Best Venues in the South Bay Area

These venues are www.bwadj.com favorites I have played the past year or so. I based it on how awesome the venue is and how fabulous the staff is. 

 

Favorite Bay Area Venues I have been a Dj At 

Los Gatos Lodge (Los Gatos)

They are my most favorite spot. They can provide an outside venue for a ceremony and also have a nice outside area to have cocktail hour. They do have multiple rooms for events. The staff rocks and do a great job taking care of guests. A great place for birthday parties and high school reunions. 

 

Dave and Busters (Milpitas)

D and Bs is close to my home and close to my heart. Staff is super fun. Before the guests showed up they were dancing while working. Fun group. Staff helped me take my gear. Packages can include catered meals and game cards for guests. 

  

Gilroy Gardens (Gilroy)

Gilroy Gardens is a huge venue. They do offer two big venues for weddings. They can offer rides and games to guests as part of a package.  Its so big that I lost a dj table and staff told me if they found it they can drive it to me. What service!

 

Alexander by the Sea ( Palo Alto) 

Best food I have had in a long time. Everything just melts in your mouth. Staff did help me with my gear which was a good help since we had to go down stairs. Good place for small events or corporate functions. 

 

Vinyl Room (Burlingame)

The past two new years I have played there. It has a good fun atmosphere.  The biggest decision of the night is to play the biggest song of the year right after the countdown. Last year it was G- Eazy No Limit and this year it was They can hold private events there.

 

Double Tree San Jose (San Jose) https://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/california/doubletree-by-hilton-hotel-san-jose-JOSE-DT/index.html

Very nice staff and able to hold huge events.

 

SF Marathon (2 street locations)

I played at two different spots in the city but the best was by the bridge. I was able to go as loud as I want and the runners would get down when they ran by. 

Westin Hotel San Jose (San Jose)

Centrally located downtown. Very nice décor and staff actually helped me unload equipment. 

 

Mama Mia (Morgan Hill)

They have a nice outside area with a water fountain and a nice indoor venue space. Staff is accommodating. 

 

Palo Alto Country Club (Palo Alto)  

Very nice golf course. Staff took care of me when it started sprinkling and saved my equipment. 

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Cozy Downtown San Jose Venue Mexico Lindo

 

Black and White DJ services (www.bwadj.com) went local around the Down Town San Jose area. It is called Mexico Lindo (https://www.mexicolindoycantina.com) Downtown San Jose Venue and they have a back area for private parties (https://www.mexicolindoycantina.com/private-party-venu). There are a few Mexico Lindos so make sure it is the one on Race Street. Mexico Lindo provides full service event planning with food and entertainment. When I got there, I had to set up next to their dj set up. At the venue, they host dancing and karaoke.  The venue itself from the looks of it can hold up to 75 guests. They specialize in Mexican food and seafood.

 

The night was full of old school music. This was not your cookie cutter music event. It was all about the old school such as 80’s and 90s r&b. 

Staff was pretty friendly. Food was good. They served salad, beans and rice and 3 different kinds o f meat. They did have horcata at the serving table. In the banquet room, they had a full bar. 

 

Venue was able to accommodate dj. This venue would be good for small gatherings. They do have a built in dance floor.  Tables can easily be removed to open up the dance floor. Also it already had its dj light system. There are bathrooms located in the room so it makes it convenient instead of travelling to the restaurant part of the establishment.

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April Playlist 2019

Lil Nas X Old Town Road 

Post Malone and Swae Lee Sunflower 

Jonas Brothers Sucker 

Post Malone Wow

Ava Max  Sweet but Psycho

Sam Smith and Normani Dancing with a Stranger 

Ariana Grande  7 Rings

Khalid  Better

Halsey  Without Me

J Cole  Middle Child

Blueface  Thotiana

Meek Mill ft Drake  Going Bad

21 Savage  A Lot

Lil Baby and Gunna Drip Too Hard

Billie Eilish  When the Party’s Over

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Let Djs Be Djs and Stop Telling Them What to Play (Unless it is a Jam!)

They use an analogy that someone would not go into a restaurant and tell a chef how to make food. I believe djing a party is a wee bit different.  As djs we play for the people. The best requests are the ones that go with the genre that the dj is playing. For example, if the dj is playing Bell Biv Devoe and a guest suggests throwing in En Vogue.  That is applauded. Usually I put in on my prepare list and throw in as soon as I can. If it isn’t the right genre I can still put it on my prepare list and can throw it on when its appropriate.  If they ask for a song I already play, then I ask them if there is another song I can play for them or I give them suggestions they can choose from.

   When I play at an event, I use the playlist given by the client and I will include music suggested by the guests. I will happily play the suggestion. If every guest came with a suggestion, I would add it to my list. It can be a little much when the same guest keeps on asking for more and more songs and the event becomes more about that guest than the rest of the guests of the party. As a dj, I never ask another dj to play my song since I know its difficult to dj a party and maintain the dancing vibe.  Sometimes djs get in a zone and playing hit after hit and the floor is jamming.  Be aware the wrong request can kill the party and the concentration of the dj.

