in NYC. I was playing a center room (where you enter the club before you can reach the main room), and i dont remember what MINIMAL duo was plaing main floor. Apparently we both came on same time ( i started about 15 mins early. During my set, the sound guy actually came over to my mixer, and turned my output down and asked me to keep it there. I told him i left it where the last dj had it, and i hadnt changed anything. He stated “Yea! I know man, its just that no one is going to the mainfloor for these guys because they like what youre playing too much. And the guys are getting pissed and said they were going to leave if it doesnt change”
    WTF?!?!?! So what do i care? At that point i lost my “ZONE” and i stopped playing. Room went silent, and plenty of people started to leave the club completely.
    Sorry but you can have the biggest name on the planet, and still play bad music for the crowd in question before you. Doesnt mean you are doing your job. Just means you are not paying attention.
    Needless to say, the promoter used this issue as an excuse NOT to pay me. Then he met a beat down.


      damn…that is one sad and frustrating anecdote…but at least it proves you’re better than some big name douches! 😉

  • This is just insane, as club owner id say screw the vip, yeah they’re a big spender, but its the crowd, i wouldn’t risk half the crowd leaving, and the rest getting pissed off over some rich SOB

  • iamaDJ

    Just one month ago i gained DJ residency in a club. Since I’m not there for so long, I haven’t been playing too much ‘progressive’ tracks. But whaddya know. The people were actually coming by the booth to ask if there’ll be any ‘underground techno etc.’ They actually ask me not to play too ‘commercial’. Since then I just play whatever I want to, and the crowd loves it. Thank god for that.

    As to the DJ Shadow incident. It’s a total disgrace. The stage manager should feel ashamed for letting this happen.

  • Mes

    this club is run by a bunch of tools it seems. know the talent you’re booking. don’t book talent that you’re gonna ask to leave (you should know what he’s gonna play). nobody wants to be a fucking jukebox (well musicians that matter at least).. if i were booking talent, i’d fucking listen to some of their music and mixes before i book them. man fuck the lame ass vip complainers who get dj’s kicked off. and fuck the clubs that sucks their dicks, too. if i were there i’d be in their face about getting my money back that’s for sure.

  • I have been asked to play on the decks longer for my set when a friend of mine was to play after me. I ended up asking him to do a battle then switch off to him. But I can understand keep your chin up

  • JuanSOLO

    Song playing in the vid?

    Good for DJ Shadow.

    • Ryan Supak

      This is a great track…but I can see how 30 minutes of this would get a DJ at a very “mainstream” club booted, legend or not.

      (For the record, Shadow is one of my all-time heroes, and that’s not even counting his production.)


  • a

    one of the top 10 ways to kill a nightclub and make the venue hemorrhage cash – play DJ Shadow mixes nonstop and scratch over EVERYTHING at a club used to the Spinnin Records sound. smh.

  • Anonymous

    DJ Rule #1, #2, and #3: Play to the crowd. If you don’t know what the crowd wants, you should NOT be DJing the event. Yes, this is a promoter’s job, but ultimately the entertainer’s reputation is at stake.

    • DJ Shadow is a fucking legend and has earned the right to not have to play by rules. And if anything, Shadow’s reputation has been increased by this. He’s got the overwhelming majority of the electronic music world behind him.

    • When a big name DJ is booked, the DJ *IS* the reason the crowd is there, so playing to the crowd isn’t really applicable here as the DJ is the draw and the crowd knows what they’re going to get. Also, this is one of those grey areas where “DJ” actually means “Live Performer.” You don’t go to a Live Rock Band night and demand that they play Dubstep because that’s popular at the time… this is what’s called an unreasonable request because the setup is much different for playing different music.

      Successfully “rescuing” a night almost never happens and yet club owners act like it’s their job… more often than not, it’s better to let a big name performer finish up what they’re doing than to pull them (unless they’re hurting people, inciting to violence/damaging property or committing some illegal act on stage, then the law is on the promoter’s side). You let the night “happen however it happens” and then you move on.

  • The club has a responsibility to book appropriate acts, and especially in the case of a legend like Shadow, keep their mouth shut when he plays and let him play whatever the hell he wants. You don’t book a guy like Shadow and then complain the music isn’t right. The most ridiculous thing about this is The Mansion has just cost itself far more money than it could have lost that night by becoming a joke in the EDM world. The backlash from this just isn’t worth placating whatever rich douchebag(s) forced the “regime change” on the decks. And TBH if I were Shadow I would have given the club management a big double finger salute and made sure to tell any DJ who will listen to never play at this handbag jersey shore coked up palace of everything that’s wrong with EDM.

