Category Archives: Gig Rewind

Shadow Report: 5 Wedding Gems From A 30-Year Pro

More Wedding Gems!

Shadowed another wedding this past weekend. This DJ has 30 years of experience and has grown his multi-op to half a dozen DJs averaging 300 events a year between mitzvahs & weddings alone. His mixing skills were even more questionable than the DJ I shadowed in DC, but he was a solid programmer and his MCing was 99/100 (he could have spoken a little slower). With so much experience, I took away five more wedding gems to immediately employ in my business.

1) Musical Glow-sticks

Give each table a glow-stick. Tell them to start passing it around as music is playing. Keep passing it until the music stops. Kill the music.

“Ok stop! Who’s holding your glow-stick? You’re now the table captain. And as captain the table has to do what you say. Now the first captain to get their entire table to the dance-floor wins! Ready? Go!”

*Drop upbeat dance music*

He says it works 99% of the time. It was so ninja, dance-floor immediately full.

2) Slow-Dances

I realized that I really under-utilize slow-dances.

After everyone was seated for the wedding party introduction & dinner orders, he gets on the mic and announces:

“Alright we’re going to get some dancing going, this one’s for all the wonderful couples out there.”

Unchained Melody beigns playing and like clockwork the dancefloor packs up. After one or two slow-dances he drops into Runaround Sue and bam. Rocking dancefloor.

Perfect Bait & Switch.

3) Freedom Sticks.

A super easy way to really kick up the atmosphere.

They’re wirelessly controlled and battery powered, so setup is crazy easy. You can get a pack of four for $500; not cheap but not ridiculous.

These you can supplement with up-lights or replace them altogether. Many couples don’t want over the top lighting anyway for their wedding, these are a nice classy upsell.

4) Setup Time

Regardless of the rig he needs to setup he gets there at least two hours before the event is scheduled. Not when he is required to begin playing, but when the event starts.

We had a one-room setup with super-easy lighting. With three guys we were done in about an hour.

A guitarist was providing music for the cocktail hour so we could have used that time to tie off odds & ends. No one would have seen us as our section was walled off.

Still, this is a bad look to the venue staff and fellow vendors when you don’t have your shit together once the event has begun. Not to mention anxiety inducing.

Don’t stress, get there early and relax.

5) Backup Laptop For Critical Music

His setup included a backup laptop with a playlist of critical songs (1st dances, introductions, etc) wired into a channel on his mixer.

In the event something happened in those moments, he’d be able to recover in seconds.

Backup Laptop

I bring a second laptop myself to all gigs, but it’s usually packed away. In the event something happens I always have my phone hooked into my mixer, but not usually with critical songs ready at a moments notice. As I don’t bring a facade with me, I might start setting up my laptop underneath my table for instant access.

And all those backpacks on the floor? Photographer crap. Seemingly the ones capturing the event visually care least about how things look *eye-roll*

My New Year’s Eve Wedding Playlist

New Year’s Eve Wedding – 2017

Here is Sunday’s Wedding Playlist exported from Traktor’s History. I had a LOT of Michael Buble requested directly from the Bride & Groom ahead of time as well as Elton John and Billy Joel.

Tracks that really worked getting this crowd started were disco/nu-disco and pop music two-five years old.


Here’s a breakdown of notable points in the night and explicit requests by the couple:

  • Track 1: Beginning of reception following cocktail hour
  • Track 9: Bridal party introduction
  • Track 10: First dance
  • Track 18: Father/Daughter dance
  • Track 19: Hora
  • Track 25: Dinner begins
  • Track 33: Unplanned Mini-dance set begins (at Bride’s request)
  • Track 37: Cake cutting
  • Track 50: Midnight countdown
  • Track 51: Groom request
  • Track 70: Couple request
  • Track 71: Couple request


