On Stand By (feat. Oddisee & yU), Mello Music Group
Adventure, Oh No
Heavy, Oh No
Gladius, Oh No
Higher, Oh No
Bouncers, Oh No
Cosmos, Oh No
Emergency, Oh No
Deliveries , Oh No
Hot Fire, Oh No
Electronic Dream, araabMUZIK
Golden Touch, araabMUZIK
Free Spirit, araabMUZIK
Let It Go, araabMUZIK
Lost in a Maze, araabMUZIK
I Remember, araabMUZIK
Running From The Cops, Phantogram
As Far As I Can See, Phantogram
Adventure, Oh No
Get The Money, PANTyRAiD
Club Foot, Kasabian
Fast Fuse, Kasabian
Days Are Forgotten, Kasabian
Switchblade Smiles, Kasabian
Jump Down, Travis Barker
I See My Mother, POLICA
Lay Your Cards Out, POLICA
The Maker, POLICA
Black Pearls, Apollo Brown
Shoot The Heart, Apollo Brown
Bolt Cutter, Doomtree
None Shall Pass, Aesop Rock
No rEgrets, Aesop Rock
Run The Numbers, El-P
Poisenville Kids No Wins / Reprise (This Must Be Our Time), El-P
D.S.W.G. - Dark Skinned White Girls, Murs
Lookin' Fly - feat. will.i.am, Murs
Can It Be [Half A Million Dollars And 18 Months Later], Murs
67 Cutlass, Murs
S-k-i-b-e-a-t-z (feat. Locksmith), Murs
On Stand By (feat. Oddisee & yU), Mello Music Group
Dirt Off Your Shoulder, JAY-Z
So Appalled, Kanye West, JAY-Z, Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi, Swizz Beatz, The RZA
7 Days A Week, Nipsey Hussle
GRINDMODE, Nipsey Hussle
No Church In The Wild, Jay Z
Tu Moi Aussi?, Urbs
Big Lost, Diplo
Sunburn, Beat Connection
Origin Of Man, The Budos Band
Trials Of The Past (feat. Sampha), Sbtrkt
Hidden Hand, The Budos Band
Up From The South, The Budos Band
Time Is The Enemy, Quantic
Ride Or Die, The Budos Band
Windows, Broken Bells
T.I.B.W.F., The Budos Band
Golden Dunes, The Budos Band
Great Day, Madvillain
Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra), Gotye
Live In Vanilla, Boy Robot
Authenticity, The Foreign Exchange
Daykeeper, The Foreign Exchange
Hey You, The Pharcyde
Feather, Little Dragon
Gettin Up, Q-Tip
Stylo (Album Version) [feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack], Gorillaz
You're All I Need, Slow Runner
Stay Up! (Viagra), 88-Keys
My Eyes, Nero
Me And You, Nero
Move For Me, Kaskade & Deadmau5
Fireball - DJ Wool Remix, DEV
Super Bon Bon, Soul Coughing
Beats To The Rhyme, RUN-DMC
Jingling Baby (Remixed But Still Jingling, LL Cool J
You Never Knew, Hieroglyphics
It Could Be Sweet, Portishead
Machine Gun. Portishead
Army Of Me, BjŲrk
The World Needs Change [Soulja Boy], Clams Casino
I Shot a Warhol, Felt
All For One, Brand Nubian
Definition, Black Star
Pop Rocks, Junk Science
Glass House (feat. MC K-Swift & Cavalier), MC K-Swift
Statue of Liberty Feat. Telli, MeLo-X
First... And Then - featuring Dres, Handsome Boy Modeling School
It's Like That - featuring Casual + I Am Complete featuring Tim Meadows, Handsome Boy Modeling School
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight, The Postal Service
Winds From The North, Oddisee
Still Doing It (feat. yU of Diamond District), Oddisee
See guest DJ Cara's playlist
Angel of the Morning, Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts
Back on the Chain Gang, The Pretenders
Queen of Hearts, Juice Newton
Wishin' and Hopin', Dusty Springfield
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down),
Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days), The Judds
Any Man of Mine, Shania Twain
Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love), Waylon Jennings
Six Days On the Road, Dave Dudley
Driving My Life Away, The Countdown Singers
Islands In the Stream, Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers
The Passenger, Iggy Pop
Stuck In the Middle With You, Stealers Wheel
One Way or Another, Blondie
Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac
Everytime You Go Away, Paul Young
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, Cher
Black Velvet, Alannah Myles
Family Tradition, Hank Williams, Jr.