  • uzer friendly

    Everybody wants to be a Dj!

    Of course, Technology is actually really awesome, but people find a way to mess all that up too. To be a dee jay it used to be an art form, it used to be for people who spent years practicing, learned something new and wanted to express themselves, invested large amounts of money on pro equipment and took pride on sounding good. Now, any bro with a laptop and a handful of friends can do it. It was once about being able to read a crowd and play tracks that people never heard before or forgot about, so people can be taken on a musical journey, dance and lose themselves and escape reality!

    Now all DJs play the same exact songs and if they don’t they “suck”!

    Technology is a big part of the scene. So, about the controversial “sync button” that takes beat-matching, the most basic of DJ talents, out of the equation; Inherently, this isn’t so Bad, because it’s supposed to free you up to do more intricate and impressive mixes. But most people are on the dance floor doing the wobble and couldn’t give a shit! Why anyone would want to dance the exact same as way as everyone else boggles my mind! So too many DJS everywhere use it as a crutch to deliver un-energetic, non-experimental sets.

    I’m not gonna go disrespect every DJ. But to say you become a DJ so you can play the same songs as every other DJ and fade between the two of them, I don’t get it.” Oh yeah and by the way Turntables are obsolete. They are just for looks, yeah you heard me. There is no reason to be using them. Use your time for other things like making solid mixes as you perform. Trust me nobody on the dance floor wants to hear scratching noises when there trying to dance! oh yeah if you think one style of music can express the full range of emotions, then you must be one boring Mother F**ker.

    For some people its just a job… for others music is a way of life! The true test is to rock a crowd not how many friends you can bring to your gig but try to explain that to the $$$ MAN!!!

    • DR. T

      Damn where do I start – First, Anyone with a laptop can call themselves a DJ but it doesn’t mean anyone is going to put them in a club just because they have a card that say DJ JOE.. You make it sound like every DJ now uses just a laptop and plays mainstream. Some do, but where I come from, they dont get booked for real gigs, and if they did it was an accident and they won’t get asked back. Promoters and managers do know good music believe it or not. You make it seem like everyone that goes out at night has absolutely no music taste because they aren’t.. You.

      Plus who’s to say what you play is any good? or maybe its good, but mainstream. I see this whole wave of “EDM, Dub, Trap” music to be the new mainstream. Do you know how many times Ive had people ask me to play krewella this week? way more than they asked for pitbull.

      Anyway, If I had to guess, Id say you’re post has some underlying personal issues to attend to. Keep your chin up and go steal your job back from that little poser with the macbook!

    • by making a statement that turntable are dead is silly turntableism is still alive and well But now it’s another control medium which is the godfather to all DJing and if you cannot mix on this platform then just keep using sync but dont expect to get fans or any following as people who are the real fans expect to see a dj still work in a traditional sence of the word midi & software has blown open the market but scratching on a jog wheel is still nowhere near as fun as a turntable

    • That was definitely an opinion. Turntables are clrearly alive and doing well. Also scratching is f&*^%g awesome. Crowd goes nuts when it’s dropped properly. Sounds like you’ve been living under a rock or something tbh.

    • Sorry homie, I think you should pump the brakes on statements like “Turntables are obsolete.” If you don’t use them fine, if you started DJing last month & don’t know how to attach the headshell to the turntable it’s ok. But do NOT disrespect the numerous DJs & Artist that use them as a tool of choice for their musical expression. You DO NOT have that right!


    I saw Shadow last Thursday in New Orleans, LA. He put on an incredible show! Viewing as a DJ he was amazing from scratching to cue point juggling to triggering tracks and samples with drumsticks. His skills are on point and his execution was flawless. That alone did it for me. That being said his music was at times way ahead of the current trends in edm The typical “Pauly D” fan would run in horror from some of the hyper intellectual drum programming and dark bass lines he dropped. A friend of mine who is not a DJ said it felt like musical masturbation. He was playing for himself and not so much for the crowd. I think he was attempting to stretch the boundaries and presenting new sounds to educate and inspire the audience. This type of DJing is for the true fans of the Culture and not for the Hair gelled spraytanner that really gets down to the latest DeadMau5 remix. Now the promoters who threw this event knew the crowd they wanted to attract and i am sure promoted accordingly.

