Devastation @ The Assembly, 23.07.11

This Saturday the Assembly hosted Devastation, a night dedicated entirely to drum n bass. The brain child of Damage Inc. the collaborative group name of Multicrisis and Pziezzo electric, Devastation is a great platform for up and coming DJs to share the lineup with more well known names. This month’s edition hosted special guests, 500 Mills Counterstrike, Tasha Baxter and MC Heavy G from Johannesburg. Riot Squad and Damage Inc. completed the main stage line up. The Annex played host to B-Wise, Totem, Mysterion and Phaze. After hearing so many different DJs on one night, I can make one main observation about the evening, and in particular about the less experienced DJs, and that is appreciating set construction and tone.

With the art of DJing being diluted more than ever by ‘click 1 button’ software and lack of practice or talent (perhaps both), Devastation reiterated the importance of set construction and tone even for those DJs who want to mix properly. I believe that many of the less experienced DJs would have spent days constructing their sets, taking the opportunity to make a good impression, however, it also means that irrespective of what’s actually happening in the club, they will stick to their sets even if it is incongruent with the real time environment. As a result, most of the sets sounded all the same and I couldn’t tell you any more about it.

In the world of DJing, understanding set construction, appropriate tone for the time and flexibility are the ‘x factors’ that, I believe, set a good DJ apart. Even if their technical abilities are weak, over time this will improve, but there’s no accounting for bad taste. Out of the younger DJs, Totem stood out this weekend, because this is exactly what he did in the Annex. Dropping the tone of his set to incorporate liquid dnb, immediately this made him stand out from the other sets because it literally SOUNDED different. I remember this, this made an impression, it will draw an audience in and it did. Surely this is how a young DJ gets their foot in the line up door? Creating an atmosphere, working the line up like a team whilst creating a unique sound, is the sure way, in my opinion, to being booked again. The ability to adjust one’s set to whatever the environment is, is vital in creating one’s own mark in a highly competitive industry. Plus, most promoters will book DJs at certain times because of their unique styles which will make the party a success.

Back to the main stage, Tasha Baxter played a guest set after Riot Squad, her crazy personality is always a treat but most importantly, she played a set that was appropriate to the time, setting up Damage Inc nicely. After Damage Inc. was 500 Mills Counterstrike, perking up the party with his unique brand of drum n bass. Coupled with the epic lighting rig and talents of the Assembly lighting team, it really looked AMAZING on the night. Devastation is an important platform for the less experienced, USE the opportunity to get ahead, play well, listen better, learn more.

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