DJ Swamp burns through Billings

In a slew of familiar favorites, from the Bee Gee’s “Staying Alive” to Boy Meets Girl’s “Waiting For a Star to Fall” to classic rock from Journey and Pink Floyd, DJ Michelangelo mashed his way through an impressive set of tunes at the Railyard on Saturday night. The Bozeman-based DJ (by way of Santa Barbara, Calif.) prepped a small but respectable turnout for Los Angeles-based DJ Swamp.

Swamp didn’t make an appearance until 1 a.m., and those that remained to catch the once top U.S. DJ talent were graced with quite a showing. There was only a momentary silence as the DJs swapped places.

A tall, stoic figure cloaked in black, DJ Swamp began his evening with a core of metal riffs. Noticeably absence was the presence of electronics; quite literally he worked from two turntables and a microphone, to quote his former employer Beck.

Swamp’s 15-year study of record play has made him an artist of needles and record grooves. From Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” he spun into layers of Natural Born Chillers “Rock the Funky Beats,” the Door’s “Break on Through,” some old Pendulum and Smashing Pumpkins in the mix as well.

The DJ seemed to magically slow time, and with a slight of hand and glaze of fingers he flipped records in seamless transitions, finding that place of musical comfort and then trashing it into scratched beats and rhythms.

Scratched beyond repair, records were offered to the crowd as sacrifices, and at one point the DJ lit his tables on fire and pressed the hot vinyl to his face, creating a deformed mask he tossed to a fan.

“Everybody have a shot of Jager! Do it with me!” he commanded before asking the crowd who wanted to be lit on fire. “Burning baptisms, free of charge.”

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About Anna Paige

Anna Paige is a writer, poet, and photographer advocating for live music culture, visual and performance arts, and the creative class in Montana through writing. More >>