DJ Donald Glaude June 14, 2007 The Church Better Than: Being eaten by a bear.
The Church hosted DJ Donald Glaude Thursday night but it was Friday morning before he appeared behind the decks. Glaude didn’t come on until just after 1:00 a.m. and his set was over by 1:45. He tried to cram all the big moments of a four hour set into that brief window. Unfortunately, that left almost no time to attempt to build a mood or work a groove.
A great DJ builds a set out of carefully chosen tracks that build and release tension slowly, putting the crowd into a deep groove and then devastating them with the rare, special track that sets everyone off and pushes them over the edge. Glaude seemed to be trying to do that every other song, ignoring the necessity of building a mood before shifting it. The result was a scattershot mess of overly obvious tricks that never added up to the sum of its parts.
Glaude seemed proficient on the decks, although it was impossible to see what he was doing since the DJ booth was well above the dance floor. He presented a far more animated figure than most DJs, jumping up and down and calling for the crowd to “make some fucking noise” and “put your hands in the air.” His track selection seemed overly weighted to slick, overproduced tracks and had way too many stale “favorites” such as Underworld and “surprise” tracks such as “Jump Around” by House of Pain for such a short set. He was playing to the crowd and most seemed to eat it up, but he committed the cardinal sin of any dance DJ. He forgot his set was for dancing, not getting people to holler and sing along.
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The results were a total mess: technically proficient, even fun for brief moments, but devoid of any sense of cohesion or inspiration. Local opener Scott Paradis’s set of tech-kissed tribal house was solid if unexceptional, but for all intents and purposes he was by far the better DJ on the main floor that night. Despite Glaude’s skills and credentials he simply failed to deliver a set worth breaking a sweat for.
Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I much prefer the deep, dark, minimal side of house to the big-room, hands-in-the-air sets. Random Detail: The dancers were quite lovely. By the Way: Glaude is playing dates all over the U.S. and more in the coming weeks. Check djdonaldglaude.com for dates and details.