- Saturday night promised a unique event in Galway with the arrival of a Detroit DJ to play @ The Vic. I say unique because apart from Marshall Jefferson from Chicago, Galway itself has not exactly had its fair share of American house/techno DJs appearing in its clubs. The city ever expanding, still has a relatively small population and an even smaller community of music followers. This coupled with the fact that the more commercial side of dance music seems to find favour with club promoters, made the invitation of Detroit's DJ Rolando a slight gamble on the part of the 091 boys.
However, the word had obviously hit the streets because I overheard a few people inquiring about DJ Rolando, although those obviously not so well informed were puzzled as to why a Brazilian footballer was DJing in a Galway club! I decided to get down to the Vic at an early stage of the night to catch the Aztec Mystic in action and also to hear the 091 boys, Frenchie and Tiddlerz, who always put on a good show.
First up on the decks was DJ Frenchie, a DJ familiar to anyone in galway with an ear for quality electronic music. As I entered the club the 1986 classic "Can You Feel It" by Mr.Fingers rumbled out of the speakers. Frenchie's well crafted set was comprised of sounds on a deep tech house vibe and proved that his taste in music was never in doubt. The last time I heard this guy he played a more dubbier, drum and bass orientated set but tonight he layed the foundations for a night of quality house music.
As Tiddlerz took over, the club was beginning to fill up and he responded by stepping up the tempo gradually. Tiddlerz pushed a tougher, funkier house sound and he kept those on the floor interested in what he was doing, playing Herberts' remix of Molokos "Sing It Back" by Moloko which got the crowd grooving along nicely. Tiddlerz continued to add darker,edgier house tracks into the mix as his set progressed dropping the 2005 remix of technotronics "Pump Up The Jam" followed by the Housemaster Boys' "House Nation". The highlight of Tiddlerz' set, was for many, Trentemoller's "Physical Fraction" on Audio Matique, which once again proved why he is highly regarded among Galways' house DJs.
With the scene set for DJ Rolando to take over the vibe in the club was almost tangible at this point. Jumping straight into the mix, he used effects and filters to raise the excitement on the floor. As a DJ, Rolando's sets can vary across the electronic spectrum. His Aztec Mystic mix on U.R has breakbeat elements fused with diverse techno, had left many who havent heard his club sets wondering exactly how his set would turn out.
"Solid jacking grooves were built and the crowd was abducted and taken on a funky Detroit trip..."
Early on in the night he spun a funky, stompin brand of house with some tribal flavours thrown in for good measure. Constantly at work behind the decks, his workmanlike approach was well appreciated as he seemed to give the crowd exactly what they wanted. Solid jacking grooves were built and the crowd was abducted and taken on a funky Detroit trip as Rolando continually funked it up, dropping some tracks reminiscent of his work with Los Hermanos and his Nitelife mix on NRK.
His warehouse vibe sound, synonymous with Detroit, seem to sit comfortably inside the Vic as he offered up a very solid set which was varied when needed, always a sign of a competent DJ. Plastikman's "Spastik" and its spiralling drum loop, a white label Lego track and DJ Bone's "The Freak" all especially seemed to find favour with the Vic crowd, in addition to several tracks with trumpets and latin-type percussion, a reflection of the Puerto-Rican Detroit neighbourhood Rolando grew up in.
Opening the minds and ears of the Galway faithful as the night wore on, Rolando gave a nod to another Detroit legend, Kevin Saunderson, by dropping the re-edit of Inner City's classic "Good Life", which was quickly trainspotted by many.
Just as the vibe had peaked Rolando gave Galway an education in Detroit techno, dropping a couple of beautiful tracks proving that this often misunderstood form of music has got oodles of soul and an electro number off his Vibrations mix on U.R.
Smiling faces on the dancefloor were soon replaced by whoops of delight when Rolando slowly mixed in the opening melodies of his infamous "Jaguar" track, which ignited the place, the crowd, the promoters and caused even the Vic staff to throw their hands in the air. It was a moment to savour with the vast majority of his Galway fans citing this as their favourite techno track.
Fellow Detroit artist, Eminem once claimed that "Nobody Listens To Techno" but I think a couple of hundred Galway people would disagree after tonight. As the capacity crowd emptied out, Rolando signed autographs and gave hugs and kisses to his female followers, of which there were plenty, and I think a lot of so called big time DJs could do with taking a leaf out of this man's book when it comes to handling the fans.
The 091 crew must be commended for continuing to offer Galway good quality electronic music and despite some previous minor hitches with this venue lets hope they are allowed to continue their good work. Their no frills, non-commercialised approach is gaining recognition and along with the fact that their audience appreciate whatever the 091 crew throw at them, proves there is potential for DJs as good as Rolando to make the visit to Galway again.
Having seen a lot of well-known techno DJs this year, Rolando showed he's up there with the best of them and definitely left his mark on Galway.