    The clubs/promoters hiring the talent for these Casino venues need to be more aware of there customer base and book the talent accordingly. Would they book Chuck D for the Elvis impersonator show? No its a dumb idea and would lead to Chuck D being asked to stop performing in the middle of “Rebel without a Pause”. These incidents expose the lack of knowledge the event/club promoter has of the talent he books and the customers he serves. If you have Hugh Hefner attending your show, i imagine your budget is rather large giving you access to a huge pool of talent that your customers would not notice all night. Instead what happens is some Casino Club manager hears an NPR interview about DJ Shadow and books him with out ever hearing his music and then puts him on at peak hour of the weekly Electro House fashion mixer. The Shadow fans are screwed, the regular glitter babes won’t blow the Casino mangers cross-eyed cousin unless the new Guetta remix is played next and every ones night is ruined.

    • Nannou

      With no offence intended (OK, a little), your friend sounds like a bit of a knob.
      If you’re not DJing for yourself, then what’s the point? If I wanted to play for the “audience” I’d play Top 40 and the latest drool coming out of Guetta/LMFAO/Aoki/Luke.
      But I totally agree with everything YOU said 🙂

    • Well said! All intelligent, logical points of view that I 100% agree with and enjoyed a good chuckle to myself too.
      “The Shadow fans are screwed, the regular glitter babes won’t blow the Casino managers cross-eyed cousin unless the new Guetta remix is played next and every ones night is ruined.” Did someone say nail on the head?!

    • DJ Damian

      I like your Chuck Dee reference… but it was Fight The Power not Rebel without a Pause, good point thought!

      “Elvis was a hero to most
      But he never meant S— to me you see
      Straight up racist that sucker was
      Simple and plain
      Mother F— him and John Wayne”

      BTW, DJ Shadow is a great turntablist… but he should’ve been able to read the crowd/venue and not play stuff that’s too underground or weird for a dance club crowd, he is also @ fault just as much as the dumb promoters who booked a DJ who plays underground head nodding music NOT dance club music!

      • DJ Damian

        * Chuck D.

      • The true

        You most be black to bring that stupid argument about black and white, stupid you stupid nigger!!
        You never be white by always bringing the race card

    • johnny

      you might think it sounded ahead of the curve but let me set you straight… the US is miles behind when it comes to dance music. dj shadow is doing nothing new these days in the terms of what tracks he plays, granted he’s a good dj but in no way is he pushing the boundaries…. i feel bad for dance music fans stuck in the states.

      • Red

        pfffft. We have access to all the same music and gear. Just because dance music is not as popular here as it is across the pond doesn’t mean we are miles behind anything. If what you hear coming from the states does not appeal to you, thats okay. Everyone has different taste. But to say you feel sorry for dance music fans in the US is kinda silly.Im sure some of the clubs and festivals on your side are great and maybe even better than anything we have here. That doesn’t matter to me. I DJ for the love of music not for love of the scene.

        • Ali

          Trust me when I say that the UK definitely has it’s fair share of crap, there’s plenty of pop dance shite over hear! You used to have all the good stuff in the States when you had the likes of The Garage, The Gallery, The Loft and later The Tunnel, The Shelter and The Soundfactory in NYC before Gulliani got them all closed down, and then there was The Powerhouse, The Warehouse and The Music Box in Chicago. We’ve got Plastic People over hear in London but there are very few clubs in the UK that have ever been in the same league as the long forgotten great institutions of dance music that America once had. But like you say, at least we’ve all got access to the same music and hopefully the freedom to express our individual tastes, just wish there were some better places in which to do it.

      • Timbo

        Didn’t the USA invent House music?

        • Guest

          Hahaha. No.

          • Guest

            Oops. Yes. 🙂

    • All this talk about how Shadow should have read the crowd and he should’ve known what was going on and he was just playing for himself….

      Hit the Googlizer, people. Check the pictures and the video. People were LOVING it! Maybe it’s just some clever propoganda tactic put on by the liberals, but I haven’t seen ONE picture, video clip, article or facebook/twitter/whateverthef*ck stating that any of the patrons were displeased. Seems like a management call. Seems like a call that wasn’t made by somebody that has honed their skills for decades and makes their living reading crowds. I let the rampant boos and posts speak for themselves.

    • Ryan Supak

      Was the Krampfhaft track pretty indicative of what he played when you saw him in NOLA?


