The date is November 11th 2011, it’s a typical brisk November morning in Las Vegas, waking up early and doing a quick brushing of the teeth to make an early flight with Southwest Airlines to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Having packed the night earlier finds me in line at the airport wondering what I’ve forgotten. This being the first time to gig in the 505 has me bringing mixer and turntables with me as luggage and as fate would have it a great friend of mine, Teddy DeLeon, is traveling to watch me perform for the first time as well and is bringing a piece of gear with him as we are only allowed 2 pieces of luggage but at least the first 2 are free. After dealing with the security check points and finally reaching the C Gates the fun begins, as if the stress of playing a new market wasn’t enough, now I have to deal with seating on the plane. I don’t fly S.W. very much so I’m in the last boarding zone called and almost guaranteed a center seat which wouldn’t be an issue but people feel they should get the armrest in the middle. It’s my firm belief if you’re in the middle seat you get booth arm rest. I’m just saying. After the brief but still uncomfortable flight to albuquerque I pick up the gear from baggage praying they haven’t damaged it in any way. Being greeted by Casa Esencias’ manager Gerald Zemora, barely awake after a long night of work the night before. He proceeds to go over the history of the Casa Esencia and where they would like to move towards in the future. From what I was told Casa (and Q Bar) had suffered from what a lot of the clubs in the Albuquerque area suffer from, and thats the bad elements, the riff raff if you would. He explained how when he came into the position to make changes they were implemented and change worked quickly. The names Casa Esencia and Q Bar are now a respectable name amongst Albuquerque professional young and older adults. Albuquerque now has a upscale venue that catered to professionals that want to go out and not worry about being in altercations over something as little as stepping on your shoes or not liking the way you look. The strict dress code makes it more prestigious to get in and the sales of tables and Champagne have made it very appealing to upscale clientele. After being prepped about the venue I began wondering what type of music to play. After being a DJ for 19 years theres one thing I’ve learned and thats “play for the ladies” now not knowing what the ladies of Albuquerque were into I would have to “fish”. Another DJ trait for veteran DJ’s is to play multiple types of genres and see what moves people.
The time is now 7pm, doors are in 2 hours, I show up after checking into my room at The Hotel Albuquerque with Teddy. I have time to set up my turntable rig and grab a bite to eat. Teddy and myself venture out for a good meal and find a spot next to the hotel call “High Noon” and eat an incredible meal and “Pre Game” as we call it, priming up before the party. I show up at Casa Esencia just as the staff is having their pre shift meeting, listening to them explain all that’s going on as most clubs do. I settle in to the DJ booth and wonder what is to come. Doors are at 9:00pm and as I start to play the other DJ (Devin) comes over and introduces himself. He also explains how their won’t be anyone there until 11:00pm, we talk for a while trading stories of experience when some of the first clients show up. Moving into a more early night set of smooth R&B and Top 40 Hip Hop the night seems to be progressing nicely. By 12:00am we are full steam moving in to peak hour, still not knowing how far I can go with the big room sound I am playing it safe sticking to the typical Top 40 playlist, Pitbull, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga you know the list. One thing I learned very quickly was how fickle this younger crowd was, I’ve never played a venue where if people don’t know the track or like it they just walk away, never giving the track a chance to grab them or just go on the journey I’m trying to take them. The normal style I play wouldn’t work in this venue, playing the original tracks to some of the more popular songs on the radio was definitely out of the question, this crowd wouldn’t appreciate the vast music knowledge that I have as a 20 year veteran in the music industry, and the fact that I use turntables and not CD players doesn’t matter to anyone. The simple fact is that they were there to drink and party, they want to hear their songs and sing a long to them, which is the reason why people go out anyways, not to get a history lesson on music.
The crowd was primarily female, the ratio had to be 3-4 girls to 1 guy, and the women were beautiful, well groomed professionals. As the night went on the party grew into a nice frenzy around 1am, the alcohol has kicked in hard and everyone is grooving to everything that is played, as I tangle different genres together with smooth blends the crowd doesn’t miss a beat. The girls are dancing as sexy as ever as guys are standing on the side lines, not sure what to do. Drink specials are announced people are 4 deep at the bar, the party is in full effect. 1:40am comes around and the lights come on full, I am not use to the sudden break in the party, however, New Mexico has their laws an one of them is no one in the club after 2:00am, this baffles me at first then security explains why. With that being said, people are herded to the exits and the night quickly comes to an end, the staff was friendly and professional, the venue was elegant and Albuquerques’ clientele were awesome.