Think Djing is easy? Try this competition

Artifice's new spin on karaoke creates buzz

It’s Tuesday night. Not much to do in the way of going out, is there? The normal bars are slinging drinks on what is considered a slow day. But there is one place that is doing something completely different—not just for a Tuesday, but different for any night of the week.

Downtown hot spot Artifice is running a weekly competition called So You Think You Can DJ. It’s like a karaoke contest, but instead of singing contestants spin their favorite ditties for up to a half-hour. What do I mean “up to”? It’s a contest, remember. There are judges. So if a DJ competitor plays one shit song after another, it’s likely he or she will be buzzed by the judges and the allotted spinning time will be cut short. On to the next one. This happened on the night I attended where one dude thought it would rock if he played smooth jazz for his entire set. It felt like we were at a fondue party. Seriously, Sade would have thought this guy was a pussy.

In its short run (now entering its second month), So You Think You Can DJ has attracted an avid fan base. According to promoter Brandy Vinyl, “It gets bigger and bigger every week, and people get more excited about participating as well. The audience is becoming more vocal on who to cheer and definitely who gets buzzed/booed off.”

It’s really a lot of fun, especially if you consider participating. Do you choose jams that everybody knows and will dance to? Are you there to open the ears of the audience to new tunes or little-known versions of their favorite songs? Will you stick to one genre or are you just going to play your favorite songs from a number of different musical styles?

Last week, Killers bassist Mark Stoermer entered the fray with some fuzzy punk and low-fi metal. He was good enough to tie for first place, which means he has an open invitate to defend his title. With so many talented musicians in this city, it wouldn’t be surprising if a number of them competed against each other for DJ bragging rights.