Learning New Music – from a Philadelphia DJ

I saw two bands in the last month, both of which I had limited knowledge of going in.  First I saw Modest Mouse with 3 friends, only one of which is a big Modest Mouse fan.  Modest Mouse is the alt rock outfit best known for their 2004 hit “Float On”.  They played the Electric Factory in Philadelphia on March 14…well into Sunday March 15.  They didn’t take the stage until 10:40 PM…Its the latest I’ve ever seen a band start their set.  They also played until 1:00 AM.  I think I would have enjoyed the set more if it had been earlier, but by the end I was getting really bored.  They were technically great, but they also played “Float On” 6th…after that there was really nothing to look forward too anymore.

I also saw lesser known ska band The Slackers play a club show at Bam Margera’s new music club in West Chester, PA called The Note.  Again, the person who I was going with was a big fan, so I thought “Hey, why not?”  The Slackers were a much more enjoyable show, as they took the stage at a normal time, and also did something very important….threw some covers in!  The thing about music (especially live music), is that its about 1000% times more enjoyable if you recognize it.  As good as the band is, you just get that much more into it if you can sing along.  So when The Slackers launched into “Mama Told Me Not To Come” (originally sung by Eric Burdon & The Animals, and later funkified by Three Dog Night) I immediately got much more into the show and started singing along.  And when they ended their set with a mashup of one of their own tunes and ‘Shout’ I couldn’t help but throw my hands up in the air along with everyone else.

The point of all this is that as an avid concert goer (I’ve been to over 200), I try to bring these types of lessons of live music into all the Weddings I’m DJing or MCing.  People love to sing along to songs they know.  Just choosing a popular song is great, but knowing where to break it out in the setlist is even more important.  And “Shout” can still usually bring the house down.  Just being a music fan helps me be a better Disc Jockey… it really makes me think that Craig should be paying for all my concert tickets!  So until next time, rock on!

-Justin Kutcher


Photo by Caroline Bittencourt – www.carolinebittencourt.com


1 Response

  1. Felicia

    Good job! That’s totally true about the covers–it helps out the people who aren’t that familiar with the band, plus it’s fun to hear a new band play some older, well-known music that has held a special meaning for people. The last time I saw The Killers, they had this Beatles cover band from Japan open for them. The audience went insane for them. I don’t even like classic rock, but Beatles songs are like infused in kids in utero so I knew the words without knowing I kne them. That cover band was awesome, one of the best openers I’ve seen.

Leave a Reply