Dance music has come a really long way since the early days. And I’m not talking about when Sonny (you might know him as Skrillex) was just starting to get popular. I’m talking about the days where CDJ’s were a futuristic pipedream and where guys like Frankie Knuckles reigned supreme. I can certainly say I was not alive then, and don’t know many people that have been involved in the scene long enough to share their old-school experiences. Fortunately, some great footage from a 1989 acid-house rave called Dance Energy 89 in the UK has surfaced, featuring 15,000 attendees and DJ Paul Trouble Anderson on the decks. As you’ll see from the video, being a DJ back then was a pretty different experience.

One of the first things I noticed was the lack of stupid moves on the DJ’s part. While some attendees were certainly having a good time and dropping hilarious dance moves, Paul Trouble remains focused on the task of providing the best soundtrack to the venue; somewhere in the last 30 years, DJ’s decided that fist pumping and Jesus poses were the best way to get the crowd pumped up. This could be partially due to the fact that in the old days, DJ’s weren’t exactly the center of attention. Located in a back corner, the DJ booth was out of sight and out of the way. This is much different than today’s shows, which see a large portion of the crowd staring intently at every move the DJ makes. While this isn’t necessarily a bad way to enjoy a show (I’m guilty of doing it), the crowd at Dance Energy seems way more interested in each other, as there’s not multi-millionaire with extravagant stage production there to ‘hog’ all the attention.

What hasn’t really changed is the process to get a venue. According to a quote from an organizer called Tin Tin, the event had a few issues with local police, which resulted in several venue changes. Check out the full quote and video of Dance Energy below!

It’s from Dance 89 back, 26 years ago and probably the most mental party I ever tried to organise (and I put on a few). We were supposed to do it in Southark Park in London as a fund raiser for the Marchioness boat disaster where friends were lost. The mayor took on police pressure and cancelled permission that week. We hunted for a venue and on the night were moved on by police twice before finally getting into this aircraft hanger early Sunday. Around 15,000 people still following instructions at 5am causing road chaos. Who knows how many would have come if it started on time, or in London… I didn’t even make it to my own party as in the London office directing operations, manning phones etc. Meant I didn’t get charged with ‘Conspiracy to Cause a Public Nuisance’ like my panther Jeremy Taylor did though! Crazy days and good to see so many enjoying being taken back…