    • Yo that was NOT Hugh Heffner, just an impersonator.

  • Michael Lawrence

    on a brighter note….does any one know the name of the track that was playing in the background? lol

  • I think I could see all this as ideal words for the up-and-coming DJ or the veritable unknown who needs to build a fan base. I know myself how many times (even before the whole mainstream popularity of dance music) I’d be booked to play deep house, trance, or what not…but the crowd that showed up only wanted to hear mainstream music.

    When you’re a no-name and need to build that rep, connections, etc…this article makes sense. However, when you’re a bigger name with a set brand and now you being seen playing “Call Me Maybe” will hurt that brand, you need to stand by your brand no matter what. That means not compromising. That means when someone pays $25 to see DJ Shadow they get DJ Shadow playing DJ Shadow music…not DJ Shadow playing mainstream.

    I also disagree on the idea that major headliners shouldn’t “call out” the club or promoter for these atrocities. Nightclubs and event promotion is all about the appearance of “looking cool”, and if you’re seen as “lame”, then you’re dead. Shadow, Sunshine, Jazzy Jeff, and Farina need to all spread the gospel of how lame Miami and Vegas really are. That outside of EDC and WMC, those two cities are culturally dead when it comes to EDM. They need those scenes and clubs to suffer musically when major underground headliners won’t come to play, and suddenly people wonder why magazines are not writing big reviews of nightlife in those towns outside of EDC and WMC.

    I hear kids constantly wishing/hoping or claiming that Miami or Vegas is “America’s Ibiza”, but I laugh at that. Not until you get a scene that can go a whole night without having to be spoon-fed pop mainstream. I also think many of the folks who aren’t in bottle service need to start getting more drastic…like boycotts, or clearing the floor when the headliner is kicked off…so it’s just the resident and the high rollers in an empty club. I think the underground scene needs to start boycotting and stop trying to “convert” the mainstream…and just go on their own scene. Maybe one where there are no booths or bottles.

    • Owen

      Theres a tiny VIP section in DC10, from what I’ve seen its always empty

      • LOL…love that! I’ve always known clubs as communal events…not “castes” or any of that junk. Even in the past, VIP areas were separate rooms. I looked at it less as the VIPs want their own private space to fell important, but more so they’re taken away from this amazing communal event of people who care less about money or status…but more about music, booze, and a good time.

    • I hear what you say, but that is also counter productive as well how do DJ’s as artist define themselves, if they play what everything they are told to play?.
      this is fine for work in commercial clubs as I do myself.( to all the pros in the industry know about music policies of venues, or at least they should) but this is about an underground DJ with a style and sound, if I was a commercial music venue/ promoter I would not book him because it would not fit my business model or target audience unless you were having a specialist night and that dont just apply to EDM, example I throw a punk night and I book coldplay think it would work for my punk audience?

      • I agree…but I also even think Shadow and Farina should also think this way by not accepting bookings to these glammy posh spots. I just feel that headliners like them have built a brand, and to break said brand to please some high rollers might do more damage than good.

        So let’s say Shadow spent the evening playing a Calvin Harris/David Guetta style set…and now blogs, Twitter, magazines, etc…are all saying he sold out. Suddenly he’s losing bookings, or being stuck playing glam pop music all the time now. He just wrecked his brand then.

        • sometimes the money of the business undermines it’s musical crediabilty but it’s still a business and venues and promoters need to know this when booking on such artist and ask is it for the fans or the the high rollers?

          • Agreed. This is why I keep saying these glam spots should stop trying to find “underground credibility” and just go with what the general consensus of their clientele go for. That might just mean bypassing the really good underground globally-known DJ for some popstar celebrity appearance or only more “trendy” DJs like Harris and Guetta.

    • Don’tHate

      Haha, except that DJs want to get paid. Anyone that makes it big also plays for a very big paycheck. That’s $300 a ticket or a lot of people that buy booths and bottles.
      It’s funny how ppl love hating mainstream and what’s popular. Every DJ wishes to bring in a crowd like Tiesto, SHM, Avicii or Kaskade. But the “underground scene” will hate you as soon as you make it b/c you’re not underground anymore.
      The most popular DJs play in the US cities that pay the most: Miami and Vegas.

    • Lyndon

      If DJs let clubs like book them then dictate what they play, these clubs will only serve to drag the art of DJing down and hold it back. Hopefully high profile DJs will start boycotting venues like this.

