WEDDING DAZE


Billy Stewart: Cross My Heart
From 7″ (Chess, 1968). Also on The Best Of.

Cupid: Cupid Shuffle
From Time For a Change (Atlantic, 2007)

Biz Markie/Pharcyde: Passin’ Biz By (O-Dub’s Blend)

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I had the privilege of traveling out to Charleston SC to DJ a wedding by a couple I had never met but who were fans of the site. (Thanks again KF!)

Really fun evening, especially since the groom’s father is a guitarist who has had his own band for years now and every so often, would come up to say, “we play this song!” and he was talking about tunes by the Delfonics, Intruders and Billy Stewart. Totally awesome. (He, for example, plays “Cross My Heart”, a fantastic Stewart tune that tends to get overlooked in favor of his bigger hits but Just Blaze knows the real).

The challenge with DJing any wedding (and technically this was more like the rehearsal dinner but same diff) is trying to triangulate music choices for multiple generations of listeners. There are a few artists who are able to transcend those differences – Michael Jackson for example – but it’s definitely a tricky science.

At one point, when mostly just 20 somethings were on the floor (picture of it, above), one of them came up to me and tried to convince me, “you have to play ‘Cupid Shuffle’, all the old folks will dance to that!” Here’s the thing: I previously had no frickin’ clue what “Cupid Shuffle” was. Never, ever had heard of it. But thanks to a wifi connection and Amazon.com, a few minutes later, I had it loaded and ready to go. Ms. 20-Something was partially right: it did get people on the dancefloor, but mostly other 20-somethings. Cross-generationally, it didn’t quite spark things off.

What does strike me is that line dancing just doesn’t seem that big out West; I can’t name a single line dancing tune I’ve heard at a party or club out there in years. But when I mentioned “Cupid Shuffle” on Facebook, I had folks saying, “oh yeah – if you’re at a Black party in Chicago, everyone knows it” but of course, I was spinning to an all-White party in Charleston so clearly, “Cupid Shuffle” has gone cross-regional/racial.

One anecdote: outside of the venue, a friend of mine ran into an older Irish woman who worked/lived nearby and she asked “what kind of music are they playing inside?” and when told it was soul/R&B, she apparently gave the gas face and said, “you mean there Black people inside?” But when it was explained, “well, no, it’s pretty much a White wedding party,” she just looked confused, as if she couldn’t reconcile a party full of White folks enjoying Black music.

In any case, the one song that really did seem to go over the best? Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” (a no-brainer but it’s always gratifying to see) which I had blended up with the acappella for the Pharcyde’s “Passin Me By” (I could have found a way to incorporate “the engine/engine/number 9” chant from “The Choice Is Yours” and scored a “Golden Era Hat Track.”

Seriously? Nobody beats the Biz when it comes to turning a party out.

Comments

comment(s)

4 comments to WEDDING DAZE

  • Alex

    Ahh, perfect timing! I am DJing my sister’s best friend’s wedding this Saturday, and I was on the prowl for something new and fun. That Biz/Pharcyde blend is so nice, and I’m in good fortune to DJ this wedding with the bride and groom specifically requesting golden era hip-hop (amongst 80s rock/pop, etc), what a blessing.  🙂

  • chris

    Great post. Thanks for sharing. Do you have a setlist available from this event?

  • Oliver Wang

    Chris: the whole setlist is for 4 hours so I’m not going to post the whole thing but here’s selections from various points in the evening:

    OPENING:  
    Billy Stewart: Cross My Heart
    Willie Hutch: I Choose You
    Eddie Kendricks: If You Let Me
    The Delfonics: Ready or Not
    The New Birth: Never Can Say Goodbye
    Stevie Wonder: Hey Love
    The Sylvers: We Can Make It If We Try  

    TOP OF THE NIGHT:
    Diana Ross and the Supremes: You Can’t Hurry Love
    The Jam: Town Called Malice
    Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse: Valerie
    Gloria Jones: Tainted Love
    Kanye West: Flashing Lights
    PM Dawn: Set Adrift on Memory’s Bliss
    Lauryn Hill: Doo Wop
    Cupid: Cupid Shuffle  

    END OF NIGHT:
    Margie Joseph: Let’s Stay Together
    Doris Troy: Just One Look
    Tammi Terrell: All I Do Is Think About You
    Lee Fields: Honey Dove
    The Beatles: Julia
    The Emotions: As Long As I’ve Got You
    The Intruders: Together

  • Remy

    As a sometime wedding DJ, I love your periodic posts on DJ-ing weddings. Always makes me think more about the possibilities of wedding music not having to suck/make concessions to multiple generations.

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