Cocaine Blues, Johnny Cash
Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Dwight Yoakam
Crocodile Rock, Elton John
These Boots Are Made for Walkin', Nancy Sinatra
Fever, Peggy Lee
Flowers On the Wall, The Statler Brothers
Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose, Dwight Yoakam
Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, Willie Nelson
Ring of Fire, Johnny Cash, June Carter & Merle Kilgore
The Rodeo Song, Garry Lee & Showdown
Jolene, Dolly Parton
Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Tyler
Heart of Glass, Blondie
Wheel In the Sky, Journey
Have A Cigar, Pink Floyd
Hungry Like the Wolf, Duran Duran
Ain't Going Down (‘Til The Sun Comes Up), Garth Brooks
Because the Night, Patti Smith
Livin' On a Prayer, Bon Jovi
Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting, Elton John
Rockin' In the Free World, Neil Young
The Final Countdown, Europe
Final Countdown Remix, Final Project
The Final Countdown (Duotronic Remix), Hakan Ludvigson & Sandro Peres
* * *
I have never claimed to have good taste in music. My iPod contains a mix of late '90s dance music, '80s pop country, the occasional one-off top 40 hit, Gen X/Y adult contemporary darlings like Wilco and Bon Iver, and a fair amount of RuPaul. It's bland at best and irritating at worst, but it gets me through wintertime treadmill runs and frantic rushes to meet deadlines (I'm listening to it as I write this, mere minutes before this story is due.)
So a few weeks ago, when Brent Crampton asked me to participate in the non-DJ DJs series every other Friday at the House of Loom, I warned him that he was potentially inviting the Dixie Chicks into his far-cooler-than-the-Dixie-Chicks club. He didn't withdraw his invitation, and I promptly began to stress out.
Crampton, the events curator at House of Loom, a downtown dance club and craft cocktail bar with decor that I believe resembles a Wild-West brothel, started the non-DJs DJs series in the spring. He views the series as an easy way to introduce public and semi-public figures to the Loom community.
Chris Aponick, a freelance writer and longtime Homer's employee with what Crampton described as an amazing vinyl collection, was the first in the series. Stephen Sheehan, frontman of the now defunct Omaha punk group Digital Sex, was another early DJ. Megan Hunt, the bridal designer also known as Princess Lasertron, non-DJ DJ'ed her collection of death metal.
Anyway, Crampton suggested that since I was new to town and writing about the bar scene, being a non-DJ DJ might be good for me. I agreed, but secretly worried I would only expose my lameness.
And perhaps I did, but it was fun anyway.
“It's almost like you're playing music for your friends like you would at a dinner party,” said Crampton, who is an actual DJ.
When he first began thinking about the series, he wanted it to be informal and to demystify the all-important, sometimes somewhat pretentious position of DJ.
“We're just kind of making fun of that a little bit,” he said.
That made me feel better.
Even so, I spent a few hours scrolling through the music on my computer and trying to select songs that made sense together. A theme began to develop. I did a bit of downloading to fill in the gaps. An hour before my set, I rushed to a coffee shop with my laptop to make some last-minute adjustments.
I needn't have stressed so much — the crowd was mostly people I knew, plus a some strangers who were more interested in enjoying drinks with friends after work than critiquing the music. Three songs, one drink, and one compliment from the bartender into the evening, my nerves had disappeared.
Two weeks after my set, I returned to House of Loom to talk to that week's non-DJ DJ, Steve Gordon. Steve is an identity and brand designer who owns the business RDQLUS. He also was a DJ for raves in the late 1990s and early 2000s, so he was far more experienced than, say, me.
He took his non-DJ set as an opportunity to play the music he normally listens to when he works — mostly mellow hip-hop and electronic music that “accelerates my alpha waves,” he said. Polica and Murs were on his list, along with Aesop Rock, Portishead, the Foreign Exchange and Jay-Z.
He camped out in the DJ booth, dancing along, chatting with friends who had dropped in to see his set. He said he was not nervous, but then again, he has done this sort of thing before.
“I think the fun of it is playing music and having people you know show up,” said Aponick, the first non-DJ DJ.
Aponick used his non-DJ time-slot to play records, which he has been collecting seriously for about five years but hadn't played in public. The night before his set, he flipped through his crates and pulled stuff he thought he might want to hear. Then he let his mood and the crowd dictate what he put on. He also played whole sides of records instead of individual songs, so he'd have time to mingle with friends.
During my set, which I ended up devoting exclusively to karaoke songs, I spent the vast majority of my time out of the booth and at the bar, talking to friends and thinking every single time a new song started to play, “Awesome! I love this song!”
Then I would remember that I had selected it.
It was a total musical power trip, and I loved it. And though I doubt that anyone would ever like to hear me play three consecutive versions of “The Final Countdown” ever again, I so would.
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