Upon a long-awaited break in the extreme chill of recent nights, London House DJ and big-deal producer Switch paid a visit to DC (U Hall to be exact). Switch, aka David Taylor, lists artists like M.I.A., Beyonce, and Santigold within his credits, not to mention being one half of the major successful Major Lazer. While he’s focused much of his creative energy into producing, it isn’t to be forgotten or confused that he began as a DJ.
Openers Harry Ransom, a native of DC, and the B-more bred Scottie B each delivered solid sets from their respective musical spaces. Ransom spun groove-worthy Moombahton-esque mix; his set would have certainly benefitted from a fuller house. There’s something about a near empty U Hall when there’s a worthy DJ spinning; the whole thing comes off as waiting music with a focus on BPM. As for Scottie B, mixing the excitement of Baltimore Club Music into his set put the venue on some other level of hyped. Kudos to him for cleverly inserting remixes of Beyonce and Biggie during the night, but a loss of brownie points for an at times disjointed set.
Had there not been an introduction, I wouldn’t have been aware of Switch having even taken the booth—there wasn’t any real transition. For a man that has repeatedly turned out impressive albums for other artists, and produced remixes that stick with you long after hearing them, it was slightly disappointing to find that as a solo DJ he doesn’t offer much by way of innovation. His set sounded very much like any off-night DJ at U Hall.
There really is no wrong way to do House music, but there’s is an energy about a set which can cause it to go good/bad. For Switch, his set was definitely danceable, got people excited, lasted the right amount of time, however, there wasn’t anything memorable about it at all. Having the famous face in a venue as intimate (by rave standards) as U Hall, his fans definitely got their fill—though, when your openers collectively sound better than you, there’s a problem.
Having seen Switch only once before (with Diplo for Major Lazer), the point of reference available isn’t really fair, but the energy during Saturday night’s set paled in comparison. What would have been nice is for Switch to have left us begging for more and not with feelings of, “well, at least I had fun.” Come harder next time Mr Taylor; we may be a small city, but we aren’t that easily impressed.