Num. Title Artist Time BPM
1 After All (feat. Bryan Adams) Michael Bublé 3:38 134
2 Tell Her About It Billy Joel 3:56 91
3 Thinking The Hippos 2:42 91
4 Dance With Me Tonight Olly Murs 3:23 81
5 Learning To Fly Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 4:03 117
6 Real World Matchbox Twenty 3:52 117
7 Sun Daze Florida Georgia Line 3:06 85
8 Oye Como Va Santana 4:19 129
9 Thinking The Hippos 2:42 91
10 Dance With Me Tonight Olly Murs 3:23 81
11 You Make It Feel Like Christmas (feat. Blake Shelton) Gwen Stefani 2:38 93
12 Nobody But Me Michael Bublé 3:00 94
13 Feels (feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean) Calvin Harris 3:44 101
14 Karma Chameleon Culture Club 4:01 91
15 You Can’t Hurry Love Phil Collins 2:54 98
16 Beastie Boys vs. DJ Thomilla (Get Intergalactic) Happy Cat Disco (Mashups) 3:42 104
17 Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine) James Brown 2:52 108
18 I Hope You Dance Lee Ann Womack 4:55 151
19 Hora Medley (Jewish) Bobby Morganstein Productions 7:36 135
20 Do You Love Me The Contours 2:56 150
21 Let’s Twist Again Chubby Checker 2:22 84
22 I Want You Back (Album Version) Jackson 5 2:59 98
23 Bailamos Enrique Iglesias 3:33 100
24 Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love) The O’Jays 4:11 107
25 For Once In My Life (Album Version) Stevie Wonder 2:49 109
26 Melting Pot Booker T. & The M.G.’s 8:15 116
27 Let Your Love Flow The Bellamy Brothers 3:18 109
28 All The Things You Are Stan Getz 6:51 93
29 My Favorite Things John Coltrane 13:50 89
30 So What Miles Davis 9:23 136
31 Fever (1998 – Remaster) Peggy Lee 3:22 136
32 Melting Pot Booker T. & The M.G.’s 8:15 116
33 Shake It Off Taylor Swift 3:40 160
34 Honey, I’m Good. Andy Grammer 3:20 122
35 Uptown Funk (feat. Bruno Mars) Mark Ronson 4:28 115
36 Superstition (Jet Boot Jack Remix) Stevie Wonder 6:13 118
37 I Only Want to Be With You Bay City Rollers 3:38 133
38 It Takes Two [Explicit] Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock 5:02 112
39 Kiss the Bride Elton John 4:23 138
40 After All (feat. Bryan Adams) Michael Bublé 3:38 134
41 Blurred Lines [feat. T.I., Pharrell] Robin Thicke 4:24 120
42 Get Down On It (Chocolate Biscuit Remix) Kool And The Gang 4:49 118
43 Stayin’ Alive (Viceroy Edit) The Bee Gees 4:24 115
44 Hustler Softmal 5:42 120
45 Finally (Mart Remix) Jerome Robins 5:03 122
46 Lola’s Theme Recut (Purple Disco Machine Remix) The Shapeshifters 6:10 122
47 Lets Groove (Bootrar3 Remix) Earth, Wind and Fire 5:30 124
48 Smooth Santana Feat. Rob Thomas 4:57 116
49 Havana (Scooter Smooth Blend) Camila Cabello vs Santana 3:24 116
50 2018 NYE Countdown (Start at 11:57 PM)(Cold Out) Fuseamania vs Earworm 3:54 104
51 New York State of Mind (feat. Tony Bennett) [Live] Billy Joel 6:50 109
52 Jump Around House Of Pain 3:39 107
53 Poison Bell Biv DeVoe 4:22 112
54 No Letting Go (Starjack vs Kento Moombahton Hitter)[Clean] Wayne Wonder 3:03 105
55 Despacito (Moombahton Redrum) [Clean] DJ Delirious / Daddy Yankee 3:52 100
56 Whats Luv (Moombahton Edit 2)[Clean] Fat Joe & Ashanti 3:28 102
57 All That She Wants (Billy The Kit Moombahton RMX / Clean) Ace Of Base 2:49 105
58 Rockabye (MoombahClub Rework) [Clean] Bandit ft Sean Paul 4:19 102
59 Independent Women (Peakhour Moombahton) Destinys Child 3:06 105
60 Mi Gente J Balvin & Willy William 3:07 105
61 Livin La Vida Loca (Reggaeton ReDrum) Ricky Martin 3:14 96
62 Stacy’s Mom (Remix) Singularity x Robotic Pirate Monkey Remix 2:46 128
63 Its Tricky Run DMC 3:04 128
64 Your Love (feat. The Outfield) Morgan Page 4:00 128
65 Danza Kuduro Don Omar 3:19 130
66 I Knew the Bride (When She Used To Rock’n’Roll) Dave Edmunds & The Refreshments 3:16 89
67 Tell Her About It Billy Joel 3:56 91
68 Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting Elton John 4:53 153
69 Livin’ On A Prayer Bon Jovi 4:11 123
70 Save the Last Dance For Me Michael Bublé 3:39 134
71 Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond 3:24 127

