It's pretty safe to say that Roosevelt Row has more than its share of mad DJ sessions conducted amid the arty milieus of both First and Third Friday, especially outside such venues as Jobot or Aside of Heart. But a madcap DJ session done on gramophones? Yeah, that's sort of different.
Such a scenario will unfold later tonight during Third Friday when DJ Birch and DJ Decca, a pair of downtown Phoenix artists interested in all things obscure and old-timey, will embark on a musical journey heretofore unheard of in the local scene -- a special wind-up DJ set on old school phonographs. Way old school, in fact.
They're calling the event The Wind-Up Conspiracy, which involved playing old 78 rpm records on vintage gramophones at a couple of spaces along Roosevelt Row. DJ Birch and DJ Decca, each named for the brand of antique phonograph they'll respectively use, will offer an hour-long set at Lawn Gnome Publishing from 7 until 8 p.m. before moving to Bodega 420 for another 60-minute performances from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
To add to the intrigue and flat-out oddness of The Wind-Up Conspiracy, Decca and Birch (who declined to give their real names) will wear plague masks throughout their performances to conceal their identities.
According to Decca, they'll play "both classic and obscure 78 rpm vinyl, a collection of 'but is LOVE still grand a week later?" true love and love gone bad songs" during each gig.
"We've got everything from Dinah Shore's "Daddy-O" to "Strip Polka" by Kay Kyser and his Orchestra," Decca says.
As outlandish as The Wind-Up Conspiracy may seem, the artists behind it are absolutely serious about reintroducing some of their old-timey showmanship to a new age of listener. "We're bona fide and serious about the music wind-up, both as its own project and to set the mood as part of a larger future tent show," Decca says.
Birch says that their performances are ultimately "about building and supporting community." As such, one of their leather plague masks, which were handmade by the local artisans of Magical Elements, will be donated to Lawn Gnome afterwards to help the downtown bookstore raise money to help counteract losses from its recent burglary.
The idea is meant to be more than just a one-off oddity however, DJs Decca and Birch are hoping to birth a performance movement in Phoenix based around their shared love of "traveling carnivals, sideshow oddities, and Vaudeville" explains Birch, who adds that they are hoping the show can be turned into "a big tent show."
"We decided to begin all that with DJing first, after re-listening to The Smiths' 'Panic' all these years later," says Decca. "We're the safest DJ act in town, because electricity is a dangerous fad that's been known to kill people. We're 100 percent hand-cranked music, so when the juice finally runs out we'll also be the last DJs standing."
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