SHAQ & A-Trak Back to Back at HQ2 in Atlantic City

July 20, 2018

What a Weekend in Atlantic City!

So this weekend was like a runaway train. Here's how things went down. Thursday I got a phone call HQ2 needed an Opener for Shaq & A-Trak on Saturday, I immediately said yes cause, when opportunities like this drop in your lap you can't hesitate or you'll loose it. For the benefit of the uninitiated civilians that may be reading this going "Shaq is a DJ?" or "I don't know who Atrak is."

Yes Shaq is a DJ, he goes by DJ Diesel


If you happen to be un familiar with A-Trak, he's a superstar turntablist, producer, & all round good dude.


I hop on the phone talk logistics with my wife, then it sinks in (she's the logistics portion of my life) . Friday I'm booked at Common Ground Bar, it's my residency in the meatpacking district of Manhattan, don't let the name fool you this is anything but "Just a Bar", this is a sweaty, swanky, dance party, surrounded by a beautiful and eclectic crowd. Like most NYC clubs and Lounges the party doesn't stop till around 4AM give or take 30 minutes.

No according to my phone call I had to be at the HQ@2 Pool by 10am for sound check, Atlantic City is around a 3 hour drive, now it hits me that I may have bit off more than I can chew. Let's do a little math 4am + 3 hours puts me in AC at 7am, leaving 3 hours till sound check. I run through some mental acrobatics and decide, let's see if I can find a DJ to close out at Common Ground, I won't sleep just drive straight there, take a nap , and go kill the pool. So I start hitting up some of the DJs I trust to close out my night, my friend DJ Eloy, came thru, in the clutch!

So I had dinner with the family headed to my gig in NYC, the music format at Common Ground is dope, very open, meaning I can play whatever I want (within reason realizing I'm there to keep them drinking and dancing). I will record a set live one of these days, if I remember :) . Eloy showy up I switch him over at 2am , which is still prime time, I stay for a bit to listen and also to make sure theres no technical issues. Before I left I had the hind sight to pack for the next day, I had thrown around sleeping at home before heading down to AC, but then I thought about the massive traffic I'd prob hit in the morning. So I put in the address, GPS says I'll get there 430-5am, I down a Monster Energy drink and off I go.

Get to The Ocean Resort around 5am, suns coming up. Get to my room and lay down, at this point its either nerves, excitement, or the Monster I downed 3 hours ago, but I'm tossing turning and not actually getting to sleep, so with a little broken sleep and some active resting I look at the clock time to get ready for the Pool. Head down , and there by 10am , miscommunication 1, you'll find when things are thrown together last minute communication breaks down pretty fast, but its fine. So finally 12pm clubs open, I'm opening a party, at 12-2 people are just getting up, gotta be mindful of what your playing, your job is to set the vibe, keep the staff happy. Shaq had a grand entrance and pumped up the crowd, he plays Trap & Hip-hop, and brings a nMC with him to hype the crowd. He kept them pretty engaged and people brought Shaq Jerseys, clearly people wanted to see "the world's biggest (literal) DJ". During this time I realized, I haven't eaten, and I can't leave because I didn't get a wrist band from the host :(((( . None of security knows me, this is my first time at this venue, the host isn't around, so I must soldier on 5pm Shaq's ready to get off. (pause) . I get to go on , we're supposed to stop at 6pm, but I got em rocking and their still popping bottles, we wind down at 630.

Time to go back to the room, grab a shower, freshen up, and eat, FINALLLY. I head down to American Cut , the steakhouse in the Casino, with some of the crew, sound guy ,GM, and visuals, who I'll also be working with that evening, always a good idea to get to know the staff and look for insight especially at new venues. The ambience and food at American Cut were great.finished just in time to head to my room and get down to HQ Nightclub. there was a line there before they opened, people came in ready to party but again my roll is to loosen them up lob the pitch till A-trak is ready. I timed my set to get the crowd to about an 8 of 10 by the time A-trak got on , super humble nice guy , long with his road manager, and dope DJ , Sammy Needles, not an ounce of diva , or attitude. A-Trak very much has his own sound and style and just crushed it, all in all great weekend.

My body was exhausted by the time i came home Sunday and I passed out as soon as I stopped, but totally worth it!

Cant wait to go back!