  • calkutta

    wow,this is truly fucked…a certain type of person likes DJ Shadow,its like ‘the thinking man’s Trip-Hop’…telling him that he’s too cutting edge is like telling yoda he is too short-wow.sorry josh,we will always back you up.fuck those phony ass fucks that never fell through infinity while tripping to endtroducing….soft-ass-cracka’s.

    • guest

      “like telling yoda he is too short” – no one said it better so far

  • As much as I appreciate the fact that House Music is becoming finally popular in the country where it originated, I am afraid that the majority of it’s new fans will just like it for all the wrong reasons. I always felt that true House and Techno music had always the strength to step on new ground and create a community of equally-minded people from all-different backgrounds. At least that’s what happened and still happens in Berlin.

    At it’s best times it was always an alternative draft to the usual »go party – get drunk – get layed« disco routine. And it also forced the »rich and famous« to comply with the cool crowd. If magnum-bottle-swinging patrons decide again about the music style of a club, this is a major step back into the dark days of music patronage of the 50s.

    I DJed in similiar situations like described in the article on parties in Russia, where the music did not matter at all. I was only booked for my prominent DJ name on the flyer.
    I guess the same happened to DJ Shadow in Miami.

    I just hope that through »EDM« enough kids in the US discover more advanced underground club sounds and keep the fire burning, after the hype has moved on.

  • there is another side to this that the article is missing out on the venues responsibility to do their home work for bookings why book a a act like shadow with a set style of music if your going to tell him to stop that like booking a genre defined DJ such as shadow is crazy it means you are going to get fans of that artist though your door not people that are to play the casinos we had this in the 90’s in the uk’s rise of dance music dont go to a trance night if you wana hear hip-hop…

    • stenson


    • Spacecamp

      Very much agree – not only does the venue/promoter have a responsibly, but so too does the artist’s management. Adding a paragraph on this with credit to you, James.

      • TCMuc

        I feel like we still haven’t discussed sufficiently about one thing you said and that I think is really important:

        “At the same time, the artist’s management should have a role here as well, not only in making sure their artist is treated right during an event, but in making sure that they avoid the types of clubs that have a reputation for this kind of behavior.”

        I really don’t get why well respected underground DJs like Shadow, Ferrer, Farina take gigs like that…

        When Dennis Ferrer was about to play Mansion, he tweeted something about an education that needed to be given and he was just feeling like giving it. That may have been slightly naive or maybe overestimating what he could do, but hey, you don’t get that far if you don’t have the sufficient ego in place 😉

        But after Dennis Ferrer and Mark Farina getting booted of the decks this year, no one could have said he didn’t think this could happen again (and if one had done a little research, it wouldn’t have seemed completely unlikely even before).

        So what is it that makes DJs like them still take this gigs? What made DJ Shadow, who sure must have been aware that he plays even more avantgarde/experimental than Ferrer/Farina think this could go well? Why did Carl Cox accept the booking for NYE, when the share of high rollers who just want to get drunk and fistpump to the latest EDM hits, spending more than the average american yearly income on bottles?

        There are just a few reasons I can think of, and most of them don’t make the DJs/their management look too good. Let’s start with the most favourable for the DJs:

        1. False advertising by the promoters. They guarantee the DJs complete artistic freedom before the gig. The clubs don’t care about the promoters promises and happily pay the fee or maybe even some fines, as the high roller who was complaining just spend double that amount on bottles.

        2. Their ego is actually that big they think everything’s gonna be different for THEM, as they are just better than the DJs who got kicked off the decks.

        3. It’s a PR stunt. Getting kicked off the decks in a club gets you a lot of public attention and instantly ups your underground credibility as getting booted for not playing mainstream enough has to mean you’re sooo underground.

        4. $$$$. No explanation needed.

        5. Poor research by the artist/their management, who just don’t know what they are getting into. (As mentioned above, I find that hard to believe, especially for Mansion with its history in that regard)

        That’s what I could think of. Let me know what you think about those ideas or if you have any other, hopefully even better ones.

        • According to most of the stuff I’ve read, Shadow was booked SPECIFICALLY to play his All Bases Covered set. It’s well documented that he plays way outside of the normal boundaries. If somebody asks for a steak and you give them steak, you can’t blame the manager if some dick hole complains that it’s not a hot dog.

          If a genre-defining/defying DJ who’s at the top of his craft can’t play his set, then there’s seriously something wrong with the power structure.

