DJ Russian Roulette

Ever feel like you’ve heard the same thousand songs over and over again at every city you dance in? I have these deja-vu moments, no matter which city I’m dancing in, that I *just* listened to this set the previous dance. Maybe I’m getting a little bit jaded because I listen to too much jass, blooz, and non-vocal NY mambo songs with the neat little piano solo hooks. Maybe I need to listen to more Kimbra?

What really stands out for me in regards to DJs who play lindy hop, blues, and salsa events are those who consistently drop hot new tracks for the dancers. It’s easy to “borrow” a couple of songs from other established DJs and mix and match songs to make your own set but it’s a lot harder to constantly be on the look out for songs and artists nobody in the scene has ever heard before. That’s why I have such great appreciation for DJs like Tall Jim from Vancouver because even though Vancouver is a very finicky dance scene in terms of musical tastes, he always seem to play a couple of songs that I secretly “borrow” for dances in Toronto (and hopefully in Montreal). He gets it and I like that.

I think the next time I DJ, I’m going to try out only playing songs I haven’t played ever before at a dance. I apologize in advance if you are attending ;)



Dr. Feelgood

Kim Massie gives Steven Watkins a dance...

One of the most unexpected and awesome memory that I had from Emerald City Blues Festival in Seattle last weekend was Kim Massie’s rendition of Dr. Feelgood sung to our very own Steven Watkins aka Dr. Feelgood.

Here is a short clip of Kim Massie singing for Steven Watkins (I HIGHLY SUGGEST you turn down the volume, especially if you are wearing headphones).

Dr. Feelgood by Aretha (full song):

Handful of Keys


The company line in Toronto has always been, “we are lucky to have so many great live bands”. Well, truth be told, I was not a company man for a very long time. Things are starting to change though and I’m slowly starting to see the light. I just need to look in different avenues and directions.

Two bands that really stand out are Patrick Tevlin & His New Orleans Rhythm and Up Jumped Swing. Both bands will be playing at Toronto’s main lindy dance (Dovercourt @ Saturday nights) in the upcoming month. Check out a clip of Patrick Tevlin and his happy pals playing at Grossmans this holiday weekend:

Personal Thought: End With a Bang, Not A Whimper

Last night, at the end of Yonge and Bloor Blues, after our last blues song we turned back on all the lights and I played a couple soul/motown songs  to wrap up the night. The people who were still around and still wanted to dance got a chance to bust out the moves one more time and we got an upbeat end to the night.

I did it without thinking much about it, but when discussing it with Randy later, I realized that I did it because I don’t like anti-climactic ends to the evening. Read More…