You may have noticed recently that lots of old Djs have started to perform alongside full orchestras.
The first generation of ravers, despite the Daily Mail’s warnings of imminent death, have started to age, and it seems they are revisiting the tunes of their youth, but with a focus on the actual musical side of things, rather than say, dust masks and whistles.
When The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra do a version of Cafe del Mar, clearly something is happening. Gatecrasher Classics have given the movement real credibility in dance, by bringing their reliability to the form (arranging shows and then canceling at short notice). Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra have taken to doing gentle karaoke style versions of pop house records, even Back to Basics have done this; frankly the idea of anything that involves Dave Beer and a full orchestra should appeal to anyone who’s heard of him.
As someone who’s second favorite phrase is “I was into that before it got cool”, I’ve been to loads of actual classical shows.
Personally, I much prefer the idea of sitting there nodding slightly, waiting for other people to start clapping, over hearing dance music playing but not many people REALLY dancing, whilst a hen party from Newcastle shouts “Do Robin S”. Although that’s possibly because in that sentence, I’ve pretty much summed up my career to this point.
I’m talking about this, because Harrogate International Festivals run a series of events on Sundays, which, ingeniously, they call the “Sunday Series”.
Now, these are straight up classical concerts.
Maybe in the future we will see some dance cross over events. We know the International Festival are not afraid to try new things. But maybe you are ready to try something new yourself? Perhaps having heard some of the classical crossover projects about, you’ve given some thought to, you know, actually listening to classical music..?
The chances are you are not going to see that many Djs at the Sunday Series: at 11am on a Sunday morning arranging to go with a DJ translates to standing outside alone at three minutes to 11 looking about as surprised as when someone says they don’t want a bag of crisps, and then wants to eat your crisps.
But even sitting on my own at the back, every one of these shows has been worth getting out of bed for – and not just because at the interval they have really high quality biscuits to go with the coffee (although they DO have really high quality biscuits; I have no regrets elbowing that old lass out of the way like a caffeine fueled American shopper on Black Friday to get at them – come on dear, it’s 11.30 in the god-damned-morning and I was Djing until 4am last night, don’t make me destroy you).
From past experience, the form for these events – held in the most quintessentially “Harrogate” venue, The Old Swan Garden Room – is one of the artists introduces the pieces. Think of them as an MC if you will, although instead of inviting you to say “Nappa” when they say “Aya”, it is more likely that each selection will be given a short anecdote about who wrote it, and exactly why that composer was the David Guetta of the time.
That analogy actually works; the big names of the classical movement were the Djs of the age, and often got up to the kind of antics that my mother thought I would get up to when I announced I was going to become a full time Dj. She was right: I’ve often worn tights and powdered wigs and I’m pretty sure eventually I will go deaf.
The 1st of March has The Ashwell Trio, about whom I know little, though my astute acumen in the field leads me to believe there will be three of them. Then on the 15th of March The Esme Quartet are playing, who, from Korean roots via German schooling, have been winning awards left right and center. I’m not able to go to that show, because, I’ll actually be Djing a hardcore rave then; whilst I’m not entirely sure the crowd at Bangface weekender are ready for 9 minute complex variations on a theme, the chances are once they get to my age they will be.
I specifically remember as a lush 22 year old thinking “when I’m a bit older, I’ll give that classical music a go”, and now, well, suddenly I am a bit older; and honestly, the drop in the 1812 overture is as good as anything you’ll find on a Ministry of Sound compilation.
So maybe you you might check them out too? Just promise me, if you absolutely insist on wearing a dust mask and taking a whistle, please don’t tell anyone I suggested it to you.
Dj Trev DJ’s The Foundry Project in Harrogate every Saturday, apart from on the 14th of March, because that night he is preparing for his set at Bangface Weekender, with an invigorating snifter of Buckfast.
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