Wedding DJ Setup

I Got Hired… Three Years After The Interview

The call went well, or so I thought.

We went over my experience as well as the gear I had to my disposal. She even requested a media kit and relevant assets to kick off the process for me to get hired and put on the books.

But weeks later, nothing.

Despite following up, radio silence persisted.

I had been referred to Scratch Music Group, the events consortium branch of This was a very large, reputable company. Managing events all across the Greater NY area. At the time of my DJ career I would have killed for a spot on their roster. My friend knew someone who knew someone, hence the call.

I later realize they only wanted DJs who used turntables and ‘scratch’, as the name would have it. I offered neither.

This was a little defeating, but I put it past me and carried on.

In through the side door

A few years pass, now I’m DJing full time. I am orders of magnitude busier with gigs, but my need remains high since DJing is now my only source of income.

A lead comes through on my Gigmasters app for a Saturday afternoon at a retail store. Their budget is $300 which is right in line what I would charge for such an event, it’s within the going rate around here. Below is my quote:

Hi Julia, love to know what store the gig is at.

I have all my own gear for a full setup if need be.

My current residencies include Bartaco and Barcelona wine bars across Fairfield county so I’m not a random DJ off Craigslist.

I also have liability insurance of the gig calls for it.

Dan Moran

I knew what she’d be looking for so I kept it short, easy to read. It worked.

She reached out to confirm my availability and that it would be at a Dressbarn. I give the thumbs up and in turn I receive an email to create an account on’s vendor portal for DJs!

No concern over my equipment. No concern if I could scratch or had turntables. I was able to signal my experience in my quote by answering questions I knew she’d have as a corporation. Between that and my polished Gigmasters profile I was able to get my foot in the door.

The work wasn’t over though. To rise up the ranks of any organization like this I had to really kickass on my first shot. If I didn’t I likely wouldn’t receive another.

Kicking Ass, Despite stumbling

The gig required clean upbeat pop music. A decent portion of my library is tagged as such but many unofficial remixes are not. Unfortunately a mashup’s rap verse dropped a few F & N-bombs… This happened just as a mother and her 9 year old were at a display in front of my table, just while the event coordinator was standing nearby to witness it.

I thought I was toast. Every time she walked by I expected her to come up and comment… but it never happened. The rest of my set was clean as could be.

Once it’s over we shake hands, thank each other for a great event and say our Good-byes.

The Long Route To Get Hired

Two weeks later I get an email from Scratch Music Group. Dressbarn loved my event and want to bring me back for another that upcoming weekend. As fate would have it I’m already committed to a family event, but they let me know I’m on their roster for any future events in the area.


Sometimes timing just isn’t right despite being given an opportunity. I had an in the first time around, a friend knew someone there and made an introduction. Typically that’s the best way into a organization, that’s how I landed a big festival gig.

This time I was simply at the right place at the right time. If you’re thirsty enough you need to be tapping all possible sources of gigs, no matter how weak the source.