Thursday, July 27, 2006

Silent Support

This story was sent to us by homeboy Dizel Washington, whose previous exploits include a stint with Sint-Andries MC's. Currently he's behind the mic of AC/DJ, which stands for Antwerp City Disc Jocks and has equally notorious Brad Piet on the decks. They are the ultimate party crew whose motto is: Party Hard / Rockin' Loud / Makin' Antwerp City Proud. Even though the 'loud' bit sometimes has to be taken with a pinch of salt...

Late summer 2001. Belgian national radio Studio Brussel ran a contest to promote the upcoming Groove Armada gig at the Vooruit the following fall. You had to send in a mixtape and the winner was awarded with an interview on Studio Brussel, a 30 minute dj-set during prime time, as well as getting to do the support for Groove Armada.

Me and my man Brad Piet were making mixtapes on a daily basis at the time. What we did was mix as many records as possible, record it on a 90-minute audiotape, and take it with us to the bar we went to that night where we would ask the bartender to play it. That way we could check out the effect our selection had on people and analyse our mixes as well (Blunderpop note: we've been using similar excuses so we could get drunk at some pub).

Dizel Washington & Brad Piet

Anyway, one of those tapes we submitted for the contest and guess what: not before long I got a call from this dude at Zomba - the record label of Groove Armada- who told us we had won and were hereby invited for our interview and dj-set on Studio Brussel. All of this went well and so we were getting ready for our official entry a few days later to eternal fame and stardom - rockin' the infamous Vooruit in Ghent as support act of world-renowned producers Groove Armada.

As you can imagine, we were more than a little excited. So we got to the venue well on time and were received as true stars with a backstage room, fresh fruit and all the drinks we wanted. We also got to say hello to the Groove Armada crew, who turned out to be a bunch of nice geezers. Then at 10pm we were called to the stage to get it on. The hall was packed and some people were even cheering us. It felt like “Yeah, this is going to be a memorable gig”.

So we put our first record on and immediately noticed that there was hardly any sound coming out of the speakers and the monitors, even though the output meter on the mixing table clearly showed everything was OK at our end. So we turned to the sound engineer and told him to pump up the volume. Bit by bit they gave us a few more decibels, but we could still hear the people in the crowd having a chat. We both thought "What the f*ck is this? Some kind of joke?". Once again, we went to the sound guy to ask for more volume. We were finally told that this was impossible. It turned out that, whenever there was a theatre play on at the venue next door, they had to limit the volume to a bare whisper. So they were sorry, but this was all the sound we were going to get.

AC/DJ superstylin'

We turned to the crowd and yelled at them that this was the loudest we were allowed to play. Not caring anymore about mixing, we made ourselves comfortable on the monitors in front of the stage and talked to some friends who had especially come over to support us - only to watch AC/DJ's opportunity to rock our first big crowd go to waste. At the end, even one of the Groove Armada guys came to see what the hell was going on. After 20 minutes or so we decided to pack our stuff and get off the stage.

When Groove Armada came on later that night, the sound was immediately turned up to full power. A bit disappointed we headed back home, but our hunger to rock was bigger then ever. And the rest, as you know, is part of rock 'n' roll history.

More AC/DJ on the Guerilla site and on Dizel's MySpace.


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