          I see where you’re going with points 1 and 4 (and like the other points they may be valid…who knows?) but I just don’t think so.

          • Lyndon

            The Mansion posted a link to a preview of the All Bases Covered set on their Facebook page and acted excited about it! Maybe the promoter is out of touch with their management. It’s truly bizarre.

      • Independent Philly

        DJTECHTOOLS.COM steals photos from other sites, crops out their logos, and gives no credit: VERY CLASSY

        • thtguy

          Dick move, DJTT, Dick. Move.

          • ddt88

            Get over it…

          • Viirus::..

            really… Simply sharing the info.

    • “venues responsibility to do their home work for bookings” What “VENUE” has booked you? Promoters book DJ’s NOT VENUE’s. I think bad Dj’s who have just gone out and played whatever the fuck promoters wanted them to play are the ones who have ruined it for all. Those people came to see that DJ at least the group of people in the front fists to the sky.

      • not always true some promoter/dj’s will book venues to host events such as ministry of sound in the uk to promote albums / music release having worked along side and hosting my own events you some times need to book a venue to promote yourself / event or your label just booking DJ is a draw to the event and this is where commercial venues who book dj’s as a draw is different fo instance armin van buran has his own show so dose deadmau5 when they go on tour they book venues but it also depend on how established the artist weather you chase the bookings or they chase you.

        • DJ Tempo

          Personally, and I’ve been DJing amature and pro since 1978 (started when I was 13), I think James hit the nail on the head. There has to be congruent thought between venue management and artist management to arrive at a happy meld of space and sound.

    • Independent Philly

      DJTECHTOOLS.COM steals photos from other sites, crops out their logos, and gives no credit:

      • Leech

        lol dude, its just a pic

      • Leech

        lol dude, its just a pic

      • ,Willam Luberg

        Dude at least they left ur logo on it 2 give u credit calm down bro, we are musicians not Apple and samsung !

        • Independent Philly

          They actually cropped out the logos. The one on Independent Philly has the logos not the one of djtectools

    • gmcsl gmcsll

      And it’s your responsibility to do your homework and learn how to type in proper sentences.

  • I think it’s very important to have an open mind, as well as open eyes and ears to what’s going on around you when DJing. I’ve been asked many times to shift the style of the music according to the orders of the management and I don’t mind it at all, as long as it’s a style I can represent.

    However, I don’t see the point of just abruptly kick someone out in the middle of his set, without trying to give some feedback and try to guide the DJ to where they want him to be.

    At the end of the day, it reflects poorly on the club if they simply dismiss a DJ like Shadow was here.

  • thejone

    Back in the days when I was a “Breaks” Dj I was frog marched out of a venue for not having any House music! I remember screaming at the crowd that house music was the beige wallpaper of the music world!! And the owner just about punching me!
    weirdly though as he was rough housing me out of the joint I managed to negotiate that he pay out the rest of my residency (2 weeks +), god knows how I managed that!

    10 years later I’m still gigging, and guess what I play now?….House!! and lots of it! =)

    • Wildstar

      Rough House. I love that genre.

    • Easy to mix that stuff isn’t it? Nothing against house. I like it (within reason), and it’s an important part of music culture, but I think one of the reasons it is so popular is that it is easy to mix. Same beat for most songs, same narrow bpm range. Hit the sync button, and you’re golden.

      • Believe me, after three year Djing, nothing is “very” hard to mix. If you know your music well, are creative and prepared, you can mix HipHop into Minimal, or Trance into Deep House, basically everything into everything. Just seek for the right point in both songs and try things out! You will get a decent mix most of the times. Sure, sometimes you will have to be very creative and this isn’t that easy possible with two turntables or even CDJs but with a pc and Traktor it will work. So this is not the reason why house is that popular for sure. It is more because it is easy to dance to, the crowd feels familiar with it very fast and the best thing: you can do a lot of crazy stuff with it while DJing. You can apply effects, layer some looping or live sequencing over it or, to be stay more traditional, just play with the frequencies and get three or four songs playing at the same time. And it will still sound good or at least decent! You can’t do that with HipHop or Trance or Hardstyle or even Dubstep for example without getting your head mixed up with a lot of technical issues beforehand. It just feels right for the crowd and you can be creative with it without having to be a complete expert on MIDI or being very fast with your hands. It is musically easy to try new thing and to enjoy the music while also keeping the crowd happy.
        So… don’t think so, really! There is so much more about house..