I was already scheduled a casual bar night. No speakers required, just plug and play.
No matter. Playing for these kids was reason enough, they’re honestly a blast.
No drunk snobs to deal with.
No managers looking over your shoulder.
Just a bunch of fire-crackers with crazy amounts of energy who sing, dance, and shout to just about every high energy pop song they can recognize, followed by the ‘Oohs’ & ‘Awws’ of cute slow dances.
Given the intangibles, an easy choice it was. To the middle school dance I’d go.
Here’s a glimpse of how it went-
How do you beat that?
Certainly not getting yelled at by an angry bro three fireballs deep, all upset you didn’t play his favorite track by Cradle of Filth.
The kids’ requests aren’t even half bad. You’ll have to filter some dirty songs that are technically clean (ex. Jason Derulo – Swalla), but as long as you’re not throwing around tracks with the Explicit tags you’ll be fine.
Nuances of playing for a young crowd largely boil down to fleeting attention. Stay away from songs with long build-ups, instead focus on tracks with fun vibes and high energy with heavy lyrics. You’re going to want to jump between tracks more often than usual given their shorter attention spans and explosive reactivity to novelty. One Direction and the Biebs are predictable staples. You could easily build a playlist using ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ albums averaging $7 a pop if you were in a pinch.
Beyond the logistics, there was opportunity here. Not only would it be a heck of a lot more fun, I’d be strengthening my relationship with the school. At only $300 it’s one of the lowest paying gigs I’d taken in years, but the potential far outweighed the one-time transaction. This was a private school whose tuition rivals that of most ivy league universities. Many of the kid’s families will most assuredly be hosting parties over the summer, and if word got around that their school’s DJ was a blast, who do you think they’re going to call?