Andrew McClelland’s Hang the DJ
11:30pm, Fri 8 Mar 2013
After the musical debacle of my previous show, some palate-cleansing was required; and, due to scheduling constraints, this wound up being the only time I could see what Andrew McClelland was up to with Hang the DJ. In retrospect, this was another example of a Happy Scheduling Accident, because it was the perfect tonic.
Hang the DJ is, essentially, a comedy show about music – but, more importantly, the culture around DJ-ing. McClelland and (ex-?) Adelaidean Ian Bell, both professional disc-spinners, have created a cohesive series of anecdotes covering all stages of a musical career – starting with their early musical passions, moving through concert experiences, meeting famous stars (some great photos in their slideshow), and tragic DJ gigs (with bizarre wedding song requests).
And whilst they profess to work as professional pop manipulators, it’s amazing to see how they light up when they start speaking of their favourite bands – english indie from the eighties and various shades of metal light up the stage. There’s also a gem of a moment when they pluck a punter from the audience and attempt to teach him to DJ by running two tunes together… good-natured laughs abound.
There’s the occasional preachy aside: you can hear the initial germ of McClelland’s “music snobbery” tirade in Episode 16 of the (sadly long-departed) Nonstopical podcast (it starts about 10:02 in). And, truth be told, it’s his comedy background that keeps the show together; Bell is a bit stiff with his delivery, and when he’s left to tell a story by his lonesome it can come across a bit flat. When the two engage in back-and-forth banter, it can feel a bit forced… when they’re sticking to pre-written material. But when they venture off-script, the dialogue bounces pleasingly, and the performance feels a lot more honest.
Apart from the cluster of chatty drunkards sitting behind us, I really enjoyed Hang the DJ – the content ticked all the right boxes, and the selection of tunes that McClelland and Bell presented was fantastic (and I almost rue the fact that we didn’t hang around for their dance party after the show). And, as we left The Deluxe, my Event Buddy realised that the clock had rolled past midnight, and that it was now my birthday… the birthday hug came from nowhere, and was a beautiful way to start the day :)
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 8, 2013