By Jeremiah Toller
Once upon a time in the late 90's or early 2000s, I paid 35-plus bucks for a ticket, drove with friends for hours for hours and hours to Wisconsin to see DJ Swamp perform at a huge rave with probably a couple thousand people. No, wait, for dramatic effect, let's say a couple million people.
The big crowd made it difficult to get close enough to watch DJ Swamp work his magic on the turntables, but close enough to see him standing above the crowd, mixing and scratching with his long, black hair hanging in front of his face almost the whole time, the anonymity prompting jokes that DJ Swamp, Buckethead and Slash could very well be the same person.
See also: Mary X-Mas Rave in Photos
His performance there was basic; I don't recall anything crazy happening, no big tricks or novelties, nothing fancy, just some mixing and some mild turntablism at a huge rave in an appropriately huge venue with big lights and big sound.
On Christmas Night, I drove 45 minutes for Mary X-Mas, a $10 rave out into the middle of the desert in the cold night air to stand under the stars and watch and listen to DJ Swamp completely rock the eff out. And it was awesome.
Some 13 years after I first saw him in Wisconsin, he still works the turntables like they're extensions of his own body, mixing seamlessly and scratching like the champ he is. Back in 1996, DJ Swamp took the DMC's United States championship, after that he toured with Beck, and since then has been producing, DJing and otherwise doing his thing with music, never losing his touch on the vinyl.
That's not even the half of it, though.
As ravers were huddling around each other to keep warm, some wrapped in blankets still dancing and others giving one another "light shows," DJ Swamp was tossing vinyl records, CD's and shirts into the crowd, magically turning records into top hats, wearing crazy LCD screen glasses, busting crazy scratches that sprayed sparks all over the decks and blasting fire out over the crowd with a flame thrower.
Yes, you read that right. He. Had. A. FLAMETHROWER. How many other DJs do you know that come correct with a flamethrower? Don't lie...you know the answer to that is zero.
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Mary X-Mas is self-proclaimed as Arizona's longest running rave party, and while it may have had a humble turnout this year, if they always bring fun acts like DJ Swamp out then it's no wonder that it's gone on so long.