Dance Music Disaster Gigs: Part Two

As anyone who spends enough time at gigs, festivals or clubs can attest to, things behind the decks and in the crowd don’t always go perfectly to plan. After all, when you’re dealing with loads of electronic equipment, boozed-up punters and dodgy venues, there’s a pretty big margin for error. With that in mind, last year we spoke to host of local and international DJs and producers to hear about the worst gig they’ve ever played – and thus, Dance music disaster gigs was born.

We hoped at the time of publishing that there may be a part two to the feature and sure enough, we’ve been hard at work bugging every artist we interview about their own disaster gig story. Some months later, after posing the question a few more times and digging through the ITM interview archives we’ve come up with a round two of disaster gig stories. This time, we’ve spoken to Carl Cox, Porter Robinson, The Magician, ShockOne, Illya and Sam la More and been given recaps of everything from shootings to misplaced feces.

Carl Cox

“I’m sure you heard about the shooting in Caracas, Venezuela. This was the second time I’d played in Venezuela; the first time had about 4,000 people, and they really enjoyed it. Two years later there’s seven and a half thousand people, they’d paid their money respectfully and really enjoyed themselves for the first 30 minutes of my set and then that happened. An hour later it’s up on YouTube, then the next day my phone is inundated with calls from family and friends who’d seen this thing. That’s when I knew we were in the 21st century.

It doesn’t get much lower than that. On the one side I’ve got all these thousands of people having a really wonderful time; spending their energy to feel good, look good and enjoy the moment. Then the next thing you hear people are getting shot and killed right in front of me. It’s supposed to be a good-time situation, and suddenly the whole thing goes upside down. For me that was a yin and a very serious yang. I think it’s really important to know what’s going on around you, and to be honest I did have a reservation about going on to play at this venue – not with the people themselves, but just with the security. And sure enough how I felt was what actually lacked at that venue. If that metal detectors and all the guys did their job, it would never have happened. Because they didn’t, it happened.

It could happen anywhere: there are plenty of shootings in Melbourne or Spain or England. But it doesn’t really happen at dance party events; perhaps never. Maybe a few bottles and knives here and there – it’s clubland, what can you do? But primarily people come to enjoy the music and the DJ.

I wasn’t sure if it was all directed at me. If it was, I’d be a bit of a bloody moving target! You can imagine the guy’s in there with a gun, he’s had a really bad day, thinks I’ve played one of the worst records in living history, and decides to shoot me. There’s no one else behind the turntables apart from me.

I can’t go there though and think I’ve got to live my life in a bubble – or even bullet-proof glass! I love this job. This has been my life for as long as I can remember. So I thought, ‘Do I carry on or do I stop?’ But the support from the people in the end got me to think long and deep and hard about carrying on. And I did. It’s something I enjoy, and if I do get shot in the process…well, there you go.”

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