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New DJ Tool (Pioneer DDJ-sr2) to Have in Tool Box

 

Before I get into my new toy, let me explain the beauty of a controller. Back in the day, the dj had to use a mixer and hook it up to two turntables that were connected with multiple rca cables. Then the mixer would connect with the speakers and then the gig had music. Usually it would take about 45 minutes to set up solo.  A controller contains a mixer and turntables as one. So the use of rca cables is unnecessary and set up takes half the time.  Gotta love technology!

 

My controller of choice is the DDJ SX2, which is the industry standard for mobile and nightclub djs. This is a four-channel controller. I take this guy everywhere. As his backup I would take the original Pioneer controller DDJ-s1. Since I never needed a back up, I would never use my original controller. I decided to get a newer back up in the DDJ-sr2, which is a two-channel controller. This looks like the little brother of what I use now.

 

The ddj-sr2 is smaller and lighter than his bigger brother. With this controller, it can be powered by usb or with a powered plug, which could be a lifesaver incase one runs out of outlets. If a venue has a professional sound system, this controller can be connected to it with ease.

 

It can also be used for a wedding in case multiple set ups have to be ready at the same time for the ceremony and the reception. If both events happen in the same venue, the guests can leave the reception immediately and be greeted by music when they enter the next room right away.

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The Perfect P.A.  System: The Microphone and Cables Part 3

 

The industry standard is the Shure SM58. Everywhere any live events happen this microphone will be there. They range from 90 to 110 dollars new. They are built be rugged and used for outside or inside use. Some SM58 microphones do have an off on switch and one is always live so the volume can be adjusted with the mixer if the microphone needs to be off. 

Wireless Microphones are handy to have around too if one does not want to have the cable extend onto the floor. Shure does make a good wireless microphone. It is really easy to use. The user has to sync the microphone with the receiver and its good to go. Shure makes hand held microphones and lavalier which can be connected to the body incase the person does not want to hold to a microphone. Be ready to have new batteries handy incase they run out. Typically I have batteries handy and a wired microphone connected to the mixer just in case.

 

When it comes to cabling, the xlr microphone cables are the way to go. They came in different lengths and for some reason if the cabling is not long enough then they can be connected together so it can reach where it is supposed to go. I invested in short 3-foot cables, 6-foot cables, and 25-foot cables. The beauty of these cables is that they can be used for microphones and speaker cables. Xlr cables can be used to connect multiple speakers.

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April 2018 Playlist

CARDI B  BE CAREFUL

BEBE REXHA  MEANT TO BE

ZEDD MAREN MORRIS  THE MIDDLE

DRAKE  GOD’S PLAN

CAMILA CABELLO  NEVER BE THE SAME

BAD WOLVES  ZOMBIE

POST MALONE  PSYCHO

LIL DICKY  CHRIS BROWN FREAKY FRIDAY

MARSHMELLOW  FRIENDS

SAWEETIE  ICEY

SZA KENDRICK LAMAR  ALL THE STARS

XXXTENACION  SAD!

BLOCBOY JB FEATURING DRAKE  LOOK ALIVE

MIGOS  STIR FRY

OFFSET AND METRO BOOMING  RIC FLAIR DRIP

MIGOS FEATURING DRAKE  WALK IT TALK IT

STEFFLON DON AND FRENCH MONTANA  HURTIN ME

BLAC YOUNGSTA  BOOTY

TINASHE  FT OFFSET  NO DRAMA

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How to Dj at a Night Venue that has their own equipment? (Burlingame)

How to Dj at a Night Venue that has their own equipment?

 

A few years ago, I would be playing every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday downtown San Jose. It was an easy set up. I started off by taking 6 cases of vinyl then eventually went to a cd case. Eventually that evolved to taking blank serato special cds with a laptop with all our music. We knew we had the option of using CD turntables or record turntables. It was very familiar.

 

Recently got a call to do a happening spot up north in Burlingame. We played there years ago then started doing more of the mobile route. The question is what set up do they have and what would I have to bring?  I could go see the equipment before the event but that would require me to drive 40 minutes. I asked for a photo of the mixer and asked what turntables were being used.

 

The mixer of a top of a line Pioneer Mixer with two technic turntables. It is importatant to know the mixer so the dj can download the driver for the computer. Most often than not it is Serato Friendly. I was able to get the driver and install it on my computer. If one does not do that when the usb is attached to the computer it then it would not read it.

 

I also brought my controller as a back up in case for some reason the mixer cannot be read by my computer. All I would have to do was to plug in the master speaker cables to my controller.   I had to remember to bring my vinyl needles with Serato Vinyl. Everything worked perfectly.

 

I was able to talk to some staff to get a feel for the kind of music the folks like at the venue.  I already had my playlist, but it helps get that information.  I knew my age demographic was 21 to 35. That means get all the new hip-hop songs they play on the radio and get in some throwbacks.

 

The biggest decision of the night was what song to play after midnight. I love the old school and I wanted to throw in Too Short Blow the Whistle after midnight. But I had to succumb to playing G- Eazy’s Limitless. I had the track that was made for NYE and it had the countdown included as the intro. You just had to throw it in exactly one minute before midnight.

 

It is always good to be prepared. Make sure the computer has the driver for the mixer and make sure Serato Vinyl or Serato CDs are brought with needles. Once you become familiar with the set up then the back up will be easier.  It is always better to be over prepared then underprepared. 

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