Have you ever had an itch you wanted to scratch but couldn’t reach? For DJ Danny (Danny Robins), that itch is nothing short of international DJ superstardom. By day, he’s a frustrated English and General Studies teacher; by night, he lays down beats which, as he puts it, are not so much “phat” as clinically obese. With his hyperactive manner, West Coast patter and Home Counties diction, he’s Tim Westwood set to “fast forward”.
On his school holidays and straight outta comprehensive, this Wigger With Attitude takes us through the basics of his DJing technique, layering song vocals (the acapella or “pella”) over the instrumental (or “mental”) parts of another song. Musically, he’s more Cassetteboy than Tiësto: he gives us an early taster of his style by laying on us a recording of William Blake’s Tiger, Tiger mashed up with old skool favourite Kool & The Gang’s Jungle Boogie which, strangely enough, works at more than just the semantic level. Come prepared for action because Danny doesn’t believe in his audiences staying silent while he spins his ones and twos. Random numbers thrown out by the audience are turned into world premieres of new hybrid songs as Slim Shady gets up close and personal with Chris de Burgh’s Lady In Red and Bach’s Toccata & Fugue finds a new home alongside the Baha Men’s Who Let The Dogs Out. More remix madness, mayhem and comedy ensues.
Behind the persona, Danny Robins is already a radio superstar. He was one of the creative forces behind the criminally underrated and Blue Jam-like Radio 1 comedy show Milk Run before working on shows for BBC3, Radio 4 and (currently) 6Music. As part of the 2010 election, he created his own alternative Party Anthems for Newsnight. Live, he exudes an infectious passion for music regardless of whether it’s a TV theme, a classical piece or something more mainstream. He has performed as DJ Danny for some years now but each show is different, not just in terms of the music generated but with entirely new set pieces being added/removed/remixed.
Some of the musical references will fly over the heads of the under-30s but there’s enough here to keep everyone with more than a passing interest in music and improv comedy entertained. DJ Danny is playing two more nights (tonight and tomorrow) at the Roundhouse Studio Theatre before he moves onto the Edinburgh Fringe. Tickets are available here.